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Buckland, Thomas (1814–1896)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Thomas Buckland, n.d.

Thomas Buckland, n.d.

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review, 15 October 1896

The death of Mr. Thomas Buckland, which took place yesterday afternoon, removes a prominent figure from the financial and commercial life of the community, with which he had been identified for more than half a century. Mr. Buckland was the son of a farmer in England. Being of an energetic disposition, and unable to content himself in the cramped conditions of the mother country, at about the age of 16 years he emigrated to Australia. Almost immediately on his arrival he entered the service of Messrs Cooper and Holt, the business then being under the management of Mr Holt. He steadily worked his way upwards, and eventually became a partner in the firm on the retirement of Sir Daniel Cooper to England. At one period Mr. Buckland took charge of the affairs of the firm in New Zealand and for a time resided in Wellington and Akaroa where trading and whaling ventures were engaged in. For two or three years he conducted business there, importing several cargoes of cattle for stations in which the firm was interested with Messrs. Rhodes, well-known New Zealand colonists. Returning to New South Wales, he again took up the active management of the branch of the firm's business in Sydney, and continued to do so until it was wound up a few years ago. On the retirement of Sir Daniel Cooper in April, 1861, Mr. Buckland was appointed to a seat on the board of the Bank of New South Wales, having as his colleagues Mr (afterwards Sir) Alexander Stuart and Messrs J. S. Willis, George Allen, Thomas Walker, and Robert Tooth. He remained on the board continuously from that time, except for one year, when the bylaws of the bank required the periodical retirement of directors until a few days back. On the death of Mr. Thomas Walker in 1886 Mr. Buckland was chosen president of the bank, and held the office until 1894, his experience and counsel being of much value in piloting the institution through the crisis of 1893. He, however, continued his interest in the bank until the close of his life. When he joined the board in 1861 the paid up capital of the bank was £750,000, the reserve £210,000; its deposits were £2,757,489, and its total liabilities £5,927,173. The progress made in the interval may be judged from the fact that the paid-up capital is now £2,000,000, the reserves are £1,200,000, the deposits £18,534,841, and the total liabilities £26,070,000. Its business had increased fourfold in 35 years. In the absence of Mr. Shepherd Smith, then general manager, on a trip to England, Mr. Buckland undertook a general supervision of the bank's affairs, a service which was recognised by the award by the shareholders of a special vote of £1000. It may be mentioned to the credit of the deceased gentleman that he applied the money to the establishment of a supplementary provident fund, to give relief to officers in cases not provided for by the general fidelity guarantee and provident fund of the institution and he afterwards added £500 to the fund, which now goes by his name.

For many years Mr Buckland occupied a seat on the board of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, where his views were always received with consideration. He was one of the promoters of the Sydney Model Lodging-house, taking much interest in its affairs. And he was likewise one of the founders and trustees of the Shipwreck Relief Society, seldom missing a meeting of its managing body. Mr. Buckland at the outset came forward with a handsome donation, and consistent with his character as a generous citizen has given liberally. In addition to those regular subscriptions it was though unknown to but few, his practice, whenever he heard of distress, to quietly forward his cheque. Unostentatious in his nature, those who knew him even intimately seldom or ever heard of these kindly acts. Speaking yesterday with the secretary, that gentleman said that he would be a great loss to the society. To Mr. Buckland's counsel and sound business principles the society was much indebted. A little incident occurred some years ago which may illustrate the late trustees deep interest in the welfare of this society. He met with an accident sustaining a fracture of his left leg, and was confined to his house for several weeks At the next meeting of the society following his recovery he was present, and remarked, after hearing the hearty congratulations of the committee, "that it gave him infinitely more pleasure to be present among them than at any of the many meetings he attended, his directorship of one of the leading financial institutions of the colony not excepted. It was a society nearest his heart." Although suffering from deafness for many years he to the last took very great interest in several of the public institutions of the colony, and when he rose to speak he threw light on whatever subject he treated, his opinions being expressed in naturally forcible language.

Mr. Buckland, who lived to the age of 82 years, leaves two sons and two daughters (Mrs. H. M. Faithfull and Mrs. C. K. Mackellar).

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'Buckland, Thomas (1814–1896)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/buckland-thomas-171/text1586, accessed 25 November 2017.

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