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Richard Hill (1810–1895)

from Queenslander

The Hon. Richard Hill, M.L.C., whose death at midday on Monday was announced in our issue of yesterday (says the S.M. Herald of 21st instant), was one of the few remaining links between the old Australians and the present generation. He was born in Elisabeth street, city, in September, 1810, and was therefore, at the time of his death, in his 85th year. He married Miss Henrietta Cox, a sister-in-law of William Charles Wentworth, and in his early days he resided at Vaucluse. For over half a century he lived in the cottage in which he died in Bent-street, city, and for many years before he resided there the cottage was occupied by his mother-in-law, who built it. Mr. Hill was a widower, his wife having died about three years ago at the age of 80. He had eleven children—ten sons and and one daughter—all of whom are living. He also leaves two sisters—Lady Cooper, wife of Sir Daniel Cooper, and Mrs. Durham. Deceased always led a quiet, unobtrusive life, and mixed very little in political or public matters. He practically never experienced a day's illness in his life, and was of strong physique. He was an extremely temperate man, almost a teetotaller, and was a non-smoker.

Mr. Hill took a keen interest in the welfare of the aborigines, and did more for them than perhaps any other man in Australia. In his early days he was much interested in sport, and thus became very closely associated with the blacks. For many years he was a member of the Aborigines' Protection Board, and, up to the time of his death an aboriginal boy lived with him. He would never allow any one but the blackboy to accompany him when he went out for a drive.

When a comparatively young man he took a great interest in horticulture, and had one of the finest orchards of the day in the Lane Cove district, near what is now known as Pymble. At this time he lived at Vaucluse, and was rowed across the harbour each morning by ten aboriginals, and then walked four miles to his orchard. Mr. Hill's orchard was noted all over Australia, and a description of it, with illustrations, appears in the late Dr. Bennett's Gatherings in Natural History in Australia. The oranges grown by Mr. Hill were renowned, and the orchard was a splendid paying concern. At the time of the gold rush in Victoria large quantities of oranges were exported by him, and the profit of the orchard at one period amounted to as much as £50 per day. Apart from the business aspect of the industry he manifested a great interest in horticulture as a pleasure, and made it one of his particular studies. Several of the men employed by him in those days are now wealthy men, owning large properties.

About thirty-five years ago he sold his orchard, and devoted himself to the squatting industry. He took up station property in the south island of New Zealand, near Invercargill, but sold out some time afterwards. He then purchased a station in New South Wales known as Buttabone, on the Lower Macquarie, which he owned at the time of his death.

Although he did not take a very active part in politics, he at one time represented the electorate of Canterbury in the Legislative Assembly, and was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1880. In the early days he was a stauch supporter of Mr. William Charles Wentworth, and an opponent of Mr. Robert Lowe, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke. At one time he was one of the Fisheries Commissioners, and for thirty years he was a director of the United Insurance Company, which position he held at the time of his death.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Hill, Richard (1810–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

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