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Thomas James Coverdale (1854–1920)

Thomas Coverdale, n.d.

Thomas Coverdale, n.d.

The death of Mr T. J. [Thomas James] Coverdale, at 59 Sutherland Road, Armadale, has removed one of the most interesting personalities that has figured prominently in the public history of the hill country in this part of Gippsland. Brought up in the Geelong district, he arrived in Poowong in the seventies, a little over twenty years of age, with his brother George, and pegged out the property which he has owned near Bena right down through the years.

Of a literary turn of mind, Mr Coverdale contributed articles dealing with this new territory to the columns of "The Australasian," and was the first country correspondent appointed to that newspaper in South Gippsland, in which capacity he did much to bring the merits of the locality before the public, and being a man of exceptionally fine public spirit was at all times willing to place his services at the disposal of any movement having for its object the advancement of the district. Necessarily farming under such new conditions made a very considerable range of the operations purely experimental, so that the combined qualities of practical experience, common sense and a facile pen could not fail to contribute largely to the sumum bonum of common good to the community as a whole. Mr Coverdale took an interest in municipal politics, and for some years represented the Jeetho Riding at the Poowong and Jeetho shire council table and was elected president during one of his years of office.

Not long before the outbreak of war, a South Gippsland Pioneers' association was formed, with the object of publishing a book containing a record of the early history and subsequent settlement of the province, and from the inception of this movement Mr Coverdale has taken a very prominent part in the production of the book, having collected a mass of information and statistics of an interesting character, and after the local committee had carefully gone through all the various contributors' work, he, with Mr Frank Elms (formerly of Kongwak), got the whole production typed and read it over three different times to ensure correctness, and in addition contributed several very interesting subjects from his own pen. Only last Tuesday the chairman of the Pioneers' committee (Mr W. J. Williams) received a lengthy letter from Mr Coverdale dealing with a few details connected with the binding of the book, which is almost ready for publication. It will be a keen regret to the committee which has been at work for some years, after having been so closely associated, and worked in such harmony with Mr Coverdale, who has easily put the most work and interest into the publication, to know that their chief colleague has passed to the great beyond without having shared with them any satisfaction that may be derived from as a result of their labours. The committee, however, like those of the public who are conversant with the early history of this country, know that men such as Mr Coverdale did not engage in such work to gain the limelight of public opinion; his work was the work of an enthusiast, and being, as already stated, of a literary bent, and an unmarried man with a certain amount of leisure time at his disposal, was ever ready to lend a helping hand to the cause that needed assistance, and whatever he undertook he put into it his very best, with the result that those who have traced the progress of the district from the survey line and pack track epoch to the present stage of prosperity, cannot fail to recognise the prominent part that such men as Mr Coverdale have played in shaping its progress and advancement.

Mr Coverdale had not enjoyed the best of health for some years, and death supervened on an attack of the pleurisy. He had practically retired and lived at Armadale for some years, and during his connection with the Pioneer's association made many visits at his own expense to attend meetings at Korumburra and Moyarra.

Original publication

Citation details

'Coverdale, Thomas James (1854–1920)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

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