Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Catt, Alfred (1833–1919)

The Hon. Alfred Catt, whose death occurred at about 10.50 o'clock on Tuesday morning at his residence, Winchester Street, St Peters, was born at Newington, Kent, on December 19, 1833. He had a distinguished public career, and to know him was to respect him. He possessed a wide circle of friends throughout the State, and his unswerving honor, frank speech, and strong mind won universal admiration. His long life was an exceedingly busy one. Mr. Catt arrived in South Australia in his 16th year, and conducted a general store in the country. Strathalbyn was his home for a long period, and he interested himself in municipal affairs to such an extent that he rose to the position of mayor. He also followed agricultural pursuits at Strathalbyn and Balhannah. After ten years of farming he became infected with the gold fever of the fifties, and made three trips to the Victorian diggings. He afterwards removed to Gladstone to where he controlled a large business for many years. Mr. Catt subsequently filled the offices of councillor and chairman of the Gladstone and Booyoolie district councils.

Mr. Catt first entered the House of Assembly in 1881, as one of the members for Stanley, but when that district was divided, in 1884, he stood for Gladstone. He was returned on two occasions without opposition. He was Commissioner of Crown Lands in the Bray Ministry from June 1881 to June 1884, and Commissioner of Public Works in the Playford Government from 1887 to 1889. He was Chairman of Committees for 15 years, being first elected in June, 1890. He was gazetted honorable in 1884. He was always a strenuous advocate of water conservation and irrigation, having been chairman of several important commissions. He took an active part in the passing of the Beetaloo water scheme, and it was practically due to him that the Railway Commissioners Bill was carried when he was Commissioner of Public Works. Mr Catt was always noted for his energy and earnestness, particularly in the execution of his Parliamentary duties. In every department of his useful life he did what he conceived to be right irrespective of fear or favor. He remained in Parliament for 26 years, and he occupied official positions for no less than 20 years. In 1896 Mr Catt. and the Hon. J. H. Howe were separated by the late Mr. E. A. Roberts wining Mr. Howe's seat. They had sat together for 15 years for the same district and were first known as the "two chesnuts" and latterly as the "two greys." Mr Catt initiated legislation which greatly relieved the heavy financial pressure on the earliest of the northern farmers, and he earned their enduring gratitude.

Religious and philanthropic matters received a large share of attention from him. His interest in the spiritual welfare of the young was indicated by the fact that he had been superintendent of the Methodist Sunday schools at Strathalbyn, Gladstone, Pirie Street and Parkside and he also occupied the position of president of the Sunday school Union. For many years he was a delegate to the Methodist Conferences held in Adelaide. He was at one period a treasurer of the Foreign Mission Fund. Mr. Catt was a regular attendant at the meetings of the Adelaide Hospital Board, on which he gave many years' service. In addition he was chairman of the Da Costa Samaritan Fund, a member of the Adelaide Benevolent Society, a member of the executive of the Prince Alfred College and the Methodist Ladies' College, and one of the three commissioners for charitable funds appointed by the Government. He also took a deep interest in military matters and was a leading spirit in connection with the reunion of old volunteers on the occasion of the late Earl Kitchener's vist to Adelaide. He was a lieutenant in the Strathalbyn Volunteer Company, and while at Gladstone he became captain of the infantry and retained that rank on retiring to the reserve forces. In February 1907, the people of the north, where he was so familiarly known, made a presentation to him of an illuminated address and a purse containing 120 sovereigns. Mr. Catt had resided near Adelaide for many years. He had a severe illness in 1910, and when his case seemed almost hopeless it was decided to try the effects of pure olive oil. The result was a cure speedily brought about and Mr. Catt was afterwards a firm believer in the value of that oil as a medicine. He was a great advocate of fresh air and kept out in the open as much as possible. Gardening was his hobby. He attributed his long span of years and his retention of health and activity to careful living and the fact that he came of a family noted for its longevity. He was a man without an enemy, and sincere regret will be felt throughout the State at his death.

Mr. Catt married twice. His first wife was Miss Mary Martin, who died about 24 years ago, leaving a family of three — Colonel A. C. Catt, Mrs W. A. Langsford of St. Peters, and Miss Catt. Mr. Catt subsequently married Mrs. Chanter, who survives him.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Catt, Alfred (1833–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/catt-alfred-3181/text23973, accessed 19 October 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019