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Flood, John (1841–1909)

from Gympie Times

It was with surprise and very great regret that the news of the death of Mr. John Flood, at his residence, South Side, was learnt on Sunday, very few people being previously aware that he was seriously ill. He had not been in the best of health for some time, and a week ago had a bad turn, but from this he appeared to be recovering so that he was able to get about again towards the end of last week. Early on Saturday morning, the illness suddenly assumed a serious aspect and he lapsed into the unconsciousness of diabetic coma. Dr. Cuppaidge was called in, and subsequently had a consultation with Dr. Ahern, but the medical gentlemen held out no hope. After lingering a few hours, Mr. Flood passed peacefully away at 20 minutes to 3 o'clock on Sunday morning.

The deceased gentleman, who was 68 years of age, had an eventful life, such as it is given to few, except those with the gift of leadership, to pass through. He was born in Dublin, and was educated at Clongowe's Wood, County Kildare. Fresh from College he studied for some, time under the eminent Irish lawyer, Isaac Butt, but the troublous condition of his native land at this time enlisted his sympathy and he entered with patriotic fervor into the Fenian movement of the '60s, quickly becoming one of the trusted leaders in the organisation. As will have been noticed in an article published a few weeks ago, he assisted Colonel Stephens, the noted Irish patriot and Head of the Movement, to escape from Ireland at a time when the whole of the Irish detective service was engaged in the search for him. In company with Colonel John McAfferty, an Irish-American, John Flood participated in planning and organising a raid on Chester Castle, which contained a large store of arms, and only for the betrayal of the plan by an informer, would probably have succeeded in the design. Finding their movements anticipated the party made their way to Holyhead, taking the steamer to Dublin. They passed the detectives on the Holyhead pier, but information gained enabled the detectives to wire to Dublin that the two leaders were on the steamer. As the vessel entered the river Liffey, Flood and his companions saw the banks of the river lined with troops, and though an attempt was made to escape in the small boat of a collier, they were arrested. In the trial that followed McAfferty was sentenced to death, but the sentence was subsequently commuted to imprisonment for life. John Flood an 21st May, 1867, was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude, and was sent to Western Australia in the last vessel that brought convicts and political prisoners to Australian shores. After nearly five years of his sentence had been fulfilled, Mr. Flood was released on ticket of leave, the only conditions being that he did not leave Australia or attempt to return to England or Ireland. He proceeded first to Tasmania and next to Sydney, establishing a paper there called "The Irish Citizen," which was printed from 2nd. December, 1871 to Aug. 3, 1872, and bore the imprint, "Printed and published by the proprietor, John Flood, at No. 6 Park-street; Sydney." The discovery of the Palmer goldfield next attracted his attention and he went to that goldfield, but returning to Cooktown, the port of the Palmer, he took charge of one of the Cooktown papers as editor. He subsequently joined the literary staff of the "Brisbane Courier" under Mr. Carrol as editor, and Mr. Gresley Lukin as proprietor and general manager. Mr. Flood came to Gympie in 1881 and with the late Robert Acton, established the firm of John Flood and Co., mining secretaries, a partnership which terminated some years ago by the retirement of Mr. Acton, since when Mr. Flood had carried on the business of mining secretary on his own account. Mr. Flood's early journalistic work led him in 1888 to form the Gympie Newspaper Co. Ltd., to acquire from the late Mr. A. L. Boucicault, the "Gympie Miner," then an afternoon paper, and convert it into a morning paper. For several years he continued in the position of managing-director of the Company, and took an active part in the journalistic control of the paper, until it was disposed of to Messrs. Boase and Scott, from whom the present proprietary purchased it seven years ago.

Mr. Flood always took an active part in local affairs, and was especially recognised as a leader in all movements having reference to the Irish National question. On these matters he was consulted by those connected with the Irish Home Rule movement in all parts of Australia, and maintained a continuous correspondence with his native land. When Messrs. Redmond, Dillon, Davitt, and other members of the Irish National Party visited Gympie, they were his guests.

In local affairs, Mr. Flood was a member of the Widgee Divisional Board from 1889 to 1892, and from 1893 to 1897, being elected Chairman of the Board in 1891. He was a member of Widgee Valuation Appeal Court, which is to commence the hearing of appeals today. He twice contested the Wide Bay State electorate, on the first occasion in 1888, when he was beaten by Mr. now Sir Horace Tozer, by the narrow majority of 13 votes. He at one time was connected with defence matters, having occupied the position of captain of the local company of Queensland Irish Volunteer Corps, which only had a short existence. Whilst in Cooktown he married a Tasmanian lady, Miss O'Byrne, and to them were born a family of four daughters and two sons. His wife predeceased him about 12 years, and only two daughters survive him to mourn the loss of a devoted father. The deceased gentleman was somewhat reserved in manner and disposition, but those who were privileged to know him intimately keenly appreciated his richly-stored mind, his sound judgment, and his fidelity to principles and friendships, whilst the general public respected him for his upright, straight-forward character, and his innate courtesy, which was always present even when discussing matters on which he held strong convictions.

The funeral yesterday, was largely, attended. At the head of the cortege marched local members of the H.A.C.B. Society, and Mr. Concanrion, representing the Maryborough branch of the Society, who came to Gympie to attend the funeral. The Rev. Father Horan conducted the funeral service at the graveside.

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Citation details

'Flood, John (1841–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/flood-john-32098/text39661, accessed 8 December 2021.

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