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Claudius Beresford Cairnes (1840–1910)

Mr. C. B. Cairnes, one of Parramatta 's best known citizens, and till a few weeks ago manager of the Bank of New South. Wales, died yesterday (Friday) morning, about 4 o'clock. For many days the inevitable end to the veteran banker's illness had not been unexpected, for, as most of our readers know, Mr. Cairnes has been in a very low state of health for many weeks, past.

Mr. Cairnes was a native of Ireland. He was a scion of a well known family in County Tyrone —the family of Colonel David Cairnes (who distinguished him self at the siege of Derry), and was related to the Marquis of Waterford; his mother having been grand-daughter, of the Right Honorable John Claudius Beresford. Mr. Cairnes came to Parramatta in the year 1874, to establish a branch of the Bank of New South Wales; and of that branch he remained manager (as we have said) till a few weeks ago. He had previously been for some considerable time manager of the Bank in New Zealand. Upon his arrival in Parramatta. he threw himself with, energy into different town and district matters, such as his position permitted him to deal with, and his abilities enabled him to adequately serve. He was made vice-president of the Fruitgrowers' Union; and as such he was instrumental in sending to England the first trial export consignment of citrus fruit. Ever afterwards he took the keenest interest in the fruit export matter. He was also an officer of the old Benevolent Society, and of the committee in charge of the Parramatta Hospital. He always took a keen interest in social matters, and he lent great assistance to the old Horticultural Society, one of the mainstays of which he was. Some few of our readers may remember what splendid exhibitions of the floral trophies of this district there were 20 or 30 years ago, in old Parramatta Park, at that Society's shows. In all other matters demanding a good townsman's kindly interest from time to time, Mr. Cairnes was generally to the front.

Mr. Cairnes married in the year 1873 a popular Mudgee lady, the daughter of Mr. G. Rouse, of 'Beaudesert'; and he leaves two sons and two daughters, well known in Parramatta social circles. He was 70 years of age.

As a press notice published a few years ago said of the deceased gentleman: — "Mr. Cairnes joined the service of the Bank of New South Wales in the year 1860. He was manager at Waipouri from '65 to '71; and before being appointed to Parramatta, was manager at Gulgong. When manager at Waipouri, Mr. Cairnes narrowly escaped being murdered by Sullivan's gang, who were (according to the famous bushranger's subsequent confession) lying in the long grass, waiting to shoot young Cairnes and take the gold he was conveying to escort; but, he having the company of two troopers, they did not like the look of the party. In winter this journey — through snow — took twelve hours. Mr. Cairnes, having no assistant, had to perform it fortnightly, carrying large quantities of gold.

"Reverting to the subject of Mr. Cairnes' relatives in the old world, it may be noted that his cousin, the late Mr. Thos. Plunket Cairnes, was Governor of the Bank of Ireland, in which position he was on important occasions placed in charge of millions of public money. As we write, there lies before us a copy of 'The Irish Times,'' of Tuesday, February 6th, 1897, in which is published a long report of the proceedings in connection with the opening of the T. P. Cairnes' Memorial School in Drogheda. The deceased gentleman left immense sums of money to be devoted to important works of charity and beneficence. Before us lies, too, a report of the proceedings of the Unionist Convention for the provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught (June, 1892). In it appears a portrait of the late Mr. T. P, Cairnes, J.P, together with — among other eloquent addresses — one delivered by him as chairman, in Hall No. 2. Mr. T. P. Cairnes was brother of Mr. J. Elliott Cairnes, late Professor of Political Economy at London College.

"Long before there appeared to be the slightest, chance of fruit-export coining within the range of practical politics, Mr. Cairnes was working towards that end, as to the key of the great problem in which were bound up the fruitgrowers' interests. Those who have been connected with journalism in this district during the last 20 or 25 years, know the mountains of difficulty which confronted the busy banker, who tried to lead the growers to green pastures where the limpid waters of commercial safety flow."

Original publication

Citation details

'Beresford Cairnes, Claudius (1840–1910)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


County Tyrone, Ireland


27 May, 1910 (aged ~ 70)
New South Wales, Australia

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