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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Wroblewski, Charles Adam Marie (1855–1936)

by Bogumila Zongollowicz

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

Charles Adam Marie Wroblewski (c.1855-1936), editor, chemist, geologist and merchant, was born at Grodno, Lithuania, Russia (Belarus), third of four sons of Dr Felix Jan Wróblewski, a scholarly landowner, and his wife Zofia, née Jelska. Karol's maternal grandmother was Amelia, daughter of Prince Alexander Michal Sapieha—marshal and chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under the last king of Poland Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Educated in Russian Poland, Charles also spent twenty years in France.

In 1884 Wroblewski graduated as a chemist, reputedly from a university in Vienna. By 1885 he was employed as an analytical chemist with the royal commission on water conservation in New South Wales. Travelling widely in the colony, he worked at such locations as Rooty Hill, Warren and Mungindi. In June next year he returned to Sydney, where he analysed water samples and completed maps. In 1888 he was employed by the Monte Cristo Pyes Creek Silver Mining Ltd. During the shearers' strike in 1890 Wroblewski was a special constable and was thanked by Sir Henry Parkes's government for his services. He was briefly a merchant in Sydney, then had a farm near Liverpool. At St Patrick's Catholic Church on 21 November 1891 Wroblewski married 18-year-old Daisy Marie Consolation, only daughter of Jean Emile Serisier, a French-born storekeeper and vigneron. They had three children.

On 30 April 1892 Wroblewski launched the French-language weekly Le Courrier Australien; its subtitle described it as Journal Cosmopolitain du Samedi. Politique, Litterature, Sciences, Beaux Arts, Commerce, Mode, etc. The journal's predecessor, L'Oceanien, had failed because of its limited readership. Wroblewski, therefore, appealed not only to the French settlers but also to Australian students of French. He aimed to create an entertaining publication that would not be affiliated with a particular party or a propagator of subversive ideas. Furthermore, he promised to defend the interests of the French and other nationalities living in Australia, and secured contributions from good writers and prominent personalities including a column by a professor.

Wroblewski also owned a printing business and on 20 March 1893 he launched another newspaper in Sydney, the Deutsch-Australische Post, for the German-speaking public. Transferring Le Courrier Australien to Léon Magrin in November 1896, he took his family to Victoria, where he established an importing firm. In 1903 he moved his business to Perth and founded the City & Suburban Advertising Co., later run by his son Charles. During World War I Wroblewski returned to Sydney and is said to have become an interpreter for the military, using his knowledge of seven languages. His elder son Leo Emile served in the Australian Imperial Force and was killed in France in 1918. Later Wroblewski retired to Melbourne. He died on 24 July 1936 at St Kilda and was cremated. His wife, daughter and one son survived him. Le Courrier Australien continued, and in 2005 was Australia's oldest surviving foreign-language newspaper.

Select Bibliography

  • A. P. L. Stuer, The French in Australia (Canb, 1982)
  • L. Paszkowski, Poles in Australia and Oceania 1790-1940 (Syd, 1987)
  • Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol 61, part 1, Mar 1975, p 26
  • Le Courrier Australien, 3 Sept 1943, p 1, 11 Sept 1953, p 4, 28 Apr 1972, p 1
  • PP14/1, item 1/2/131 (National Archives of Australia).

Citation details

Bogumila Zongollowicz, 'Wroblewski, Charles Adam Marie (1855–1936)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 25 November 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

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