The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Martin, Arthur Patchett

Martin, Arthur Patchett, F.R.G.S., was born at Woolwich, Kent, on Feb. 18th, 1851. He is the son of George Martin and Eleanor (Hill) his wife, whose families were settled in Kent and Surrey, but who were both, on the maternal side, of Scottish extraction. When about eighteen months old, he was taken out by his parents to Melbourne, arriving in Hobson's Bay at Christmas, 1852. At St. Mark's Church of England School, Fitzroy, Mr. Martin received his education until he matriculated at Melbourne University, subsequently entering the Civil Service. In the meantime his literary bent had strongly declared itself; and at the Eclectic Society of Victoria, where he succeeded the founder, Mr. H. K. Rusden, as secretary, he was for many years a leading essayist and debater. During his secretaryship the Society contributed to the memorial statue to John Stuart Mill, erected on the Thames Embankment. Mr. Martin was the principal organiser of the meeting which took place at the Melbourne Town Hall on July 29th, 1878, "to express public appreciation of the services of the Earl of Beaconsfield in the settlement of the Eastern Question." Out of the Eclectic Society arose the Melbourne Review, a high-class quarterly periodical, which existed from Jan. 1876 to Oct. 1885, and of which Mr. Martin acted as editor, being also one of the most frequent contributors, until he left Melbourne for London in 1882. Before leaving Victoria Mr. Martin contributed to various Christmas and other collections, and had published: "Sweet Girl Graduate" (a novelette), "Lays of To-Day, or Verses in Jest and Earnest," and "Fernshawe," the latter an octavo volume consisting of essays and poems, several of which had first seen the light in the pages of the Melbourne Review. Since coming to reside in London, Mr. Martin has largely devoted himself to journalistic work; but, in addition, has written in several of the magazines, introducing the Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon, to the English literary public by an article in Temple Bar of Feb. 1884. His most solid achievement, however, was the publication of a work entitled "Australia and the Empire," specially dedicated to the First Lord of the Treasury, Mr. Balfour. The opening essay in this work, entitled "Robert Lowe in Sydney," formed the nucleus of the undertaking on which Mr. Martin is now engaged—the complete political biography of Lord Sherbrooke. Among other literary efforts in London may be mentioned "Oak-bough and Wattle-blossom," the first of those collective stories by "Australians in England" of which there are now quite a series. "Over-the-Sea Stories for the Children of Two Worlds" a profusely illustrated gift-book, is also a collection by Mr. Martin. In 1886 Mr. Martin married the only daughter of the late Dr. J. M. Cookesley, of Boulogne-sur-Mer, who is also knows in the literary world by translating of Alfred de Musset, as well as by her poetical contributions to various periodicals. Mrs. Patchett Martin has recently turned her early Queensland experiences to account in "Under the Gum-tree" (1890), and "Cooëe" (1891) an interesting collection of tales of Australian life by Australian ladies. Since July 1891 Mr. Martin has been editor of Literary Opinion.