George Lewis Becke (18 June 1855 – 18 February 1913) was an Australian short-story writer and novelist. Becke was born at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, son of Frederick Becke, clerk of petty sessions and his wife Caroline Matilda, née Beilby. Both parents were born in England. Becke was the youngest of six children and had a tendency to wander; he has stated that before he was 10 he had twice run away from home. The family moved to Sydney in 1867 and Becke was educated at Fort Street High School. In 1869, Becke travelled to San Francisco with his brother Vernon and was away for nineteen months. At 16 years of age, Becke was a stowaway on a ship bound for Samoa. In Apia he took a job as a book-keeper. When Becke was 18, he met William "Bully" Hayes who later became a central character in Becke's writings. After being shipwrecked in 1874, Becke was later arrested for piracy, but was acquitted in Brisbane. Then he tried his luck at the Palmer River goldrush, was employed at Ravenswood station and from 1878-79 worked as a bank clerk in Townsville, Queensland. Becke was in the Ellice Islands by April 1880 working as a trader. In February 1881 he opened his own store in Nukufetau, where he married Nelea Tikena. Later in 1881 a shipwreck caused him to lose all he had; for the next few years worked in New Britain and at Majuro. The accounts of Becke's connexion with Hayes given in Neath Austral Skies, The Strange Adventures of James Shervinton and other books, must be read with caution as the line between fact and fiction-writing is unclear. This life continued for many years and provided most of the material for Becke's stories. Becke returned to New South Wales late in 1885 and on 10 February 1886 married Elizabeth (Bessie) Maunsell of Port Macquarie. In January 1892 Becke returned to Sydney and persuaded by Ernest Favenc and J. F. Archibald began to contribute stories to The Bulletin, the first of which was 'Tis in the Blood' appearing in the 6 May 1893 edition. A collection of these stories, By Reef and Palm, was published in England (1894), followed by The Ebbing of the Tide in (1896). Becke went to London about the beginning of 1896, helped by Archibald and William Macleod of the Bulletin who advanced him the sum of £200, and he remained in Europe for around 15 years, during which time a large number of collections of short stories and a few novels and stories for boys were published. Becke was fairly paid by the magazines for his stories, but his books were always sold outright and never on a royalty basis, he was not a wealthy man. He went to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1908 and lived there for about a year. Becke was in Sydney again in the middle of 1909 and died of cancer there on 18 February 1913, working up until his death. About 30 of Becke's books are listed in E. Morris Miller's Australian Literature with six other volumes written in collaboration with W. J. Jeffery. He was survived by his wife and a daughter. Becke had said that any literary success he had achieved was due entirely to the training received from the editor of the Bulletin (J. F. Archibald) "who taught me the secrets of condensation and simplicity of language". Once having learned this Becke had a wealth of experience to draw upon and, though there was inevitably some monotony of theme, he wrote a very large number of stories that can still be read with interest, and show him to have been a writer of considerable ability. Serle, Percival (1949). "Becke, George Lewis". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. http://www.gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogBe-Bo.html#becke1.