Early Australian connections

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The Gray family had strong connections with Australia. Sir John Gray’s brother, Wilson Gray, had emigrated to Australia in 1855; he was active there in the land reform movement and served as a member of the legislative assembly of Victoria. He was later district judge of the Otago goldfields in New Zealand. Moreover, Edmund Senior married the daughter and namesake of the Victorian philanthropist Caroline Chisholm, celebrated as ‘the emigrants’ friend’ for her work for female emigrants to Australia but caricatured by Charles Dickens as Mrs Jellyby in Bleak House. The subject of this article was their eldest child; a second son died in infancy and they also had two daughters. Writing in the Sidney Morning Herald in 1924, Edmund Junior recalled his maternal grandmother—then an invalid and living in London—telling him as a child ‘of the lovely land of Australia’, and there is no doubt that Australia had a great fascination for him as a result of these conversations.

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