Herbert Newman Wigmore Church

Herbert Newman Wigmore Church (1857-1932)

Poet, Writer & Public Servant

Location: Pres*J*148A

A native of Hobart, Tasmania, the son of Herbert Day Church, a barrister and educated at Guildford, Felstead and Oxford in England; he was believed to have been struck on the head by a cricket ball and became completely dead. As a sixteen-year old, he went to New Zealand, studied law and later joined the Treasury Department in Wellington (1877-1911). Described as “a poet of elegance and restraint”, Church enjoyed a high reputation as a writer of notable New Zealand yarns and verses such as “West Wind and other verses” (1902), “Poems” (1904), “Egmont” (1908) and for the novel “Tonks, a New Zealand Yarn” (1916). After retiring from the public service he visited England and did much volunteer work during the war and later moved to Melbourne in 1923 “where he became well-known in literary circles, and was much liked and admired”. 

Residing at Downside– 372 Wattletree Road, East Malvern, Church died on 8 April 1932; in December 1900 he married Catherine née McGregor. Similar in appearance to the Australian actor Bill Kerr, The Dictionary of Australian Biography notes that;

“Church was tall and well-built, courteous in manner, with a kindly appreciation of the work of other men. His poems will be found in several anthologies, and his excellent technique, sense of music and poetic urge, joined with a dignified restraint, entitle him to an honourable place among the better poets of Australia and New Zealand”.

Serle, P., “Dictionary of Australian Biography” (1949).
“A Biographical Register 1788-1939” (Vol II).
The Argus 11 April 1932.