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Obituaries Australia

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Wood, James (1802–1854)

Our last week's obituary, contained the name of Mr. James Wood, an old colonist, known as an able compiler of statistics, and the original editor and proprietor of Woods Almanack. Mr. Wood, formerly in office in this town, was in Launceston some years, where he kept the Cornwall Hotel, one of the best frequented, and most respectable establishments in the colony. He was subsequently engaged in business houses in Launceston, where he started his sheet Almanack about 1845. The favor this work obtained, and the excellent style in which it was turned out by the printer, Mr. Henry Dowling, induced Mr. Wood to publish his book Almanack, which appeared in the following year and the two Almanacks have been regularly continued since; though of late years, necessarily under other management. About five years since he came to Hobart Town to accept the situation of accountant in the office of Mr. Bicheno, the then Colonial Secretary: this situation he held for about twelve months when he had an apoplectic attack which disabled him from active life. He then received the appointment of Registrar of the Court of Requests, but the duties of which have (in consequence of Mr. Wood's increasing infirmity) been performed for the last two years by his son, Mr. F. G. Wood. Of late deceased was reduced to an almost helpless state, blindness, and deafness being added to his previous ailments. For a week prior to his death, he was bed-ridden; but his death was hastened by a violent attack of dysentery which resulted in a happy release from a world of suffering and sorrow on Wednesday last, at the age of 52, leaving a widow, two sons, and three daughters, him surviving. Deceased was buried on Saturday at St. David's cemetery, the funeral being attended by a number of his old friends and members of their families, among whom was Joseph Hone, Esq. Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, the Revs. Dr. Fry, Dr. Lillie, Medland, Dr. Turnbull, and Messrs. Sorell, McLachlan, Priauix, Millward, T. Macdowell, Capon, Pitcairn, Lovett, Wynne, Vautin, A. Gardiner, Fielding Brown. H. Hull, Jean, Knox, Wise, Fleming, Cartwright, Buckland, Watchorn, Corbett, Lavender, Dermer, Walch, &c. The vacancy in the office of Registrar will most likely be filled by the appointment of his son, who has so long performed the duties of Acting Registrar. The last Almanack with which Mr. Wood had any active concern was that of 1852, which was a greatly improved and enlarged edition comprising useful statistical information respecting the Indian Presidencies, and all the colonies in this hemisphere; to which he gave the more imposing name of the Royal Kalendar. Deceased's indisposition prevented his farther attention to the weighty duties of compilation, and the copyright of the Almanacks came into the hands of his publisher, Mr. Dowling, who as our readers are aware lately disposed of his business and his interest in these "annuals" to Mr. Charles Wilson of Launceston. The benefit conferred on Tasmania, and its various interests by Mr. Wood's labors cannot be estimated. It is known that the Tasmanian Almanack and Royal Kalendar was liberally circulated in England, and had its share in disabusing the people at home as to their ideas of the insignificance of this colony. During deceased's life-time, several gentlemen who arrived in this colony, paid him a visit, and made known the pleasing fact that it was mainly owing to the satisfactory aspect of things given in the Almanack that they had been induced to come here. Mr. Wood was not a wealthy man but he had been enabled to bring up a large family creditably; few men have lived in Tasmania more respected, and few whose afflictions and death have been more sincerely lamented. Requiescat in pace.

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Citation details

'Wood, James (1802–1854)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 October 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Life Summary [details]




26 April 1854
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage