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Lucas, Charles Thomas (1822–1918)

Mr. Charles Thomas Lucas, an old Gippsland identity, passed away at Stradbroke, North Gippsland, on Saturday, 16th inst., associated with whose life is a chain of interesting incidents. He was, at the time of his death, the oldest Australian native, having been born at Launceston, Tasmania, in 1822, and died in his 96th year. His grandfather, Mr. Nathaniel Lucas, is stated to have come to Australia by the first fleet of sailing vessels from England, and occupied the position of Government architect and Superintendent of Public Works. He had seven sons and four daughters. One son, Charles, born in Sydney, married the daughter of Sergeant Murphy, of the 42nd Regiment, and 15 children were born. They lived in Tasmania, and his son Charles (subject of our notice) was born there in 1822. Misfortune having overtaken his father as a wheat farmer by reason of floods–having lost 2,000 bushels of wheat valued at 10/ a bushel–he returned with the family to Sydney in 1834, in the boat Olivia, which he and his brother-in-law built, with a cargo of wheat. Misfortune again overtook them, for the schooner in rough weather went ashore at Twofold Bay, and had to be abandoned. The passengers and crew then had to travel over 300 miles of wild country, infested with blacks, to reach Sydney. They took with them a number of beads, pieces of a mirror, and other trinkets as peace-offerings, should trouble arise with the blacks. They had not travelled more than 60 miles when they came upon a tribe of some 200, who agreed upon a feast, and decided the whites should be killed at break of day. Fortunately there was one in the tribe who had had dealings with early colonists, and had picked up a little broken English. It was he who told the shipwrecked mariners of the verdict of the chief, and his sympathies being aroused, he decided to effect an escape for them. Under cover of night he led them to the river, placed them in a canoe, and they got safely away, reaching Sydney without further mishap. Reports having reached them of good prospects in Victoria, the family started overland to Omeo, Gippsland, and eventually drifted to Yarram, settling on the Tarra Creek. Mr. Lucas (father of deceased), acquired 115 acres of land on which the old flour mill was built, also 150 acres on the opposite side, now owned by Mr. James Nicol. The mill was worked by a water wheel. Several hundred pounds was spent on the mill, and Mr. Lucas supplied flour to the store he started at Russell's Creek. Things did not prosper, however. The mill was mortgaged to Mr. Turnbull, Port Albert, and finally lost. He took ill and died at Cascade. The store at Russell's Creek was afterwards sold by his son Joseph for forty bushels of wheat.

The deceased, Mr. Charles Thomas Lucas, married Miss Martin, daughter of Captain Martin, in 1856 at Bruthen Creek, South Gippsland, and had three sons and five daughters. They went to Yarram, and he was engaged building the water wheels at his father's mill. He afterwards settled at Stradroke, where he lived the rest of his life. His wife died some years ago. The funeral on Sunday was attended by a large number of relatives and friends, the remains being interred in the Sale Cemetery. Mrs. H. B. Newton, of Alberton, is a daughter of deceased, and Mr. Goldie Gabbett, who recently returned from the war, married one of his daughters.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Gippsland Mercury (Sale, Vic), 19 February 1918, p 2

Citation details

'Lucas, Charles Thomas (1822–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/lucas-charles-thomas-26275/text34171, accessed 24 April 2019.

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