The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Thomas, Julian
Thomas, Julian, LL.D. ("The Vagabond"), a native of Virginia, U.S.A. took to journalism on the conclusion of the Civil War, and was attached to papers in New York and San Francisco. He was in France during the Franco-German war, and afterwards visited South America, Tahiti, and Hawaii. He went to Australia in 1874, and commenced the series of "Vagabond" papers in the Melbourne Argus, which created a remarkable sensation, and were subsequently republished in book form. In 1877 he went to the newly discovered gold fields in Northern Queensland, and in the following year proceeded to New Caledonia as war correspondent during the native revolt. He was for some months with the French troops attached to the expedition of Henri , afterwards killed in Tonquin; and visited the Isle of Pines, being the only journalist ever allowed to land there. In 1879 he again travelled through Northern and Central Queensland. On his return he went to the Fiji Islands, and spent some months in that group; and in 1880 visited China, Japan, and British Columbia, returning to Australia in 1882. In that and the following year he spent a long time in the South Pacific, visiting New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea, where he commanded the expedition sent out by the Argus proprietary. The "Vagabond" was the first to call attention in the press to French and German aggressions in the South Seas. In 1886 he was special correspondent of the Melbourne Argus at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at South Kensington. In 1887 he revisited New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, on behalf of the Melbourne Age. He revisited England in 1888, and in 1889 went to Tonga and Samoa for the Age, saw the return of the deposed king Malietoa at the latter place, and witnessed the troubles in Tonga. He is author of "Vagabond Papers" (five series), "Occident and Orient," "Cannibals and Convicts", and several plays, of which No Mercy is the best known. The "Vagabond" claims to have travelled more extensively over Australia and New Zealand than any living journalist. In 1891-2 he acted as secretary to the Royal Commission on Charities appointed by the Victorian Government.