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Griffin, Thomas Henry (1851–1937)

Mr. Thomas Henry Furnival Griffin, who died in Sydney at the age of 86 years, last month, was for many years an officer of the Commercial Banking Company, of Sydney Ltd. The late Mr. Griffin, who was the youngest son of the late Dr. John Siely Griffin, was born at Portland, Victoria, in 1851, and was educated in England. In 1867 he returned to Australia and entered the service of the Commercial Bank, becoming manager successively at Richmond, Yass, and Parramatta. He retired in 1921.

Mr. Griffin was well known throughout the southern districts of New South Wales, where he was prominently associated with many public movements, including the Yass-Canberra Federal Capital League. He was for 12 years president of the Yass District Pastoral and Agricultural Society.

In 1878 Mr. Griffin married Sarah Pauline Suttor, daughter of the late Mr. William Henry Suttor, of Alloway Bank, Bathurst, who predeceased him. Four sons, Messrs. E. F., F. B., R. B., and M. Griffin, and one daughter, Mrs. H. T. Phillips, survive.

The late Mr. Griffin had a large circle of friends in Yass. He was manager of the Commercial Bank here for 20 years and was one of the town's most prominent citizens. One of the closest friends in Yass was Mr. A. J. Shearsby, who at the time was in the A.J.S. Bank. They used to spend many week-ends together on geological work. They were both very interested in the proposed deviation of the southern railway line to bring it through Yass. Mr. Griffin held the staff while Mr. Shearsby took the levels. They took complete levels and made plans from Jerrawa to the Burrowa Gates. Mr. Griffin was transferred to Sydney a week before the Public Works Committee came to Yass. His evidence was taken in Sydney. Unfortunately their efforts to have the line diverted through Yass were not successful although an ideal route had been mapped out.

The late Mr. Griffin again in association with Mr. Shearsby, did a lot of work in connection with the Yass water supply system. They took levels all over the town. The original site for the reservoir was on Laidlaw's Hill, but they were able to show the Department that Garland's Hill in North Yass was 6o to 70 feet higher and the Department adopted that site.

The late Mr. Griffin was a man of commanding personality. In physique he was a well built man, six feet tall. He was easily the leading figure in the public life of Yass at that time. He was regarded as one of the best townsmen Yass ever had. He was actively associated with every movement for the advancement of the town.

During his term as bank manager here, the late Mr. Griffin accompanied by his wife spent 12 months leave touring in England and Europe. He was given a royal welcome back to Yass. There was talk of war even then (1911) and it is interesting to recall Mr. Griffin's opinion at the time: "Let me assure you there will never be war—not with Germany. She is too mixed up with England," he said on his return. Unfortunately he was wrong.

When the late Mr. Griffin left Yass for Parramatta, he was given a large send-off and presented with an illuminated address.

Original publication

Citation details

'Griffin, Thomas Henry (1851–1937)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/griffin-thomas-henry-31860/text39324, accessed 21 September 2021.

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