Flanagan, Roderick (DNB00)

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FLANAGAN, RODERICK (1828–1861), journalist, son of an Irish farmer, was born near Elphin, co. Roscommon, in April 1828. His parents, with a numerous family, emigrated to New South Wales in 1840, and settled in Sydney, where Flanagan received his education. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a printer, and on the completion of his indentures became attached to the ‘People's Advocate.’ After contributing to the ‘Advocate,’ the ‘Empire,’ the ‘Freeman's Journal,’ and other newspapers for several years, he founded, in conjunction with his brother, E. F. Flanagan, a weekly journal called ‘The Chronicle.’ It had only a brief existence, and upon its cessation Flanagan became a member of the staff of the ‘Empire.’ He was subsequently chief editor of that journal, and during his connection with it published a series of essays on the aboriginals which attracted much attention. The writer dealt with the manners and customs of the natives, and severely criticised the treatment they had received at the hands of the colonists. In 1854 Flanagan joined the literary corps of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald,’ and in the columns of that newspaper he shortly began to grapple with the numerous events which tended to the making of New South Wales. For nearly four years he laboured arduously at his task of writing the history of the colony, and by November 1860 had made such progress in his undertaking that he left Sydney for London, bearing his manuscript with him. He succeeded in making arrangements for the publication of the work, but while engaged in revising the proof-sheets of the first volume was seized with illness, the result of over-exertion. He died towards the close of 1861, and was buried at a cemetery near London, where a public monument has been erected to his memory. Flanagan's work was posthumously issued in 1862, in 2 vols., under the title of the ‘History of New South Wales; with an Account of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), New Zealand, Port Phillip (Victoria), Moreton Bay, and other Australasian Settlements.’ While narrating the events which have marked the progress of New South Wales from the earliest times till beyond the middle of the nineteenth century, Flanagan also succeeded in bringing into one view the whole of the British Australasian territories. The work was pronounced to be the most comprehensive, moderate, and most generally accurate of any which had hitherto appeared dealing with the Australasian colonies.

[Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time, 1879; Athenæum, 25 Oct. 1862.]

G. B. S.