Born on 17
November 1843 in London, the son of William Carrington, doctor and Mary née
to Victoria in the 1860s after the lure of gold, Carrington soon turned to
his earlier training as an illustrator and began working as a cartoonist for
Melbourne Punch (1866-87), the satirical political and social
newspaper of the time. Founded in 1855 by Frederick Sinnett
(Melbourne General Cemetery) and Edgar Ray, Carrington and Punch were
made for each other; his whimsical humour became the bane of many political
leaders where his instinctive manner to lash out made “every stroke of the
pen a stroke of the sword”. The hapless (Sir) Graham Berry (Boroondara
Cemetery) became the chief focus of Carrington’s venom during a tumultuous
period in Victorian politics (1877-81) - when Berry’s ‘embassy’ returned
from England showing a surplus of 6d, the expression “magic sixpence”
become a byword for many years. Signing his cartoons with the signature “T.C”,
Carrington was one of the first to pioneer the influence of the press over
political opinion via the art of caricature in a manner that was so genial the
‘victim’ often enjoyed the portrayal as much as the public. In 1880 he bought a
one-third share in the newspaper, but the following year sold out and in
partnership with James
short-lived World; he later returned to Punch under the
control of James' brother Alex (St. Kilda Cemetery) and remained until 1887.
Carrington’s most enduring illustrations were the series of Kelly pictures
between 3 and 31 July 1880, illustrating the capture of the Kelly gang being
one of five members of the press who travelled on the special train to
Benalla on 27 June 1880 only to find himself a first-hand witness to the
siege at Glenrowan; it was Carrington who bandaged the wound of
Superintendent Francis Hare
(Melbourne General Cemetery)
after he had been shot by Ned Kelly in the opening salvo and later gave
evidence to the Royal Commission on 7 June 1881. He later noted after
police had burned down the Glenrowan Inn that the bodies of Dan Kelly and
Steve Hart “could now be plainly seen amongst the flames, lying nearly at
right angles to each other, their arms drawn up and their knees bent”.
Carrington died from pneumonia on 9 October 1918 after a short illness
survived by his wife Dora née Clausen who bore him two daughters;
Dora (1871-1946) and Adele (1873-1936).
(above) Tom Carrington
(La Trobe Picture Collection,
State Library of Victoria,
ADB Volume 3 1851-1890 (A-C).
The Argus 10 October 1918.
The Herald 10 October 1918 & 18 December
Melbourne Punch 27 August 1907 & 17 October 1918.
Jones, I., “Ned Kelly a short life” (2003).
Corfield, J., "The Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia"
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