Angus Trumble’s 1904 In Retrospect


“The ultra-violet lamp was invented. Melbourne Grammar School defeated Prince Alfred College in the first interstate Australian Rules football match. Amid much controversy among older members, the committee of the Naval & Military Club in Melbourne, hoping for better attendances, decided to open on Sundays....”

Esopus’s resident chronologer details the myriad events, momentous and miniscule, of 1904 in this debut of his “Year in Retrospect” column in the magazine.

Angus Trumble (1964–2022) was the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. He was also a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, as well as a curator at the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Trumble wrote several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004) and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010). In 2015, he was named a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022, he was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater, Trinity College, Melbourne.