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William Henry Flood (1827–1868)

from Argus

The telegraph-line from South Australia brought us sad news yesterday, when it announced the sudden death of Mr. William Henry Flood, of Parkside, Adelaide. The whole of the shipping and a large proportion of the mercantile communities of Victoria and South Australia will receive the intelligence with deep regret, for it was the good fortune of the deceased to create a strong and wide impression in his favour wherever he resided. Mr. Flood was born over forty years ago, in Belfast, Ireland, being the son of an old Trafalgar naval officer. He was intended for the legal profession, but inherited too strong a love of the sea to resist its temptations. Accordingly he went to sea, and as soon as his years of apprenticeship were over, rapidly rose in the profession he had selected. He commanded ships in all parts of the world, and in 1851 or 1852 arrived here with a vessel from India. At that time it was the custom for sailors to desert to the goldfields directly they arrived, and being in this manner forcibly detained in port, Mr. Flood elected to settle in Victoria, and entered the pilot service. After some years spent in this way, he resigned his office, and established himself at Queenscliff as an agent for shipping and mercantile news. He also held an appointment as agent for The Argus, in tabling intelligence from the newly-arrived vessels. This duty was very important and very onerous. The Argus had long established a reputation for publishing the latest information, and this, at that momentous period, was frequently of the highest interest. The Russian war was raging; Russian frigates were in the Pacific; our recently-formed population was eager to get the latest news from the seat of war; and, to crown all, the P. and O. mail service via Singapore was stopped, and that of the Black Ball line substituted. The consequence was that the most exciting news might arrive at any moment, and to secure it was a task requiring the extreme of energy, vigilance, and smartness. Mr. Flood's complete success in this respect is a part of the minor history of this journal, and to this day stories of his daring and enterprise are told by the older residents of Queenscliff. Nor was he so wholly occupied that he could not spare time to do the public a service. He was untiring in his efforts to aid in the organisation of the township of Queenscliff, and when he left that locality the presentation by the inhabitants of a handsome silver service of plate showed that the value of his exertions was duly recognised. When the P. and O. mail service was resumed, and the South Australian mails were left at Kangaroo Island, Mr. Flood became the representative of The Argus and Sydney Morning Herald in South Australia, travelling with the branch mail steamer to and from King George's Sound, for the purpose of furnishing us with our monthly telegraphic summaries of news. These new duties were for nearly ten years performed with unfailing punctuality, skill, and aptitude. But during the latter portion of 1867 the health of the deceased began to fail, and he was compelled to give up his journeys to the Sound. Nevertheless, he still did his shore work, and it was hoped that in the end his strength would be nearly restored. That calculation proved erroneous, and yesterday death came and took him away suddenly. Mr. Flood's loss will be deeply felt in South Australia by a large circle of friends in Adelaide, the Port, and Glenelg. He was on terms of friendship with the leading men of that colony, and the Government had lately raised him to the rank of territorial magistrate. He leaves a widow and two young children to mourn his loss.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for William Henry Flood

Citation details

'Flood, William Henry (1827–1868)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Belfast, Antrim, Ireland


3 July, 1868 (aged ~ 41)
Parkside, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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