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Herbert Croft (1831–1911)

An old colonist in the person of Mr. Herbert Croft, of Queen-street, Mosman, died recently at the age of 80 years. He was a well-known personality at Mosman, having settled there when it was nearly all bush.

He entered the Lands Department in 1864 occupying the position of Crown Lands Agent at Corowa. Afterwards he joined the head office, from which he was retired owing to the age limit, but afterwards he was engaged in the same department as contract engrosser of deeds, and despite his great age his writing was superb, and he could write so small as to necessitate a glass to decipher the words.

Under a brusque manner was concealed a kind, manly, and generous heart, ever open to the tale of distress, and many a time he gave away his last shilling to help a brother officer, who had lost position. He was so well liked that over 50 of his fellow-officers joined together to send him a birthday gift just before his fatal illness.

He was born at Cork, Ireland, on June 1, 1831, and arrived in Sydney by the barque Roslyn Castle (120 days out) on February 25, 1836. On board were 102 female convicts under Dr Edwards, R.N. Passengers—Dr. Jonathan Croft, Deputy-Purveyor of the Forces; Mrs. Croft, Miss Croft, and seven sons, governess, 15 free women, and 26 children.

His father Dr. J. Croft, was present in 19 battles, fought under the Duke of Wellington, and was 30 years of age at the Battle of Waterloo, when his military career ended. He had the onerous duty of looking after the wounded in this battle, and when going over the field he observed the bodies of two brave contestants who had been engaged in a desperate fight. In remembrance of the episode he drew the bayonet out of the body of the Englishman and took off the helmet and cuirass of the Frenchman. These relics, with the exception of the cuirass, were stolen many years back.

The family have Dr. Croft's medals and testimonials of his service in the following engagements, under Wellington's command:—Toulouse, Pyrenees, Maida, Vittoria, Badajos, Egypt, Salamanca, Orthes, Fuetes de Onoro, Corunna, Talavera, Busaco, Bayonne, St Sebastian, Nive, Torres Vedras, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo. He was twice wounded, and once a prisoner of war. Her late Majesty Queen Victoria allowed him full pay for the remainder of his life, and gave his son (Herbert, the deceased) a commission in the Army, and defrayed his expenses back to Australia out of her private purse.

A daughter (Victoria) was born on the day the family arrived in Sydney. Two sons, Henry and Eugene were born in the building now occupied as the Royal Mint in Macquarie-street. The daughter, Charlotte was married from there to Mr. Horatio Tozer, a squatter.

Sir Horace Tozer K.C.M.G., nephew of Dr. J. Croft, recently searched the records at Heralds' College, London, and found that the Croft family was descended from the Duke of Monmouth.

The father was 77 when he died; mother 67; daughter 73; brothers John 65; Faithful 81, Carrington 76; Frederick 49; Victoria 52; Henry 68; Herbert 80. Four brothers, viz Douglas, James, Thomas and Eugene are still alive, and it would be difficult to find another family in Australia so long lived.

Original publication

Citation details

'Croft, Herbert (1831–1911)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 June, 1831
Cork, Ireland


3 June, 1911 (aged 80)
Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (oesophageal)

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