Theophilus Parsons Pugh 

Theophilus Parsons Pugh 

Name: Theophilus Parsons Pugh 

Epoch: Late 19th Century (the \'Long Nineteenth Century\')

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'26.1\"S 153°00\'51.2\"E

Years At Location: 1855-1869

One Historical Setting: Mr. Theophilus Parsons Pugh, somewhere in Brisbane [TBA] (1861)

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Theophilus Pugh was a significant journalist for Queensland. When he arrived in Brisbane in 1855 he wrote for Henry Parkes’s Empire, and in 1859-1961 was editor, printer and publisher of the Moreton Bay Courier. He was a leading advocate for the Queensland separation campaign. Pugh was elected for the Seat of Brisbane to the Legislative Assembly in 1863.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Theophilus Pugh became a symbol for noble or corrupt journalistic standards in the libel incident of 1861. As Clem Lack tells it:

“As printer and publisher of the Courier he was prosecuted for a leading article allegedly libelling the Legislative Council as ‘corrupt and unjust’ for reducing the salary of Judge Lutwyche. Ironically the trial judge was Lutwyche himself who had probably helped to write the offending editorials in the Courier. The case was heard on 21 August 1861; the jury was absent only a few minutes and returned with a verdict of not guilty. An enthusiastic crowd chaired Pugh to the Sovereign Hotel.”

Lack was himself a story-teller without regard for accuracy and depth. Where the corruption laid, and its wide share, was never revealed.

Far more useful was Pugh’s Queensland Almanac which continued annually under various publishers until 1927. It was an important exercise in chronological record-keeping and statistics.


Clem Lack, ‘Pugh, Theophilus Parsons (1831–1896)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 4 July 2019.

Evans, Raymond. A History of Queensland, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic, 2007.

Johnston, W. (William) Ross. The Call of the Land: a History of Queensland to the Present Day, Jacaranda Wiley, Brisbane, 1982.

Image Citation

Theophilus P Pugh (1831-1896). Unknown Source.