Walking stick : Reverend E Bean

Place Oceania: Australia, Tasmania, Hobart
Accession Number REL39633
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia: Tasmania
Date made c 1914 -1922
Conflict Period 1910-1919
Period 1920-1929
First World War, 1914-1918

Wooden walking stick made from a small trimmed fruit wood branch, with the lateral shoots cut off so that the stick has a knobbly appearance. The stick has a brass ferrule, two narrow brass bands set 170 mm and 230 mm from the top, and an ornamental brass knob for a hand piece. The sides of the knob have an embossed leaf design and the head is engraved 'Rev. E. BEAN Sandy Bay'.

History / Summary

This walking stick was collected from Charles Bean's study at his home 'Clifton' in Collaroy, NSW. It was originally used by his father, Reverend Edwin Bean, some of whose books and papers were also preserved in his son's study. Charles Bean is perhaps best remembered for the official histories of Australia in the First World War, of which he wrote six volumes and edited the remainder. Before this, however, he was Australia's official correspondent to the war. He was also the driving force behind the establishment of the Australian War Memorial.

Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean was born on 18 November 1879 at Bathurst, New South Wales. His family moved to England when he was ten. He completed his education there, eventually studying classics and law at Oxford. Bean returned to Australia in 1904 and was admitted to the New South Wales Bar.

Having dabbled in journalism, Bean joined the Sydney Morning Herald as a junior reporter in January 1908. He published several books before being posted to London in 1910. In 1913 he returned to Sydney as the Herald's leader writer. When the First World War began, Bean won an Australian Journalists Association ballot and became official correspondent to the AIF. He accompanied the first convoy to Egypt, landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and began to make his name as a tireless, thorough and brave correspondent. He was wounded in August but remained on Gallipoli for most of the campaign, leaving just a few days before the last troops.

He then reported on the Australians on the Western Front where his admiration of the AIF crystallised into a desire to create a permanent memorial to their sacrifice and achievements. In addition to his journalism, Bean filled hundreds of diaries and notebooks, all with a view to writing a history of the AIF when the war ended. In addition he organised the collection of battlefield relics from AIF soldiers on the Western Front through the formation of the Australian War Records Section. In early 1919 he led a historical mission to Gallipoli to collect relics for the Memorial, obtain Turkish accounts of the campaign and report on the condition of war graves.

On his return to Australia Bean and his staff moved into Tuggeranong homestead, south of Canberra, to work on the official history. In 1921 he married Ethel (Effie) Young, a nursing sister at the Queanbeyan hospital whom he first met when she visited Tuggeranong to play tennis. They later moved to Sydney, where he continued to write at Victoria Barracks. When he began, Bean imagined that the history would take five years to write; in the event it took 23 years, and the final volume did not appear until 1942.

Besides his written work, Bean worked tirelessly on creating the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He was present when the building opened on 11 November 1941 and became Chairman of the Memorial's board in 1952. He maintained a close association with the institution for the rest of his life. Bean dies in 1968.

Bean's father, Edwin, was born in India in 1851. Educated in England, he was destined for a career in the Indian Civil Service. He came instead, to Hobart, Tasmania, in 1873, as a private tutor. The following year he taught at Geelong Grammar School in Victoria before moving to New South Wales to teach at Sydney Grammar in 1875. In 1877 he was appointed headmaster of All Saints' College, Bathurst, where he stayed until 1888. During this time he married Lucy Butler, a Tasmanian. After a holiday in Europe, Bean became headmaster of Brentwood College in England in 1891, where he remained until his retirement to Hobart in 1913. He had been ordained as an Anglican priest in 1898. Edwin Bean died in 1922.