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Dell, John (1763–1866)

from Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas)

It is with feelings of sincere regret that we record the death of Mr. John Dell, at the patriarchal age of 102 years and four months. He had been ailing but a very short time, and had the use of his faculties to the last hour of his life. He was reading as usual without the use of spectacles, and out of bed on Thursday night, but he breathed his last yesterday, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. William Brean, of Brisbane Street, and his remains are to be interred on Monday. Mr. Dell was born at Reading, in Berkshire, in 1763, and arrived in New South Wales with the 102nd Regiment of Foot, in 1788, in the ship 'Surprise,' the first of the fleet which brought convicts to Botany Bay, and he was present in Sydney during the whole of the period of the government of Governor Phillip, and at the arrest of Governor Bligh, who it will be remembered by those who have read the early history of New South Wales, was arrested by Colonel Johnson, the Colonel of the regiment in which Dell served, the 102nd. This corps was raised specially for service in New South Wales, and Mr. Dell returned with it in 1808, and on board the vessel in which Governor Bligh died on the passage to England. He was pensioned in 1815, and has been in the receipt of a pension for more than half a century. He arrived in this colony in 1818, and was for some time Chief Constable of Launceston, but retired many years ago from office, to a large farm at Norfolk Plains. Mr. Dell was the owner of very valuable property in this colony, though he did not die wealthy, the Court House Square belonged to him at one time, and he fenced it in, but subsequently he returned it to the Government in exchange for a grant of six hundred and forty acres of land in the country. Mr. Dell was a temperate man but not a teetotaller. It is strange that throughout his eventful career, he never learned to smoke, but this may account for the steadiness of his nerves to the latest day of his long life. He had encountered great hardships in New South Wales, having been in the bush there for three days disabled by a spear wound inflicted by an aborigine. He was in a very exhausted state when discovered, but his iron constitution enabled him to rally, and he was soon in as sound a state of health as ever. For some years past his sight was keener and his hair of a darker colour than they had been twenty years previous. He was rather eccentric of late, but no one from his hale appearance would suppose him to be much above seventy years of age. His voice was a good strong firm bass without a quaver in it. Very few men have ever been blessed with such a long period of interrupted sound health as Mr Dell. He will be missed and his death lamented by a wide circle of relatives and friends.

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Citation details

'Dell, John (1763–1866)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/dell-john-25969/text34050, accessed 17 November 2019.

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