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MR. R. A. LOUGHNAN

WELL-KNOWN JOURNALIST

Mr. Robert Andrew Loughnan, a wellknown New Zealand jourualist and legislator, who has boon lor many years a resident of Wellington, died today,, aged 03 years, at his place of residence, 154 The Terrace.

Pioneer pastoralist, leader in local industry, a veteran among our journalists, a legislator of experience, and the biographer of an important public man, Mr. Loughnan in his life-time filled more numerous and picturesque positions than have fallen tt> the lot. of most New Zcalandors.. He has died the oldest pressman in JJio Dominion, having been engaged in the profession for nearly sixty years, and from his genial disposition was exceedingly popular with all his contemporary journalists. Also, ho was the oldest surviving momber of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, his service there dating froui the oarly oighties, and in the course of his career he edited some of tho most influential journals iv New Zealand. Mr. Loughnan was* born at Dacan in the Bengal Province of India, his father being a Judge of tho Indian Courts, and received his education in France, at Stonyhurst College, England, and at the Catholic University of Dublin. Emigrating to Australia with his father and brothers when just out of his teens, his ship was wrecked on Flinders Island, Bass Strait. For several years he was occupied in pastoral pursuits on the family run in tho Murrumbidgce district of New South Wales. At the end of 1865 he came to Otago as representative of a syndicate on whoso behalf ho purchased the , big Mount Pisa run, near Cromwell. Of this property he became manager, -with a small interest in its ownership. Next ho became the founder of a meat-canning industry carried on at the Fairfiold meat-preserving works. This was long before Jtbe advent of tho refrigerating process bad given a value to New Zealand meat. Canning

was already being carried on in Australia, and Mr. Loughnan went thore and spent several months in tho actual work of every stago of tho system, re-, turning to Dunedin to put it into practice there. The enterprise, howevor, was not a success, chiefly for want ~of adequate markets, or tho means of reaching those at a distance. Mr. Loughnan's .next vonturo was in the flax industry, which he carried on in the Oust district of Canterbury. At the time when he was attracted to it, dressed phormiunj was realising about £70 per ton. Before long, however, it'slumped to very moderate values, and his mill was closed. ', ENTRY INTO JOURNALISM. It was while ho was in Dunedin, with no particular occupation, that his thoughts were turned towards journalism. Meeting an old friond in Mr, Vincent Pyko, whom ho had known well as Warden on the Otago goldfields, and who was then ,editor of the Dunedin "Guardian," he was encouraged to becomo a contributor to tho papor on, subjects as to which he had had experience, foid. his wido general knowlcdgo stood' him in good stead. At tho same time ho wrote largely for the "Otago Daily Times," for which ho bocame musical critic. About this time tho editorship of the "Lyttolton Times." became vacant. The writings of the young pressman attracted the notice of tho principal proprietor, the Hon. William Reeves, who thereupon offered him tho post. Mr. Longhnan took up tho editorship of this Christchurch papor in January, 1875, and retained it until 1889.

About that time Archbishop Bodwood established a weekly paper in "Wellington, the "Catholic Times," and appointed Mr. Loughnan to ita editorship. "When Captain Baldwin purchased the "Now Zealand Times,.V .Wellington, in IS9O, Mr. Loughnan became its editor, and filled the position until December, 1806. i His next move was to Australia, where he arrived in time to bo presont at tho conference which led up to the consummation of the Commonwealth, and to write brilliant descriptions of it for leading metropolitan papers. For some years he was on the editorial staff of the "Sydney Morning Herald," and also wrote for other journals —Sydney "Daily Telegraph," "Melbourne Ago," and "Australian Star." His last journalistic work was a period of associate-editorship (with tho late Hon. W. J. Geddis) of the "Now Zealand Times." MEMORABLE WAR NOTES. In this period, during the Great War, he wrote the most illuminating notes upon tho progress of * tho operations that appeared in any paper in. New Zealand. Long before this, he had won fame for scintillating sketches of tho proceedings'.of Parliament. These ho resumed in the session of 1914, at the same time as ho was writing editorial articles and two or three column* per day of war notes. Such was tho euergy of tho man that it was ■• with the greatest difficulty that-his chief was _ able to porsuado him to drop the political sketches and give his' whole, attention to the other two. departments of his work. ' Outside his profession, Mr. Loughnan used his pen in tho service- of the State on several -occasions, notably by acting as secretary to the big Laud Commission that was set up. by, tho Seddon Ministry in. 190,5.. .This. Commission travelled through, the . length and breadth of New Zealand 'for many months, and eventually.presented one of the most voluminous reports on record. It constitutes a separate volume of the New Zealand Blue Books, extending, with the appendix of evidence, to tho extraordinary bulk of 1609 foolscap pages. IN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Prom 1907 to 1914 Mr. Loughnan was a member of the Legislative Council. Tho.ro he earned Celebrity for his genial, and often lightsome, criticisms of legislation. In social life he was known as tho possessor of an excellent and well-trained bnritonti voice. His talents in this direction, were well recognised by I'is church, and were in.

requisition on tho occasion of important requiem Masses celebrated iv tho Wellington Basilica. f Further literary work that stands to his credit consists of the "Now Zealand Handbook," 1901; "The Koyal Tour" (that of the present King and Quoen in New Zealand), 1901; "The Settlers' Handbook," 1902; "Now Zealand As It Is," 1905; and tho "Bio- ' graphy of Sir Joseph AVard," 1928. There was a short period when, because . of tho illness of tho then editor, Mr. Loughnan contributed editorial articles " to the "Evening Post."' Full of years and honours, he has passed to his rest leaving fragrant memories in all parts of the Dominion. Mrs. Loughnan predeceased him by many years. Requiem Mass will bo celebrated at St. Mary of the Angels, Boulcott Street, i at 9.30 tomorrow morning, after which . the funeral will leave for the Karori , Cemetery..- . . j dMsJi'M

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

MR. R. A. LOUGHNAN, Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 65, 14 September 1934

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MR. R. A. LOUGHNAN Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 65, 14 September 1934

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