Charles Whitham


Whitham's photograph of Strahan, 1917 (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Charles Whitham (18731940), journalist at heart and clerk perforce, was born in India, the son of a British Army Sergeant-Major, and came to Tasmania with his parents in 1886. Charles spent most of his working life in Queenstown, as a traffic clerk for the Mount Lyell Railway, and took an active part in cultural and community activities. Much of his leisure time was spent in exploring the west coast's mountains, lakes and rivers and describing them in newspaper articles, a tourist guide book and his masterpiece, Western Tasmania: a land of riches and beauty (1924), which is still in print. His best-known mountaineering feat is the ascent, from the west, of Frenchmans Cap in 1914. Whitham's publicising of the west coast scenery was rewarded by the naming of four features in his memory.

Further reading: L Whitham, Railways, mines, pubs and people, Hobart, 2002.

Lindsay Whitham