Alfred Searcy

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Alfred Searcy
Searcy, Alfred, 1854-1925, State Library of South Australia, B-4539.jpeg
Born (1854-01-04)4 January 1854
Mount Barker, South Australia, Australia
Died 1 October 1925(1925-10-01) (aged 71)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Resting place North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth, South Australia, Australia
Occupation Customs officer, Parliamentary officer, Writer
Spouse(s) Jane Annette Rainsford
Children Stella Maud Searcy (1877–1965), Walter Henry Searcy (1880–1970), Clara Millicent Searcy (1882–1969), Hilda Rainsford Searcy (1884–1935), Frederick William Searcy (1886–1887), Reginald Alfred Searcy (1889–1957), Eric Palmerston Searcy (1890–1967)
Parent(s) William Searcy and Charlotte Edwin nee Roffe
Relatives Arthur Searcy, brother; George Searcy, first cousin

Alfred Searcy (4 January 1854 – 1 October 1925) was a South Australian public servant and writer.[1][2] He was based in Darwin from 1882 to 1896 and was a booster for development of northern Australia during and after his time there.

Family and education[edit]

He was the son of William Searcy, clerk and policeman, and his wife Charlotte Edwin, née Roffe, and brother of Arthur Searcy who also had a distinguished career as a South Australian public servant. His parents, and uncle Frederick Searcy, had arrived at Port Adelaide on 3 September 1849, on the ship Louisa Baillie.[3]

He attended Dumas' school, Mount Barker, later Pulteney Street School, Adelaide, until 1869.[1]

On 10 February 1876, he married Jane Annette Rainsford, daughter of Joseph Rainsford and Jane née Brown at Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide.[4]

Alfred Searcy died on 1 October 1925 in Adelaide and was buried in North Road Cemetery.[5]


In 1869, he was indentured as a journalist with The Advertiser, joining the customs department in 1873. In the period before 1882, he received the certificate of the Royal Humane Society, London, for saving a woman from drowning and became a captain in the Port Adelaide Rifle Company.

From 1882 he was sub-collector of customs in Darwin, Northern Territory and implemented new customs arrangements generally[6] and licensing and duty arrangements for Macassan trepangers. He was promoted in 1888, however for health reasons his wife and children returned to Adelaide in 1890. He joined Paul Foelsche and Edward Robinson[7] on several voyages.

He remained in Darwin until 1896, when he became clerk assistant and sergeant-at-arms in the South Australian House of Assembly, a position previously held by his brother, Arthur. He became Clerk of the House in 1918 and Clerk of the parliaments in 1920.


In Northern Seas, published in 1905 collected newspaper articles about his period in the Northern Territory.[8] He reworked and extended the material as In Australian Tropics, published in 1907,[9] with By Flood and Field, published in 1911, being a fictionalised account of the earlier books.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "DEATH OF MR. ALFRED SEARCY". The Register. Adelaide. 2 October 1925. p. 9. Retrieved 3 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. ^ Macknight, C. C. (1988). "'Searcy, Alfred (1854–1925)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  3. ^ "SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 5 September 1849. p. 3. Retrieved 4 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "Family Notices". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 11 February 1876. p. 4. Retrieved 3 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "LATE MR. ALFRED SEARCY". The News. Adelaide. 3 October 1925. p. 1 Edition: SPORTING EDITION. Retrieved 3 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ South Australia. Customs Dept; Searcy, Arthur (1883), The custom house handbook : being the merchants' and importers' guide to the business of the Customs Department, Govt.Printer, retrieved 3 October 2015 
  7. ^ Macknight, C. C (1988). "'Robinson, Edward Oswin (1847–1917)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 11. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Searcy, Alfred; Whitington, E. (1905), In northern seas : being Mr. Alfred Searcy's experiences on the north coast of Australia, W. K. Thomas & Co, retrieved 3 October 2015 
  9. ^ Searcy, Alfred, In Australian tropics, London, K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., ltd, retrieved 3 October 2015 
  10. ^ Searcy, Alfred (1912), By flood and field : adventures ashore and afloat in north Australia, G. Bell & Sons, retrieved 3 October 2015