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Douglas, Henry (1814–1887)

It ia with deep regret that we record, today, the death of Mr Henry Douglas, Police Magistrate for the district of Port Sorell, which occurred at Mr Sutton's Coffee Palace, Launceston, yesterday morning. Mr Douglas was of Scotch descent, but was born in England, at Thorpe, near Norwich, in 1814, and was consequently in his 73rd year. He commenced his self-reliant career early as a midshipman in the Hon. the East India Company's navy, but retired, and arrived in Australia with Mr Roddam H. Douglas in 1832. He subsequently returned to England, and then came to this colony about the year 1837. In 1840 he and his brother, Mr Adye Douglas, sailed from George Town for Port Phillip, taking sheep and all requisites for commencing  a pastoral career on the banks of the Lodaon, near Mount Macedon. Most of the early settlers in the district of Port Phillip, which was then an appendage of New South Wales, were identified more or less with this colony. They had much to dispirit them in those days. Blacks and bushrangers were troublesome ; there was no market for mutton, and wool brought a low price in the little village of Melbourne. Added to this, bush life in such an uncivilized country, with only a few inhabitants within a radius of fifty miles, was more than Mr Douglas wished to bear, with his young family, and although his brother, Mr Adye Douglas, had joined him, and embarked energetically in rural pursuits for a short time, they both determined to quit the place and return to Tasmania. In 1843, Mr Henry Douglas went to the North-West Coast, and rented temporarily the Marsh Farm, near the mouth of the Forth River, where he grew a heavy crop of oats; but the farm did not afford him scope enough for general agricultural purposes and was in many ways unsuitable. Then after a residence at the Forth of little more than a year, he moved to the New Ground, near Port Sorell, and occupied for several years one of the finest agricultural and dairy farms in the district. Mr Douglas was appointed a magistrate for the territory in April, 1853, and rendered good service in the Police Courts, Road Trusts, Local Board of Works, and other public capacities, while he remained in the district. About the year 1860 he removed with his family to the Deloraine district, where he soon became a municipal councillor, and was Warden of the Municipality from 1865 until 1875. He was also elected as representative of the district in the House of Assembly on 6th April, 1869; but he had no taste for the stormy sea of politics, which was much disturbed at that time, and within a couple of years he voluntarily resigned his seat, and retired from Parliamentary work. In 1880 Mr Douglas was appointed Police Magistrate at the Mersey in the room of Mr H. T. A Murray, who had been removed to the Police Magistracy of Launceston, an office which had become vacant by the death of the late Hon. Charles Meredith. Since that year the hand of death had been active in Mr Douglas' family. Within half-a-dozen years he lost two grown up daughters, his devoted wife, and his son Henry, who is kindly remembered as a resident in Launceston, where he died. These losses were keenly felt by the head of the family, and, in addition to his mental trouble, Mr Douglas had lately been suffering from a painful complaint. A few weeks ago he was removed to Launceston for medical treatment. The doctors deemed it advisable to perform an operation, but he sank gradually since and died yesterday morning. From early youth his career has been an active one, though he was not so prominent in public life as his younger brother, the Honorable Adye Douglas, late Premier in the Government of Tasmania, and now Agent-General for this colony in London. The remains of Mr Henry Douglas will be removed to Latrobe, and the funeral will leave there at 1 p m. to-morrow, and proceed to the cemetery at New Ground for interment.

Original publication

Citation details

'Douglas, Henry (1814–1887)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/douglas-henry-22916/text32303, accessed 23 January 2018.

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