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Craft, Joseph (1842–1926)

Still the band grows smaller of able and determined pioneers who opened up and set on its way to prosperity this countryside (says Hornsby 'Advocate'). The district and the State is the poorer for the passing of these old fighters against primitive hardships, from whose life's work we benefit who follow after, and it is a sad duty, but one made necessary by the relentless advance of time, to chronicle at intervals the death of one or other of these men and women, of sterling worth to whom Australia owes so much.

It is with added regret we note the passing away on Friday, June 25th, of Mr. Joseph Craft, one of the early settlers who made the fame of the valleys which run down to the Hawkesbury River. The late Mr. Craft was most highly respected and esteemed in the several localities in which he had resided in his long and fruitful life. He had in full measure the solid worth, industrious nature, and open heart of the pioneer spirit, and to become acquainted with him was to desire his friendship. He was looked up to as well as loved by his family, and esteemed for many outstanding qualities by friends whose number was practically a tally of all who met him. Mr. Craft's ready help in need and open-handed hospitality at all times were proverbial on the Creek and the River; and because he was a citizen of unfailing stability and integrity, and a man from the ground up, those districts which have known him are in sorrow because of his death. For the bereaved relatives, the utmost sympathy is expressed, for there is a keen appreciation of the extent of the loss which they have suffered.

The late Joseph Craft was 84 years of age, having been born at Mangrove on March 15th, 1842. He was married there on April 5th, 1869, to Alice Wallbank. Mr. and Mrs. Craft resided for a time at Ironbark Creek, and then selected land at Mangrove Mountain, at that time known as Shakey's Forest, and now named Koree, and owned by Mr. C. L. Tange. Later, the late Mr. Craft took up land at Neverfail, Lower Mangrove. There he spent 22 years in orcharding, till ill-health compelled a further move to Fair View, Mooney Mooney, where he purchased a holding. It was here that he died after an illness lasting four weeks.

The death of the late Mr. Craft leaves in grief a widow, Mrs. Alice Craft, and eight sons and daughters, and there are many other relatives, extending to the third generation. The children are all married, and have families. They are Mrs. E. Higgins, Hornsby; Mrs. T. W. Coleman, Waverley; Mrs. G. A. Hawkins, Wingham; Mr. E. Craft, Auburn; Mrs. J. Pemberton, Waverley; Mr. Thos. Craft, Mooney Mooney; Mrs. A. W. Fuller, Glebe; and Mrs. A. Craft, Mooney Mooney.

The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Craft was celebrated on April 5th, 1919; and there were then present the nine children of the pioneer couple — one of whom has since passed away. There were also in attendance the whole of the second and third generations of the Craft family. There are now 34 grand-children, and 16 greatgrandchildren.

As with many of the sturdy pioneer families, long life has been a characteristic of the Crafts. Edward Craft, father of the lately deceased gentleman, attained the age of 94; the mother, Mrs. Craft, died at 78; Mrs. Alice Craft's father, Roger Wallbank, reached 77 years, and her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Wallbank, was 95 years of age at her death.

The interment took place in the Church of England Cemetery, Mangrove Creek, the mortal remains of Joseph Craft being laid to rest within a few yards of where he and his beloved wife had been christened and married. Prior to the graveside rites, a service was held in the Church of England, at 2 p.m. The funeral cortege led the largest attendance of mourners ever gathered in the district. Four launches, came from the main river, carrying up to 100 passengers. There were over 350 persons present, and included among those paying their last tribute to an honored gentleman were several octogenarians. The widow, Mrs. Alice Craft, who is 80 years of age, was present; and she, with members of the various generations of the family were the chief mourners.

Original publication

Citation details

'Craft, Joseph (1842–1926)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/craft-joseph-25558/text33887, accessed 24 November 2017.

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