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Edward Nucella Emmett (1817–1874)

It is with very much regret that we have to announce the death of one of the earliest pioneers of this goldfield, Mr. Edward Nucella Emmett, who expired yesterday morning in Sydney from the effects of an apoplectic fit, with which he was attacked a few days ago. Mr. Emmett arrived on Bendigo, from Adelaide, early in 1852, and for a short time employed himself in digging, chiefly in Ironbark Gully, where he found some valuable quartz specimens, and may be said to have been the first discoverer of the Hustler's Reef. On relinquishing the pick and shovel, he established himself at View Point as an auctioneer and commission agent, and opened yards for the sale of horses. In this business he was extremely successful, but he at length gave it up, in order to carry out a project he had conceived for the establishment of a local bank. Consequently, in conjunction with Dr. Hugh Smith, who will be well remembered by all old Bendigonians, and who has been dead for some years, he started the Bendigo bank, the wooden building for which was erected within the Camp enclosure. Eventually it was purchased by the Bank of Victoria, whose establishment stands upon, or very close, to the site of the original bank. There was one feature about Mr. Emmett's banking establishment, which will be remembered by many, and may be worth mentioning here. It was that depositors had to pay the sum of £5 for the privilege of opening a drawing account. There was a strong room, the contents of which, it was said, excited the cupidity of certain unscrupulous persons to be found on the diggings at the time, and rumors were constantly being circulated that plans had been laid for entering it by driving into it from a shaft at some distance. Whether there was really any such design we do not know, as no attempt was made that was ever brought to light to carry it into effect. On selling out from the bank, Mr. Emmett again went into business as an auctioneer and valuator. He conducted the first Government land sales in Sandhurst, and made almost all the valuations for the store-keepers and others occupying land in the township. Afterwards he started a brewery in Vine-street. As a public man he occupied several prominent positions. He was appointed a nominee member of the old Legislative Council in 1853, but in consequence of some public opposition to the appointment he never took his seat. He was one of the first members of the old Local Court, and was first chairman of the Sandhurst Municipal Council, having taken an active part in getting the borough formed under Captain Clarke's Municipal Act. Subsequently he exerted himself for the establishment of the Municipality of Raywood, of which also he was the first chairman. Mr. Emmett was the projector of the Bendigo Waterworks, and succeeded in floating the original company, by which they were carried out, but ultimately was no great gainer himself by the undertaking. He also projected and started a number of mining companies on Bendigo. At length he went to Sydney, where he took an active part in the development of the gold and coal mines of New South Wales. Mr. Emmett was possessed of great enterprise and forethought, and was gifted with considerable inventive and projective faculties, but was deficient in constructive and administrative capacity. He was a thoroughly energetic man of business, was liberal in his dealings, and was of a kindly and genial disposition. His age, we believe, would be about 58 or 59. He leaves a widow, who is the sister of Mr. W. G. Blackham, of this city, and one daughter, who is yet quite a child.

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Citation details

'Emmett, Edward Nucella (1817–1874)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 February, 1817
London, Middlesex, England


18 March, 1874 (aged 57)
Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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