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Michael James (Mick) Howland (1836–1929)

So uninviting did Sydney look in the 50s that Mr. Michael Howland, whose death was reported in the 'News' yesterday, had grave misgivings over his decision to settle in the new land. He would have liked to have gone back to England, but as he was here to fulfil a contract to P. N. Russell as an ironmoulder, he had no choice in the matter. The vessel on which he would have travelled home was the Fitzjames and it was wrecked on the voyage. Born at Tiperary. Ireland, on September 29, 1836, Mr. Howland landed in Sydney in 1858, a year after the Dunbar was wrecked, and took up his residence in Bathurst-street, Sydney. P. N. Russell's foundry was situated where Fossey’s stores stand to-day.

Seeing that the tradesmen were not so cordial to one another as they should be and, and that there was no society here at which the men could put in their leisure hours, he set about forming the Ironmoulders' Society, which was established in 1872 with a membership of about 40. The first officers were Mr. J. Talbot, president, Mr. Howland, secretary; and Mr. J. Ellis, treasurer— all shipmates, and since deceased. Five sons and two grandsons are members of the society at the present time, two of them being Js.P.

Mr. Howland took a leading part in the Eight-Hour Day movement, and never missed a procession since its inception. He was the last member of the original committee. Mr. Howland made the first firebrick for the Mittagong Ironworks, to produce the first pig iron in the country, and later was employed at the Eveleigh Workshops, from which he retired at the age of 61. This, however, was not the finish of his activities as a moulder, and for many more years he worked for his son, Mr. John Howland, who had a foundry in Glebe.

Deceased was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters since 1862. Six sons and two daughters— of whom all are living, the youngest being 51—17 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild, survive. Among those present at the funeral yesterday were Mr. J. West, M.P., who claims a 50-year-old friendship with Mr. Howland, and Mr. M. Gosling, M.L.A.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 6 October 1924, p 7
  • profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 1 October 1928, p 4

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Howland, Michael James (Mick) (1836–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 September, 1836
Limerick, Ireland


26 January, 1929 (aged 92)
Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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