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Herbert Bristow Hughes (1820–1892)

Death of Mr. H. B. Hughes.

The intelligence of the death 011 Thursday evening, May 19, of Herbert Bristol Hughes, J.P., came as a surprise to the large circle among whom the deceased gentleman moved. Only on Saturday week Mr. Hughes appeared in the possession of health and vigour, and many persons noticed his activity and good spirits on the Racecourse at Morphettville in the afternoon, he being one of the first to welcome His Excellency the Governor at the meeting. Illness set in on Sunday night, and in spite of the skill of Drs. Way and J. A. G. Hamilton the late gentleman succumbed to an attack of congestion of the lungs at his reeidenoe, Athelney, Hackney. Mr. Hughes, who was a brother of the late Mr. J. B. Hughes, at one time a member of the South Australian Legislature, came to this colony from Sydney on board the brig Porter, 25S ton, in February, 1841, and we believe that with the exception of a visit to India a few years ago he remained in Australia from that time; in fact, he rarely went outside the borders of this colony. The deceased was fortunate in selecting a large area of the best land on the Rocky River, which he formed into the well-known Booyoolie Station. He was also a large owner of runs in other colonies. In the enterprise he undertook he was generally very successful, and he made a reputation as a stockholder, some of the best horses bred in the colony having been raised by him. Although he cannot be regarded as a public man, Mr. Hughes did the country considerable service in proving its suitableness for stock and in improving the breed of horses. Amongst racing men he took a leading position, being  Steward of most of the clubs and a great patron of sport. He imported excellent stock from England, notably the famous stud horses Croupier and Leonidas, which both became sires of winners. Owing to the determination of the Parliament of the day to sell land nearest to Adelaide, notices of resumption were given to a number, of pastoral lessees, and Mr. Hughes, in order to protect the stock which he had been at so much pains to place on the country, was compelled to make an extensive purchase of freehold, which he fully stocked. The same policy prevented his extending the area for his flocks and herds, and induced him to take up country in New South Wales. Success attended his enterprise, and he went further into the interior, and took up country on Wilson's s River, which became the Nockatunga Cattle Station, near Cooper's Greek. From there he sent droves of cattle to the Adelaide market, fattening them on his lucerne paddocks at Netley. As his sons grew up he placed them upon his various properties. The deceased gentleman's eldest son took the management, of the Booyoolie Estate, where his residence is. His sons Arthur and Harold manage the New South Wales property. Kinchega Cattle Station, on the Darling, has been under the able management of Mr. H. T. Phillips, who, by-the-way, in boundary-riding rode over the then dreary country now occupied by the world-famous Broken Hill Mine. Kinchega was converted into a sheep station. It may be fairly said that few squatters in Australia have devoted more energy and intelligence to the development and improve ment of their runs and stook than the late Mr. H. B. Hughes. He paid untiring attention to the improvement of stock, and expense in that direction. Mr. Hughes started the meat-preserving industry in South Australia, establishing the Booyoolie Meat Preserving Works on an extensive scale on the station. He imported the machinery from England, and entered into the industry with his customary energy. The meat-preserving works on the Old Fort River were also his property. He was regarded as one of the pastoral pillars of the colony. Although Mr. Hughes was not a public man in the ordinary acceptation of the term, he took great interest in public affairs, but his attention being necessarily concentrated upon his large business enterprises, he had no time to devote to active politics. Mr. Hughes came of a good Liverpool family, who were all brought up to business in merchants' offices. His elder brother Timothy Bristow Hughes  was a leading cotton trader in Liverpool for upwards of fifty years. His brother John was a well-known active public man, and was the original owner of the Bundaleer Station. The deceased and his brother Bristow Hughes carried on the Booyoolie for a number of years together, but the latter retired and survives him. Mr. Tom Coward, who knew Mr. Hughes for many years in the North and in Queensland, says of him:— "He was regarded by bushmen, shearers, shepherds, and all who came in contact with him as the most straightforward and honourable man in his dealings they could possibly imagine. He was always kind and considerate to his men, and was, in fact, a squatter of the finest type, thoroughly up in all that appertained to sheep or cattle on a station, and a man who always looked after things personally. He worked as hard as any of his men, and was most hospitable to visitors. I never heard a bushman give him a bad name. I remember in 1859 when I rode 408 miles in five days with despatches, which had been sent up country for Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, who was on an exploring trip, and had to be taken to town in time to catch the English mail, Mr. H. B. Hughes treated me with a kindness and attention I shall never forget. He was one of the old class, and a thorough English gentleman." The remains of the late Mr. H. B. Hughes were interred in the North-road Cemetery on Saturday, May 21. The hearse containing the coffin was followed from the deceased gentleman's late residence in Hackney by a large number of vehicles, including the carriages of His Excellency the Governor and the Chief Justice, Dean Marryat officiated at the grave, and there was a large and representative attendance. The chief mourners were Mesere. Herbert W., Harold, Oswald, Edgar, and Alfred Hughes (sons). Among those present were:— Sir E. T. Smith, Sir Henry Ayers, Sir J. W. Downer, Sir W. Milne, Hons. S. Tomkinson, M.L.C., R. C., O. Baker, M.L.C., and G. C. Hawker, M.P., the Rev. T. Field, MA., Mr. W. J. Peterswald (Commissioner of Police), Mr. F. J. Sanderson (Collector of Customs), Lieutenant Creswell (H.M.C.S. Protector), Dr.Phillips, and Messrs. C. Peacock, R. Barr Smith, J.C. Hawker. M. S. Hawker, C. M Bagot, G. W. Bagot, J. H. Brown. T. L Brown, G. Dean, W. Dean, J. R. Phillips, H. T. Phillips, P. and E. Levi, W. Phillipps, N. Karnes.T. Giles, Harrington, R. Strachan, W. L. Beare, W. H. Brooks, C. W. Bowman, J. A. Johnson, T. Graves, A. Hay, G. W. Hawkes, H. J. Richman, C. T. Cowle, Fulford W. Reeve, P. Waite, Chapman (Elder, Smith, & Co.), W. Bakewell, W. Reynell. Holroyd, Gunson, H. L. Ayers, E. W. O'Halloran, E. W. Howard, Ballantyne. E. Latham, R. Smith (Harris, Scarfe, & Co.), W. Pope, F. Wright, and J. R. Baker. There were also present a number of the Indian servants whom Mr. Hughes employed at his house. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. G. DOWNS & Sons.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hughes, Herbert Bristow (1820–1892)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

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