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David Lewis (1821–1886)

We have to record, the Mercury says, with very sincere regret, the death of the Honorable David Lewis, late of Collins street, Hobart, warehouseman and merchant, a member of the Executive Council, and an ex-Treasurer of the colony, which took place early on Saturday morning, after a lengthy illness. For years one of our most prominent men and politicians, Mr Lewis has of late passed from the arena of active strife, a severe attack of paralysis having totally incapacitated him from work of all kinds. Mr Lewis was born in Hobart on the 3rd May, 1821, and was, consequently, at the time of his decease nearly 65 years of age. He was the eldest son of Mr Richard Lewis, the founder and first head of the firm of which the deceased subsequently became a member. He was educated at Thompson's and Mummery's schools, and commenced his business career in Melbourne in 1838, as confidential clerk to Messrs. Rucker and Co., of that city. In 1840 he went to England in the barque Alfred, and in 1843, after a varied experience in several large business houses in London and Paris, with a view to gaining knowledge which would be useful to him in commercial life here, he returned to Tasmania, and was taken into partnership with his father and brothers, in the firm of Richard Lewis and Sons, which is still existing in our midst. Mr Lewis was as enthusiastic supporter of volunteering since its inception in the colony, making it his principal recreation, and in 1862 he was the champion rifle shot of the colony, and winner of the allcomers' gold medal. He was a member of the first artillery corps, and subsequently held a commission in the Second City Rifles. More recently, when the Southern Tasmanian Volunteer Artillery Corps was enrolled, he was appointed to the post of major and paymaster. He was always a great favorite with the men, and a liberal supporter of bands and other military accessories. He was elected alderman of the city in 1858, and on the retirement of Mr Osmond H. Gillies from the Mayoral chair in July of that year, Mr Lewis was elected to the vacancy, and he filled the chair till the end of 1859, being re-elected in the interval. In 1859 he was placed on the roll of the Commission of the Peace for the colony. He represented the district of Clarence in the House of Assembly for years, and subsequently sat for Central Hobart until the general election of 1882, when he retired. From the 20th December, 1878, to the 29th October, 1879, he occupied the position of Treasurer in the Crowther Ministry, retiring when the Coalition Ministry took its place. He delivered financial statements on the 23rd April and 19th September, 1879, having each time to deal with a falling revenue and deficiency in the public account. His proposals, however, to meet this by taxation in the shape of income and properly tax combined, did not meet the approval of Parliament. As a shrewd man of business, Mr Lewis had no superior, and was for many years a director of the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, the Hobart Gas Company, and the Australian Mutual Provident Society. He was married in 1845, at St. George's Church, to Miss McKellar, a daughter of Lieutenant McKellar, R.N., but of his family only two survive him, a son and daughter, besides several grandchildren. He passed quietly away at the last, in the presence of his brother, Mr Thomas Lewis, and several other friends — a man who has done the State good service in his time, and whose genial private character will long keep his memory green in the minds of those who knew him best. The funeral will leave his late residence in Collins-street, this (Tuesday) morning, at 9 o'clock, and his remains will be interred in the family vault at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.

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'Lewis, David (1821–1886)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

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