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Moule, John (1845–1912)

The death of Mr. John Moule, formerly a member of the House of Assembly and for a brief period a minister of the Crown, who for some years had been carrying on an agency business in Adelaide, occurred on Friday evening with tragic suddenness, while he was travelling on the Melbourne express. Mr. Moule had been in his usual health and spirits lately, and though he complained of an attack of indigestion on Friday morning, he was apparently quite well in the afternoon, when he set out on a train journey to Ballarat on mining business. He was accompanied by the Hon. E. Lucas, M.L.C. They, as directors of the Boyd's Hydraulic Gold Sluicing Company, were on their way to inspect the property at Ballarat. When the express had passed Balhannah, Mr. Moule was reading the evening newspaper. Suddenly Mr. Lucas heard a choking noise, and looking up, he found that Mr. Moule had fallen back in his seat and was unconscious. Mr. Lucas called Mr. J. A. Riley (secretary of the Royal Agricultural Society), who was travelling in the same sleeping car, to his assistance, and they endeavored to restore consciousness, but without success. Mr. Moule died almost immediately afterwards. His body was placed in the guard's van of the South-Eastern train, and Mr. Lucas accompanied it back to Adelaide. He telephoned from Mount Lofty to the Hon. J. H. Howe, an old friend of Mr. Moule's, who conveyed the sad news to the widow and members of the family who reside at Marlborough Street, East Adelaide.

The deceased gentleman, who was greatly respected in commercial and in political circles, was 67 years of age, having been born in Birmingham on March 10, 1845. At an early age he was taken to the United States, and the experiences of those youthful years did much to mould his character and broaden his view. Subsequently he enjoyed the advantage of wide travel, and by the time he attained the age of twenty and settled in business in this State, he had seen a good deal of New Zealand and other parts of Australia. A man of commercial acumen, he was not slow to embrace the opportunities presented in a young country like South Australia at that time. He entered the employment of Mr. E. Siekmann at Saddleworth, and later on went into partnership with him in a general storekeeping and wheat buying business, with a branch at Caltowie. For some years Mr. Moule continued to reside at Saddleworth, and while there he took an intelligent interest in all public matters affecting the interests of this part of the State. He was amongst the first to realise the importance of linking up Burra with the metropolis by rail, and he never wearied of advocating the scheme until he had seen its realisation. As a member of the Midland Road Board he rendered valuable service.

It was not however, until he took up his residence in the city, about 33 years ago, that his untiring zeal found full opportunities. A seat in Parliament became the object of his ambition, and in 1884 he offered himself as a candidate for Flinders at the Assembly election, and was successful. Three years later he was again returned at the head of the poll. For several years subsequently he sat for the same district, and during the whole of the time he kept himself well versed in all matters affecting the wellbeing of the country, winning the respect of politicians of all parties. In 1893 for a short period he occupied the position of Commissioner of Public Works in the Downer Administration. While in Parliament Mr. Moule especially interested himself in land and mining legislation, and made himself an authority on several branches of public policy. He gave specially close attention to the State finances. After his retirement from the political arena he maintained a sympathetic interest in all movements which, in his view, were likely to tend to the betterment of the State and its people. The deceased gentleman leaves a widow, three sons (Dr. E. E. Moule, of Wagin, W.A., Mr. J. W. Moule of the Great Fitzroy mine, Queensland; and Mr. C. L. Moule, of Moonta and three daughters (the Misses Moule, of East Adelaide), and a wide circle of friends.

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Citation details

'Moule, John (1845–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/moule-john-1126/text1121, accessed 18 November 2018.

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