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Obituaries Australia

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Charles, Samuel (1818–1909)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Captain Samuel Charles, M.L.C., the oldest identity of the shipping circles of the Commonwealth, and one of the pioneers of the agricultural industry in this State, crossed the bar last evening at the advanced age of 91 years. He was born in the year 1817, and in early life chose a seafaring career. He commanded many of the finest ships of more than half a century ago, and was able to relate many stirring incidents connected with the early history of New South Wales.

Upon relinquishing the sea very many years ago, the deceased master mariner engaged in our primary industries, and it was largely owing to his foresight and enterprise that the butter export trade, which has now assumed stupendous proportions, was inaugurated and developed. The late Captain Charles in the early days of our agricultural efforts became convinced that a large demand for Australian dairy products was awaiting us on the other side of the world, and he forwarded to England the first consignment of butter from New South Wales.

About 35 years ago Captain Charles entered political life, and was first elected in 1874 as the representative of Kiama. In the Legislative Assembly of this State, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council in August, 1885, and retained his seat up to the time of his death.

Captain Charles was one of the foundation members of the League of Ancient Mariners, in the proceedings of which he evinced great interest. On the occasion of the last annual outing, however, he was too feeble to participate; but the steamer chartered by the league hove to off his waterside residence at Point Piper, and three lusty cheers were given by his comrades from the deck of the vessel. Captain Charles, who was on the verandah of his house at the time, was much moved by this demonstration, and waved response. Only a few weeks ago, on the occasion of the first annual smoke concert of the League of Ancient Mariners, a letter was read amid cheering from the nonagenarian mariner, apologising for his inability to attend on account of his advanced age.

The deceased, who retained his faculties almost to the end, died at his residence, Cliff Towers, Point Piper, Woollahra, in the presence of some of the members of his family. In order that his relatives from all parts of the Commonwealth may have an opportunity of being present at the funeral, the interment has been arranged for Monday. The body will be conveyed by train to North Kiama, where the family vault is situated.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Charles, Samuel (1818–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 11 August 2020.

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