Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Edward Ernest Waters (1853–1881)

by Ruth Teale

This article was published:

Edward Ernest Waters (1853-1881) journalist, was born in February 1853 at Richmond Terrace, Stretford, Lancashire, England, son of Joseph Hughes Waters, cotton manufacturer, and his wife Eliza Maria, née Hill. He matriculated at Owens College, Manchester, in 1870 and passed examinations in 1872 but did not graduate. He migrated to New South Wales in 1877 to improve his health. In October he began contributing 'Notes on Current Events', first a column then a page, in the Australian Town and Country Journal. His 'pithy and often scathing comments' impressed Samuel Bennett who engaged him to write also for the Evening News. As its editor after September 1878, he was liberal 'in politics, in religion, and in every department of social life … [with] a strong sense of justice, a strong belief in the essential dignity of human nature, and a thorough detestation of shams'. As a journalist he was esteemed by the contemporary press, including the Freeman's Journal.

From his Manchester experience he advised on founding the Sydney Technical College in 1879 and delivered its inaugural address. His lecture course in English literature and history, well attended by public school teachers, displayed 'a great breadth of view, deep political insight and extensive historical research'. In 1880 he also delivered a modified series of popular lectures at metropolitan and suburban schools of arts.

Financially secure, on 11 April 1879 at Ashfield he had married a widow Jane Kirby, née Green. He died of typhoid fever on 13 January 1881 at his residence at St Leonards after accidentally slashing his wrist while pruning roses, and was buried in the Congregational section of the Gore Hill cemetery. He was survived by his wife and daughter and by two children of his wife's first marriage.

Select Bibliography

  • Evening News (Sydney), 13 Jan 1881
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Jan 1881
  • Freeman's Journal (Sydney), 15 Jan 1881
  • Town and Country Journal, 15 Jan 1881.

Citation details

Ruth Teale, 'Waters, Edward Ernest (1853–1881)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 24 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (Melbourne University Press), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


February, 1853
Stretford, Lancashire, England


13 January, 1881 (aged 27)
St Leonards, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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