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Backhouse, Benjamin (1829–1904)

from Sydney Morning Herald

The death is announced of the Hon. Benjamin Backhouse, M.L.C., which took place at his residence, Ardath, Queen's Avenue, Rushcutter Bay, yesterday, the cause of death being heart failure. The deceased was born in England, and had reached an advanced age. He was a B.A., and was educated as an architect. In early life Mr. Backhouse, with his young wife and two children, came out to Australia and settled down in Geelong, Victoria. He soon made a name for himself as an architect, and two months after his arrival succeeded in winning a hundred-guinea prize for the best design for a stock exchange for that city. Some eight years later he returned to England, and remained for a year, and then came out to Queensland. He carried on his profession for eight years, and designed some of the principal buildings in Brisbane. He was also an alderman of that city. For the past 35 years the late Mr. Backhouse has resided in New South Wales. His professional skill was recognised by his election for 12 years as the chairman of the City of Sydney Improvement Board. In August, 1895, he was appointed to a seat in the Legislative Council, which he retained up to the time of his death. Although not a union official or a Labour candidate, his sympathies were at all times with the workers. He was truly democratic, and was a follower of John Ruskin and other workers for the amelioration of society. He also identified himself with the Pitt Town Settlement, and was chairman of the board of control to look after the affairs of the settlement. The deceased gentleman made several trips to the old country. On one occasion he had a long conference with the late Mr. W. E. Gladstone and at another time he was honoured by being elected an honorary associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

He was twice married, and has left a widow and grown-up family, numbering 11. The sons are his Honor Judge Backhouse, and Messrs. Ernest, Clarence, Frank, Clive, Maurice, and Oscar Backhouse.

In deference to the wishes of the deceased, the funeral to-day will be of a private character.

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Citation details

'Backhouse, Benjamin (1829–1904)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/backhouse-benjamin-45/text45, accessed 21 November 2019.

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