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Oxley, Henry James (1848–1916)

It is with regret that we announce the death of Mr. Henry James Oxley who passed away at his residence, Waroa, Eagle Junction at a quarter to 9 last night. Mr. Oxley was born at Wandsworth Road London on March 31, 1848, and educated at a private school in London. In 1866 - fifty years ago last January - he landed in Brisbane, and soon afterwards became identified with mercantile matters. In 1874 he took charge of the business of the Mutual Life Association of Australasia, and remained with that society as secretary until 1888 when he became a local director. In 1878 he established the second Permanent Building Society in Brisbane, now known as the City and Suburban Building Society, and acted as secretary until 1898 when he resigned. In 1898 he originated the City of Brisbane Building Society, and took an active part in its management until 1907 when he was laid aside through illness and the duty of management fell upon his son E. Griffith Oxley. In 1009 he took the latter into partnership and established the firm of Henry J. Oxley and Son, accountants. The deceased gentleman’s illness took a more acute turn six weeks ago, and his early demise was, since then, fully anticipated.

Mr. Oxley was connected with the Brisbane General Cemetery as secretary and with the London Guarantee and Accident Company, Ltd, as agent for Queensland for many years. For years he acted as financial secretary to the Wharf Street Congregational Church, and introduced the weekly offering system which is still in vogue, and has been a great financial success. In 1907 he occupied the position of President of the Queensland Congregational Union. He was for three years president of the Queensland Institute of Accountants. He was a fellow of that society, as also of the Australasian Corporation of Public Accountants. For some years he was a director of the Queensland Trustees Ltd. Not one or two but many educational and philanthropic institutions will miss Mr. H. J. Oxley. Indeed there are few institutions in Brisbane which have not had the benefit of long years of his freely given services, or which had not come to regard him as an integral part of their existence.

Recalling some time ago, at the suggestion of a representative of the Courier, some of the work which had fallen to him, Mr. Oxley himself was almost surprised when he came to total it up, and he confessed that if he had not been methodical he never could have found time for it, but he added: "You know a busy man can always find time to do a little more." For about 20 years he was a member of the Brisbane Hospital Committee, and a great part of that time its treasurer. When he first joined that body the late Mr. John Petrie was the chairman, and Mr. J. Stodart, M.L.A. (the present chairman), was the treasurer. For long Mr. Oxley was both a trustee and treasurer of the Boys' and Girls' Grammar Schools - how long may he gauged by the fact that Mr. Justice Mein, Sir Arthur Palmer, Sir Charles Lilley, Mr. L. A. Bernays, Mr. John Scott, and Sir S. W. Griffith were co-members of the respective governing bodies. Then he was treasurer of the Queensland Art Society, and for many years of the Musical Union, as well as a member of the committee. When the late Mr. J. G. Cribb died Mr. Oxley look up the treasuryship of the Wharf Street Congregational Church. Then he acted as treasurer for the Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, and treasurer of the London Missionary Society.

Years ago he occupied the position of chairman of the committee and treasurer of the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb Institution, and it was during that period the workshops were erected and the homes built. Latterly he acted as a member of the committee, and always took a keen interest in the work carried on among the blind, deaf, and dumb. Another office associated was that of vice-president of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society. He was also connected with the Lady Bowen Hospital, the Charity Organisation Society, the Benevolent Society, and Bible Society as honorary auditor; member of committee of the Congregational Union, the Social Service Institute, speaker of the Eagle Junction Debating Society, trustee of the Children's Hospital, and the Lady Musgrave Lodge, and Blind Institution, and member of the examining committee of the Institute of Accountants.

Not long ago he completed a pamphlet giving the history of the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb Institution from its foundation and for this he received the thanks of the committee. In 1874 he married Alice, the second daughter of the late Rev. Edward Griffith (and sister of Sir Samuel Griffith). He is survived by three daughters and six sons, viz., Mrs. W. Story, and Misses R. and A. G. Oxley, Messrs. E. Griffith Oxley, H. G. Oxley, A. G. Oxley, O. G. Oxley, Alric G. Oxley, and L. G. Oxley. Messrs. Alric G. and L. G. Oxley are members of the A.I.F.

The funeral will move from the deceased’s late residence, Waroa, Eagle Junction, this afternoon, at 2 30, and will reach the Toowong Cemetery at 4 o'clock. It is requested that no flowers be sent.

Original publication

Citation details

'Oxley, Henry James (1848–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/oxley-henry-james-791/text792, accessed 21 September 2020.

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