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Ernest Sando Emmerson father was a first cousin of the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born in Ballarat, Victoria, and became a journalist with the Brisbane Courier and a freelance writer and journalist. He published A Shanty Entertainment (1904, bush stories and poems) and An Australian Bird Calendar (1909, illustrated by Norman Lindsay).
E. S. Emerson was educated at Nell's School, Carlton, Melbourne. He joined the Brisbane Courier and served as a sub-editor. Emerson also did freelance writing for the Sydney Bulletin, the Lone Hand, the Sydney Mail and other journals. From August to November 1909 he edited the Port Denison Times before moving to Perth where he edited the West Australian Worker.