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Alfred George Stephens

1865 – 1933

Alfred George Stephens (1865–1933), editor, journalist and publisher, was born and educated in Toowoomba. He served an apprenticeship as a typographer in Sydney before returning to Queensland to work as editor of the Gympie Miner and then as editor and part-owner of the Cairns Argus. He sold his stake in the newspaper in 1892 and travelled to North America and Europe, sending articles back to Australia for publication in a number of periodicals. He joined the Bulletin as sub-editor in 1894; in 1896, Stephens established the paper’s famous ‘Red Page’ of literature-related news, reviews and anecdotes. As literary editor and head of the Bulletin’s publishing arm, Stephens was the country’s most widely-read literary critic and had significant influence on the careers and work of a generation of writers, among them Henry Lawson, Joseph Furphy, Steele Rudd, Miles Franklin and Mary Gilmore. Stephens left the Bulletin in 1906 and focused on his own writing and on the production of his literary journal, the Bookfellow, which foundered, was resurrected, failed again and then eventually ruined him financially. Between the demise of Bookfellow in 1925 and his death twelve years later, Stephens continued to produce articles, short stories and verse and edited books on the poets Henry Kendall and Christopher Brennan. He died in Sydney in 1933 and was survived by his wife, Constance, and six children.

Updated 2018