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Barrett, Henry Harling (1834–1907)

The end of this kindly and honorable gentleman came on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m., when he passed peacefully away, cheered to the last by the presence of his affectionate family. Mr Barrett was not only one of the most familiar and respected, but one of the best-liked men in Horsham, for he was invariably hearty, and genial, and "as straight as they make them." When, therefore, he was laid aside by illness, some six weeks ago, everybody was more or less concerned, for all felt a personal interest in one who had come to be known as "Dad" Barrett, even by those who had never had direct intercourse with him. As it became known that the illness was serious, and that the patient would have to submit to a trying operation, inquiries became more constant and anxious. On the 27th October, Mr. Barrett was taken to the Misses Carroll and Cocks' private hospital, Roberts' Avenue, where the required surgical appliances were available, and on Wednesday, the 30th, the operation was performed by Dr. Robinson, the family medical attendant, and Dr. Ryan, of Nhill, Dr. Read also being in attendance. Mr. Barrett's good constitution and happy disposition carried him well through the ordeal, but when a man has passed the three score years and ten, surgery is only resorted to as a desperate alternative. Though relieved of pain, the patient was unable to appropriate nourishment, and it was only his fine vitality and courage and desire to save his wife and daughters from sorrow which kept him alive so long. As his critical condition was well known, little surprise attended the universal regret caused by the news of his death on Sunday evening.

Henry Harling Barrett was born in the town of Whiteacre, in the county of Norfolk, England, on the 3rd of March, 1834. He was, therefore, 73 years old on that date this year. He served an apprenticeship to the coach-building trade, and in 1860 emigrated to Victoria, where he permanently remained. He settled at Maryborough, and for eighteen years followed his trade, with an older brother, Mr. C. Harling Barrett, who had started business in Maryborough, where he is still living. In 1878 Mr. Barrett became landlord of the McIvor Hotel of that town, a hostelry which Mr. Wilson and his sister, afterwards of Scott's Hotel, Melbourne, had made famous, and the repute of which Mr. and Mrs. Barrett well maintained. In 1882, Mr. Barrett and family came to Horsham, he having bought the Royal Hotel, the leading commercial house of the Wimmera, which he and his family speedily raised to an equal status with the leading houses of the metropolis and the State. The new licensee was constantly enlarging and improving the buildings, adding on to the Wilson street frontage several shops, with a second story of bedrooms, etc., to meet the increasing demands of the business. Mr. Barrett married Miss Elizabeth Marshall, daughter of Mr. William Marshall, of Amhurst, who survives, and they had a family of six, three of whom are deceased. The surviving daughters are Miss Maggie Barrett, Miss Katie and Miss May (Mrs. Alf. Langlands), Horsham Residents have a vivid remembrance of the tragical death of a son, Mr. Walter Barrett, 24 years of age, a young man of fine character and great promise, who was drowned in the Wimmera on the 17th of October, 1898. Two boy cousins went in to bathe, and getting into difficulties, Walter rushed in to rescue them. He had a bridle round his shoulders, in which it is supposed his hands got entangled, for, though a good swimmer, he was drowned, also one of the boys, the other only being revived after long exertion.

In their bereavement Mrs. Barrett and her daughters are supported by the great respect entertained for the deceased, and the universal and unfeigned sympathy of their fellow citizens. Mr. Barrett was a regular worshipper at St. John's Church of England, and at evening service the vicar, Rev. F. Boyling, announced the decease, intimating that on next Sunday evening, he would refer to Mr. Barrett's life and character. The interment took place yesterday afternoon, and depite the necessarily sudden notice, scarcely a townsman was absent from the funeral, and the country would have been equally represented, had the demise of the popular host been known. Mr. C. H. Barrett, of Maryborough who is 78 years of age, was unable to be present, owing to a recent severe illness. The chief mourners were Mr. Marshall, brother of Mrs. Barrett, Mr West, her sister's husband, Mr. Alf. Langland, son-in-law, Mr. C. Barrett, of Church Hill, a nephew of deceased, and his two sons, and Mr. F. J. Saul, Clerk of Courts. The pall-bearers were Mr. George Ryan, Mr. C. Mossman, Mr. J. Bennet, Mr. J. T. Weight, Mr. J. Langlands, and Mr. R. N. Carden. At the entrance to the cemetery the Masonic brethren formed in procession, following the chief mourners. The Rev. F. Boyling, vicar of St. John's, read the church service, and Mr. B. T. Pearse read the Masonic ritual. Mr. A. F. Weight conducted the mortuary arrangements satisfactorily.

Monday is the meeting night and practise of the Horsham Fire Brigade, but as soon as members assembled that night, they adjourned without doing business. It is a coincidence that the Brigade had a meeting on the night of Walter Barrett's death, and then adjourned.

Original publication

Citation details

'Barrett, Henry Harling (1834–1907)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/barrett-henry-harling-18705/text30301, accessed 19 May 2019.

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