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John Bodey (1810–1916)

from Camperdown Chronicle

The death occurred at 11.30 o'clock on Sunday night last of a most remarkable man and one who throughout his long life was ever highly esteemed, in the person of Mr. John Bodey. Death, which was of an extremely peaceful nature, took place at the residence of his son Edward, of Bostock's Creek, with whom deceased had resided for the past few years. The late Mr. Bodey had attained the remarkable and venerable age of 106 years last June.

He was born at Balinskill, county of Wicklow, Ireland, in June, 1810, having thus lived during the reign of six British sovereigns. He arrived in Adelaide, via Melbourne, by the ship Anna from Liverpool in 1850. He had enjoyed good health throughout his long career, and for over 50 years has neither pain nor ache, and was remarkably active up to within a few weeks of his death. On September 18, 1841, he married Jane, the fifth and youngest daughter of Mr. James Bowes, of Kill-ma-Nouge, at the Rathdrum (Wicklow) Anglican Church, who predeceased him about 25 years. He had eight sons, all of whom survive him, and whose ages and places of residence are as follow:—Matthew (76 years), Hamilton, Vic.; James (72), Mount Gambier, S.A.; John Joseph (68), Callowada, Vic; Wm. Thomas (60), Jung Jung, Vic.; George (62), Wuurong, Camperdown; Richard (60), Mount Gambier, S.A; Joseph (58), Longerong, Vic.; and Edward (56), Bostock's Creek. The only daughter [Anne] is dead. Mr. George Bodey, now of Camperdown, represented Victoria and Albert districts, South Australia, in the State Parliament up to last elections. Sincere sympathy will be felt for the bereaved relatives in many parts of Australia where the deceased gentleman was known. His death means a loss to Australia of a grand old man.

In 1891 the late Mr and Mrs. John Bodey celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding day, there being present at the ceremony all their sons and 63 other descendants. In 1910, upon the occasion of the celebration of Mr. Bodey's "centenary," the family "statist" placed the descendants at 112, and three years ago they numbered about 150.

Upon Mr. Bodey's arrival in Adelaide in 1860 cash could hardly be said to be a circulating medium, inasmuch as there appeared to be very little to circulate. Farm laborers' wages then ranged from about 6/- to 9/- per week, and tradesmen rarely received more than from 15/- to 20/- weekly. Nearly all payments were made by I.O.U. orders from 2/6 upwards, for which shopkeepers supplied goods, issuing an I.O.U. for balances, if any.

In 1851-2, Mr. Bodey and six mates rode on horseback to the gold rush at Bendigo, and soon accumulated gold. Mr. Bodey, whose trade was that of a carpenter, builder, etc., worked for 20/- per week before the gold rush, but upon his return to South Australia received 30/- per day. Soon, after his return from Victoria, Mr. Bodey rented a farm from the South Australian Land Company. The price of produce ran as follows:—Wheat and oats, from 2/6 to 26/- per bushel; potatoes and onions from £3 to £24 per ton; native grass hay, £1 10/- to £25 per ton; and wheaten or oaten hay, £3 to £40 per ton.

In 1866 Mr. Bodey sold his interest in the Woodside farm, and after a few years residence near Glencoe, he with his eight sons removed in 1871-2 to Horsham, Victoria, where he took up land. In 1902 he and his youngest, son Edward, with the latter's family, removed from the Wimmera to the Camperdown district.

Up to practically the end, Mr. Bodey's eyesight, hearing, speech and memory were excellent.

The centenary celebration near Horsham, in June, 1910, was the occasion of a remarkable gathering, no fewer than 112 descendants being present. The correspondent of the Wimmera Star described the hero of the afternoon as "a grand old man, naively proud of his gathered family and of the congratulations showered upon him, and as being in great form. Hale and hearty and still square and sturdy of frame as he rose, to acknowledge the greetings paid him, he stood a fine example in his own person of the fallibility of the Psalmist's estimate of the allotted human span. Born when George III had still 10 years to reign, he survived to see the sixth monarch upon the throne of England. . . . When he stood up to express his acknowledgments, with a shake of the shoulders throwing back the snow-white, but still thickly-growing mass of hair, one could not but feel impressed with the sense that here stood an exception to the common rule. "My children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends," he said, "May God bless you all. I am proud of you, and proud that you should have come so far to keep my hundredth birthday, and to keep it here, where we came as long ago to make a home for you."

The late Mr Bodey always took an active interest in politics and voted during the time when the old open voting system was in vogue in Ireland, and never failed to record his vote at elections in South Australia and Victoria, and in this connection it is interesting to note that he recorded his vote at the recent Warrnambool by-election, rendered necessary owing to the death of the late Hon. John Murray. It is safe to say that on that occasion he was the oldest voter in the Commonwealth.

The body will be placed on this morning's train en route for Horsham, where it will be laid to rest in the Horsham Cemetery tomorrow.

Messrs Collie and Brennan have charge of the mortuary arrangements.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for John Bodey

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Bodey, John (1810–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 June, 1810
Balinskill, Wicklow, Ireland


20 August, 1916 (aged 106)
Bostocks Creek, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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