Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Christopher Pemberton Hodgson (1821–1865)

by Beverley Kingston

This article was published:

Christopher Pemberton Hodgson (1821-1865), explorer, writer and diplomat, was the fourth son of Edward Hodgson, vicar of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England, and his wife Charlotte, née Pemberton. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he followed his eldest brother Arthur to Sydney in 1839 and in 1840 joined him on the Darling Downs where they took up Eton Vale station, using it as a headquarters for wider squatting and pastoral activities. In 1844 Hodgson was managing Condamine station when Ludwig Leichhardt arrived to prepare for his journey to Port Essington. He was persuaded to make Hodgson a member of his party 'in consideration of former obligations' and 'as he was fond of Botanical pursuits'. The expedition set out on 1 October but on 5 November Hodgson returned to Jimbour with the American Negro cook, Caleb, for their provisions were already running short and Hodgson was suffering from the 'additional fatigues'. On hearing a rumour that the expedition had been massacred Hodgson organized a search party which followed Leichhardt's tracks to the Bigge Range before provisions ran out and dissension put an end to the excursion.

Hodgson returned to England where he published his Reminiscences of Australia, with Hints on the Squatter's Life (London, 1846). In 1849 he published The Wanderer, 'all my wanderings in poetry—commencing at Holland and skimming over all the places I had visited' with some reference to Australia, and El Ydaiour, jottings of travel impressions. In his memoirs he confessed to a predilection for regular bush life and to fondness for studying botany and geology. From October 1851 to March 1855 he acted as unpaid vice-consul at Pau in Bayonne, France, and then at Caen. In February 1859 he was appointed consul at Hakodate, Japan, where he was also French consul. He left the diplomatic service in 1861 and died at Pau on 11 October 1865, leaving a wife and daughter.

Select Bibliography

  • L. Leichhardt, Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, a Distance of Upwards of 3000 Miles, During the Years 1844-1845 (Lond, 1847)
  • H. S. Russell, The Genesis of Queensland (Syd, 1888).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Beverley Kingston, 'Hodgson, Christopher Pemberton (1821–1865)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 13 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]




11 October, 1865 (aged ~ 44)
Pau, France

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