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Lady Eliza Hodgson (1821–1902)

Lady Eliza Hodgson, n.d.

Lady Eliza Hodgson, n.d.

State Library of Queensland, 76630

It is with profound regret (says the Stratford-on-Avon Herald of 9th May) that we record the death of Lady Hodgson, wife of Sir Arthur Hodgson, K.C.M.G., High Steward of the Borough, which took place about 6 o'clock on Friday morning at Clopton House, at the advanced age of 81, and although not unexpected the mournful news cast a gloom upon the borough and the closing days of the Stratford Festival. For some time her ladyship's health had been failing, and on 1st February Dr. Bowles, of London, was called in, and stayed the night in consultation with Dr. Nason. In March Sir Arthur accompanied his wife to Bournemouth in the hope that she would derive some benefit from the change. While staying at the Hotel Burlington, Boscombe, they celebrated the 60th anniversary of their wedding day, and many and hearty were the congratulations they received on their almost unprecedentedly long and happy married life. They were the recipients of numerous kind and valuable presents, including a handsome silver salver from the indoor and outdoor servants at Clopton. On 19th April Lady Hodgson had a paralytic seizure, and for the last two weeks suffered no pain, passing away peacefully and happily, as we have stated, on Friday morning last.

Lady Hodgson was a daughter of the late Sir James Dowling, who received his appointment as Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from the Crown, on the recommendation of Lord Brougham, in 1828. Miss Dowling, who was born on 8th June, 1821, accompanied her father to Sydney on his appointment, and married Sir Arthur (then Mr. Hodgson) there on 30th March, 1842, shortly afterwards accompanying him to Eton Vale, Darling Downs, Queensland, which he had discovered as a pioneer in 1840. Judge Dowling died in 1844, and as Chief Justice of the colony was accorded a public funeral. The story of Lady Hodgson's marriage was delightfully told by the High Steward at a recent meeting of the Royal Colonial Institute in London. He said: "In September, 1840, sixty-two years ago, I discovered Eton Vale on Darling Downs, and I hold half the estate now. It was a very lucky find. I know some people say, ' What a lucky dog Hodgson was to get hold of Eton Vale !' . . . But that was not my only good fortune, for Hodgson married early and well, and his wife stuck to him. She left a Sydney drawing-room, surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries of life, to spend her days with the man who has now the honour of addressing you." She was the first resident lady in the district at a time when the native blacks were numerous, wild, and treacherous. While riding amongst the herd of cattle in 1842, Mr. Hodgson's favourite stockman, John Hill, was speared, and the unfortunate fellow was taken into his house, tenderly nursed by Mrs. Hodgson, and died in her arms. With her bright disposition and rare courage she ably seconded Mr Hodgson's efforts, and won the esteem and affection of those who were acquainted with her. She made four voyages to England, and was the mother of twelve children, of whom but four survive her, one son and three daughters. For some two years Mr. and Mrs. Hodgson resided at Leamington, but in 1870 they settled down at Clopton, which deceased always called her happy resting-place, and so it proved to be. During the five years' Mayoralty of Sir Arthur Hodgson he was admirably assisted by his wife, although she but rarely made her appearance in public. In July, 1886, Sir Arthur and Lady Hodgson entertained a brilliant assemblage of delegates from the India and Colonial Exhibition to luncheon, and on 18th May, 1896, she received the present King at Clopton. In January of 1886 there was considerable distress in the borough, and Lady Hodgson warmly advocated the opening of a soup kitchen, also subscribing liberally towards the funds. The deceased lady was a generous supporter of the various charities, and many poor families in the town can testify to the acts of kindness performed unostentatiously by her. Indeed, it may be fittingly said of her that she "did good by stealth, and blushed to find it fame." The sympathy of the whole borough, nay, of the entire county, will go out to Sir Arthur and Miss Hodgson in their heavy affliction, and her demise will be greatly regretted by all, and especially by the poor of Stratford. 

The mortal remains of the deceased lady were interred in the family grave at the Borough Cemetery, amid many signs of mourning and regret. The principal mourners were: — Sir Arthur Hodgson, K.C.M.G., the Rev. Francis H. Hodgson (son), Viscountess Lifford, and Miss Hodgson (daughters), first carriage; Mrs. Rashleigh (daughter), the Hon. Mrs. Hodgson (daughter-in-law), Mr. Arthur H. F. Hodgson, and the Rev. A. C. Grant (grandsons), second carriage; Viscount Lifford, Mr. Cardross Grant, and the Rev. J. K. Rashleigh (sons-in-law), third carriage; Mr. S. Perceval Hodgson (nephew), and the Hon. H. S. Littleton, fourth carriage; Nurses Adams and Pilton (Bournemouth), fifth carriage.

By a curious coincidence, Lady Hodgson's brother, Judge Dowling, died in Sydney on the same day.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hodgson, Lady Eliza (1821–1902)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Lady Eliza Hodgson, n.d.

Lady Eliza Hodgson, n.d.

State Library of Queensland, 76630

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dowling, Eliza

8 June, 1821


9 May, 1902 (aged 80)
Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship