State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 80 Spring 2007


Paul de Serville
The Double Diary Keeper

Curtis Candler (1827–1911). Sketch of Curtis Candler. Australasian, 29 August 1891, p.428.

In 1973 the Library received an unusual donation from the then Rhodesia, a stout quarto volume which contained the diaries of two friends: Captain Frederick Standish and Samuel Curtis Candler. A London clubman and habitué of good society, Standish (1827–83) left England under a cloud because of his gambling debts. A man who might have seemed overdrawn in a Victorian novel, Standish recovered from great humilations to become Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria (1858–80) until forced to resign after the protracted pursuit and capture of the Kelly gang. Candler (1827–1911), one of the last survivors of the 1850s civil service, acted as Burke county coroner (1857–1897) and then as Melbourne coroner (1897–1907). Both men belonged to that worldly section of the old civil service which had its social headquarters at the Melbourne Club.
The volume had survived ocean crossings and years in an African climate; and unlike other personal documents it had escaped the destructive attentions of indifferent or hostile family members. Candler's diary, to which he gave the ‘title Addenda to Diary 1867’, is written on the right-hand page, interspersed with anecdotes and other material.1 Standish's diary occupies the left-hand side, and spans thirty years from 1847 to 1877. Candler transcribed it in abbreviated form at some period after Standish's death in 1883. An annotated version of the two diaries is being prepared by the present writer; this article draws upon the draft introductions to the two diaries.
A double diary is unusual if not unique in Australian collections and it is sobering to realise that this one volume is all that is known to survive of much larger collections belonging to the two men. Comparable to a small island which alone remains of a vast archipelago, once it was merely one among at least thirty volumes of Standish, and a further run of diaries kept by Candler, who also mentions his scrapbook dating back to the 1850s, and ‘detached papers’.2 All these have disappeared, perhaps for good, (except for Standish's original 1857 diary, now also in the Manuscripts collection).3 It is remarkable that the double diary volume itself did not suffer the same fate as so many personal papers of the nineteenth century, especially considering Candler's attitude to his relations.
As the compiler of the double diary, its gatekeeper so to speak, Candler occupies a vital position, yet like many gatekeepers he is an enigmatic figure. Much about Candler's literary-historical work, as about his personality and private life, remains obscure and indeed mysterious. For the modern student and the present annotator, anything which throws light on his views of diary keeping, social history, colonial manners and morals, is of use in trying to understand why he put himself to such labours and what he hoped to achieve.
Diaries fall into many categories: the engagement (commonest of all, and often the least interesting) and record of the daily round; the descriptive; the political or literary etc; the gossipy or anecdotal (often the most readable); and the confessional. They depend, for their interest, on the world in which the diarist moves, the people met, and the ability to capture them on paper. Only the most gifted can make the diary of a quiet world lively — one thinks of Kilvert's diary, the original of which, alas, has been destroyed4 . There has been

Frederick Charles Standish (1824–1883). Tatler, 11 June 1898, p. 31.

recently something of a resurgence in published diaries, all describing worlds now vanished: one thinks of diaries written by Chips Channon (social, gossipy and political); Evelyn Waugh (confessional, beau monde); James Lees-Milne (National Trust, beau monde, gossipy); Alan Clark (political, confessional) and Anthony Powell (literary, beau monde, gossipy). Readers will have their own favourites.5
One suspects that the bulk of surviving nineteenth-century Australian diaries of any length are engagement in character; useful at times for historical or biographical reasons, rarely interesting in their own right in the long haul — although occasionally they may surge into life briefly, before settling back to a pedestrian trot. A short list of the more interesting colonial diaries might include those written by George Boyes (1785–1853), Hobart civil servant; Mrs Baxter Dawbin (1816–1905), Port Phillip pioneer; James Smith (1820–1910) the journalist; Alfred Hillman (1841–84), Perth pioneer; and T. A. Browne (Rolf Boldrewood). Again, readers will have their own favourites. An interesting confessional diary, marred by the writer's low spirits, is that kept by J.B. Castieau, selections of which have been published recently.6
Candler's Addenda has a strong claim to join this group. The actual diary entries, from
July 1867 to January 1868, represent only a part of the 403 pages. They cover the worlds of politics during the deadlock between the Legislative Council and the Assembly, the stage (the Hamlet controversy), the Royal Tour of Queen Victoria's son, the Duke of Edinburgh, among other matters. These entries are interspersed with other matter, including a few letters. Biographical and historical anecdotes form a large portion. A third group comprises puns, witticisms, repartee — most of which have not worn well with time. A fourth subject deals with changes in society and its morals, manners and fashion. Then there are the conversations, of which more below. The whole is a mixture of straight diary, recollection, observation and jokes (to use a convenient label). A few of the less tendentious entries were published in the La Trobe Library Journal. More generous samplings have appeared in studies by Harold Love, Paul de Serville, and Penny Russell among others.7
Within the Addenda Candler provides clues to his interests and future intentions, which in turn throw light on the possible reasons he undertook the enormous task of transcribing the thirty volumes of Standish. Before these are examined, something must be said about Candler's origins and private life, since these in turn may in part explain his interests and intentions. Nothing was known of his background when he died, not even his parentage, although he had been a figure in Melbourne society for over fifty years. Professional genealogists in Norfolk and London had to be employed in the 1980s to discover that he was the only child of a miller, Samuel Candler, who died in 1828 before he was one year old. No remarriage for his mother could be established, no wills discovered. His schooling was unknown. At fourteen he was apprenticed to a Suffolk surgeon for five years. Later he attended lectures in London but sickness prevented his completing the examinations for his licentiate. After he had been in Victoria a year or so he was allowed to practice as a doctor, but once he became a civil servant he ceased to do so and dropped the title of doctor.
Obituarists agree that he was an intensely private man, as the secrecy about his background suggests.8 Although interested in colonists' origins and upbringing, there is nothing in the Addenda relating to his English past. Yet on the way from Norfolk to Melbourne via London he acquired an education and the outward signs of a gentleman. He was elected to the Melbourne Club in 1856 (at a time when many professional men of established background did not belong) and in 1857 became paid secretary of that institution.9 Obviously he was presentable; he had also become a friend of the fastidious Captain Standish. He had joined the ranks of the enlarged middle classes, a large group which played so important a role in English and colonial life in the nineteenth century.
Candler timed his social rise well. By 1867, when he was a man of forty, many of the diaries, letters, memoirs and volumes of anecdotes written during the previous two hundred years had been published. Candler had read many of them; in the Addenda he mentions Pepys, Walpole, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Cole and Gronow. There are frequent allusions to Cunningham's edition of Walpole's letters, which he appears to have been

Curtis Candler (1827–1911). Photo appearing with an obituary. Australasian, 10 June 1911, p. 1462.

reading in 1867. The last posthumous volume of Captain Gronow's recollections had been published in 1866. Social history plainly fascinated him; the sober recitation of dates and facts he dismissed as ‘statistical history’.10 What he preferred, no doubt influenced by the authors cited above, was anecdotal history. Gronow, in particular, provided a model for the anecdotal paragraph. It is worth noting the first definition of anecdote provided by the OED: ‘Secret, private, or hitherto unpublished narratives or details of history’. Procopius had applied the word to the unpublished memoirs of the Emperor Justinian. The second meaning enlarges upon the original: ‘The narrative of a detached incident, or of a single event, told as being in itself interesting or striking’.
Modern readers of the colonial weeklies, such as the Australasian, Town and Country Journal, and, at a later date, Table Talk, will recall that anecdotes formed part of their staple. Anecdotes were short, readable, diverting, a window on to other worlds, and a means of discussing varieties of behaviour within the bounds of respectability. Anecdotes about past
habits could claim the protection of history, if challenged on the score of propriety, although even the urbane Edward Gibbon, living in the robust eighteenth century, drew the line in a celebrated passage.11
Candler's taste for anecdotes, or ‘racy notes’ as he called them, spilled over into the diary entries:
After Ebden left [the Smoking Room], F. told me that one of the reasons why he had such an intense hatred for Kerr, was, that he dragged his private affairs in the most blackguard way into public notice in the paper he edited. Even his domestic arrangements were not sacred….It was by no means pleasant to find such notices as this: “We do not believe there is any truth in the rumour that a well known Hon. Member administered the strappedo to his chère amie on Saturday night.”12
Reading Walpole's letters had caused Candler to reflect on his diaries and the material they contained. ‘How frequently do I censure myself for not having carefully and regularly set down the events of my life, and the events that have come to pass in the Colony, since I have been here! If I had only kept an Anecdote Book what a collection of racy notes I might have had!’, he lamented. ‘I have often been going to burn my old Diaries and detached papers, and have just glanced over them first, to make sure there was nothing important that I was about to destroy. The result has been that I have got interested and have spared them for the time. Now I would never make away with them before copying whatever had any interest for me. This, if my present views continue, I will do, and keep all my scattered papers in a connected form.’13
The Addenda appears to be a first attempt to compile such a work; any later versions have not survived. Another project which came to nothing was his proposed defence of La Trobe and his administration. La Trobe had intended to write a history of the colony, which would serve as an apologia for his administration, but he was struck down by blindness. Knowing this, Candler wrote to his former secretary, Edward Bell, offering to undertake the task. A copy of his letter is included in the Addenda. Nothing appears to have come of the suggestion. A volume of letters collected by La Trobe was subsequently edited by the Chief Librarian, T.F. Bride, and published by the Trustees of the Library.14
We are left with the curious medley of the Addenda. The diary entries are full and informative, and his encounters with the Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Newry and other members of the royal party make for lively reading.
The rings of the Duke were discussed: He had eleven altogether on the two hands yesterday — large massive gold affairs — such as a lucky reefer, or puddler, might wear. They were so thick that he could not close his fingers — making his hands, as Sir Redmond remarked, like the fins of a turtle. In addition to these ornaments he wore a gold bracelet, probably gage d'amour; or, as one wag suggested the other day, it may be a delicate recognition of the fashion of wearing bracelets in Australia.15
The Addenda has strengths worth emphasising. The first is its biographical anecdotes. The body of civil servants recruited in the 1850s included a high number of men of strong

A page from ‘Curtis Candler's notes about Melbourne — mention of Standish’ [Original title: ‘Addenda to diary 1867’]. MS 9502. La Trobe Australian Manuscripts Collection.

disposition or eccentric behaviour: Candler includes notes on Robert O'Hara Burke, William Drummond, Herbert Middleton and others. He gives Evelyn Sturt's authorised version of Sir Charles Hotham's instruction, famous in its day, forbidding civil officers from enjoying intimacies with women of the gold fields, the so-called ‘horizontal refreshment’ order16 . Another contemporary whose career and comments Candler followed with appreciation was the whimsical Captain John Scott, soldier, gambler and former secretary of the Melbourne Club. These biographical notes come within the tradition of John Aubrey's famous collections which, although used by many writers, were not fully collected from his chaotic notes and published until 1898. Much useful biographical material is assembled in the Addenda which might otherwise be lost to modern readers. Decidedly caustic are Candler's disobliging notes on members of the Legislative Assembly who were illiterate and sometimes corrupt, men such as McCann, Nixon, Hannah, Crews and others. These reveal the contempt which conservatives (Candler among them) reserved for public life, politicians of humble origins and the workings of democracy.
Mr Nixon, M.L.A., lived at Queenscliff where he earned his living by emptying cesspools and water-closets. After he was elected to the Assembly, he was invited, in due course, to dine at Toorak. The servants there had known him in his former capacity at Queenscliff. When Jeaves found him at the hall door, he was ignorant of the Representative, but shook hands affably with Nixon, saying “Glad to see you — but go into the kitchen for an hour — we've got a dinner and I can't speak to you now.” Poor Nixon tried to undeceive him as to his altered position, but it was not until Bancroft, the Aide, came to his rescue, that he was got into the Drawing Room. The domestics were very irate and inclined to rebel — growling tremendously about having to “wait on a nightman”! (Apropos of Nixon, Aspinall dropped this about him and McCann. “If McCann is the son of the soil, Nixon's the son of the night soil!”).
The next strength of the Addenda is Candler's habit of recording conversations. Living in the Melbourne Club, he mixed daily with Legislative Councillors, senior civil servants, judges and barristers, pastoralists, and visitors from other colonies and from England or India. When a conversation interested Candler, he recorded it in the Addenda.
‘Fitzgerald told me that before his compensation case came on in the Assembly, he said to [C.E.] Jones, a Member:
‘You see, I want a good rough and ready member’.
‘All right. I'll do the rough, if you'll find the ready’.17
To the modern reader, it is as though one were sitting with the diarist in the Billiard Room or the Smoking Room, listening to clubmen of the 1860s discussing politics, women, the stage, pastoral matters and many other subjects which, to use his phrase, ‘came on the carpet’. There is not much informal evidence of this kind to survive, people rarely bothering to record conversations on paper. Here we have a glimpse into the private world of the 1860s, free of all but the minimum of restraints. That the conversation in the Club could rise above the mundane is recalled by a visitor, H.M. Hyndman, who contrasted the varied experiences of the clubmen with the ignorance of young Englishmen making a world tour:
I have always remembered my sojourn therein, off and on for two years, with the keenest pleasure. I became very intimate with many of its members and I saw from the first, what not a few Englishmen coming out to the Colony failed unfortunately to recognise, that, before the gold fever and spirit of adventure drew them out to Victoria, many of these habitués had seen and enjoyed pretty nearly all that was to be seen and enjoyed of European Society. To hear young visitors, newly landed, talk down from the height of their superior knowledge and experience to men such as Standish, Capel, Agnew, Candler, Gowen Evans, Bunny, the Finlays and others was really very amusing, though the awakening of the cleverer of them to the facts of the situation, after a few nights of conversation in the smoking-room, was sometimes a little distressing. A study of the characters of Australia of that day has never been adequately done. At most sketches here and there have given a faint idea of the interesting personalities who built up these white Colonies, now doomed, I fear, to pass, in the not remote future, to a very different race.18
Hyndman was describing the scene in 186919, so already Candler had acquired something of a reputation, although he could not match the varied experiences of his friend Standish or some other clubmen.
Changes in contemporary manners and morals especially interested Candler. He believed that a reaction to the stricter conventions of the early Victorian period was taking place, as indicated by the changes in women's fashions and in their conversation. He thought, presciently, that the example of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) could dictate the direction of manners and morals. Candler delighted in recording examples of Nonconformists falling by the wayside. In a different voice (in which an awkward note, described by some later readers as prurient, is at times detectable)20 he recorded the free conversation and behaviour of respectable women.
Poor W. F., who had been up the bush a long time, was advised by his physician to try the remedy prescribed for David. With this object in view he took a turn down Collins Street, on the shady side, where he was fairly bewildered by the beauties about. One fluttering creature soon attracted him specially, however, both by her dress and by the peculiar and almost professional manner in which she cast her glances on him, “Ce sera mon tour”, thought he, as he followed her into shop. The fair one smiled and seemed nothing loth. Just as he was hugging himself with his rare fortune and was about to improve the occasion, she swept past him, got into a well appointed carriage that had just driven up, and went off laughing at his evident discomfiture. The same evening he went out to dine with a friend and, to his confusion, was asked to take this very lady in to dinner! She was not disposed to be a prude, but forgave the homage which Vice had paid to Virtue in the afternoon. (How prettily she told me this!).21
His commentary lacked the sophisticated assurance and balance of a fellow-diarist such as Chichester Fortescue,22 but it supports the view that that nineteenth-century society was far more various in its behaviour and opinions than either respectable spokesmen at the time, or later writers — whether conservatives or iconoclasts of the Lytton Strachey school — were prepared to admit. The double standard is a crude, if convenient, label to gather in many strands of nineteenth-century behaviour — a recognition that things had not changed just because an eighteen year-old young woman had ascended the throne in 1837; the
continuation of unregenerate pre-Victorian behaviour throughout the nineteenth century; the tricky business of balancing the private and public spheres; the distinction between the righteous (whether innocent or fallen) and the pragmatists who pleased themselves how they behaved. Candler opens doors to all these worlds. The novelist Anthony Powell, a more effective observer of the nineteenth century than many modern ideological historians, has pointed out that the Victorians could discuss almost any subject, no matter how lurid, if framed in the right words.23 More recently Matthew Sweet in his provocative revisionist study, Inventing the Victorians, has developed themes explored by Gertrude Himmelfarb and others, and argued that post-Victorians have misread nineteenth-century culture, history and lives; and argued further that Bloomsbury was as adept at concealing its own private world as any mid-Victorian worthies and was therefore just as open to the charge of double standards.24
As a resident club member, Candler found himself in a vantage position to observe Melbourne society.
Some of us belonging to the Club had the Stage box, It was a grand night. ‘The Governor was there and the Dress Circle was crowded. Down below in the Stalls, was a great gathering of the demi-monde, conspicuous in which was the Lady Annie Macdonald, evidently slightly elevated. In her hand she had an orange, which she held threateningly at the occupants of our box — in the front row of which were Standish, H. Power, Foster (the Governor's A.D.C.) and myself. We were in the full view of the House from every part. Knowing what a dare-devil she was, I dreaded lest she should send the orange at our heads, and cautioned the men to take no notice of her. Power, however, made a sign as though he would catch. She deliberately stood up once, took a careful steady aim, and let drive with her orange straight at us. It whizzed past our noses and struck the side of the box just above Foster's head, and fortunately dropped inside, instead of rolling on the stage. Fortunately also the Orchestra drowned all lesser sounds, and the thud with which the missile went against the wall, was not heard — but was seen by many of our friends.25
He enjoyed watching society trying to balance obedience to the conventions with satisfaction of the natural appetites. He numbered among his friends and acquaintances Sir Redmond Barry, Butler Cole Aspinall, R.D. Ireland, Captain Standish (‘a “fast” set of latter-day Regency rakes’, as Harold Love so aptly labelled them)26 and others, men who conducted their private lives upon different lines from the conventions.
When Candler's private life began to diverge from public morality is unclear. That vivacious and notable diarist Mrs Baxter Dawbin observed him flirting with Mrs Bird in 1863 and repeated a rumour that he had five children by an unnamed mistress.27 The known secret offspring did not appear until the next decade. Publicly Candler lived and died a bachelor, and such money as he possessed at the time of his death was left to Miss Hilda Samsing, who conducted the private hospital where he spent his last months.
The quarto volume had been donated by a grand-daughter, which suggested another Candler mystery. A search revealed that Candler had fathered four children upon a young
woman, Laura Kennedy, in the years 1872–77: the obvious conclusion that, like his friend Sir Redmond Barry, he had acquired a mistress from the lower classes whom he was not prepared to marry. In fact, Laura Kennedy was, in colonial terms, better bred than Candler. Her mother's family, the Willises, were a pioneer pastoral family and her uncle, Edward Willis, had been a member of the Melbourne Club since 1844. Why she was prepared to compromise her reputation and why they did not marry remain mysteries. She is briefly mentioned in Standish's diary in 12 June 1862, at the Floral Ball when she would have been about eighteen. When the ADB Supplement, which included Candler, was being prepared an assistant editor thought to try the NSW marriage register, and discovered the record of a wedding in 1882 — by coincidence (or perhaps not?) the same year that Laura Kennedy's uncle was elected president of the Melbourne Club.28 The marriage was kept secret: eventually Laura and her children went off to Africa, settling in Rhodesia. Laura Candler must have been a woman of considerable courage.
Candler's observations on society suggest a cynic mocking at conventions and lapses; there is, at one level, a curious parallel with the Cambridge spies (Blunt, Burgess and Maclean) and the pleasure they took in deceiving a society they despised, while making full use of all its institutions and privileges. However, Candler was an essentially conservative and conventional man, one who could rebuke the actor Walter Montgomery for appearing in public improperly dressed and record the rebuke with complacent pomposity; observe with disdain William Martley, an Anglo-Irishman and former Attorney-General, making a drunken exhibition of himself in front of the Governor; or listen with some shock to stories about Queen Victoria and her servant John Brown.29 Candler conformed to the public rules of society, even in the matter of his secret family: the private life was kept behind closed doors. He did not have the assured self-confidence or the social position of Sir Redmond Barry, member of the Irish Ascendancy and a man of an earlier age. One who did possess the assurance which came with birth and upbringing was Candler's fellow resident member, Captain Standish.
Candler left no explanation for undertaking the enormous task of transcribing the thirty volumes of Captain Frederick Standish's diary, although he provides clues in the Addenda. Standish's father, Charles, dandy and Whig MP, appears briefly in Gronow's recollections and more extensively in later memoirs. Charles Standish knew many of the late Regency figures who populate the numerous works on English society, the turf and the card table, and some of these men survived long enough to appear in the early years of Frederick Standish's diary (1847–51). Likewise a few notable members of the demi-monde (such as Laura Bell) and also some distinguished opera singers are mentioned briefly in this period. This may have been enough to spark Candler's interest, even though the 1847–51 years are little more than a journal of record — long lists of names of men Standish dined or gambled with, women he danced with, the pillars of society he visited. Standish recorded in detail his gambling wins and losses and his growing number of visits to moneylenders. Already
Candler was cutting the entries as he transcribed them, but given his taste for ‘racy notes’ it is likely that only mundane matter was dropped, as the 1857 diary indicates.
As mentioned above, Candler had ambitions to write an anecdotal history of the 1850s; Standish's diary from 1852 to 1859 presents a remarkable case study, a mini-autobiography, of the see-sawing fortunes of a gentleman in gold-rush Victoria. It was the stuff of which novels were made, and if the London, Dublin and Paris scenes evoke the world of the bored society gambler, so much a figure in European literature, the Victorian years could well have been written by a more candid Boldrewood. From the heights of Dublin Castle, the Faubourg St Germain and Whites, Standish fell to his ruin, left England under a false name, and endured every degradation which the goldfields could offer a gentleman who had never before engaged in manual labour. No better illustration of Candler's belief in the oddities of colonial life could be offered than in these years of Standish's diary. Here the diary changes character, as all the humiliations of life are described. It is one of the most readable and evocative sections of the diary and could well stand by itself, although coupled with the 1847–51 years, it offers worlds of brutal contrasts.
The improvement in Standish's fortunes, which came with his appointment to the civil service in 1854, introduces another world, that of the cantonment — an official society, one dominated by gentlemen, very much more relaxed and worldly than it subsequently became in a later more bureaucratic age. This was Candler's world and it is then that he met Standish.30 However, Standish was not greatly interested in the eccentricities of his brother civil officers, and one has the sense that Candler's interest in Standish's diary is starting to wane. But Standish still had a surprise to spring upon the reader. For a man to arrive in Melbourne ruined and bearing a false name; to sell sly grog briefly and unsuccessfully; and then to emerge as Chief Commissioner of Police was not only a coup for Standish, who had no powerful patrons. It was a triumph of the double standard. A rake and a gambler with an equivocal past now occupying an influential position in the heart of the official establishment. Candler has some sly accounts of Standish acting as a bear leader for the royal party, introducing them to the demi-monde, but it was James Smith who recorded the rumour that Standish supervised the brothels in the Paris manner, as one would expect of the son of a Whig dandy and a part-Frenchman. What keen pleasure it must have afforded the cynical coroner. Candler's contribution to the Standish biography was a rumour which would otherwise have been lost to posterity.
One of the charges against Capt. Standish, the C. Commissioner of Police, before the Select Committee of the Assembly was that he had given a select dinner party to some ladies who dined in a perfectly nude state, and the whiteness of whose fair forms was contrasted with black velvet chairs! The evidence however was expunged, and as no allusion was made to the matter in the Report, it may be assumed that the Committee thought it was not sufficiently strong, to warrant the conclusion that we had arrived at such a Sybaritish pitch, or that we had a miniature Court of Sardanapalus, here in Melbourne.31
Much of Standish's diary does not rise above the pedestrian; occasionally a mordant criticism of a person or of local society will briefly enliven a page of names or gambling losses.32 He fled boredom all his life and was not interested enough to enlarge upon matters in his diary, except when an outsider appeared and Standish was employed for his courtier's skills. The visit of the Duke of Edinburgh reminded him of the society he had lost through his gambling; to a lesser extent, so did the visit of the Duc de Penthièvre; or his visits to Government House, Sydney. Many later entries are cut down to the names of the men dining with Standish at the Club, night after night — usually Candler appears, and it is easy to see why Harold Love would suggest that entries were copied only if Candler appeared. It does suggest that Candler may have seen Standish's diary as a means of acquiring a small immortality beyond the grave.
No one could call Standish a diarist of even the second rank. He rose to the challenge during his years of humiliation on the goldfields. Restored to society (even one as provincial as Melbourne's), Standish resumed his laconic journal of record: a bored man's view of a largely boring world. What then makes his diary of interest? There is its longevity — thirty years, covering two hemispheres, and worlds from the grandest to the grottiest. Few if any Australian diaries have this span. As historical evidence of the vicissitudes of a man of the world it is invaluable. Then there are the goldfields diaries; again, it is hard to think of another gentleman visitor/colonist who has left such a bleak record of light and shade. Further, there are the glimpses of worlds not often touched upon by historians: Government House circles in Sydney and Melbourne, royal tours, distinguished visitors. Then there is the major external consideration — external that is to the diary, which has few personal revelations. The diary is a skeletal account of a most unusual life, even by colonial Australian standards where the landscape is littered with the remains of failed gentlemen, crushed by antipodean contingencies.


Although ‘Addenda to Diary 1867’ was the title chosen by Candler, it is catalogued under the misleading title, ‘Notes about Melbourne’. Candler's title will be used in this article. The confusion is reflected in the paragraph describing the Standish diaries and Candler's notes in the Recent Acquisitions section of the La Trobe Library Journal, vol. 4, no. 13, March 1974. Extracts from Candler's Addenda were published in the La Trobe Library Journal, vol. 5, no. 18, October 1976, pp.36–43.


An example of ‘detached papers’ may be Candler's notes on droit de seigneur which are among the Library's collection of Sir Redmond Barry's papers.


A man came in off the street into the old Herald office, appeared in Stewart Legge's office, deposited the diary on his desk, and quickly left, without giving his name or the circumstances in which he had acquired the volume. Mrs J.S. Legge subsequently donated the diary to the Library after her husband's death.


The Reverend Francis Kilvert (1840–79) kept a diary, much of which his family destroyed after his death. After William Plomer published selections in 1938, it was acclaimed a classic. Subsequently part of the surviving diary also disappeared.


Others may think of Harold Nicholson, Robert Bruce-Lockhart, Lady Cynthia Asquith.


The Diaries and letters of G. T.W. B. Boyes, vol 1.1820–1832, edited by Peter Chapman, Melbourne 1985; Journal of Annie Baxter Dawbin: July 1858–May 1868, edited by Lucy Frost, St Lucia, 1997; ‘James Smith: The Year 1863’, selected and annotated by Lurline Stuart, Meanjin, vol. 37, no. 4, December 1878; The Hillman Diaries, 1877–1884, with a foreword by Bentley Hillman, Applecross WA, 1990. Boldrewood's diaries remain unpublished; the bulk (also the best of them) are held by the National Library. Hillman's diaries, not as well-known in the east as they should be, are a splendid, candid source for Western Australian society. Hillman, alas, died suddenly in 1884. Bentley Hillman is to be congratulated for publishing such an enormous work. I have excluded from this list earlier short diaries, also Georgiana McCrae's journal. An authoritative version of the latter is awaited. A selection of Castieau's diaries has been published as The Difficulties of My Position, edited by Mark Finnane, Canberra, 2004.


Extracts from Candler's Addenda were published in the La Trobe Library Journal, vol.5, No. 18, October 1976, pp.36–43. Selections appear in Harold Love, The Golden Age of Australian Opera, Sydney, 1981; Paul de Serville, Pounds and Pedigrees; and Penny Russell, A Wish of Distinction, Melbourne, 1994.


The secrecy may possibly be connected with a brutal tragedy in Yarmouth in 1844, although a link with Candler's family has not been firmly established. There are no obvious references to his English life in the Addenda — it is as though his first twenty-five years were a closed book.


Ronald McNicoll, Number 36 Collins Street, Melbourne, 1988, passim.


At Sir Redmond Barry's dinner table, Foster (Fitzgerald) was teased about his work Port Phillip, which Candler dismissed in the Addenda as ‘altogether out of my line being intensely statistical’. He complained that it had no jokes.


Thus Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter xliv, part iv: ‘I touch with reluctance, and dispatch with impatience, a more odious vice, of which modesty rejects the name, and nature abominates the idea…’


Addenda, fols.76–7. Candler concludes: ‘What a pleasant little community Melbourne must have been in those days!’


Addenda, fols. 95–98.


T. F. Bride, Letters from Victorian Pioneers, Melbourne, 1898. The second edition, annotated by C. E. Sayers, Melbourne, 1969,, explains the history of the publication.


Addenda, fol. 316–17.


Addenda, fol. 273. Partridge in his Dictionary of Slang, dates the phrase ‘horizontal refreshment’ from the 1870s. Partridge based much of his work on published sources and therefore his dating of first use is often too late (in this case 1870). Manuscript sources record terms when they were actually used in conversation, sometimes decades earlier.


Addenda, fols 89–90.


H.M. Hyndman, The Record of an Adventurous Life, London, 1911, ch. vi. One of the Club's more remarkable visitors, Hyndman began as a Tory reformer, converted to Marxist Socialism, and founded various political movements. He ended as a supporter both of socialism and of nationalism.


Hyndman first appears in Standish's diary on 30 June 1869. He dined often with Standish and Candler.


At times arch, at times shocked or mock-shocked. There is a sense in which Candler lacked the unshakeable candour of the eighteenth century — although even that robust age could be shocked.


Addenda, fol.122–23.


Osbert Wyndham Hewett edited selections of the diaries of Chichester Fortescue, Lord Carlingford, under the somewhat arch and awkward title, ‘…and Mr. Fortescue’, published by John Murray, London, 1958.


‘In its palmy days, The Elms must have had something in common with the late Victorian households described in the novels of Ivy Compton-Burnett, my father always retaining that sort of idiom and manner of looking at the world; an atmosphere nerve wracked, despondent, more than a little sinister, but — something to be emphasized in the light of much absurd legend grown up about the period — not in the least prim. The Victorians, my grandmother among them, had their own manner of discussing what were looked on as improprieties; within these merely semantic limits anything could be discussed…’ Anthony Powell, Infants of the Spring, London, 1976, pp.35–6.


Matthew Sweet, Inventing the Victorians, London, Faber paperback, 2002, pp. ix-xii; on Bloomsbury double standards, pp. xiv-xx, and 207–09, citing Gertrude Himmelfarb, Manners and Morals Among the Victorians, London, 1989. Dr Himmelfarb is one of a number of scholars who have declined to take Strachey, Bloomsbury and later Victorian scholars such as Steven Marcus at their own estimation.


Candler, Addenda, fols. 135–6; Paul de Serville, Pounds and Pedigrees, Melbourne, 1991, p. 133.


Harold Love, The Golden Age of Australian Opera, Sydney, 1981, pp. 126–7.


Pounds and Pedigrees, pp. 126 and 555. The incident took place in 1864.


What did Willis think of the arrangement? Standish records that he, Willis, Candler and two others dined together, 15 October 1870.


Martley is the subject of a deadly anecdote by James Smith in his 1863 Diary; see Meanjin, vol 37, No. 4, December 1978, pp. 420–21.


Standish Diary, 24 April 1855:‘Dr Candler on a visit here, a very pleasant fellow (proh pudor).’ The Latin phrase was an interpolation of Candler while transcribing.


Addenda, fol. 142.


Examples are given in Pounds and Pedigrees, ch.2, which is devoted to Standish.