Francis Hart

When: 05:30pm - 21/02/2018

Location: Stirling House 49 Broadway Nedlands

Brendan Kelly will present a paper on Francis Hart

Francis Hart

Between 1879 and 1896 the prodigious talent and outspoken personality of Francis Jerome Ernest Hart made him an individual of note in Western Australian society. As a newspaper journalist and editor he possessed the perfect platform to express his frequently forthright opinions. As one contemporary observed, Hart’s chief failing was “his impetuosity and liability to write on the spur of the moment things which, after calm reflection, he would fain erase”. An energetic self-starter, Hart was also an actor, playwright, composer, librettist, musician, singer, public speaker, raconteur, press agent, punter and born organiser. He was an impresario who procured the energy and the money of a wide circle of Western Australian men and women – friends, enemies, honest folk and spivs, the rich and powerful, racehorse owners, barmaids and milkmen, the newspaper boy in the street. He was sometimes dishonest, always scheming, often brilliant, but at all times busy. Hart cultivated connections across government and administrative classes, as his publicity machine churned out tens of thousands of words in newspapers, journals and handbooks, praising friends and scarifying enemies, but always promoting the Colony. Francis Hart was a showman, publicist and opportunist, an advertising man whose star burned brightly, singeing more than a few.


Brendan Kelly is a Bunbury City Councillor, Patron of the Bunbury Oral History Group and Chair of the Bunbury Heritage Advisory Committee. His interest in history stems from a lifelong reading habit, particularly historical biography. He began researching and writing about his own family’s past after he relocated to his paternal hometown of Bunbury in 1992. Subsequently he has taken a broader interest in Western Australian social history, particularly what he describes as the ‘B’-side stories. These are the ‘untold’ stories of Western Australians who had a fleeting glimpse of fame but then disappeared into forgotten history.

Event information: Francis Hart

Cost Donation upon entry