Historical information

This book has been written by Walter Murdoch and it is the publication of two lectures given by Murdoch in 1937 (the John Murtagh Macrossan Memorial Lectures). John Murtagh Macrossan (1833-1891) was a Queensland politician who for some time held the seat of Townsville in the Queensland Parliament. He was born in Ireland and came to Australia in 1853, spending some time in the mining regions of Queensland. With Samuel Griffith he attended the first National Convention on Federation in 1891. Walter Murdoch (1874-1970) had a distinguished academic career and became Australia’s best-known essayist. He was a household name to two generations of Australians through his radio broadcasts and syndicated literary columns in several Australian newspapers. In 1901 Walter Murdoch came to Warrnambool and went into partnership with James Scott as proprietors of a private school, Warrnambool College. They bought out Stanley’s Warrnambool Grammar School and when Scott retired Murdoch became the sole proprietor and Head Master of Warrnambool College. While in Warrnambool in 1903 Murdoch wrote a school history book called ‘The Struggle for Freedom’, a book which sold 10,000 copies in its first year. Murdoch later became an English lecturer at Melbourne University and then the foundation Professor of English at the University of Western Australia. Murdoch University in Western Australia is named after him. He published over 40 books and he was knighted in 1964.


This book is of interest as it was written by Walter Murdoch. He not only has a national reputation as an academic and writer but also he spent some time in Warrnambool and played his part in our history.

Physical description

This is a soft cover book of 66 pages. The cover was originally blue but is much faded, especially on the spine. The print on the cover and spine is dark blue and there is an ornamental edging on the front cover. The back of the cover has an advertisement for other Walter Murdoch books. The pages of the book are stained and the binding on the spine has broken away.