Frank Morton

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Frank Morton (12 May 1869 – 15 December 1923) was a journalist and poet, active in Australia.

Morton was born at Bromley, Kent, England, the son of a plumber in prosperous circumstances. He was educated at a private school where he had a good grounding in the classics and French, and was brought to Sydney when he was 16. Early in 1889 he obtained work as a seaman and sailed for America but left the ship at Hong Kong. For a few months he was a teacher, and at the end of the year obtained work on The Straits Times. In 1892 he went to Calcutta and did editorial work, and in 1894 returned to Australia. He worked for various papers in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania for about 10 years before joining the staff of the Otago Daily Times in 1905. His most remarkable work in New Zealand, however, was his editing of a monthly journal the Triad, of which he frequently wrote the greater part himself under various pen-names. In 1908 he published Laughter and Tears, Verses of a Journalist, at Wellington, and in 1909 The Angel of the Earthquake, prose sketches with a poem. The Yacht of Dreams, a novel, was published in 1911.

Returning to Australia, Morton continued to contribute a large mass of excellent journalism both prose and verse to the Triad, The Bulletin, the Lone Hand, and other papers and magazines. His Verses for Marjorie and Some Others were published in September 1916, which was followed by The Secret Spring (1919), and Man and the Devil, a Book of Shame and Pity (1922). He was a friend of David McKee Wright. He lived at Manly, New South Wales, for some years and died following an operation, on 15 December 1923. He married in 1891, Louise Hollway, who survived him with two sons and two daughters.

Morton was an excellent journalist, short story writer, and critic. His verse is always capable, sometimes charming, but seldom suggests that it has been deeply felt. His erotic poem The Secret Spring does not succeed in escaping the monotony that seems to be inseparable from work of that kind. About six of his poems have been included in anthologies.

  • Serle, Percival (1949). "Morton, Frank". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. 
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