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Ted Dyson, Bill Dyson (with pipe) and Percy

Unknowncirca 1899

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Edward George (Ted) Dyson (1865–1931), writer, was born near Ballarat and spent his boyhood there and in various other areas of regional Victoria. The family settled in Melbourne in the 1880s, by which time, despite a rudimentary education, Ted had begun submitting pieces to local newspapers. Throughout the 1890s, Ted’s work appeared regularly in The Bulletin; and between 1896 and 1921 he published many volumes of stories and verse including Rhymes from the mines (1896) and Fact’ry ‘Ands (1906). His brother Will (1880–1938) was a cartoonist, writer and draughtsman. Will’s first cartoon appeared in the Bulletin in 1897, in which year he also exhibited in the first show of the Society of Artists. Along with their friends, the artist-brothers Percy, Lionel and Norman Lindsay, Ted and Will were members of Melbourne’s bohemian Ishmael Club. In 1909, Will married Ruby Lindsay and in 1910 moved with her and Norman to London, where Will’s cartoons gained a large intellectual following. In 1916, he wrote to AIF commander General Birdwood volunteering his services as an artist; and in May 1917 he was appointed the AIF’s first official war artist.

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