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David Blair (4 June 1820 – 19 February 1899) was an Irish Australian politician, journalist and encyclopedist.


Blair was born in County Monaghanmarker, Irelandmarker to parents of Scottishmarker descent. He studied at the Hibernian Military School, Dublinmarker, and was gifted in composition.

He left in 1835, aged 15 years and worked in an uncle's business but did not enjoy it.

In 1840 he joined the Ordnance Survey of Ireland as a calculator stationed in Limerickmarker and then Corkmarker. He transferred to Southamptonmarker in 1841 and for almost nine years he worked on the triangulation of Englandmarker and the survey of Londonmarker.


Intelligent, zealous and ambitious, he remained unsatisfied in his work, even speculating in 1848 on a military career, and found expression in supporting the Chartists as a lecturer in Southamptonmarker, in reading and in church activities.


Blair then studied for the ministry in Irelandmarker and came to Australia in 1850 at the suggestion of John Dunmore Lang, the intention being that he should go into the back country as a missionary.

Blair, however, took up journalism in Sydneymarker, where he was associated with Henry Parkes on the Empire newspaper. Blair went to Victoriamarker in 1852 and had a long and varied career as a journalist.

Blair was elected a member of the legislative assembly of Victoria in 1856 and again in 1868, but did not make any special mark in politics. In 1876 he edited the Speeches of Henry Parkes, and in 1879 he published The History of Australasia--to the Establishment of Self-Government, based largely on the works of his predecessors. In 1881 appeared his useful Cyclopaedia of Australasia, although it contained plagiarism. Blair died at Melbournemarker on 19 February 1899.


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