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William Mair (?–1897)



Readers will regret to hear of the death of Mr. William Mair, of "The Plantations," Glenelg, which occurred at about 8 o'clock on Thursday morning. Although the deceased gentleman had not been in the best of health for some months he was able to attend to his business until last Friday afternoon. On that day he complained of feeling unwell, but although he was compelled to remain at home, no one anticipated that his illness was likely to prove fatal. The cause of death was a paralytic stroke. Mr. Mair arrived in South Australia in the early "fifties" and was first employed by Messrs. Philip Levi & Co. Afterwards he joined the Government service, but left his position there to assume the secretaryship of the Wallaroo Mines Company. Later on he went to New Zealand, where he embarked in business on his own account, but he soon re turned to Adelaide and established the business of an accountant and general agent, which he has carried on ever since. He was much interested in the proposal to connect Glenelg with the metropolis by rail, and by his influence in Parliament and outside helped considerably to secure the starting of the undertaking. He entered the House of Assembly as member for Sturt in 1874, but resigned his seat in the next year, so that he could pay a visit to England. In 1888 Mr. Mair was elected secretary to the Adelaide Underwriters' Association and has filled the position up to the time of his death. His position naturally brought him into close contact with commercial men in Adelaide, and he was highly esteemed for his strict integrity and perfect knowledge of his business. He took a great interest in floriculture and spent most of his leisure time in gardening. His efforts in this direction made his residence one of the most picturesque in Glenelg. Of late years he had not taken a very active part in public affairs. His last public appearance was at a meeting in connection with the agitation for another railway to Glenelg. He spoke vigorously in favor of the proposal, which he did not think would result in any injury to the Glenelg Railway Company. He leaves a widow — a daughter of the late Sir John Morphett — three sons and two daughters. All of the sons are absent from the colony, two of them being in West Australia and the other in Queensland. One of the daughters is the wife of Mr. C. Irwin, the sharebroker, and the other is still unmarried. Our Glenelg correspondent writes : — "Although during recent years the late Mr. Mair spent most of his leisure hours in his own home, in the earlier days he was one of the most active residents of the municipalities of Glenelg and Brighton. The ratepayers of Brighton elected him to the mayoral office, and a practical reminder of his service in the capacity of chief magistrate of the town is an inkstand at present in use at the local town hall. Glenelg too had the benefit in its palmy days of the deceased gentleman's influence, and Mr. Mair's demise strikingly impresses those that witnessed the early growth of' the colony that the ranks of the early-day settlers and commercial men are fast thinning. Mr. Mair was a Fellow of the Adelaide Society of Accountants, and although his recent years were passed in comparative retirement, many of the present day commercial men recognised to the full the value of Mr. Mair's services in the business world. The last occasion in which Mr. Mair's voice was heard in public was at the meeting at Brighton, held to organise a movement to obtain railway communication with the city. Mr. Mair spoke lucidly and vigorously, recounting for the benefit of a large meeting the successes and vicissitudes of various railway and tramway companies that were promoted when the colony was young."

Original publication

Citation details

'Mair, William (?–1897)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 October, 1897

Cause of Death