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Hart, William (1855–1937)

Father of Australia's first licensed air-pilot and widely known as a bowler and philanthropist, Mr. William Hart, who died at his residence in Wentworth-street, Parramatta, on Wednesday of last week, made his first flight twenty-five years ago. He was then said to be the oldest man in Australia to fly.

By the never-failing support and encouragement he gave his famous son, W. E. ("Bill") Hart, he made a notable though little-recognised contribution to the development of Australian aviation.

The late Mr. Hart, who was a widower, was born at Parramatta 82 years ago, soon after the arrival of his parents from England. Seventy years ago his father established the timber business which became known as Hart and Sons, and which in later years was Hart, Hitchcock and Co., with Mr. Hart as senior partner. He retired about three years ago.

A member of Parramatta Bowling Club since 1886 he played for N.S.W. in Interstate matches and was captain of Parramatta's pennant team for some years. He was club champion in 1907, 1908 and 1911, and runner-up three times and he and Mr. George Coates, an old friend, were a successful combination in the club pairs championship. Mr. Hart was one of four members of fifty years standing who were made life-members of Parramatta Bowling Club a short time ago.

He was immensely popular with bowlers all over the State, and a letter expressing regret at his passing was received from the N.S.W. Bowling Association by the Paramatta Club.

As much of the late Mr. Hart's sporting enthusiasm as was not devoted to bowls went to fishing. An expert angler, he had been a regular visitor to the Hawkesbury for sixty years until recently.

His kindly and generous character manifested itself in a host of unostentatious benefactions and appeals for charitable causes never found him unresponsive. He was a life-governor of the Parramatta District Hospital.

Mr. Hart had an inexhaustible fund of humorous anecdotes and a gift of swift repartee that was at times disconcerting and always entertaining. His reminiscences of Parramatta, extending over three-quarters of a century, were vivid and interesting.

Though deafnesss had precluded his participation in public life, Mr. Hart followed current affairs with keen interest, informed by an intelligent, admirably-poised judgment and a shrewd knowledge of the world.

A motion of sympathy with the bereaved family was carried at Parramatta Council on Monday.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hart, William (1855–1937)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hart-william-17270/text29052, accessed 12 November 2019.

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