Newspaper editor’s biography ‘long overdue’

07-Mar-2017

Dr Steven Farram’s book about newspaper pioneer Charles Kirkland will be launched this week.

Dr Steven Farram’s book about newspaper pioneer Charles Kirkland will be launched this week.


A Charles Darwin University historian’s book about a pioneer Darwin newspaper editor will be launched in the Top End this week.

Senior Lecturer in history Dr Steven Farram said the colourful story of Charles James Kirkland was characterised by isolation and hardship, but ultimately was a story of courage and human triumph.

“Kirkland arrived in Palmerston (Darwin) in 1878 as a young man of modest means and left some 50 years later as a relatively well-off individual,” Dr Farram said.

“He was a capable businessman who had influence in the civic and political circles of the day, and he was known by everyone in the Top End by the time he left in 1930.”

Dr Farram said that while Kirkland had made good money as a pearler, he was more likely to be remembered for his long career as editor and owner of the Northern Territory Times and Gazette.

“At one point he sold the business, but some while later he bought it back again; it was the day before the cyclone of 1897 struck. His house in Mitchell Street and his business in Smith Street were badly damaged, but nonetheless he managed to publish an emergency edition of the paper.”

Dr Farram said a biography of Kirkland was long overdue. 

“This book tells the story of Kirkland but also contains details of many other characters in the Territory's early history.”

“Charles James Kirkland: The Life and Times of a Pioneer Newspaperman in the Top End of Australia” will be launched at the Northern Territory Archives Centre in Millner at 5.30pm on Thursday 9 March.