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Kelf, Joseph (1839–1928)

Mr. Joseph Kelf, an old resident of Sydney, and father of Mr. H. S. Kelf, manager of the Gloucester branch of the Bank of New South Wales, who was for nearly 40 years an officer of the postal Department, died on Sunday at his residence in Malvern-strect, Chatswood. He was 89 years of age.

Mr. Kelf had a wonderful store of reminiscences of early Sydney, and his recollections of events and personalities of upwards of three quarters of a century ago was most vivid up, to the time of his death. In his early life Mr. Kelf went to the various gold diggings in the State, but without much success. His spirit of adventure look him as far afield as New Zealand, and again his search for wealth was without result. Returning to New South Wales he joined the staff of the Postal Department in 1869. He remained in its service until 1904.

Mr. Kelf remembered when the foreshores of Darling Harbour were a series of soft sandy-beaches. In those days one saw an English regiment on parade in the old Barrack Square near Barrack-street, and Mr. Kelf delighted to tell of the changes that had taken place in. the city since his boyhood days. Mr. Kelf recollected Sir Henry Parkes when the latter was in business in Hunter street.

In 1866 Mr. Kelf was married to Miss Mulhall, at St. Peter's, Woolloomooloo. She was a daughter of Mr. James Mulhall, whose four sons were, noted rowers in their day. After joining the Postal service, Mr. Kelf was stationed at Singleton for 25 years, and took a keen, interest in local welfare movements. He was president of the Mechanics Institute, and for 15 years or 16 years was vice president of the Singleton Benevolent Asylum and Hospital. In 1900 he was transferred to Bourke, and retired from the service four years later.

The last rites took place yesterday at the Crematorium, Rookwood.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Kelf, Joseph (1839–1928)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/kelf-joseph-22866/text32289, accessed 25 October 2021.

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