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Horsfall, John Sutcliffe (1837–1916)

from Argus (Melbourne)

John Horsfall, n.d.

John Horsfall, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 15 July 1916

Widespread regret will be caused by the news of the death of Mr. John Sutcliffe Horsfall, which occurred at his residence, Orrong, Clendon road, Toorak, yesterday afternoon. Mr. Horsfall had recently returned from Sydney, and on the steamer he caught a chill that subsequently developed into pneumonia. While this was serious for a man of his age—for he was in his 79th year—Dr. Grant and Dr. Ormond who were attending him, had great hopes of pulling him through, for a week ago the condition of the patient was much better. The end came rather suddenly yesterday afternoon through weakness of the heart. Mr. Horsfall, who was conscious to the last, and who suffered no pain, died with his family around him. John Sutcliffe Horsfall was born in Yorkshire in 1837. His family for generations had been identified with the woollen trade as staplers and manufacturers. He was educated at Bradford, and he came to Victoria in 1856 to Mr. Richard Goldsbrough. He began as a junior clerk, and rose until in 1873 he was admitted as a partner, the firm being Richard Goldsbrough and Co. In 1881 the business of R. Goldsbrough and Co. was amalgamated with that of the Australian Agency and Banking Corporation, and became Goldsbrough and Co. Limited, Mr. Horsfall being one of the directors. Later on it was amalgamated with Mort's wool business in Sydney, and was known as Goldsbrough, Mort, and Company Limited. He was a director till 1889, when he retired, but after the collapse of the boom in the reconstruction period in 1894 Mr. Horsfall rejoined the firm as adviser. His term was for 10 years, and when that expired he did not renew it. He at one time owned Widgiewa Station, N.S.W., near Narrandera, which he sold a few years ago to F. S. Falkiner and Sons; Ensay, (Gippsland), Benalla (near Benalla), Coongoola (Q.). He also owned Momalong, near Jerilderie. He sold all these properties. He owned at his death Kerarbury Station, neay Hay, N.S.W. He had one son, Richard, who survives him, and two daughters, one the late Mrs. Carington, was wife of Colonel Rupert Carington, brother of Lord Carington. Mr. Horsfall's grandson, Lieutenant Rupert Carington is on active service, and has been wounded twice.

He was married twice. His first wife was a daughter of Mr. James Maiden, a well-known wool broker, of Sydney. She died two or three years ago, and he married again.

Mr. Horsfall was a very determined man, and perhaps on no occasion did he prove this more thoroughly than at the great shearers' strike, when, rather than give in to demands that he regarded as unjust, he chose to lose somewhere about £50,000. He was an early riser, and had a remarkable capacity for work, which he retained to an age when most men's physical powers are beginning to fail. His pleasure was in his work but he was also a great reader. As a young man he knew the Bronte family well, and this may have given a literary bent to his tastes. For sport generally he cared little or nothing, but when he was younger he took a good deal of interest in athletics and was an oarsman of more than ordinary merit.

In the South African war he raised a contingent of 100 bushmen and sent them to the front at his own expense, but this fine body of men never had a chance to distinguish themselves, however, for peace was declared a few days after they arrived. To the University of Melbourne Mr. Horsfall was a very generous benefactor, and the Horsfall Memorial Chapel, which he gave in memory of his daughter, the late Mrs. Carington, will cost many thousands by the time that it is completed. In disposition he was genial and he was a capital raconteur of experiences of the early strenuous colonial days. And Mr. Horsfall was of a charitable disposition, though the greater part of his charity was hidden from the public. He liked to make personal gifts to those who were in distress, and with his death many poor people will miss a generous benefactor as well as a sympathetic friend. The funeral will take place on Tuesday.

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Citation details

'Horsfall, John Sutcliffe (1837–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/horsfall-john-sutcliffe-508/text24001, accessed 23 October 2014.

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