Thomas Drummond Wanliss

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Born 1830 in Abernathy, Scotland.[1]

Over a period covering the end of 1855 to September 1858, he was co-owner of Ballarat's newspaper The Star with John Irwin, Samuel Irwin, and Richard Belford.

Thomas Drummond Wanliss was a member of the first committee of the Ballarat School of Mines in 1870,[2] and a member of the Ballarat Old Colonists' Association.



Private information was received in Ballarat yesterday that the death had occurred in Scotland of Mr. T. D. Wanliss who at one time was one of the most prominent residents of this town but who, for a number of years has lived in his native country. He was born near Abernethy, in Perthshire, his father having a farm on the River Larn, which is a tributary of the Tay. As a lad, he was a clerk in a shipping office in Liverpool which was controlled by the Gladstone brothers of the Hon. William Glad stone, who became Prime Minister of England. When a young man, he decided to come to Victoria and, arrived here in the early “fifties". Attracted by the reports which were, being received from the diggings, he made his mind to try his fortunes at Ballarat. His early eareer was at tended with the usual vicissitudes associated with the industry; but he eventually became a large and successful investor, and was connected with a number, of leading companies. He was also interested in the investor in the timber industry in West Australia and in the Mount Bischoff tin mines in Tasmania. As hisfinancial position improved, he entered upon pastoral pursuits, and his general business associations made him widely known as a shrewd and successful man. He was a large shareholder in the Commercial Bank, and lost heavily when, it suspended payment during the banking crisis. One of the most prosperous institutions in Ballarat, the Ballarat Trustees, Exelcutors and Agency Coy., was one of Mr. Wanliss’ business ventures. With Mr. J. Noble Wilson and Mr John McLeod, Mr. Wanliss was associated in the foundation of the company, and he was for some time chair man of the board, with Mr. Wilson as managing director. Mr Wanliss was thefirst manager of "The Star," holding that position when this journal made its first appearance on 22nd September, 1855. The story of his appointment is thus related in an early edition of The Star' : When the budding newspaper proprietors, Messrs S. Irwin, J. Campbell, A. M'Vitty and and J.J. Ham, met, they realised that they must have a business manager. They had heard or a Smart young fellow named Wanliss who had a claim oh the Black Hill Flat, and who wouldprobably take ithe position if asked. On a Sunday morn ing Campbell, lrwin and M‘Viitty walked over to Wanliss’ and put a proposition to become manager of "The Star’' before him. He accepted, and thus T.H. Wanliss's brilliant journalistic career. Subsequently Mr Wanliss and a Mr Bedford bought out the other shareholders, and later Mr Wanliss became Sole Mr was the author of several Works during his connection with “The Star. He was a close student of in ternational affairs, and possessed a wonderful grasp European politics. He wrote during the currency of the Franco-German war in 1870-71 a series of excellent articles on the war, showing a keen divination of the plans and Strategic movements of the opposing forces, and frequently fore casting with accuracy what results would be produced by such movements. During the Boer War he wrote another series of articles under the nom de plume of “Black Watch." The late Mr Wanliss will be remem bered also for his connection with the political history of Ballarat. In June 1886, he sought to represent the Wellington Province in the Upper House, but was unsuccessful, the late David Ham defeating him by about 980 votes. Two months later he again essayed to enter the Legislative Council, other aspirant for the he seat be ing the late Mr Henry Gore, who was then engineer for the Shire of Creswick. This was a notable incident in the political history of Mr Wanliss. The poll resulted — Gore 2512, Wanliss 2511, Sir Alexander Peacock to this day claims that he was the chief instrument in securing the one vote that won the election for Mr Gore. He kept on the trail of one elector for two hours on election day, chasing him from hotel to hotel in Allendale until he ran him to earth and bundling him into a cab took him to the poll. Subsequently Mr Wanliss realised, his ambition to serve in the Parliament of the State, and held his seat for some years, during which time he was always ready to champion what he regarded as the interests of his constituency. He was a fearless speaker, expressing his views vertbally just as vigorously as he did in print. After many years of active associa-. tion with this city he decided to return permanently to Scotland, which he had visited on more than one oc casion. After he took up his residence in Scotland Mr Wanliss became greatly intrested in the Scottish Home Rule movement. He was editor of a periodical entitled “The Fiery Cross," which advocated the cause of the Scottish Home Rulers, When Mr Donald Mackinnon took his last trip to Britain he met Mr Wanliss at his home near Edinburgh, and found the veteran to be very hale andl active, and full of the Home Rule subject. The Wanliss family is known in Vic toria, not only, by reason of the father's prominent connection with its business and political affairs. His sons include Colonel D. S. Wanliss, C.M.G., who served in the African War and the Great War; another son, who was a colonel of an Imperial. Army, and also, fought in France, Captain Ewan Wanliss, (African campaign); Mr Neville Wanliss, who served in the Great War, and Mr Newton Wanliss, who will be remembered for his connection with the bar here. There are twod aughters Lady Irvine, wife of Sir William Irvine, Chief Justice of Victoria, and Mr A.J. Fiskin, of Yendon, whose husband died suddenly while in a visit to Melbourne recently Mr T.D. Wanliss was about 94 years of age.[3]

See also

Old Colonists' Association

Archibald Fisken



  1. Butters, Peter and Peter Mansfield. “William Withers Ballarat Historian.” In History of Ballarat and Some Ballarat Reminiscences by W. B. Withers. Ballarat: Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999, no page.
  2. accessed 15 March 2013.
  3. The Star, 20 April 1923.

Further Reading

External links

--Beth Kicinski 11:34, 13 June 2013 (EST)

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