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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Strickland, Sir Edward (1821–1889)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Sir Edward Strickland (1821-1889), army officer, was born on 7 August 1821 at Loughglynn House, County Roscommon, Ireland, third son of Jarrard Edward Strickland (1782-1844) of the East India Co., and his wife Anne, née Cholmley; he was the uncle of Sir Gerald Strickland, first and last Baron Strickland of Sizergh Castle, Kendal, Westmorland, England. Educated at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, he joined the Commissariat Department on 15 February 1838 as a clerk and served in Canada in 1838-39. From January 1840 to December 1841 he was stationed in New South Wales; on 26 December 1840 he was promoted to deputy assistant commissary general; in 1842-44 he served in Van Diemen's Land, and in 1844-60 in Malta, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East. In the Crimean war he received the Crimean medal with clasp and the Turkish medal. In 1860 he wrote Note on the Reorganization of the British Army (London) in which he urged certain reforms including the creation of a military board and the post of chief of staff. After acting as the British member of the Joint Financial Commission of Enquiry on Greece he published Greece: Its Condition, Prospects, and Resources (London, 1863).

Appointed deputy commissary general, ranking with colonel, on 8 September 1861, Strickland was in Melbourne in 1863-64 and in New Zealand in 1864-67. In the Maori war he received the New Zealand medal and was made a C.B. After service in Nova Scotia he was in Malta in 1874-76 and the Cape of Good Hope in 1877-79. He was appointed K.C.B. for his service at the Cape and Natal during the Zulu wars. Promoted commissary-general, ranking with major-general, on 23 November 1878, he served in Ireland as senior commissariat officer in 1880-81 until he retired on 8 August.

Strickland went to live in Sydney where he published, among other papers, Lecture on our South African Colonies (1882) and Letters Embodying Suggestions for a Volunteer Force in New South Wales (1883) in which he advocated 'an Australian Wimbledon' modelled on the ancient Olympic Games. In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on 12 February 1885 he suggested sending a contingent to the Sudan. An intimate of William Bede Dalley, in 1884 he had presented to Governor Loftus the thanks of Sydney Catholics for inviting Archbishop Patrick Moran to Government House. Elected a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society of London in 1860, he was vice-president of the Geographical Society of Australasia, a founder and president of the society's New South Wales branch, president of the Australian Geographical Conference in 1884 and vice-president of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. He helped promote Captain H. C. Everill's expedition to New Guinea in 1885. He died in Sydney on 18 July 1889 and was buried in the Catholic section of Gore Hill cemetery.

Strickland was twice married. First, on 18 November 1841 at St Mary's Cathedral and then at St James's, Sydney, to Georgina Frances (d.1876), second daughter of F. A. Hely; second, on 29 January 1877 at The Oratory, London, to Frances Mary, only daughter of General John Tattan Brown-Grieve of Orde House, Northumberland. His only child, Fanny Cecelia (1844-1922), married Rev. Percival Fiennis Swann, rector of Brandsby, Yorkshire. The Strickland River in New Guinea is named after him.

Select Bibliography

  • H. Hornyold, Genealogical Memoirs of the Family of Strickland of Sizergh (Kendal, 1929)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 19, 22 July, 31 Dec 1889
  • 'Obituary', Times (London), 20 July 1889, p 7
  • WO 25/3921.

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Strickland, Sir Edward (1821–1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 4 August 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

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