Woods, Julian Edmund Tenison- (DNB00)

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WOODS, JULIAN EDMUND TENISON- (1832–1889), geologist and naturalist, was the sixth son of James Dominick Woods, barrister and journalist, by Henrietta, second daughter of the Rev. Joseph Tenison of Donoughmore, Wicklow, great-grandson of Edward Tenison [q. v.], bishop of Ossory. Julian Edmund was born at Milbank Cottage, West Street, Southwark, on 15 Nov. 1832, and was chiefly educated at Newington grammar school. While still young he became a Roman catholic and joined the Passionist order. In 1852, as his health had failed, he went to France, where he continued his studies, first at Lyons, afterwards at Hyères. In 1854 he returned to England, but, finding himself unable to remain, accompanied Bishop Wilson to Tasmania to work under him. In 1856 he purposed returning to England, but on reaching Adelaide was persuaded by Bishop Murphy to remain there. Hitherto he had been in minor orders, but he was ordained deacon on 18 Dec. 1856, and priest a few days afterwards. He then became missionary priest in the south-eastern district of South Australia, where he worked energetically for ten years. Towards the end of that time he assumed the name of Tenison before his surname. In 1867 he became vicar-general of the diocese, and for four years was resident in Adelaide. But he relinquished that post to become a travelling missionary under the archbishop of Sydney, and in 1873 was missionary priest in Queensland, duty of this kind specially attracting him because it afforded opportunities for prosecuting his scientific studies. Between 1874 and 1876 he spent much time in Tasmania, compiling a census of the conchology and palæontology of the island, which was published in the ‘Transactions’ of the local Royal Society. In 1877 he went back to Sydney and devoted himself more and more to science, till in 1883 he relinquished clerical work and started on a long tour in Malay, Singapore, the Philippines, China, and Japan. On his return to Australia in 1886 he was sent by the government of South Australia to report on the mines of the northern territory. There he contracted fever, and, after halting for some time at Brisbane, arrived at Sydney in 1887. He continued his scientific work, but the hardships of travel had undermined his constitution, and he died at Sydney on 7 Oct. 1889. A monument was erected over his grave by public subscription.

Woods was a man of wide culture, a musician, an artist, and something of a poet, for he wrote a number of hymns (printed for private circulation) and a poem entitled ‘The Sorrows of Mary,’ 1883. At one time also he edited two religious periodicals, ‘The Southern Cross’ and ‘The Chaplet.’ His conversational powers made him popular in society, and he was beloved by those among whom he laboured, for he lived most frugally that he might give largely. He also wrote a ‘History of the Discovery and Exploration of Australia’ (London, 1865, 2 vols.), another book on the ‘Fish and Fisheries of New South Wales,’ published in 1892, and letters in newspapers descriptive of his travels, together with more than a hundred and fifty papers on natural history, geology, and palæontology. Most of them were printed in the publications of Australian and Tasmanian societies, but two were contributed to the Geological Society of London (in 1860 and 1865), of which he was elected a fellow in 1859. He was elected president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales in 1880, and received the gold medal of the Royal Society of that colony in 1888.

[Information from C. M. Tenison, esq., Hobart, Tasmania, and a brief obituary notice, Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. 1890, vol. xlvi. Proc. p. 48.]

T. G. B.