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White, Arthur George (1865–1948)

The passing, on Friday last, in Sydney, where he had lived in retirement for many years, of Mr. Arthur George White, while not unexpected, severed a link with the very early days of pastoralism in the Upper Hunter and closed a chapter in the widely recorded history of a family whose genesis, or advent, to these pails goes back to 1839. Belltrees, the station founded in the year aforesaid, is verily redolent of colorful history pastorally and in other directions. It was founded by one of the earliest pioneers, Mr. H. C. Sempill, in the twenties of last century, when the landed industry was still in its swaddling clothes. Some years later, Mr. Sempill exchanged the property for other station's with Mr. William Charles Wentworth, whose name is so indissolubly associated with the early progress of Australia, for Wentworth was one of the intrepid three who discovered the track over the Blue Mountains in 1813, and made pastoralism development possible in Western New South Wales. In 1848 he disposed of Belltrees to Messrs. J. F. and H. White, and in June, 1853 the purchase was finalised. The new owners subsequently added the adjoining stations of Ellerston, running to the head waters of the Hunter, and Waverley, situated on the Isis and Page Rivers.

It was in 1885 that Mr. H, L. White took over the full manage ment of the station, and with his brothers, Messrs, W. Ernest White, Arthur G. White, and Victor M. White, sons of Mr. Francis White, of Edinglassie, Muswellbrook, who was a son of Mr. James White, the early owner of Edinglassie and Timor. However the founder of the family in Australia was Mr. James White, who came to this country in 1825, and who in 1839 took up a Crown grant on the Page and Isis Rivers near Gundy. The original founder, by the way, was the father of the Hon. James White, Mr. H. C. White, and Mr. Frank White.

As early as 1840, when the celebrated Wenthworth surveyed his vast domain, it is recorded that 180,000 sheep were shorn at Belltrees, being brought from Cassilis, Kickerbil, Coolah, Gammon Plains and other stations to be washed arid relieved of their wool. At that period all wool was washed on the sheep's back, and the facilities for such process were particularly good on the estate.

It will thus be seen from the foregoing condensation of the history, that the station has been in the one family, and still remains associated with it, from the periods commencing as far back as 1839 and 1848—just a century replete with progress, but down the long corridor of time, the area has been reduced considerably and consolidated into an estate of approximately one-fifth of its pristine proportions.

Apart altogether from achievement of the four brothers as successful landholders, sheep, cattle and horse studs were founded with like results, the products of each carrying the hall-mark which set the seal to the consummation aimed at, and has been fully maintained.

The heavy responsibilities, with their manifold duties, of working such a property did not deter the brothers from accepting and playing roles in the public life and activities of the district and of the State and nation itself. And the deceased gentleman wholeheartedly emulated the splendid public and patriotic efforts which have kept the family so intimately identified with the welfare and advancement of the terrain of his nativity, and of which he must enter the category of one of its most illustrious sons. That he should be a benefactor and leading philanthropist of the district of his time was only natural in view of the wonderful record of achievement and endeavour set by those of his own generation and his forbears, and although his acts in this direction were invariably in a most substantial way, there were many others given unobtrusively, a characteristic of the family. No worthwhile cause escaped his attention, and public institutions which were so of ten lifted and enriched because of his practical and sympathetic interest have lost a great and firm friend. In Scone itself, there was the handing over to the town, free of cost, of that fine area of ground to be later known as White Park. There were no restrictions in the making, of this wonderful gift of 100 valuable acres, situated inside the Municipality, and which is now the popular rendezvous of leading sports bodies and their extensive number of patrons. This area, towards the improvement of. which in the form of a scheme of floraculture an appreciable amount was also made by him, will forever remain a memorial to the generous donor in all his magnificence. But his benevolence embraced a much wider field, and an undivided interest in patriotic movements, and the Red Cross Society in particular, was shared by Mrs. White, both being prominent stalwarts of this world wide humanitarian organisation.

Thus at the age of 84, one whose years were stepping— stones ? of usefulness, kindliness, sympathetic understanding, and liberality personified, all characterised by a gentlemanly demeanour of a big Australian and a desire to give of his best as an outstanding citizen, has peacefully gone to his last rest to be remembered affectionately not only by those who ' knew: him best, but by all acquaintances alike.

Mrs. White, formerly a Miss Ebsworth, a member of a widely connected and equally favorably known city family, survives. A nephew is Mr. Alfred H. White, who, for some years past, carried on the full responsibility and work, of management at Belltrees with his uncle. The remains were cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium on Saturday.

Original publication

Citation details

'White, Arthur George (1865–1948)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/white-arthur-george-22476/text32180, accessed 21 November 2017.

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