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Bodey, George (1854–1930)

from Portland Guardian (Vic)

The Border Watch has the following: "The many friends of Mr. George Bodey will regret to learn that he passed away at the Mount Gambier hospital on Friday afternoon at the age of 75 years. He was born on a farm at Woodside, S.A., in 1845, and was educated at the old Wheatsheaf school there. Sixteen years later his father brought the family overland to the South-East. There were eight sons, and they settled at Glencoe, which was then a dense forest of gums and ferns, and overrun with native game. The family, including the subject of this sketch, toiled early and late to subdue the wilderness. They had many hardships to encounter, including bush fires, but pluck and determination overcame them all, and they eventually converted a wilderness into what proved to be poor farming land. The distance from markets and poor prices, combined with the bad roads, rendered their enterprise null and void. Some years the land did not produce enough to keep the family going, and Mr. Bodey and other adult members had to go out and earn money by shearing and other work to keep the home together. Such was the school in which Mr. Bodey gained his experience in the alleged "good old days." About that time the Wimmera district began to loom large in the public eye. The land laws were liberal, and this fact tempted many of our local farmers to trek across the border in search of fresh fields and pastures new. Among those who went were the Bodeys, who were among the first settlers in the Wimmera district. They learned by bitter experience in South Australia, and by their success under better governing conditions in the neighbouring State, a lesson in land settlement never to be forgotten. When Mr. Bodey was only 20 years of age, he commenced farming operations on his own account, with a capital of £20 and a stock of physical endurance, industry, and thrift worthy of his British parentage. Later on he found himself in a position to marry, his choice falling on Miss Isabel Frew, a daughter of an old Mt. Gambier resident who, like the Bodeys, had migrated to Horsham. Later he found time to devote to public affairs in his district. He entered the Wimmera Shire Council, and sat as a councillor for 17 years without a break. The arrival of a young olive branch happened during one of his terms as president, and his colleagues marked the occasion by presenting him with a silver cradle, and an illuminated address. During his career he received many tokens, but none he valued as highly as he did the cradle. As an instance of his business ability, the Wimmera Shire Council, when he entered it, was in debt to the tune of £1,700, and when he left they had a credit of £1,909. On another occasion he topped the poll from 28 candidates to serve as a commissioner on the Water Supply Trust, which spent, during its term of office, £250,000 on water conservation and distribution. Before leaving the Wimmera he was made a life governor of the Working Men's College at Horsham. About this time the Glencoe Estate was being subdivided into farming properties, and he determined to return to his old district, but this time under far different conditions. He secured a good farm near Glencoe West, now in the occupation of his son-in-law, Mr. Geo. Coping. He had not long returned when he was asked to stand for his ward in the Tantanoola Council, which was then in financial difficulties, and it was largely due to his business ability that the council was able to surmount its financial difficulties. With the late Hon. A. H. Peake, Mr. Bodey represented this district in Parliament, and while there he was successful in getting several important measures placed upon the Statute book, one of the most important being the railway from Wandilo to Glencoe. On November 7th, 1928, Mr. and Mrs. Bodey celebrated their golden wedding with banquet at Hirth's cafe. There was a large gathering of relations and friends, and many eulogistic speeches were made. Besides his widow, Mr. Bodey leaves a family of five. They are: Mr. W. G. T. Bodey (Portland), Mrs A. E. Baker (Jung), Mrs. H. A. Cameron (Mt Gambier), Mrs. Geo. Copping (Glencoe West), and Mrs. A. R. Kilsby (Camperdown), all of whom were able to arrive before he finally passed away. Besides his own family, he leaves 17 grandchildren and four geat grandchildren. The funeral took place on Saturday last, and was very largely attended, the pall-bearers being four of his old fellow councillors in the Tantanoola Council.

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'Bodey, George (1854–1930)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bodey-george-13914/text24800, accessed 21 August 2019.

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