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Henry James King Church (1870–1905)

About half-past eight o'clock on Saturday night Mr. Robert Stubbs Archer, Gracemere, communicated to the police the intelligence that his bookkeeper, Mr. Henry James King Church, had left the house under circumstances which pointed to the supposition that he contemplated suicide. Mr. Church set out about half-past six o'clock with his rifle, his departure exciting little comment at the time beyond some surprise that he should have gone without dinner. Subsequently it was found that he had left two notes behind him. One, addressed to Mr. Archer, enclosed the key to the safe, and thanked Mr. Archer and his family for their kindness to him, remarking that they would feel somewhat surprised at his abrupt departure. The second note was to Miss Archer, leaving her his dogs and bidding her goodbye.

Inspector Toohey at once instructed Constables Patrick O'Grady and Charles Cronau to go out and search for the missing man. They scoured the neighbourhood till well after midnight, but without result. At daybreak the search was renewed, and about seven o'clock, on the top of a high ridge about three-quarters of a mile from the station, they came upon the dead body of Mr. Church, almost concealed in the high grass. From the position in which he lay and the injuries to the head it is conjectured that he placed the muzzle of the rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Death must have been instantaneous. The rifle, a Winchester repeater, contained three cartridges and an empty shell. The body was taken to Gracemere Station by dray, a somewhat difficult task owing to the steepness of the assent.

Mr. Church, or, as he was sometimes known, Mr. King-Church, was a man of education and of an agreeable and obliging disposition, which won him the goodwill of all who came in contact with him. He was highly esteemed by his employer and the members of the Archer family generally as well as by others whose relations with him were less intimate. One reason only can be conjectured for his act, committed in such a deliberate manner. He worried greatly over an injury to the left knee, which made the joint liable to become dislocated. Little could be ascertained yesterday of Mr. Churches relatives, but he is believed to have none in Queensland. He came to Gracemere from the southern portion of the state. A well-known breeder of dogs, his was a familiar figure at dog shows. He also exhibited in Brisbane at various times.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • inquest, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 16 September 1905, p 5

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Church, Henry James King (1870–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • King-Church, Henry James



9 September, 1905 (aged ~ 35)
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death


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.