Arden, George (1820-1854)

Arrived in Melbourne, January 1838. A fortnight later launched the weekly “Port Phillip Gazette”, the first legalised journal in Port Phillip. January 1839, published, and probably wrote, the first original poem on Melbourne to be printed there.

May 1839, produced Victoria’s first pamphlet (subject—a Benefit Society). September 1840 appeared his “Australia Felix”, the first book published in Melbourne.The first year of the “Gazette’ demonstrated Arden’s ability, energy and public spirit. Some of his leaders would have done credit to any publication. He was master of a fluent though florid and inflated style. By frequent lectures he fostered a national taste for literature.

The rise of the “Port Phillip Patriot” (1939) and the “Port Phillip Herald” (1840) brought competition. The three papers gave themselves up to “splenetive vilification of each other.” Arden’s excesses gradually undermined his character and career.

George went bankrupt in 1842. Attempted a recovery, and failed, by farming around Queenscliff. Tried his luck in 1852 on the gold diggings. In May 1854 he was found dead on Bakery Hill, Ballarat; “dismissed by his peers as a man of talent and power cut down by his own Intemperance.”(1)

Arden Street North Melbourne was named in his honor.

(1) Northern Advertiser. Blanchard collection, “What’s in a Name” at North Melbourne Library and “Australian Dictionary of Biography” Vol. 1
(2) Geelong Advertiser, May 11th 1854.