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Lovegrove, William (1831–1906)


Mr William Lovcgrovo who died at Marrickville on Monday was an old colonist and did much to aid the settlement and progress of the Shoalhaven district. He arrived there in 1852 in tho schooner Bard's Legacy, 35 tons (Captain Whitfield). At that time it was considered impossible for a steamer to take up the trade in opposition to the sailing boats that charged £2 15s to £3 per ton freight on potatoes, because of the sand and mud flats in the Crookhaven. On returning to Sydney, Mr. Lovegrove consulted Mr. Williams, the American Consul and Mr Edye Manning, with the view to establishing steam communication. Mr Manning suggested that the plan should be carried out with tho help of the William the IV, a colonial hardwood steamer as broad as she was long, and able to steam but four miles an hour, exclusive of wind. Mr Lovegrove rejected the idea at once, and the matter ended in a few friends, Messrs Wm. Manning, T. S. Mort, Robt. Tooth, the Hon. E. Lord, Mr. Williams, Mr. Edye Manning and Mr Lovegrove forming the bulk of a company, the last mentioned going back to Shoalhaven to see what interest the district would take in the matter. The sum of £4000, including Mr Lovegrove's own subscription, was raised in Shoalhaven towards the project, and thus was formed through Mr Lovegrove's instrumentality the first Illawarra Steam Navigation Company. He surveyed and charted the river entrance, assisted by Captain Noel, in a skiff which he (Mr Lovegrove) had sailed from Wollongong. Very great difficulties beset the old company, for in spite of Mr Lovegrove's urgent disapproval, the company purchased in Sydney for the river service tho steamer Planet which was quite unsuitable on account of her draught. The Nora Creina was the sea steamer. Mr Lovegrove also examined the whole of the navigable waters of the Shoalhaven River and Broughton Creek, and for a time worked the river service. On January 1st, 1857, Mr Lovegrove was appointed Governmant resident official, the service until then having been performed by a monthly visit by Mr. Meares from Kiama. The bench of magistrates consisted of Dr. Mckenzie and Mr Thomson, of Burrier. Mr. Lovegrove assisted largely in the erection of the first church in Shoalhaven - that at Terara which was built on land given for the purpose by Mrs De Mestre. There was great difficulty at this time in getting settlers on to the land. The surveyors preferred to measure the clearer lands where they could earn more money and the more easlily, and the scrub lands were marked "inaccessible". Mr. Lovogrove set himself to getting an alteration made in the law, and in 1861, Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Robertson brought in his Land Act which provided for selection before survey. Mr Lovegroves official duties were not confined to Shoalhaven. He had to visit Ulladulla as Crown lands agent, etc, and on many occasions had to swim his horse across the Falls Creek and othor streams on his way between the two districts. His residence was at Terara and he was one of the victims of the flood of 1860, his house, furniture and many valuables being entirely swept away in that first disaster of its kind known to occur in the district, although Mr Alex- ander Berry had been in Shoalhaven since 1822. This flood, as many still living know, caused immense loss in life and property. Mr Lovegrove took an active part in all matters for the public good. He assisted in, and was elected Mayor on, tho formation of the Central Shoalhaven municipality; he was a foremost worker for the establishment of a School of Arts at Terara of which the foundation stone was laid amid much ceremony, but the completion of which was blocked by the '70 flood and ultimately abandoned. The dredging of the Crookhaven Creek, which relieved the district much in times of flood, was carried out by him. At his own expense he erected flood gates and successfully carried out a drainage scheme on what is still known as Lovegrove's swamp. On his leaving Shoalhaven, however, the floodgates, which were neglected, soon fell to pieces, and the saltwater re-claimed the land. Mr Lovegrove was always a strong advocate for the erection of the bridge over the Shoalhaven at Nowra, and persistent in his agitation for the extension of the railway to Jervis Bay. He was one of the founders of the Shoalhaven Agricultural Society, the first exhibitions in connection with which, over 30 years ago, were held at Terara, and he was for many years its president. Many other public works and institutions and claims of charity have benefited by his support. After more than 10 years faithful service to the Government, he practically resigned hiss position to contest the election of a member for Shoalhaven, and was defeated by 52 votes. He shortly afterwards removed to Sydney. Mr Lovegrove was a gifted musician. He married Melanie, daughter of the late Mrs. M. A. De Mestre, who owned the well known Terara estate. He leaves a widow, four sons, and five daughters.

Original publication

Citation details

'Lovegrove, William (1831–1906)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2021.

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