Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

William Kelly (1859–1924)

For the last ten years Mr. Kelly had to relinquish many of the activities that made him a well-known and prominent figure in town affairs, still the news of his death on Tuesday night last (following a stroke on Sunday evening which occurred about seven o'clock) caused widespread regret. The largely attended funeral on Thursday was an evidence of the liking and esteem in which the late Mr. Kelly was held, and the attendance of the Masonic and Oddfellows' Lodges in full force, significant of the honor in which he had been held by those bodies, whose highest positions he had filled in his association with them. A. kindly, genial soul was the late Mr. Kelly, generous to a degree and one whose witty tongue, sense of humour, and enthusiastic nature sent him happily through life in which he never lost interest. In his early days he was a great athlete. He was a prime mover in the formation of most of the sporting events of some 15 or 20 years ago, and earlier still organised the old Marsden Hill sports meeting in which he took part as a runner. While successful on land he was still more at home in the water, and the event of most interest at old-time swimming carnivals was when he did his Monte Cristo stunt, and came up after minute's submersion, having disentangled and got his way out of the sack in which he had been tied and thrown into deep water. He was also a  speedy swimmer, specialising in the long distance dive and breast stroke, and nearly every lad of those days owed a good deal to Mr. Kelly's encouragement and tuition, for he spent hours training them and instilled a love of the water into the rising generation. He was largely instrumental in getting the fine baths we have now established and formed the first Swimming Club, of  which he was captain for many years. He was nominated by the Council as one of the Baths Controlling Committee representing the citizens' interest with that of the Council. Next or equal perhaps to his enthusiasm in this direction, was his love and skill for flowers. All over the state he was recognised as a carnation specialist and raised several very fine varieties, beside showing magnificent blooms for the exhibition table. In consequence he was much in request as judge at the various Agricultural and Horticultural Shows of the Coast, and often invited to go long distances in this capacity. He was connected with the business life of this community for over 40 years, and passed out of it leaving not one enemy behind. In his long illness he has had the devoted attention of one of the best wives—a helpmate in the truest sense of the word—who assisted him most capably in business and proved herself a devoted and unwearying nurse and cheering companion, passing through a very trying time, which she bore with wonderful  patience and fortitude, since the first paralytic seizure, six months ago. In assistance with the nursing, Mr Jack Hart, who has been identified with the late Mr.A Kelly in business from his boyhood, was almost a son, lifting and caring for him as child in his helplessness, untiring in his solicitude and kindness.

The late Mr. Kelly was in his 66th year and was born in the Isle of Man, and was one of an old Deemster family. He arrived in Australia a young man. He was married twice, his first wife Miss Sarah Pinkerton of Richmond River, who left two children to survive in William and Muriel.  Later he married Miss Florence E. Perdue of Parramatta and a second son was born. Mr. Orry Kelly had a sad homecoming yesterday, when he landed from America, where he has been specialising in art work. Hearing of his father's increasing weakness, he evidently started off at once, though under a six months' engagement with a New York firm, and his mother was astonished to receive a radio message from the Sonoma on Saturday last, saying he would land on Tuesday. Too late, sad to say, to see his father alive and much sympathy will be felt for him in the sorrowful news awaiting him. It was at strange thing, however, that Mr. Kelly, just before his seizure had a vivid dream that his youngest son was on his way home and it seemed to comfort him greatly. Mr. Wm. Kelly, his oldest son, late of the A.I.F. and new to the State railway service, and his daughter, Mrs. Dobson of Coogee, were in the home a few hours after hearing of his illness.

Despite the dearth of flowers on Thursday they came as a last tribute to somoene who loved them so well, in many wreaths of remembrance, the hearse piled high with them and buried with the casket were those to which the name of his son Orry, the absent one, and his little grand-daughter Lola, were attached. Others were from his son Will, Ruby and Little Roy, Moonie and Frank, Auntie and Effie, Lettie, Dot and Aunty May, Jack and Ern. and Jack Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert H. Hart, Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Stevenson, Star of the South M.U.I.O.O.F., Mrs Caird and Miss Caird, Mrs. H. A. King, Mrs Irving and family, Miss. A. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Morton, Mr. and Mrs. A. Sewell, Mr. and Mrs. J. Symons, Masonic Lodge Kiama, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Carson and family, Mrs Carson ? and family, Mr. and Mrs. H. Honey and family, Rector and Parishoners of Christ Church,  Choir of Christ Church, Mrs. Kieran Ryan and family, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Cocks, The Rainbow family, Mrs. and Miss. Windsor, Mr. and Mrs. Pike and family, Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Weir and family, Dr. and Mrs. Beith and family, Misses M. and E. Weston, Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Fullar, Kiama Horticultural Society, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Frederick and family, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Colley, Mr. and Mrs. A. Nicholson.

The service at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. A. H. Gallop. Members of the Masonic Lodge and Oddfellows acted as pall-bearers and the service of the Masonic order was read by Bro. G. H. Chapman, and that of the Oldfellows by Bro. R. Hendeson.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by R. W. Kendall.

Original publication

Citation details

'Kelly, William (1859–1924)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Isle of Man, England


21 May, 1924 (aged ~ 65)
Kiama, New South Wales, Australia

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.

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.

Key Organisations