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Horace Harry (Jack) Spooner (1863–1900)

from Australian Town and Country Journal

"Spooner dead, enteric." In these three expressive words the sad news reached Sydney last week, by cable from the Capetown agent of the Evening News and the Town and Country Journal, of the death of Horace H. Spooner, who was sent by these papers as special correspondent to the seat of war. In the prime of life, exuberant in health and spirits, and rejoicing in the attainment of a high ambition in his appointment as a war correspondent, Mr. Horace Spooner left Sydney last October. His first objective was the scene of operations in Natal, where the struggle was then fierciest, and where Sir George White had not yet been shut up in Ladysmith. There, after visiting the town which was about to become the historic scene of British bravery and endurance in that colony, he wrote his first letter from Estcourt, and since then his letters have been eagerly looked forward to and read throughout the length and breadth of the Australian colonies, with an interest which has established for him a high reputation in that branch of his profession which requires the energy, courage, and resourcefulness of a soldier, added to the literary ability of a good journalist. From Natal, on receipt of orders to follow the New South Wales Lancers, he left Durban for Capetown; and thence made his way to De Aar, and watched Lord Methuen's advance towards the beleaguered [?] of Kimberley. On the arrival of Lord R[?] he attached himself to his forces. He was with French in his famous race to Kimberley, and among the first to congratulate the brave garrison of that city on their release. Once again at the scene of action, he was present at the surrender of Cronje at Koodoesrand, and thence accompanied the victorious army in its triumphant entry into Bloemfontein. His letter, dated March 28, from the Free State capital, published in last week's Journal, referred to his suffering from what he spoke of as dengue, and this illness may have been the beginning of that fatal "enteric" – that enemy against which courage is of no avail – which has now added his name to the long list of victims who in this war, as in all others, have succumbed to its cruel onslaught. The news of the death of Horace Spooner has cast a gloom not only over those who have for many years been associated with him in his work as a pressman, but over a very wide circle of personal friends. Few men were better known in Sydney, and all who knew him esteemed him. He has left a widow prostrated with grief at his loss and two little children, and to them a deep and respectful sympathy is extended by all who have learnt the sad event which has brought them their sorrow. In Horace Spooner was embodied the happy combination of good-fellowship and devotion to duty. He was a man of unassuming manner, quiet dignity, and simple tastes; to these he added a generous disposition, a keen appreciation of the merit of others, a ready wit, and abundant industry, based upon worthy ambitions and high ideals. He was born in England, and came to Australia in the hey-day of his youth in the early eighties. After a period of bush experience in South Australia he came on to Sydney in 1885, when his facile pen soon earned him a welcome place among the young journalists of this city. From his earliest years he had been associated with the stage; and throughout his life he counted many of his warmest friends among the members of the theatrical profession, who recognised in him as a dramatic critic one whose opinion was of value. As "special artist" to the Evening News for the last seven years, his drawings have become familiar to many readers, and his work on the Town and Country Journal, with which he was also associated on various occasions, will be remembered, especially in connection with tours in Queensland, in New Guinea, and other parts of the Eastern Archipelago, which resulted in brilliant descriptive articles and excellent sketches from his pen. By his untimely death Sydney has lost a good journalist of versatile talent, while the personal loss to many besides those nearest to him is keenly felt.

Original publication

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Additional Resources

Citation details

'Spooner, Horace Harry (Jack) (1863–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Horace Spooner, n.d.

Horace Spooner, n.d.

from Cumberland Argus (NSW), 30 May 1900, p 2

Life Summary [details]




13 May, 1900 (aged ~ 37)
South Africa

Cause of Death

typhoid fever

Military Service