The themes George Essex Evans wrote about
- steel arms
George Essex Evans was an Australian poet.
Evans was born in London on 18 June 1863. Both his parents were Welsh. Evans's father, John Evans, Q.C., died in 1864 when Evans was only a few months old. John Evans, who was the Treasurer of the Inner Temple and a member of the House of Commons, left his family a fortune of 60 000 pounds. The fortune did not last very long. Consequently, Evans was raised and educated by his mother Mary Ann (née Owen), who was one of the Bowens of Llwynwair, an old Welsh family. Mary Ann was an educated woman, fluent in both Latin and Greek. The family lived in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire where Evans attended Haverfordwest Grammar School and then the St. James Collegiate School of Jersey.
Evans was partly deaf and although he was an excellent athlete, his tutors thought him 'dull'. Unfortunately his hearing impediment prevented him going into the armed forces.
In 1881, when Evans was 17, the siblings J.B.O. (John Bowen Owen), Blanche Gough and Beatrice emigrated to Queensland, Australia, travelling first class on a journey around the Cape of Good Hope that lasted sixty-five days. Upon arrival in Queensland, the brothers bought some land in the Darling Downs with the intention of farming. Evans, however, was badly injured in a horse riding accident, when he was thrown against a tree, and was unable to do any physical work. He was able to take part in athletic pursuits, competing in wrestling, running, swimming, and football (in which he represented Queensland).
Evans suffered from increasing deafness as he grew older, and this may be the reason why he was thought to be a secretive, quiet man. Initially he earned a living by working as a teacher at a private school, but eventually became an Agricultural Editor of The Queenslander. Essex Evans also wrote travel books for the Government Tourist and Intelligence Bureau. He entered the public service in 1888 and eventually became District Registrar of births, deaths and marriages first for Gympie and then later for Toowoomba.
In 1899, Evans married Blanche Hopkins, the young widow of E. B. Hopkins of Goondiwindi, the daughter of the late Rev. William Eglinton and sister of former Native Police Officer, Second-Class Sub-Inspector Ernest Eglinton. The wedding was described as a very secret affair. A letter from Evans to Dr. Black, whom he sought to perform the service, asks for a quiet ceremony with little fuss in Drayton. They were married on 6 November 1899.
Evans and Blanche had two sons, the younger one, Owen Meylett Eglinton Essex Evans died at five and a half years of Ileo Colitis Acuta (a form of diarrhoea). As a result of his marriage, Evans also had two step daughters Misses Lorna and Beryl Hopkins.
They built their home they called "Glenbar" on the Tollbar Road on the eastern slope of the Toowoomba range and Evans's sister continued to live with him.
Evans founded the Austral Society in Toowoomba in 1903 to promote music, art, literature, science and industry.
Evans was described as a reserved man, and at times rather moody and impulsive. However, he was also described as a kind person and loyal friend. He had a strong sense of honour and self respect; traits which made him a model husband and father.
Evans was described as having a tremendous memory, particularly for poetic verse of which he was able to recite a prodigious amount. Few of his contemporaries were able to match his breadth of knowledge of English, American and Australian poetry.
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