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Cousins, Richard Young (1819–1886)

On Friday night last, death removed from our midst one of the old residents of the district, in the person of Mr. R. Y. [Richard Young] Cousins, J.P., of Kelso. For several months Mr. Cousins had been suffering from a severe form of asthma, and just recently had made 'Bishopscourt, ' Bathurst, his residence, in hope that the change would prove beneficial; but the benefit derived was only temporary in its nature, and he became gradually worse until death death supervened on the night named. The announcement of his death was received with genuine expressions of regret by the numerous friends of the family in the district, and during Saturday many of the business establishments in the city had the windows partially closed. In years past Mr. Cousins took a very active part in public matters. He was the first Mayor of Bathurst, but had always refused to become a candidate for Parliamentary honors, although his friends frequently solicited his services in that direction. During his later years he confined his attention chiefly to advancing the interests of the Bathurst Hospital, of which Institution he for many years, and up to the time of his death, held the office of President. He was indefatigable in his exertions to raise money annually in support of the funds, and had the pleasure of seeing the Hospital placed on the substantial footing which it now holds, he having been foremost in pushing forward the erection of the present magnificient structure, and secured for that purpose, by active canvass amongst friends in all parts of the colony, a very large sum of money. Only those who were intimately connected with the deceased gentleman can form any idea of the immense amount of correspondence carried on by him, and the trouble he took, in Hospital affairs, and while the Bathurst Hospital stands, no monument will be wanting of the zeal, energy and public spirit of the gentleman who has now passed away to his rest. At home and abroad, in sickness and health, his one aim was to enkindle practical interest in the institution, and the Committee of Management will feel his loss greatly. He leaves a widow and a large family to mourn his loss, and their sorrow is shared by a very large circle of friends.

THE FUNERAL
took place on Sunday afternoon, and notwithstanding the short notice given of Mr. Cousins' death, the attendance was very large. The citizens assembled in large numbers, and many residents of the district around testified their respect for the deceased gentleman by their presence. Amongst the number were nearly all the gentlemen holding prominent positions in the town and district, including ministers of religion, members of Parliament, and others, The deceased gentleman had in days gone by belonged to the Masonic order, and took an active part in the old lodge, whose place has now been filled by the Phoenix Lodge, E.C.; and while he has not taken any prominent position in Masonic affairs for many years, the order has always had his warmest interest, and support. At his request he was accorded a Masonic burial and the brethren of the two lodges now in Bathurst — the Phoenix, E.C., and Caledonia, S.C. — were called together to attend the funeral of their deceased brother. The members met at their lodge-room and marched in procession to 'Bishopscourt,' where the body was lying: here they again assembled in lodge and a short and impressive ceremony was read by one of the senior officers, after which the procession re-formed, and marched in front of the hearse. The long and mournful cortege proceeded from the late residence of deceased and passed through some of the principal streets of the city on its way to the Kelso Cemetery, and during its course was watched by large crowds of people. Many persons from Bathurst and a large number of the residents of Kelso also assembled at the cemetery, and watched from the Church hill the procession as it crossed from the town to Kelso. Arrived at the cemetery, the coffin, which was covered with wreaths of beautiful flowers, was carried by Masons into the church, and soon afterwards the church was filled by those who had attended the funeral, and other personal friends of deceased, many of whom were unable to obtain accommodation in the church. Mr. C. Toole acted as organist, and as the procession filed into the church, the 'Dead March in Saul' was feelingly played. A choir, many of the singers being from Bathurst, under the leadership of Mr. C. V. Naylor, sang Psalm XC, and after the lesson had been read.

The Ven. Archdeacon Campbell, delivered an impressive address. He said that many had met that day in various parts of the colony to acknowledge the bounty of God in sending the copious showers of rain upon the earth, but others had gathered on the present occasion to show sympathy with those who mourned. They had met to express their sympathy with, and show their respect to the bereaved friends of one who had resided in the neighbourhood for very many years, and one who had taken an important part in all measures which had for their object the advancement of the city of Bathurst and parish of Kelso, whether these objects were of a civil, philanthropic, or religious character. In all such objects their deceased friend had taken an active part and had acted with energy and liberality. The city of Bathurst, the committee of the Bathurst Hospital, and the Church at Kelso would miss a true friend. In the Church in which they were now gathered he had held the important position of church officer for many years, and he would be sorely missed. His friends would no longer have his hearty greetings, for he whose opinions were always worth having had now gone, and the place which had known him would know him no more, There were lessons which God intended them to learn by these things. He spoke with deference in the presence of many before him who were grey headed and far advanced in life. He whom they had known, and with whom they had had familiar intercourse was now about to have his mortal remains consigned to the tomb, and as God's minister, he (the Speaker) would refer to some of the lessons which he considered God desired them all to learn. They should learn that it was designed and intended that the strongest and most vigorous life must ultimately run out. When life was reviewed it was seen to quickly pass. They also learned that after the death of any one, the great stream of the worlds events went on just as before, as though the one who had gone had never taken any part in the events of the world. This proved that this was not their resting place, and their stay was but for a short time; but it was true that there was a home beyond, and it was to this home that he would point all his bearers. Transition, effervescence, and brevity stamped this little life; it was as a vapor which quickly passed away. The present occasion also showed the transcendant importance of eternity. He hoped the coffin before them, which was so beautifully covered with the flowers of coming Spring and which might therefore well speak to them as a resurrection token, would whisper quietly to the hearts of all present and lead them to think of that one grand and all-important word—Eternity. They should be led to 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,' so that they might live for and with their blessed Saviour, that when their time ran out they would be ushered into this glorious eternity. What were the riches, position, pleasures, beauty, and possessions of land and property which so many sought after, and which were but of short duration, compared to a well grounded hope of eternity? It became them all to seek for and embrace the knowledge of God. They should 'Know Him; and Jesus Christ whom he had sent'. Let the words of the closing hymn which would be sung, and which was a great favorite of the deceased's speak to them as the closing word would in eternity.

The choir then sang the hymn 'Days and Moments,' after which the coffin was removed to the open grave, and then the remainder of the funeral service was concluded by the Ven. Archdeacon. This service being over, the service in connection with the Masonic lodge was read, officers from E.C. and S.C. both taking part. Shortly after this the company separated.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Bathurst Free Press (NSW), 31 August 1886, p 2

Citation details

'Cousins, Richard Young (1819–1886)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cousins-richard-young-27019/text34488, accessed 21 August 2019.

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