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Aspery, John (1833–1913)

Gradually the Hawkesbury is losing the fine old sturdy stock that made it famous, and it is a moot question whether the generations that follow possess the same pluck and hardihood as their progenitors. Whether they do or do not, there is no gainsaying the fact that the district is the poorer for every pioneer that goes over to the silent majority, and this is quite true of the grand old gentleman whose death we have to chronicle this week. We refer to the late Mr John Aspery, who died at Sackville on the 14th instant. He was one of the best of the Hawkesbury natives, and leaves behind him a life's history that his family may be proud of. Had he lived till the 2nd May next he would have been 80 years of age, and he was born and lived the whole of his life in the house in which he died. That house, which stands on a property known as 'Ferndale,' was built 108 years ago, and it is said to be the oldest residence on the Hawkesbury River below Pitt Town. The walls are two feet through, and built of stone and rubble. Originally the roof was shingle, but a few years ago corrugated iron was put over the shingles. It might be mentioned that the '07 flood was eight feet over the house, and the place was practically undamaged when the water receded. The farm was first worked by the late John Aspery's grandfather, James Dunn. His daughter (John Aspery's mother) succeeded to the property, and in 1878 the subject of this notice purchased it from his mother. He never left the old home in which he was born, and he was greatly attached to it by life-long association. The late John Aspery was a successful farmer of the 'old school' — one of those hard-working pioneers who earned all they got literally by the sweat of their brows. He was married 56 years ago in St. John's Church, Wilberforce, and the family consisted of three sons and two daughters, viz., Thomas, who died at the age of 24 years; Rebecca (Mrs George Stubbs, of Gilgandra); Joseph, a well-known and highly respected resident of Sackville, who has a farm on Mud Island; Grace (Mrs Booker, Sydney), and John, of Newcastle. Mrs Aspery survives her husband, and she, as well as her esteemed family, has the sympathy of the old district in her irreparable loss. The deceased was one of a family of eight. Only one, a sister (Mrs Winton, of Queensland, aged 76 years), survives him. His brother Thomas was killed by lighting at Muswellbrook many years ago. Henry died at Grafton at the age of 94 years. The late Mrs M. Nowland, of Richmond, was a sister, and Mrs McKenzie (Muswellbrook), Mrs Flood (Dubbo), and Mrs Yates (Sydney). The late Mr Aspery took a deep interest in the affairs at St. Thomas' Church, Sackville, and was a regular attendant at service. For some time his health had been failing, but he had a wonderfully recuperative constitution. His youngest son, Mr J. H. Aspery, and his family, came on a visit to the old home a few days before the old gentleman died. As he seemed to be hearty, the eldest son, Mr Joseph Aspery, took advantage of his brothers visit to have a holiday and went down the South Coast. Deceased's wife also took the opportunity to go to Sydney to transact some business. During their absence the sad intelligence of the death was conveyed to them by wire. He took ill on the evening of the 14th and died peacefully about midnight. The funeral took place on the 15th ultimo, and was largely attended not only by people of the immediate neighborhood, but by friends in Windsor, relatives in Richmond, and friends from long distances along the river. The remains were brought by boat to the church, followed by a large number of mourners in Mr C. Mitchell's launch. Mr J. W. Chandler carried out the funeral arrangements. In the church the Dead March in 'Saul' was played by Mrs F. A. Stubbs, and after the service Rev J. F. Cherry made eloquent reference to the life of the deceased, referring to him as a kind and warmhearted friend and an honest man; and spoke words of comfort to the bereaved relatives. The remains were laid to rest on the sand dune cemetery overlooking the river, and so ended the career of a fine old man, and one for whom the whole district had a great admiration.

Original publication

Citation details

'Aspery, John (1833–1913)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/aspery-john-24127/text32937, accessed 25 May 2019.

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