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Underwood, Richard James (Dick) (1851–1909)

It is with extreme regret we have to record the death of Mr. Richard James Underwood, of Warroo, which sad event took place on Wednesday last. He became ill a short while back; and was brought into St. George for medical attendance, when it was found that his illness was of such a severe nature that he had to undergo an operation for an internal complaint. This was successfully performed, the sufferer receiving immediate relief, but the seriousness of his case was never for a moment lost sight of, and the ultimate end was always in grave doubt. A few days after the operation he became weaker, and slowly sinking, passed away at noon on Wednesday, 1st inst.

Mr. Underwood was one of the most widely known and popular men in the district. Coming on to the Balonne some 40 years ago from the Quirindi district in New South Wales, he married and settled in these parts, and leaves behind a good, clean record — one well worthy of any man. For a number of years he has resided at Warroo, where a hearty welcome was always extended to one and all, and his demise is the severing of another link that connects the past with the present. He was 60 years of age at the time of his death, and he leaves a widow and family of nine to mourn their loss, to whom the deepest sympathy is extended.

Until recent years Mr. Underwood interested himself in public affairs, at times being a member of the Shire Council, Rabbit Board and other public institutions. But apart from this, if there was one thing he admired above all others, it was a good horse, and perhaps a good joke filled second place, for he was most happily endowed with a fund of humor of description that could be appreciated. In the happy racing days of the Balonne, when amateur riders were true to their name, Dick Underwood was one of the best, and his collection of racing trophies at Warroo is one to be admired. His retiring record was a win on old Ackbar (who had five Balonne Handicaps to his credit) some 20 years ago, and on that occasion the two veterans of many a hard fought race received quite an ovation. Mr. Underwood also acted as handicapper and starter to several of the district racing clubs for a number of years, and these positions he filled with every credit.

There are many incidents in the most retired life of 40 years spent in one part, and much could be written of Mr. Underwood's career, but perhaps the most striking, now that he has gone to his last long rest, was the many sterling qualities he possessed. Fair-minded, honest and upright, true to his opinions with an entire absence of anything approaching vindictiveness, he was a man whom any one would feel honored to call friend— such was Dick Underwood.

Though he had a pleasant greeting for all with whom he came in contact, Mr. Underwood had more than his share of pain and suffering. On more than one occasion he had to fight a long and serious illness, but a sensitive mind was not of a nature to make complaint, and he bore all his suffering with heroic fortitude. A good and true man has gone to his last long rest — in peace, and a well known form and face will be sadly missed. And perhaps there was never a more sadder act than that of Wednesday evening last, when the remains were laid in their last resting place. "In the midst of life we are in death." When the bright morning sun rose there was life and — hope. With the decline of day, and darkness fast setting in— the last sad rites were being performed at the graveside.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • birth notice, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 1851, p 3
  • memorial poem, Balonne Beacon (St. George, Qld), 11 December 1909, p 6

Citation details

'Underwood, Richard James (Dick) (1851–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/underwood-richard-james-dick-25341/text33752, accessed 26 May 2019.

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