Charles bean cropped

C.E.W Bean

Born in Bathurst where his father was the principal of All Saints College, the young Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean completed his education in imperial England.

Living among the station people at the back of Bourke in 1909, Charles Bean carved out a niche for himself in bush literature, with his enduring portraits of the drover and the bullocky, the station boss and the river boat skipper. The popularity of his articles both in Australia and England saw them published as the minor classics, On the Wool Track and The Dreadnoughts of the Darling.

In later life he cherished a passage from these writings which began with an account of comradeship in the back country and ended with a prophecy that if ever England were in trouble she would discover in the younger land “… the quality of sticking to an old mate.” Bean saw it literally fulfilled when he landed at Gallipoli on the morning of April 25th 1915.

Because of Charles Bean, a little piece of Bourke is at the heart of the Anzac myth. “Men from this life and industry”, he wrote, “formed a considerable fraction of the Anzac forces in the First World War, and the traditions of the back country weighed far more heavily than the mere number of its representatives, among the influences that moulded the Australian soldier.”

For more information please contact the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre

Kidman Way, Bourke NSW 2840

02 6872 1321