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William Henry Crane (1826–1914)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Mr. William Crane, one of Sydney's oldest natives, died yesterday morning, at his residence, "Marellan," Cavendish-street, Stanmore. He was 87½ years of age, having been born on October 5, 1826, at Castlereagh street, Sydney.

He was educated at the Sydney College, the headmaster of which was Mr. Timothy Cape. Amongst his fellow-scholars were the late Sir James Martin and Mr. William Bede Dalley, who afterwards distinguished themselves in public life. Sir Henry Stephen, subsequently Supreme Court Judge, now retired, and Mr. T. Browne ("Rolf Boldrewood"). Mr. Crane was proud of a large silver medal which he was awarded for proficiency in Latin.

In 1850, when the gold discoveries took place, he and three mates journeyed over the Blue Mountains to the Ophir and Turon diggings. There they met Hargraves, who first found gold in Australia.

Mr. Crane's first position in Sydney was that of law clerk to the late Judge Josephson. Soon afterwards he was appointed clerk in the Central Police Court, which was then on the site of the present Queen Victoria Markets, after several years of service he was promoted to be C.P.S. and P.M. at the Water Police Court. He was one of the first stipendiary magistrates in Sydney, and officiated at the Central Court till his retirement on a pension, 27 years ago.

Mr. Crane was a prominent worker for the Church of England, and for the charitable societies of Sydney. For 45 years he was honorary secretary of the Sydney Female Refuge, a position he held at the time of his death. For 40 years he was on the board of the British and Foreign Bible Society, two of his co-workers being the late Mr. T. P. Reeve , and Mr. E. A. Rennie.

Mr. Crane was the oldest director of the Benevolent Asylum, and in 1898 was appointed a life governor for services rendered. For over 40 years he was prominently identified with the City Mission. He was a member of the conference held in 1868 with the object of inaugurating the Anglican Synod, and was a member of that body from 1868 till his death.

For about 60 years Mr. Crane resided in Newtown and Stanmore, where he was regarded as the "Father of the District." He was for many years superintendent of old St. Stephen's Sunday School and took warm interest in his scholars. Other churches with which he was subsequently connected were All Saints', Petersham, and Christ Church, Enmore. He received numerous presentations in recognition of his work for the Church.

In his young days, Mr. Crane was well known as a cricketer on the old Sydney racecourse, now Hyde Park, and he was an active member of the Newtown club. He frequently swam from the Fig Tree, Woolloomooloo, to Garden Island and back.

Mr. Crane, who was twice married, has left a widow, five sons, and two daughters. The sons are: Messrs. William, John, Leslie, Arthur, Ernest, and Russell Crane, and the daughters are Mrs. J. S. Harrison and Mrs. E. Lampard. His sisters (Mrs. Sellar and Mrs. J. Spencer), and his brother (Mr. Christopher Crane), survive him. He has also left a number of grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Crane, William Henry (1826–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 October, 1826
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


26 May, 1914 (aged 87)
Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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