Topic: Frank Sheldon Anthony, 1891 - 1927

Topic type:

Sailor, Farmer and Author

Frank S Anthony

Frank Sheldon Anthony

Born at Matawhero, near Gisborne in 1891, Frank was the son of Frank Sheldon Senior and Anna Jane (Annie) Anthony. The family moved to south Taranaki a few years later where Frank Snr ran the Manutahi Hotel and In 1902, he bought a farm at Whakamara. The young Anthony went to school at Kakaramea and Whakamara. Frank Snr (1863 - 1935) and Annie Anthony (1866 - 1953) are buried in the Patea Cemetery (See Image below)

After a couple of years at Hawera High School, from 1909 he spent a decade at sea and travelled around the world. On the outbreak of World War I he joined the Royal Navy where he was seriously injured in an accident which affected his lungs. He returned to New Zealand in 1918 and, in 1919, bought a 76 acre (30 hectare) rehab farm on Denbigh Road near Midhirst. The farm proved to be only partially cleared, cold, swampy and difficult to develop and was immortalised as Mark Henrick's Mossy Road farm.

It was during these farming years though, that he wrote ten classic Me and Gus  stories. They were published in the New Zealand Herald (see Web link below) and Weekly News and delightfully captured the somewhat squalid and arduous conditions that many Taranaki cow-cockies of the time had to endure. After struggling for five years Anthony finally sold the farm in 1924 and went to England to develop his writing.

In constant ill-health as a result of his accident and tuberculosis, Anthony spent the next two years revising Follow the Call and writing a novel based on the Me and Gus stories - Gus Tomlins. By 1926 his health had deteriorated badly and his TB, aggravated by the UK climate, finally claimed him and he died in a boarding house near Bournemouth on 13 January 1927.

None of Anthony's work appeared in book form during his life, but his mother arranged the printing of Follow the Call in 1936 and, in 1938, his Me and Gus articles were published by the Hawera Star in a now-rare booklet.

Frank Anthony's best-known books were, however, the series, based on Me and Gus, which were re-written and supplemented for radio broadcasts in the 1950s by Francis Jackson and illustrated by cartoonist, Nevile Lodge - Me and Gus (1951) More Me and Gus (1952) and Me and Gus Again (1955) See Listener,  27 April 1951 attached as a Document below. All three books ran to several editions and many thousands of copies. ''Gus" was, of course - Gus Tomlins and "Me" was either Mark Henrick (of the 1938 stories) or Mark Hendrick (of the 1950s stories).

It was to be 1977 before the novel Gus Tomlins was finally published along with the original 1920s Me and Gus stories reprinted by Auckland University Press. (See Listener 5 November 1977 article attached as a Document below). In 1975 Auckland University Press also republished Follow the Call. Both were edited and introduced by Terry Sturm.

It  was generally accepted locally that a neighbour of Anthony's on the Denbigh Road, Ralph Charles ('Charlie') Carroll, was the inspiration for the "Gus" of his stories.(See obituary in Documents below) 



                         Follow the Call - 1936             

                                          Follow the Call - 1935                                       Me and Gus - 1938



              Me and Gus - 1951                    More Me and Gus - 1952               Me and Gus Again - 1955




                                Follow the Call - 1975                        Gus Tomlins / Me and Gus - 1977


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Frank Sheldon Anthony, 1891 - 1927

Last Name:Anthony
Place of Birth:Matawhero, Poverty Bay
Frank Sheldon Anthony, 1891 - 1927 by Ron is Copyright Act 1994