“Amid the antiquity [in Mussoorie], however, the plaque in memory of the “barrister, writer, journalist, wanderer, editor of The Moffussilite, the first Australian-born novelist… a brilliant and restless soul”, stands out in stark contrast. The dates (born 19 December, 1816; died 24 August, 1864) place the inscription in temporal context to its surroundings, but the physical brilliance is somewhat incongruous. Unveiled by the Australian high commission on August 15 this year, it is a belated tribute to a man who was long forgotten, only to be remembered again. If only metallic sheen could make up for lost time….
“He verged on the melodramatic, was satirical at times and loved to exaggerate and sensationalise things,” says Bond of Lang’s style. “He wrote fiction that was quite racy compared to contemporary literature. But his travelogues, on the other hand, brought to prominence the little details of life in north India.”