George Ernest Morrison

Morrison, George Ernest An Australian in China: being the Narrative of a Quiet Journey across China to Burma (London: Horace Cox: 1895) Second Edition

What is amazing about Morrison is not so much even the amount he packed into his life, but that he packed it in whilst travelling nineteenth/early twentieth century style. He walked, he rowed, he shipped around the world time and time again. And I mean walked, perhaps most famously from Normanton, in Queensland to his home in Victoria, 2,043 miles, in 123 days. He spent time in New Guinea, was notable for his opposition to the Kanaka trade, worked as the medical officer at Rio Tinto in South America and as a doctor in Morocco. Edinburgh in betwween these appointments and Australia.

But of course his life’s work was in China. This book is the result of another of his walks, across China from Shanghai to Burma. It prompted his appointment as The Times correspondent in that part of the world. For the details of his incredible career as journalist and then something more akin to politician, see the links below. An example will suffice to show his significance: The aka of the Russo-Sino war of 1904 was ‘Morrison’s War’. He was both a meddler and an astute observer; one can only imagine how exciting his reports must have been to the rest of the world at the time. His accomplishments from heroic acts one of which led to his first obituary, published a long time before his death, to the important collection of reference materials which eventually found its way to Japan are both interesting and of lasting significance.

If I have whetted your appetite for more, here are a few links:

Morrison’s World

George E Morrison’s Studio and Library

George Ernest Morrison (Chinese) Australian Dictionary of Biography

Argus Obituary of George Ernest Morrison


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