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Sarah Australia Patfield (1835–1926)

By the death of Mrs. Sarah Patfield, who passed away on 19th inst, Paterson has lost its oldest resident—though not its oldest inhabitant in point of age.

The late Mrs. Patfield was born at Surrey Hills, then on the outskirts of Sydney, in 1834— three years before Queen Victoria came to the throne. Her father was a brickmaker, who came out a few years previously as overseer of a company of convicts. Not long afterwards he removed to the Paterson district, where the lately deceased lady spent the whole of the remainder of her life. She had very distinct recollections of the first incumbent of Paterson, the Rev. Jennings Smith, who died in 1846. In April, 1853, she married Mr. Samuel Patfield, who passed away at the age of 77, in 1910. There were in all 12 children of the marriage, seven of whom still survive, viz., Messrs. Herbert (Woodville), Samuel and Mont (Paterson), and Stanley Patfield (Sydney), and Mesdames M. Smith, A. Taylor, and W. Tucker, all of Paterson.

Mrs. Patfield had a wonderful memory of the early days, and it was like reading a chapter of early Australian history to hear her relating stories that went back to the early forties. She was a devoted member of the Church of England, and was held in respect and honour by all who knew her, as was shown by the large and representative attendance at the funeral on Sunday, June 20. She was buried beside her husband in the old churchyard cemetery of St. Paul's, Paterson.

The rector, Rev. H. M. R. Rupp, officiated, and at the graveside said: 'I think that I ought to say a few words here to-day, as we are gathered together to lay to rest the mortal remains of one who was truly a pioneer of this district; and who spent the greater part of a century on the Paterson River. The late Mrs. Patfield has seen many of you who are here grow from infancy to grey hairs. It was given to me to know her only in her latter days. I found her ever of a true Christian spirit, forbearing, and kindly, and charitable, and to the very end steadfast in the faith. I have seen her, in her 91st year, come along to make her communion in the early morning at this church, and I have heard her pathetically lament the carelessness of the younger generation in those things that meant so much to her. She has had her share of tribulations, and now, full of years and honour, God has called her to the rest of paradise. No more fitting words, I think, could be said over her grave than those of the great English poet:

Sunset, and evening star,
And one clear call for me:
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea:
Twilight, and evening bell,
And after that, the dark;
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark:
For though from out our bourne of time and space
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to meet my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.'

The numerous beautiful floral tributes were from the following: Mrs. Osmond, sen. (Mrs Patfield's senior in age by four years); Mrs F. Wells; Mr. and Mrs. M. Smith and Mr. Olive Smith; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Taylor and family; Mrs. W. Tucker and family; Messrs. M. S., and M. Patfield, jun.; Misses Ethel and Gladys Patfield; St. Paul's Women's Guild, Paterson; Mr. and Mrs K. Patfield and family, Mr. and Mrs. K. J. Tucker and family; Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Tucker; Mrs. Stout and Mrs. Lowe; Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Brown; Mr. and Mrs. S. Patfield and family; Mr. and Mrs W. J. Crouch; Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mate; Mr. and Mrs. P. Carroll; Mr and Mrs. F. Auckett; Mr. and Mrs. Harding and family; Mr and Mrs. A. Wade; Mr. and Mrs. W. Hicks; Mr. Bert Walmsley and friends; Mr. and Mrs. H. Corner and family; Misses E. and A. Cann; Mrs. T. Patfield and Messrs. L. and H. Smith.

Original publication

Citation details

'Patfield, Sarah Australia (1835–1926)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Giles, Sarah Australia

25 August, 1835
Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia


19 June, 1926 (aged 90)
Paterson, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.