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Caterer, Frederick Isaac (1840–1892)

The mystery of the disappearance of Mr. Frederick Caterer, the well-known schoolmaster of Glenelg, who has been missing since Monday, was solved on Friday. Search parties organised by the police and the friends of the missing man have been at work since Tuesday, but made no discovery. Late on Thursday night, however, Inspector Doyle, of Port Adelaide, was informed that a man had been seen wandering about the Grange on Wednesday. On Friday morning he instructed Mounted Constable Eaton, of Port Adelaide, and Lance-Corporal Kelly, of the Semaphore, to proceed to that locality to search for the missing gentleman. They went towards Sir Samuel Davenport's farm, near the house of Mr. F. E. Bucknall, and on their way were informed by a milkman that he thought he had seen the body of a man under a tree in the vicinity. A little farther on they discovered the body, which proved to be that of Mr. Caterer, life being extinct. Mr. Caterer's tracks had been followed beyond the Grange to the Convalescent Home at the Semaphore by the troopers and trackers, so that he must have doubled back again. The corpse, which was fully dressed, was lying on the ground with the cape of the overcoat over the head. One of the constables returned to Port Adelaide and obtained a conveyance, and the body was removed to the police-station. Information was sent to the coroner, who issued instructions that a post mortem examination should be made. An inquest will be held at the Jetty Hotel, Semaphore, at 11 o'clock this morning, and the funeral will take place at the Brighton Cemetery to-morrow. The remains will be removed from the Semaphore to the school at St. Leonards, and thence conveyed to the grave.

The late Mr. Frederick Isaac Caterer was the youngest son of the late Rev. Isaac Caterer of Pebford, Oxfordshire, England; and arrived in South Australia about 22 years ago. He started a school at Norwood with his brother, Mr. Thomas Caterer, but later on he removed to Glenelg, where he started the well-known grammar school. Recently he transferred his school from New Glenelg to St. Leonards, whither he was proceeding on the day of his disappearance. Mr. Caterer was devoted to his family and was of a most charitable disposition. He was extremely popular with all classes of the community, and by those who passed through his school his death will be deeply regretted. The cause of death is so far unknown.

A gentleman who was intimately acquainted with the late Mr. Caterer has sent us the following:—"Profound regret will be entertained by all the acquaintances of the late Mr. Frederick Caterer at his untimely end. Mr. Caterer was a man whom to know was to respect and honor from his upright principles, principles which governed him in all the duties with which he was connected. The deceased gentleman's circle of friends was not confined to fellow residents at Glenelg, where he had conducted the Glenelg Grammar school for the last 22 years. In the capacity of headmaster of the school he had earned for himself, through his pupils, a grand distinction in the ranks of educational principals. Many of the boys whose intellects were cultured by him are now occupying very important positions in professional life. In the annual report of the school's progress, which was presented at each Christmas vacation, abundant references were made to the success which had attended the efforts of numbers of the boys who have received instruction in the old schoolhouse. From his old and present scholars will be echoed a lament the depth of which will be almost unfathomable, and many will recall the good advice and encouraging words of one whose life has ended so unfortunately. Born of a good family and after a sound educational course the deceased gentleman came to Glenelg at the age of 30 years and then established the Glenelg Grammar School, near where the Globe Hotel now stands. It was not long before the numerical strength of the school necessitated his seeking more commodious premises, and the school was next conducted in Byron-street. Further increase in the roll register rendered a larger schoolhouse necessary, and accordingly one was built in Partridge-street. In this quarter the school was very prosperous until about three years ago, when the numbers became so diminished that Mr. Caterer removed to St. Leonards, occupying the house lately tenanted by Mr. W. F. Stock. The deceased gentleman found it compulsory to leave this house and give up the boarding school about two months ago, removing to New Thebarton, whence he was missed on Monday morning. Mr. Caterer many years ago contracted debts through land speculation, which for the last four or five years he had strove manfully to honestly discharge. Rather than take recourse to what the law provides Mr. Caterer had worked hard to honorably keep his engagements, but the worry which this and other matters involved upset his mental balance with unfortunate results. For many years he has not taken an interest in public affairs, but in the early days of Glenelg he was as active municipal worker. Mr. Caterer was also at one time superintendent of the Congregational Sunday school, in which capacity he was very much beloved and respected. Apart from official work he also possessed the goodwill of all the residents. Mr. Caterer leaves a wife and 10 children to mourn their loss, besides a brother and sister engaged in similar duties to these in which he was engaged previous to his melancholy death.

Our Glenelg correspondent writes: — The news that Mr. Caterer had been found dead on the sandhills near the Semaphore on Friday morning created a profound sensation at Glenelg, where the deceased schoolmaster had resided for so many years. The melancholy occurrence has been the general subject of conversation, and deep sympathy is expressed for the family. It has been arranged that the funeral shall start from the school, and the old scholars have called for a meeting to-day in order to have a representative gathering at the grave.

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'Caterer, Frederick Isaac (1840–1892)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/caterer-frederick-isaac-13925/text24813, accessed 19 August 2019.

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