Sydney Gibbons

GIBBONS, William Sydney (1825-1917) — Melbourne

Lithographer, journalist, photographer, and analytical chemist. Lithographed and published Map of California from the latest authorities showing the whole of the Gold District ca.1850.

William Sydney (Sidney) Gibbons, generally known simply as Sydney Gibbons, was born in England 21 Jul 1825 and baptised at St. Peter Walworth, London, 15 May 1829 — the son of Benjamin Gibbons (1775-1861), a wholesale stationer of Grosvenor Place, and his wife Elizabeth Cave Hickman, who had married at Aylesbury in 1824. He was appointed collector and shipping editor of the Melbourne Argus in August 1847 and subsequently worked as a clerk in the Custom House at Melbourne 1847-1849. In 1850 he canvassed for the position of Secretary to the Melbourne Gas Company. In December 1852 he was awarded a first-class certificate and gold medal for the “best specimens of lithography, most of them adapted to useful purposes” at the Victorian Industrial Society Exhibition. He subsequently worked for the Melbourne Herald. An agreement to tutor the children of a settler named Duff in June 1855 ended in acrimony after two months and Gibbons was subsequently successful in suing his former employer in December of that year. He was one of the founders of the Melbourne Punch in August 1855, moving on to edit the Journal of Australasia in 1856. He concurrently practised as an analytical chemist, publishing pamphlets on kerosene, diet, water supply, etc., and founded the Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science (later the Royal Society of Victoria). He also exhibited magnified photographs of microscopic objects, at various exhibitions, using some to illustrate his booklet, “Air and Water Poisoning in Melbourne” ca.1869. He married Annie Kipling in 1863, with whom he had six children. A lecture he gave on the potential dangers of kissing in 1877 was reported and commented on in the British press. He died at the age of ninety-two on 23 Jul 1917 and was buried at Carlton. Probate on his estate was granted 19 Oct 1917 — Victoria Wills and Probate Records.

5 Collins Street East, Melbourne — 1854-1882
Faraday House, Gipps Street East, East Melbourne (home) — 1882-1893
341 Royal Arcade, Bourke Street, Melbourne — 1893-1897


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