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John David Armfield (1837–1918)

Berrima— a place of almost unique historic interest— has lost one of its oldest pioneer residents through the removal by the grim hand of death of Mr. John David Armfield, who passed over to the great majority at his home, The Pines, Berrima, on Sunday morning last, at the advanced age of 81 years and eight months. The late Mr. Armfield was born at Windsor, and came to Berrima as a boy of nine years. Apart from his almost lifelong association with that township is the fact that he was a grandson, on his mother's side, of Mr. James Ruse, the first private settler and grower of wheat in Australia, the site of whose farm of 30 acres is on the outskirts of Parramatta. His mother was the first white person born in the Hawkesbury district, and her remains were laid to rest in the Campbelltown cemetery. At 13 years of age, Mr. Armfield started teamster work on the roads, and remained for years one of the pioneers of what at that time was a very important industry, moving backward and forward from Sydney to the southern diggings, principally Lambing's Flat and Gundagai. Having taken part in many exciting adventures he could recall many of the tragic doings of those early times, the country around Berrima affording cover for a number of desperadoes, while the traffic of the main road provided them with victims in plenty. Eventually he settled down at Berrima, where he acquired a good deal of property. He ran the mail coach and plied for passenger traffic from Moss Vale, to Berrima for many years, and also held the Government contract for the conveyance of prisoners to, and from the Berrima gaol. When a young man Mr. Armfield was a prominent athlete, being a good foot runner and a first class horseman. He always enjoyed a bit of sport, and for many years was a constant visitor at all the important fixtures of the A.J.C at Randwick. He married Miss Louisa Bunter in Sydney on February 25th, 1860, but there was no issue of the union, and his wife predeceased him about eight years ago. He leaves a number of relatives, among whom is a sister, Mrs. Jane Izzard, of Berrlma. About four years ago he was secretary and treasurer at the local School of Arts, and also held other public positions. The deceased was well known in the district, and was universally respected by a wide circle of friends wherever his name was known. He had been in failing health for the past three or four years, and the end came as stated above. The funeral took place on Monday afternoon the body being first conveyed to Holy Trinity Church and after wards interred in the Church of England portion of the local cemetery. The Rev. Mr. O'Neill as the officiating clergyman, and Mr. R. B. Simpson carried out the funeral arrangements.

Original publication

Citation details

'Armfield, John David (1837–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 April, 1837
Windsor, New South Wales, Australia


15 December, 1918 (aged 81)
Berrima, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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