Ernest Favenc was born in Surrey, the son of a wine merchant who died when Ernest was a child. He was educated at a school in Berlin and at Temple College in Cowley, near Oxford. He left England for Australia in 1864 where he was to spend the rest of his life. After a year in Sydney he worked on livestock stations in Northern Queensland for several years, occasionally writing for the Queenslander, the literary arm of the colony’s leading journal, The Brisbane Courier. In 1878 he led an expedition to assess the feasibility of a transcontinental railway.
On his return he settled in Sydney and married Elizabeth Jane Matthews. In the early 1880s he undertook further expeditions to the northern regions of Australia and in 1888 published The History of Australian Exploration from 1788-1888.
Writing under the pseudonym of Dramingo he wrote several novels and children’s stories as well as further books on exploration. Drawing on his extensive experience of bush life, he also wrote one volume of poetry containing his best known poems, Song of the Torres Straits Islanders, In the Desert, The Watchers, and Daybreak in the Desert. His poetry reflects his awe of the Australian bush. He died in Sydney in 1908, survived by his wife and daughter.