The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.
With his father James, William Abernethy toured the country, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the early 1850s and 60s as the 'Australian Youth' or 'The Australian Fat Boy'. Promoted as a 'Wonder of the World' due to his enormous weight, at 12 years old he apparently weighed 21 stone (133 kg). On his return to Australia as an adult in the mid 1860s he started losing weight and left the performance circuit. He lived with his wife and family on a farm in the Shoalhaven until his death in 1904 from a carbuncle between his shoulders.