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Govett, Edmund (1840–1923)

Mr. Edmund Govett, who died on Tuesday, Jan. 23rd, aged 82 years, says the Melbourne Argus of recent date, was the youngest son of the late Mr. George Govett by his first marriage. His father came to Tasmania from Somersetshire, England, in 1823. Having obtained a grant of land from the Government, he visited England to purchase stock, and, after his marriage, returned to Tasmania in the same year. About 1847 he sold his property and brought his family to Victoria, taking up a large sheep run, Springfield, between Kilmore and Kyneton. It was here that Mr. Edmund Govett spent his early boyhood. He was educated at Northcote's school at St. Kilda, and then returned to his father's property. After his eldest brother, Mr. John Govett, had sold his Tandara property, north of Bendigo, he went to Queensland in 1863 and took up Terrick Downs station 25 miles from Blackall, and so impressed was he with the possibilities of the country that he induced his brothers, Edmund and Robert, to join him in forming the well known pastoral company of Govett Brothers, which later acquired great pastoral properties, including Isis Downs. Avington, Portland, and Tallundilla. The two last-named were sold to the late Mr. W. D. Clarke, and in 1881 Isis Downs and Avington were disposed of to Messrs. Oliver, Smith & Co. Mr. Edmund Govett came to Melbourne to reside. In the same year he married a daughter of the late Mr. E. W. Klingender, a well-known Melbourne solicitor. She died in 1888. Mr. Govett was passionately fond of all forms of sport, horses being his chief hobby, and he was wont to recount many interesting experiences of his early racing days on the Barcoo, when races for grass fed horses held sway. A well-known performer which he owned, and in variably rode himself was a horse named Reindeer, which for some years was champion of the Barcoo, winning innumerable races, sometimes as many as three in a day. Mr. Govett has affirmed that if Reindeer had been taken south, he would have won a Melbourne Cup. Like many of the old school, Mr. Govett declared that the horses of to-day lacked the stamina of the "old timers." When he first went to Queensland he had to make the journey from Rockhampton to Blackall on horseback, and it was with much pride that he used to relate that he often did it on one horse, averaging between eighty and ninety miles each consecutive day. Alter coming to Victoria his interest in racing was unabated. It was commonly reported at the time that he was interested with a well-known Melbourne doctor in the ownership of Ben Bolt when he won the Caulfield Cup. This was not so, but being connected with the stable, he won what in those days, was considered a good stake. However, his speculations on the turf were not altogether successful, if for no other reason than that he was a man of very strong opinions as to the merits or demerits of a horse, and until the day of his death preferred to back his fancy, and what he termed his "eye sight," rather than listen to the tales of "whisperers." In discussing the congested state of traffic on last Melbourne Cap day he scathingly remarked that the public did not know when they were well off, as he had a vivid recollection of going to a race meeting at Flemington on one occasion in a gondola, the only available craft. In other fields of sport Mr. Govett was equally keen, being a cricket enthusiast, and in his young days a proficient player, having on one occasion played against the first English Eleven which visited Australia. Up till a few years ago he played a remarkably good game of billiards, and he was an excellent field shot. He was generally respected, and had endeared himself to a large circles of friends. He is survived by two children, Mr. Hugh Govett, of the Bank of New South Wales, Beechworth, and Mrs. Reginald Clarke, widow of Mr. Reginald Clarke, late of Woomargarma, New South Wales.

Original publication

Citation details

'Govett, Edmund (1840–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/govett-edmund-16252/text28187, accessed 19 October 2019.

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