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Reddan, William (1837–1923)

from Narracoorte Herald (SA)

Another old and esteemed resident of the district, Mr. Wm. Reddan, has passed away, and the news of his death will be received with general regret. The late Mr. William Beddan, who died at his home at Narracoorta on Saturday evening last, March 24, was a colonist of 60 years. He was born at Lorrha, County Tipperary, Ireland, over 85 years ago. He was one of a family of eight, all of whom predeceased him. One of his brothers was killed in the American Civil War, two, who died in India, were in the East India Company, a fourth brother, Patrick (father ot Mrs. F. Fay, of Kensington), died at Kensington (Adelaide), and two of his sisters (Mrs de la Hunt and Miss Margaret Reddan), died in Melbourne and Adelaide respectively. Mr. Beddan, while quite a child, was attracted to gardening as an occupation, and very early began to study all the literature obtainable on the subject, taking a position on the estate of Archdeacon Knox, of Kyle Park, near the Abbeys of Lorrha. Mrs. Knox was a deep scientific student of botany and gardening and gave the lad all possible assistance in his studies during the three years he was in their employ. But the wanderlust led him to embark for Australia and he arrived at Adelaide in The Tallyho in the year 1857. His first position after arrival was with the late Mr. E. C. Omersham in the Adelaide Hills. Wishing to gain a wider experience he, after a couple of years, went to a big (for those days) nursery in Melbourne, conducted by Perry & Co., where 30 men were employed, and became the second head gardener there. His health proved unequal to roughing it, and 1862 he returned to South Australia, this time to the Moorooro estate with Mr. William Jacob, and he started the Moorooro vineyards and garden. In 1874 he bought a farm at St. John's, near Kapunda, but in 1887 he sold his farm to become Forester under the S. A. Forest Department, a position he retained until forced to retire under the Superannuation Act in 1918. In his capacity of Forester, but particularly as Caretaker of the Narracoorte Caves (which was combined with that of Forester), he was well known, for his ready wit and attractive personality made him an ideal guide. He it was who discovered in 1896 the Victoria Cave and in 1908 the Alexandra  Cave, fine acquisitions to the already far-famed Caves. Many people will remember him as an entertainer of no mean order in his capacity of guide, and his extensive repertoire of original stories appertaining to the Caves made a tour through them an interesting experience. His garden surrounding the Cave cottage was from its beginning made shortly after he took up his residence there a thing of beauty. He had the finest show of roses in the district and in chrysanthemum days at Narracoorte, when this fine fiower was cultivated to a high standard by local growers, he carried off many championships. Since his retirement he has resided at his home in Narracoorte, Lorrha Cottage, situated in the east end of the town, and his little garden there was always full of bloom and beauty. For the past nine months his health has been failing, but it is only a couple of months since he gave up any active interest in his garden. The esteem in which he was held was evidenced by the numerous friends who in his latter days visited and kept in touch with him. He retained his interest in people until the last, and was never happier than when surrounded by his friends in cheery conversation. He finally took to his bed on Monday week last, and tranquilly awaited the end. He was in practice a deeply religious man, a practical Catholic in every sense of the word, and nature's gentleman. Mr. Reddan married at Kapunda in 1862 Miss Rose Glasge, and had a family of four sons and four daughters, but his wife, with four sons and one daughter, predeceased him by many years. Three daughters, Misses Margaret and Mary Reddan, of Narracoorte, and Mrs. A. F. Needham, of Mount Gambier, survive him) also his grandniece (Miss Bessie Riordan), who has for many years formed one of the household. Reference was made by the Rev. Fathers T. P. Davis at both masses in the Catholic Church on Sunday to the fine example Mr Reddan had given in his upright life and attention to his religious duties.—His remains were laid to rest in the Narracoorte cemetery on Monday afternoon, when a large number of residents were in the cortege and around the graveside to pay the last tribute of respect to one who had lived and labored so long among them. The Rev. Fathers T. P. Davis and C. J. Thompson conducted the service at the grave, and Messrs. Platt Bros, carried out the mortuary arrangements.

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Citation details

'Reddan, William (1837–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/reddan-william-18463/text30117, accessed 25 November 2017.

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