By Lyn Collingwood, Bulletin 2023/3, May 2023

Brian Tasman Dewhurst (1927-94), a distinguished foreign correspondent, lived at 54 Westmoreland St, Glebe.  He was a life member of the Sydney Journalists Club.

The Dewhurst family home at 54 Westmoreland St. Image: Lyn Collingwood

Brian Tasman Dewhurst worked as a foreign correspondent for United Press International (UPI) for 38 years.  His overseas postings included Karachi, New Delhi, London, New York, Honolulu and Tokyo, and he served two rotations during the Vietnam War.  As UPI’s North Asia Manager, he was elected a vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

Dewhurst’s Australian home address from childhood until his mid-thirties was 54 Westmoreland St.  Born on 29 June 1927, he was the only child of Tasman Vincent Dewhurst, a chemist’s assistant, and Marjorie Beryl, née Keegan, who married at Redfern in 1924.  Brian’s father died in 1940.  His mother did not remarry. 

Brian Dewhurst’s great-great-great grandfather Charles, a blacksmith convict.

On his father’s side, Brian Dewhurst descended from convicts.  His great-great-great grandfather was Charles Dewhurst, a Yorkshire-born blacksmith sentenced to seven years for the theft of money, a quantity of silver and a gun.  Charles arrived in Tasmania on the transport Roslin Castle in 1828 and was awarded a conditional pardon for helping capture four bushrangers.  In 1836 he received official permission to marry Elizabeth Banks, a country servant transported for seven years for stealing a cow.  She died in childbirth in 1851; her widower remarried and raised a second large family.  

Brian, a classmate at Glebe Public School of future newspaper cartoonist Les Tanner, was educated to Intermediate level and gained a certificate in accountancy. As a 16-year-old Daily Telegraph copy boy, he slipped past security at the American Red Cross Club and persuaded Eleanor Roosevelt, the visiting First Lady, to autograph a menu.  Aged 18, he joined the AIF’s First Australian Cinema Unit where he trained as a projectionist.  

Dewhurst was a keen follower of sports, especially tennis.  He edited the journal Australian Tennis and was elected chairman of the Australian Tennis Writers’ Association.  Among the careers he followed was that of Lew Hoad, another Glebe Public ex-pupil. 

Brian Dewhurst, wearing an open-neck shirt and no tie, with other Board members of the
Sydney Journalists’ Club. Image: The Journalists’ Club, Sydney.

A life member of the Sydney Journalists’ Club, Dewhurst told the story that at one election he walked into a Board meeting with enough votes to gain the presidency but exited as chairman of the Dress Committee, a group which acted as the ‘style police’.  By the relaxed 1970s, jackets and ties were no longer obligatory in the Club’s dining room.  Shorts with long socks were accepted, and open-neck shirts – but only the top two buttons could be left undone.   A ban on journalists wearing hats and exposed braces while working at their desks was enforced.

Ill health forced ‘Dewie’ to take early retirement in 1992.   He moved into a Bondi apartment and died from emphysema on 18 February 1994, less than a fortnight after the death of his mother.  In 1995 he was awarded, posthumously, a medal for media service in Vietnam. 




Sources: Angel, Don The Journalists’ Club, Sydney: a fond history; Australian Archives; Libraries Tasmania website; NSW electoral rolls; NSW registry of births, deaths, marriages; Pomeroy, Charles (Ed) Foreign Correspondents in Japan: Reporting a Half Century of Upheavals: From 1945 to the Present (Rutland Tuttle, 1998): Sydney telephone directories; Trove website.