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Henry Champion

(1859—1928) socialist and journalist


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(1859–1928), born Poona, India, first came to Australia in 1890, an established socialist with a background of militancy and an amply demonstrated capacity for the organisation and motivation of the radical forces in society through his public speeches and writings. On a second visit, which extended from 1894 until his death, he set out to lead the socialist movement in Australia. He helped found the Fabian Society and formed the Social Democratic Federation of Victoria and the National Anti-Sweating League. He was prominent in the Victorian Socialist Party 1906–9 and was actively involved in co-operative socialist business and farming ventures. By 1909 prolonged illness and bitter factional disputes had forced him out of politics. His literary activities were mainly allied to his politics. He published The Root of the Matter: Being a Series of Dialogues on Social Questions (1895); conducted the Champion (1895–97), a weekly propagandist journal; and edited the Socialist (1908). With his wife he conducted the Book Lovers' Library for over thirty years and in 1899 founded the monthly literary journal Book Lover, which ran until 1921. He also founded the Australasian Authors' Agency in 1906 and published numerous works by Australian writers, e.g. Dorothea Mackellar, Martin Boyd and Marjorie Barnard.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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