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Roderic Quinn (1867 – 1949)

Roderic Joseph Quinn was born on 26 November 1867 at Surry Hills, Sydney, the seventh child of Irish immigrants Edward Quinn, a postal worker, and Catherine Quinn (nee McCarthy). He was educated at Catholic schools in Sydney including the Marist Brothers school in The Rocks, where he met and began a life-long friendship with E. J. Brady . On leaving school Quinn tried various occupations, including a spell as a teacher at Milbrulong, near Wagga Wagga. After returning to Sydney, Quinn briefly joined the public service before turning to journalism as editor of the North Sydney News.

From the mid-1890s, Quinn was also active in local literary life, his poems and short stories often appearing in the popular Bulletin newspaper. He was also associated with Sydneys bohemian literary and social scene, particularly with the convivial Dawn and Dusk club which also included as members Victor J. Daley and Henry Lawson . Quinn's first collection of poetry, The Hidden Tide, was published by the Bulletin company in 1899, and a second collection, The Circling Heaths followed two years later.

Roderic Quinn enjoyed a significant reputation as a poet in the early twentieth century. Like Victor Daley , with whose work Quinns poetry is often compared, Quinn wrote lyric poetry more in keeping with contemporary English models though heavily influenced by Celtic imagery than the aggressively nationalistic Bush Ballad school which was popular with other Bulletin poets of the time. An anthology of Quinns poetry was published in 1920 by Angus and Robertson, and from 1925 he received a pension from the Commonwealth literary fund. Quinn died in Darlinghurst, Sydney, on 15 August 1949.

Poetry Collections
  • The Hidden Tide (Sydney: Bulletin Newspaper Co., 1899).
  • The Circling Hearths (Sydney: Bulletin Newspaper Co., 1901).
  • Poems (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1920).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Axel Clark , Quinn, Roderick Joseph (1867-1849), Australian Dictionary of Biograph Online.
  • Frank Molloy , The Celtic Twilight in Australia, Australian Journal of Irish Studies 1 (2001): pp. 99105.