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John Leonard Kelf (1869–1901)

It is with sincere regret that we are called upon to announce the death of Mr. John Leonard Kelf, for many years accountant at the local branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. The deceased, who was barely 33 years of age, was educated at the Singleton Grammar School, and on leaving entered the service of the A. J. S. Bank in the Singleton Branch. From there he was transferred to Narrandera, and was for a time previous to the Bank troubles, manager at Whitton, on the South Western Line. After the reconstruction many officials were retired, and small branches closed up. Mr. Kelf's good service stood him in good stead, and he was transferred to Tenterfield as accountant. Arriving here some eight years ago, he proved himself an energetic townsman, and courteous and obliging official; to clients of the Bank. He identified himself with all classes of sport and held the positions of Secretaries of the School of Arts and Golf Clubs, the first named for a lengthy period. Up to 12 months ago the late gentleman appeared in the best of health, but from that time onwards he fell away, and gradually lost that spirit and dash peculiar to himself. A few months ago he spent a holiday on Mr. Elwin's station at Texas, hoping that the change of air and exercise would have a beneficial effect on his health, but such was not to be. So bad did he become that a month ago he went to Sydney to seek medical advice from Dr. Jamieson and Jarvey Hood, two eminent medical gentleman. After examination, they recommended him to return home and take complete rest for a month or six weeks. This he did, taking to his bed immediately on his return, but was destined never to leave it again alive, passing away peacefully just before 1 p. m. on Tuesday last in the presence of a few friends. During the whole of his last illness, Dr. Crommelin paid the most assiduous attention to his patient, and every comfort was provided at the Royal Hotel to make his numbered days as comfortable and pleasant as the sad surroundings would permit. Miss Mulherin was most attentive, but the strain on her being rather heavy, Dr. Crommelin procured a nurse from Casino, and this lady ( Miss Campbell) was with him till the last. Tho medical men locally and in Sydney recognised from the first that the case was hopeless, nevertheless everything possible was done to stave off the final day. He suffered from a complication of complaints affecting the liver, kidneys, and heart, and later dropsy for, which complaint he was tapped a night or two before death. His father, who is postmaster at Bourke, was in Tenterfield for several days, during his illness, but had to return to Singleton from which place he arrived yesterday and attended the funeral, which was a very lengthy and representative one. The mournful procession left the Royal Hotel at 3 o'clock, proceeded to Christ Church, where service was held by the Rev. H. G. Smith, and thence to the cemetery, where was laid to rest all that remained of a once well-known and popular figure among the members of this community. Mr. J. Williams had charge of the mortuary arrangements, the coffin being of polished cedar, with the usual silver mountings. This was strewn with beautiful wreaths, the last token of respect shown by the numerous friends of the deceased.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Kelf, John Leonard (1869–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 March, 1869
St Leonards, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


11 December, 1901 (aged 32)
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia

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