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.

Randolph Isham Stow (1828–1878)

Although it was known for some time past that the late Mr. Justice Randolph Isham Stow was in a very precarious state of health, the announcement of his death was a painful surprise to many and awakened profound and widespread regret. The late Judge was born at Buntingford, in Hertfordshire, on December 17, 1828, and was educated at first under the care of his father and subsequently by Mr. D. Wylie, M.A. He had, however, been identified with the colony from its earliest days, having come out to Australia with his father, the late Rev. T. Q. Stow, in the year 1837. The deceased Judge was called to the bar at the close of 1852, having previously studied law under the direction of Mr. William Bakewell, to whom he had been articled. The close attention which he gave to his legal studies, combined with his superior intellectual gifts, speedily secured for him a prominent position at the bar, of which in due course he became the recognised leader. We have it on indisputable authority that when the late Sir Richard Hanson was practising at the Bar he always felt it incumbent upon him, if he knew that Mr. Stow was to be opposed to him, to devote more than ordinary care to the task of getting up his case, a circumstance which may justly be regarded as conclusive evidence of the high opinion formed by the late Chief Justice of the ability of the deceased Judge. After he was called to the bar Mr. Stow joined the firm of Messrs. Bartley & Bakewell, in which he remained for some years. He next carried on business on his own account, but afterwards entered into partnership with Mr. T. B. Bruce. Mr. Frank Ayers was subsequently admitted into the firm, and on the death of Mr. Bruce the surviving partners carried on the business under the style of 'Stow & Ayers.'

Many years ago the late Judge turned his attention to politics, and speedily secured the conspicuous position to which his distinguished talents entitled him. During 1861 and 1862 he sat for the District of West Torrens, in which a vacancy had occurred through the resignation of Mr. George Morphett. In the following Parliament, which lasted only two years, he represented the District of Victoria. Mr. Stow first took his seat in the House in April, 1861, and in the following month he joined Mr. Reynolds's Ministry as Attorney-General. That Ministry, it will he remembered, lasted only a few months, and was in the following October replaced by a Cabinet formed by Mr. Waterhouse, of which Mr. Stow was not a member. After a brief existence of only nine days this Ministry was reconstructed, Mr. Waterhouse still occupying in it the position of Chief Secretary, and the Attorney-Generalship being again taken by Mr. Stow, who continued to hold the office until July, 1863. The late Judge was also Attorney-General in two successive Cabinets from July, 1864, to March, 1865. In consequence of his failure to secure his election for Victoria in 1865 the Ministry retired, and Mr. Stow was out of the House until the close of 1866. He was then returned for East Torrens in the place of Mr. C. H. Goode, who had resigned, and this district he represented for the remainder of that Parliament, The five years between 1861 and 1865 formed a most important period in the Parliamentary annals of the country, and the late Judge took a leading part in placing upon the Statute-book legislation of great practical value. As a ready and powerful speaker he made his influence felt, and by those who bear in mind the political records of the time he will be remembered as one of the most prominent actors in many a stormy debate. After five years' absence from the political arena Mr. Stow re-entered Parliament as member for Light, having been returned without a contest in the room of Mr. M. L. Conner, who had vacated his seat by accepting the office of Warden of the Northern Territory Goldfields. He was next returned at the head of the poll for the same district at the general election in 1875, but before the Parliament met the wreck of the Gothenburg took place in which the late Mr. Justice Wearing lost his life, and on March 15 of that year Mr. Stow was sworn-in as Third Judge of the Supreme Court, exactly ten years after he had been raised to the rank of Queen's Counsel.

The appointment of the late Judge inspired universal confidence, and was hailed with the general approval both of the Bar and of the public. Indeed, Mr. Stow's unchallenged and unchallengeable position as the leader of the Bar, his thorough soundness and versatility as a lawyer, his commanding abilities, his accurate knowledge both of English and colonial law, and the important services he had rendered in the work of legislation marked him out at once as the most fitting successor to Mr. Justice Wearing, and his acceptance of the office relieved the Ministry of the day of difficulties such as had sometimes arisen on former occasions when the conflicting claims of different candidates of equal standing and ability had to be weighed. Fortunately only a short time before the vacancy occurred the Parliament had wisely made a more liberal provision for the Judges, so that the relinquishing of a lucrative practice for a seat on the judicial bench involved less sacrifice than it would have done under the old regime, and a stronger inducement was held out to the best men to aspire to the most honourable position which the profession in South Australia has to offer to its members. A special interest was felt in the late Judge's elevation to the Bench because of his complete identification with the colony and of the assurance that was thus given that his judgments, while displaying a thorough knowledge of the general principles of law, would be also in complete sympathy with the spirit of our local legislation. It is hardly necessary to say that these expectations have been abundantly realized, and that during the period, all too brief, in which he sat upon the Bench the Late Judge not only maintained the reputation of the Court in which he presided, but by his great ability and indefatigable industry materially raised it in the estimation of the public as a tribunal wherein suitors might obtain a prompt and satisfactory settlement of matters in difference between them. Some of his judgments, such, for example, as the notable one in the case of Cuthbertson v. Swan, showed, as we have said, a thorough appreciation of the genius of our local legislation, and were so comprehensive and exhaustive in their character as to be most valuable additions to the legal precedents of the colony. It cannot be forgotten, either, that for a considerable portion of the time during which Mr. Stow was a Judge of the Supreme Court his duties were through a series of exceptional circumstances rendered peculiarly heavy. On three different occasions the Chief Justice was called upon to undertake the duties of Administrator of the Government; for over a year Mr. Justice Gwynne has been away on leave of absence; and for twelve months Mr. Commissioner Downer, too, was out of the colony. During that period the work of the Insolvency Court was undertaken by the Chief Justice and the late Mr. Justice Stow. The extra labour thus imposed upon His Honor was cheerfully and ungrudgingly rendered, and almost to the very last he continued, in spite of great physical weakness, to pay unremitting mention to the duties of his responsible office. Indeed he may be said to have died in harness, as only the day before his death two elaborate judgments which had been prepared by him were delivered in court by his colleague the Chief Justice. As a public man Mr. Stow's time was almost wholly taken up with his political and professional duties. He was, however, one of the first members of the Council of the Adelaide University, which position he resigned when for prudential reasons it became expedient that there should be at least one Judge of the Supreme Court who was in no way officially connected with that institution.

Although for some time past the health of the late Judge was feeble, and during the last fortnight of his life especially the symptoms were such as to awaken grave anxiety, it was not anticipated that his illness would so soon terminate fatally. On Friday, September 13, the deceased Judge went out for a drive, and when he returned complained of a feeling of exhaustion. On Sunday, however, he was visited by his brothers and other friends and appeared to be unusually cheerful. Early on Monday morning he was seized with a severe fit of vomiting, and at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon he was much worse, and towards evening he became unconscious and continued so until his death, which took place at 2 o'clock in Wednesday, September 18. His Honor, who was in his fiftieth year, leaves a widow and six children; four sons and two daughters. Several brothers also survive, among them being Mr. Augustine Stow, Judge's Associate, and Mr. Jefferson Stow, Editor of the Advertiser.

The sentiments expressed by His Honor the Chief Justice and by the Crown Solicitor at the Supreme Court, the remarks made by the members of the Government and others in both branches of the Legislature, and the outward signs of respect to the memory of Mr. Justice Stow which were to be seen everywhere in the city may be accepted as an exact index of the class of emotions that have been awakened by the sad news of His Honor's death. In a small community like ours the positions of eminence and of high responsibility are few in number; but few as they are it is perhaps still more rare to find one who like the late Judge attained, without any meretricious aids of birth or unusual accidents of fortune, the very position which he was so well able to adorn and to fill with advantage to the community. Nor is it possible without an effort to realize all that is included in these statements. There are many men who in a colony like South Australia attain notoriety who in older countries and surrounded by a keener competition would be lost in obscurity. With Mr. Stow the precise reverse of this we believe was the case. There can be little doubt that wherever his lot might have been cast his unusual ability and grasp of mind, of which his commanding presence and dignified demeanour were both the type and the index, would have enabled him to compete successfully for the foremost place. To men of this calibre the comparative dullness of life in a young colony is a positive disadvantage, as they miss in great measure all those incentives to the attainment of the highest degree of excellence which are afforded by the eager but generous rivalry of kindred spirits possessed of powers equal to their own. Hence, as South Australians, we cherish with a feeling of national pride the memory of one who lived the greater part of his life in the colony, who was moulded by and in his turn helped to mould our national laws and institutions, but who, whether as a legislator, as an advocate, or as a Judge, invariably produced the impression that even when tried by a higher test than the dwarfed standard of narrow local conditions he might claim to rank among the most gifted in his profession.

The funeral of the late Judge may be regarded as one of the most noteworthy events in our local annals. It is not alone, or mainly to the fact that it took the form of a well appointed State ceremonial, that it owes its title to be thus remembered. It was most fitting that the distinction of a public funeral should be paid to one who had brought his commanding talent to bear to do the colony service, and admirably were the arrangements carried out for giving imposing effect to the decision of the Executive. But above and beyond the official character of the pageant there were risible on all hands proofs of the spontaneous, widespread, and deep regret of the community at the death of an illustrious public servant in the very midst of his days and in the full flood of his usefulness. The multitudes who joined in the funeral procession, the crowds who lined the streets as the long cortege moved through them, and the throng of leading colonists who assembled round the grave seemed all impressed with the conviction that a great man — one who could be ill spared from the ranks of the profession of which he had so long been an ornament and from the place on the judgment-seat which he has filled with so much dignity and ability — had departed. It may truly be said of the late Judge that he was one whom South Australians delighted to honour. Though not born in South Australia he was trained here and all his distinctions were won here. Young as the colony is, it is something of which it can be proud that it is old enough for such a career as that of Mr. Stow. Here he has laboured hard, reaped the best laurels that South Australia has to bestow, and at the early age of forty-nine has passed away. The muster-roll of famous men among us is a short one: still shorter is the list of genuine South Australians who have attained to eminence; but however long the one or the other may become in the future to the end of the chapter the name of Randolph Isham Stow, the talented son of a talented father whose death not many years ago the public were called upon to mourn, will ever occupy upon them a foremost place. The impressive tribute paid to his memory on Thursday is the token and pledge that his name will be cherished by South Australians as an honoured heritage.

His Honor the Chief Justice, on taking his seat on the Bench at the Criminal Court on Tuesday, September 17, alluded to the death of Mr. Justice Stow in the following terms:— Mr. Crown Solicitor, I am most reluctant to allow any change in the constitution of this Bench or the state of my own feelings to interfere with the course of public business, but I feel it would be an act of disrespect to the memory of my late colleague, and it would be more than could be expected of myself and the members of the Bar who are engaged in the business before the Court to proceed with the important cases in the calendar on the very day of his death. It was only yesterday that I delivered in the Equity Court two judgments on behalf of my late colleague — judgments which brought up all arrears of his judicial work, and judgments which show no failure whatever in his great mental powers. On Friday he was in the precincts of the Court, and on Saturday I was dicussing with him the terms of those judgments, when he expressed his intention to make an alteration in one of them which he afterwards carried out. With his voice almost ringing in my ears, and feeling so freshly the shock of his death, I cannot trust myself to express my sense of the great loss which has been occasioned not merely to this Bench but to South Australia by the removal of the great Judge who has just departed from us. Still less can I bear to trust myself to express my own sorrow at the loss of my late colleague and my friend —a sorrow in which I am sure you all sincerely share— or our sympathy with the family which has lost its head and protector.

The Crown Solicitor (Hon. B. B. Andrews, Q.C.) said — I sympathise thoroughly, and I am sure all members of the Bar also sympathise in the loss that has been sustained by the family of our friend, who has been so long at the Bar, and whose quick perception and dignified character on the Bench, and whose great legal knowledge has been of such value to the country. His loss is one which probably can scarcely be repaired, and under present circumstances it is painful to remark upon it. The sympathy of the Bar to the family is that which is from friend to friend.

The Court then adjourned.

In both Houses of Parliament the same afternoon feeling references were made to the death of the late Judge by many members. In the Assembly the Treasurer said he had to inform the House that the Government, on hearing of the lamentable event which the public had seen noticed in the morning's papers, had offered to the family of the late Mr. Justice Stow as a mark of the respect in which he was held a public funeral. (Cheers.) Since he had been in the House he had received information that the offer had been accepted, but even if it had not been he would have felt it his duty to move the motion he had. Although Mr. Justice Stow was not born in this colony he was to all intents and purposes a South Australian — (Hear, hear) by education, by the associations of his boyhood, his manhood, and his riper years. The part that he had taken in public life in this province entitled them to some of the credit of looking upon him as a South Australian. In all public questions from before we had a Constitution until the deceased gentleman went on the Bench Mr. Stow's voice was ever prominent, almost invariably with words of wisdom, and whether men sometimes differed from him or not the spirit in which he spoke and the example which he set was always deemed worthy of every possible praise, irrespective of his having been a member of that House. (Cheers.) He had, however, been on the floor of the House with the deceased gentleman, and those who had had the same advantage knew that he was saying no more than was correct when he said that there never was a more brilliant leader of the House of Assembly than Mr. Stow was. (Cheers.) He might also say— and in this the Attorney-General, the legal members of the House, and all the members of the Bar would agree with him— that there never was on this continent a more brilliant leader of the Bar than Mr. Stow— (cheers)— or a man who was fairer to the Bench, and fairer, juster, or kinder to his juniors. (Hear, hear.) For some twenty years until he went on the Bench Mr. Stow was his leader, and never on any occasion was there in his (the Treasurer's) mind, or he believed in the mind of any member of the Bar, the slightest feeling of jealousy towards Mr. Stow, or any other feeling than that of admiration and that he deserved the reputation which he had so universally gained. (Hear, hear.) As a politician the opinion of Mr. Stow was equally high, and as a Judge his death was an exceedingly great blow to the Supreme Court, to the Bar, and to the people of this country. (Cheers) And he knew from his own knowledge of Mr. Stow's aptness and from the opinion of great men who had occasionally visited here that if Mr. Stow, instead of having his legal learning instilled into him in what was then this comparatively very small colony, had been educated for the Bar in England he would have been second to none in the profession there. (Hear, hear.) He had indeed most extraordinary natural gifts as an advocate as well as a Judge. (Hear, hear.) It would ill become him to use any words which would appear on an occasion like this to be laboured. Public notice would be given of the arrangements that the Government would make for the funeral, and hon. members and the public generally would have an opportunity of paying their last tribute of respect to the man who was so deservedly and universally esteemed; and he was quite certain from the flag which they saw half-mast high in the streets, and from the observations they heard on every side, that there was not one person in this land but felt as he felt and the House felt, that the Supreme Court had lost an ornament and a strength, and the public had lost a most valuable public servant— (cheers)— and he was sure they would all regret if they did not take every opportunity of showing their respect for his memory or their sympathy with his family. (Cheers.)

Only four times previously in the annals of South Australia has her people witnessed such a ceremonial as took place on Thursday, September 19 — the State funeral of one of her most eminent public men. Those to whom this distinguished tribute of a country's honour as well as its sorrow had been paid in the past were Colonel Light in 1839, Mr. Justice Crawford in 1852, Sir Dominick Daly in 1868, and Sir Richard Davies Hanson in 1876. On this occasion the funeral was that of Mr. Randolph Isham Stow, Third Judge of the Supreme Court, and there could be but one opinion as to the propriety of such an evidence of national respect being accorded to one whose career is inseparably interwoven with the history of the colony itself, and who, whether as the earnest and far seeing politician, the brilliant and eloquent leader of the Bar, or the learned and upright Judge, had his talents and worth recognised through the length and breadth of the land. And this general regret was not only shown by the very large attendance, at the funeral, of the members of the Legislature and of the legal profession, with which bodies the late Judge had been more particularly associated, but also by the presence of the immense following of gentlemen connected with every other influential class of the community. Both Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court had specially adjourned over the day. The Government offices were closed at noon, and on every hand in the city marks of respect were apparent. The flags on the various buildings, where they are usually displayed were half-mast high, and numerous establishments were partially closed, whilst during the passing of the procession many on the line of route were entirely shut. The great bell of the Town Hall was continuously tolled, and business seemed to be completely suspended for the time. As the hour drew near crowds gathered in the streets, and those along which the cortege took its way were thronged with thousands of spectators, the windows and balconies also being filled with them. The traffic was meanwhile stopped. Credit must be given to the police as well as the public for the good order which was maintained. Mr. Superintendent Peterswald had charge of the arrangements in town, and was assisted by a large detachment of constables.

Shortly after the appointed time— half-past 2 in the afternoon— the coffin was removed from the residence of the late Judge, Childers street, and the mourners having entered the carriages the procession, which was under the direction of Chief-Inspector Searcy and a body of troopers, who kept the route for it clear, started for the West-terrace Cemetery, proceeding eastward along Childers-street to O'Connell street, thence down the King William-road and through King William-street as far as Franklin street, and then on to West-terrace. The cortege was an extraordinarily long one, numbering no less than 143 vehicles, and some idea can be gained of its extent by the fact that on the hearse passing the Town Hall the last carriage was at St. Peter's Cathedral, North Adelaide, or a distance of nearly a mile. The funeral cortege of the Rev. T. Q. Stow, the deeply lamented father of Mr. Justice Stow, which took place on August 7, 1862, and was then regarded as the most largely attended which the colony had seen, was only two-thirds of this length. The order of the procession was as follows:—

Following the hearse were the chief mourners. In the first mourning-coach were Mr. Percy R. Stow and Masters R., K., and L. Stow, sons; in the second mourning-coach, Messrs. J. P. Stow, J.P., and A. Stow, brothers, and Mr. S. Tomkinson, J.P., brother-in-law; and in the third mourning-coach, Mr. J. W. Stow and Masters W. and S. Stow, nephews, and Master B. Sabine, cousin. Mr. Wycliffe Stow, the youngest brother of the late Judge, was unable to be present owing to his being in the Northern Territory; and Messrs. Clement and Eustace Sabine, first cousins, were unavoidably absent— the former being at Port Lincoln and the latter in Melbourne.

Then followed a carriage containing the officiating minister (the Rev. Archdeacon Marryat), and the deceased's medical attendants (Dr. Whittell and Dr. Moore).

The Governor's carriage, containing His Excellency Sir Wm. Jervois and Mr. John Jervois, Private Secretary) came next, followed by the Chief Justice and Mr. Sheriff Boothby, the general mourners following in the procession as under: — Members of the Ministry: the Hon. J. P. Boucaut, M.P. (Treasurer and Premier), the Hon. W. Morgan, M.L.C. (Chief Secretary), the Hon. C. Manu, M.P. (Attorney-General), the Hon. T. Playford, M.P. (Commissioner of Crown Lands), the Hon. G. C. Hawker, M.P. (Commissioner of Public Works), and the Hon. N. Blyth, M.P. (Minister of Education); the ex-members of the Executive Council; Sir Wm. Milne, President of the Legislative Council; Sir Henry Ayers, M.L.C. K.G.M.G.; the Hons. P. Santo, M.L.C.; R. C. Baker, M.L.C.; R. B. Andrews, Q.C.; B. T. Finniss, J.P.; Messrs. W. Townsend, M.P. (Chairman of Committees), R. D. Ross, M.P., W. H. Bundey, M.P., H. E. Bright, M.P., W. Cavenagh, M.P., J. C. Bray, M.P., H. Kent Hughes, M.L.C., and H. Gawler, J.P.

Members of the Legislative Council. — Hons. J. Fisher, R. A. Tarlton, J. Hodgkiss, W. Sandover, T. Hogarth, J. Crozier, J. Pearce, A. Hay, and C. B. Young, and Mr. F. C. Singleton (Clerk to the Council).

Members of the House of Assembly.— Messrs. F. Basedow, W. H. Bean, D. Bower. P. B. Coglin, E. Cooke, J. Darling, J. W. Downer, Q.C , G. S. Fowler, H. Fraser, L. L. Furner, A. Hardy, R. Henning, T. King, A. H. Landseer, W. J. Magarey, W. R. Mortlock, J. L. Parsons, R. Rees, W. K. Simms, E. T. Smith, F. W. Stokes, and T. Atkinson, and Mr. G. W. D. Beresford (Clerk to the House).

Military Officers.— Colonel Downes, Commandant; and Major Godwin

Naval Officer. — Lieutenant Goalen.

Members of Municipalities.— The Mayor of Adelaide (the Hon. Henry Scott, M.L.C.) and Councillors Hagedorn, Fuller, Holland, King, Wigg, Raphael, Gilbert, Richardson, Mathews, Jones, Anderson, and Allen, and Mr. T. Woranop (Town Clerk); the Mayor (Mr. S. D. Glyde, J.P.) and Corporation of Norwood and Kensington; Mr. J. H. Bagster (Major of Unley) and Councillor Shierlaw.

The Commissioner of Insolvency. — Mr. H. E. Downer, S.M.

Members of the Bar. — Mr. B. Inglesby, Q.C., Messrs. G. A. Labatt, A. G. Downer, W. C. Belt, L. M. Cullen, J. E. Dempster, J. Emerson, Fred. Ayers, J. H. Symon, J. W. Bakewell, J. J. Stuckey, M.A., E. C. Gwynne, J. E. Moulden, B. Moulden, W. Pope, A. K. Whitby, W. V. Smith, T. K. Pater, H. H. Mildred. W. Dearman, W. H. Wadey, C. F. Fenn, J. Nicholson, W. Benny, W. T. Foster, F. O. Bruce, C. O. Kingston, J. Rudall, E. J. Ronald, H. M. Muirhead, J. Ashton, A. Bonnin, P. F. Bonnin, F. F. Turner, W. Barlow, B.A., W. F. Stock, S. J. Jacobs, R. G. Moore, Harold Downer, J. Dashwood, J. Sinclair, W. M. Sandford, J. E. Dempster, J. M. Stuart, M. Gretton, C. B. Hardy, Thos. W. Fleming, T. B. GM, and C. M. Davis.

Officials of the Supreme Court.— Messrs. C. A. Wilson, J.P., Registrar of Probates; J. G. Russell, Acting Master of the Supreme Court; F.Goddard, Clerk to Sheriff; C. Nash, Law Librarian; and W. Gwynne, Chief Clerk in Equity.

Heads of Departments and Civil Servants. — Messrs. G. W. Goyder, J.P., Surveyor-General; J. A. Hartley, B.A., B.Sc. President of the Council of Education; H. C. Mais, J.P, Engineer-in-Chief; B. C. Paterson, J.P., Assistant Engineer-in-Chief; W. B. Hull, CO.E., Engineer of Public Works; W. T. Sheppard, Secretary to the Treasurer; F. T. Sanderson, Secretary to the Chief Secretary; H. J. Andrews, Secretary to the Commissioner of Crown Lands; J. Mann, Secretary to the Commissioner of Public Works; G. E. DeMole, Secretary to the Minister of Education; C. C. Cornish, Secretary to the Crown Solicitor ; J. F. Cleland, Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; J. M. Solomon, Chairman of the Destitute Board; Dr. Wylde, Vaccination Officer; W. C. Gosse, Deputy Surveyor-Genera1; U. N. Bagot; C. A. Fesenmeyer, Assistant Auditor-General; F. G. Waterhouse, Curator of the Museum; A. Heath, Cashier in the Treasury; E. Spiller, Acting Government Printer; A. Ringwood, Assistant Observer; A. B. Ebsworth; R. Hickson, Engineer of Harbours and Jetties; C. J. Valentine, Chief Inspector of Sheep; A. G. Pendleton, Railway Traffic Manager; K. W. Hitchin. J.P., Auditor General; S. Beddome, P.M.; R. H. Ferguson. S.M., President of the Marine Board; G. Hamilton, Commissioner of Police; W. B. T. Andrews, Registrar-General; A. S. Paterson, J.P., Colonial Surgeon; J. W. Lewis, J.P., Collector of Customs; C. Todd, C.M.G., Postmaster-General and Superintendent of Telegraphs; J. Cherry, Official Assignee; Major Lucas; W. B. Carter, Deputy Registrar General; F. S. Crawford; W. H. Squires, Manager of Waterworks; H. L Hunt, Inspector of Stumps; E. Dewhirst, T. Burgan, C. L. Whitham, School Inspectors; A. Lindsay, Secretary Destitute Asylum; G. T. Light, Government Architect; B. Knuckey, H. P. Denton, G. S. Wright, P. Whitington, J. Henderson, L. S. Spiller, C. Lawrence, H. Langman, jun., A. E. Ebsworth, E. Holthouse, W. H. Cammell, T. Duffield, E. G. Day, J. S. Olifant, P. Joyner, W. Peacock, A. R. Lungley, and many others.

There were also present the Very Rev. A. Russell, Dean of Adelaide; Professors Lamb, Davidson, and Tate; the Revs. J. Pollitt, W. R. Fletcher, J. Lyall, J. Henderson, W. B. Andrews, T. Lloyd (President of the Wesleyan Conference), B. S. Casely. R. Reid, O. Copland, F. W. Cox, J. S. Wayland. J. G. Wright, F. S. Poole, A. T. Boas; Drs. W. Gosse, Gunson, Way, A. Campbell, Gardner, Parker, Rees, Mclntyre, Clindening, Gunson, Thomas, Phillips, and Peel; and Messrs. J. Acraman, H. T. Morris, R. Barr Smith, A. von Trener, J.U. Parr, S. Higgs, J. Williams, W. Wadham, H. Turner, G. Barlow, B. N. Conigrave, S. Schlunk, W. B. Gilbert, G. Morgan, J. T. Nankevill, A. Harvey, C. J. Barry, F. Fischer, C. H. Myles. H. S. Anthony, James Harvey, H. Mills, W. Gooch, W. Mair, H. Noltenius, J. L. Noltenius, G. James, W. J. Crawford, H. H. Turton, C. Day, J. H. Finlayson, R. K. Thomas, J. N. Day, T. W. Harris, T. D. Smeaton, C. von Bertouch, R. Stuckey, W. Wyatt, W. Randall, S. Randell, E. K Horn, W. Horn, C. Hart, J. L. Stirling, W. Parkin, E. Sawtell, J. Lindsay, B. Amsberg, H. S. Prior, H. W. Whittell, F. Wright, F. S. C. Dufflield, R. H. Wigg, S. Cornish. T. G. Ponton, F.Z.S., J. L. Bonython, S. Bakewell. G. Styles, G. Wood, T. Stanford, C. Smedley, A. Tennant, H. Ebsworth, T. Johnson, W. H. Sharland, D. Davidson, J. J. Green, J. Clark, T Woodcock, S. Smith, J. Robin, Jas. Scott, M. Salom, F. J. Beck, H. Giles, Anstey, Jas. McGeorge, C. Rischbeith, H. Codd, C. L. Meyer, R. George, J. H. Wickin, J. Allison. G. Boothby, H. Simpson, J. L. Simpson, P. Waite, W. D. Allott, J. M. Stacy, T. Bruce, G. Aldridge, H. Dutton, W. J. Brind, R. C. Mitton, W. Hitchcox, W. Howes, G. Shaw, J. Prince, F. Price, H. Hussey. T. S. Reed, C. Strother, D. W. Melvin, J. W. Parsons, J. W. Martin, G. T. Bean, W. Diment, T. F. McCoull, C. E. Tidemann, T. A. Brock, A. Hubble, J. Milton, J. Webster, R. H. W. Humbley, E. Spiser, and others.

Archdeacon Dove (absent on missionary duties), and Messrs. W. Haines, M.P., G. W. Hawkes, S.M., J. Varley, S.M., H. E. Bright, M.P., T. Hosier, V. Lawrence, J.P., G. McEwin, J.P., and H. C. Palmer sent apologies for inability to attend the funeral; and Messrs. T. J. S. O'Halloran, S.M., F. Davison, E. B. Grundy, J. R. Moore, solicitors, J. Watson (Mayor of Mount Gambier), J. Jackson, G. Addison, C. G. Doughty, R. Gardiner, W. Paltridge, J.Ps, G. M. Turnbull, the Rev. W. J. Russell, Mr. E. J. French, and the Rev. Mr. Hocter telegraphed from Mount Gambier their regret at not being able to be present.

At the cemetery several hundred persons had assembled, but the gates were shut and the police who were on duty permitted none to enter except those who attended the ceremony as mourners. On the arrival of the procession the only vehicles besides the hearse and mourning-coaches which passed through were the carriages of His Excellency the Governor, the Chief Justice, and the Crown Ministers, the other followers walking in procession to the grave. The arrangements which had been made here to prevent inconvenience and crowding were very satisfactory. A space of about 150 feet square was temporarily railed off for the general mourners, and within it nearer to the grave barriers surrounded a smaller enclosure. The relatives of the deceased gentleman, the Governor, the Chief Justice, three members of the Ministry, the Sheriff, the Private Secretary, and Mr. Fitzroy (the Judge's Associate) having entered this, the coffin, of which the pall was strewn with immortelles, was removed from the hearse. The coffin was covered with black cloth and studded with silver-headed nails. It bore the inscription —

Randolph Isham Stow,
Died September 17, 1878,
Aged 49 Years.

The burial service of the Church of England having been read by the Ven. Archdeacon Marryat, the honoured remains were lowered into their last resting-place, the family vault of the late Rev. T. Q. Stow, in which the ashes of both parents of the deceased Judge are interred. The chief mourners having departed, many of those present entered the enclosure to glance at the coffin in the grave, after which the assemblage dispersed. The funeral arrangements were efficiently carried out by Messrs. Downs & Sons, of North Adelaide.

In many of the churches in and around Adelaide on Sunday, September 22, solemn and appropriate references were made to the late Judge Stow, whose removal by death had been so generally mourned during the past week, and whose conspicuous ability and undoubted uprightness on the Bench formed the theme of eulogistic comment in every instance. We give below extracts from some of the sermons:

— St. Peter's Cathedral, The Rev. Canon Coombs in his sermon at the Cathedral on Sunday afternoon referred in appropriate terms to the late Judge, and specially mentioned his high talents as a pleader at the Bar and as an expounder of law on the Bench.

The Very Rev. Dean Russell at the morning service in St. Paul's Church preached from the words, 'The heart knoweth his own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy' (Prov. xir. 10). In the sermon the Dean showed that there is a strange loneliness in human life, even in the midst of society, and that this reaches its utmost expression in death. That portion of it which had reference to the late lamented Judge was as follows:— 'Yes; there is a deep loneliness in death. But this profound solitude presses very closely on the confines of our social life. It was only the other day that we were reading the reports of our Law Courts, in which one conspicuous name appeared — a source of constant pride to us — as that of a man whose whole natural and intellectual life had been breathed in this Australian air, who yet by his great acquirements and gifts would have won distinction in a far wider field. We were proud to claim him as one of us, but on one sad morning we heard with surprise and deep regret that we could no longer number him in the company of living men. It remains to us only to honour his memory as one which this young country has a right to cherish. During long years we knew him as an advocate of most consummate skill, a silvery-tongued orator, whose musical voice it is sad to think that we shall never hear again; a politician whose reputation was never stained by any mean resort to shifty devices to serve private ends, but who ever bore his honour high as the inheritor of a worthy name. We knew him last of all as an upright Judge, discharging the duties of his office whilst health and strength were failing with a noble disregard of self. In common with many men of genius, his higher qualities were associated with a peculiar physical organization, with senses quick to respond to every touch from without in which there was danger to the man but we know, too, that he fought a gallant fight with his own nature, and long ago obtained the victory. To this, which all the world knew, I can add that to the brilliancy of his intellectual character he united a most humane heart. It is the moral nature of the man that is now the thing most precious to us. Whilst utterly free from jealousy of his peers he was able to condescend to the wants of the poor who needed his advocacy and to make their cause his own. There are not a few now living to whom, with a fine generosity, he dispensed the rich exercise of his powers, who will unite with very grateful heart in the prayer—'God give him rest and felicity.' Yet it is pathetic to remember how truly in his case was fulfilled Pascal's presentiment — 'I shall die alone.' No friend of his, however quick to discern the movement of his mind, can tell us now the story of that mind's history during the last hours of his fading life. But, thank God, with the human death the loneliness ends. The parting soul enters into a nobler fellowship. We may rejoice in the thought that one other highly gifted spirit has now found a larger sphere of action, and that he who sought here on earth to give expression to the principle of human justice has entered into a region where a more perfect equity prevails. I cannot restrain at this moment the recollection of the great aspiration of the noble Roman — 'O preclarum diem' cum ad illud dirinum animorum concilium castumque proficiscar, cumque ex hac terbi alque collumione discedam! — 'O most glorious day! when I shall attain to that council and assembly of celestial minds and when I shall depart from one this crowd of men and all this confusion of ignoble aims!' A faint expression, no doubt, of what Christianity has repeated far more folly, yet not unfitting to be said in reference to one who in his more limited sphere reproduced so many of the traits of character of the elder senator, advocate, and orator.'

Stow Memorial Church. At the morning sermon the Rev. W. R. Fletcher, M.A., made the following remarks: — 'Since we last met in this church God has removed, from the midst of his life and labours, one of our most honoured and admired citizens. The whole community has been affected by common sorrow in the loss that it has sustained by the death of Mr. Randolph Stow, third Judge of the Supreme Court. The vast crowds that gathered on the day of his funeral testify to the fact that in his departure everyone feels himself the poorer, for an upright Judge is the friend of all. We of this congregation must perforce be conscious of the especial interest in the nation's tribute of mournful respect to the memory of the deceased. We cannot but recall how he bore the honoured name of the first pastor of this Church, from whose lips and from whose example he gained those indelible lessons of childhood which no lapse of time or change of opinions could efface. The name of Stow, so beloved in this congregation as a reminder of the character and integrity and manly piety of the father, has lived long after he who bore it was laid in the grave in the conspicuous ability and splendid talents of the son, and while Randolph Stow was to be seen on the seat of justice was not likely to be forgotten. His clear vision of legal intricacies, his judicial fairness, and his masterly yet tempered eloquence made all look up to him as the very type of British justice, though embodied in the career of a youth who climbed to his high eminence through a colonial education and from amid circumstances foreign to judicial pomp. He was illustrious on the Bench as his father was illustrious in the pulpit, and both father and son have left their mark on this rising community. Both so lived as to command the respect and even the homage of all who were brought into contact with them, and when they died the entire city mourned. It is not for us to understand the ways of God in taking away from us before their work seems half done those whom all men value, and whom none think they can spare, but we know that what He does is right. In this instance the mystery is indeed inscrutable. We can but offer to the bereaved family our common sympathy, and trust that it may again be the case that the name of 'Stow' may shine beneficially and conspicuously before the world, and that instead of the fathers may arise the children even to the third and fourth generations.'

Draper Memorial Church. The Rev. Thomas Lloyd, President of the Wesleyan Conference, in the course of his sermon at this church said— 'By the death of Mr. Justice Stow the State has lost a tried and faithful administrator of justice. The great ability and general knowledge possessed by the deceased, coupled with his true spirit of loyalty, patriotism, and probity, well qualified him for the high office which he had so faithfully filled. His Honor was not a technical Judge. He did not warp his judgment by professional prejudices, nor rest it upon ambiguous wants or weak points of law. But he took the spirit as well as the letter, and thus administered justice according to the principles and purposes of legislation. From the learning, talents, and age of the late Judge the colony naturally looked forward with hopefulness to many years of valuable service. But this expectation has been cut off, and the feeling of disappointment is general. The Great Arbiter of life and death has seen fit to remove him from his high position on earth and release him from all the cares of life. It was very noticeable that for some time His Honor looked unusually grave, almost sad. Perhaps it arose from illness or premonitory symptoms of the approaching end. It was pleasing, however, to see that a season of cheerfulness was experienced a few hours before his death. May we not thus hopefully conclude that in consideration of the training given and the prayers offered by the sainted parents that at the eventide it was light?'

St Andrew's (Presbyterian) Church. At this church, Wakefield-street, on Sunday evening Professor Davidson delivered an eloquent sermon upon the mysterious ways of God and the futile human speculations upon the directions and purposes of His works. He took for his text Psalm lxxvii. 19-'Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known.' In reference to the removal of the late Judge Stow from his high, useful sphere of labour the learned Professor said: — 'From the time the late Judge took his seat upon the Judicial Bench there was a profound confidence dwelling among the people that no case would be brought before him and not made the subject of clear apprehension and impartial judgment, and that his decision would be marked with that honesty of purpose and integrity of thought which were characteristic of him. He had been removed from his labours for some all-wise purpose which the feeble mind of man could not comprehend, for God's footsteps are not known. '

Hindmarsh Square Congregational Church. At this church official prayers were offered for the family of the late Judge, and the Rev. F. W. Cox made the following remarks: — 'The colony has been called to mourn over the death of one of her most distinguished sons, and the vast numbers gathered to pay respect to his memory indicates clearly the public sentiment concerning him. Mr. Justice Stow was thoroughly identified with this colony, although not born here, and he had by his abilities worked his way through the various stages of his profession to a seat on the Judicial bench — a position he dignified by his clear judgment and unswerving righteousness. The ancient law giver laid down the character and qualification of a Judge in memorable words, the significance of which is as applicable now as when first uttered — 'Hear the causes between your brethren and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's' (Moses). And again it is said —'Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment; for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persona, nor taking of gifts.' We believe this divine ideal of the judicial function was never more signally realized than by our deceased fellow-colonist, and we cannot help but mourn over the loss we seem to have sustained thus prematurely. In face of the facts of God's providence, we have first to make a personal application. God is no respecter of persons. We too may be summoned speedily to that great final assize where everything we have done in the flesh shall be brought into the light of God's countenance, and we shall be judged according thereunto. Second, to pray God that righteous men may be raised up in succession to rule the destinies and preside in the judgment-seats of this colony; and third, that God will give sustaining grace to the widow and family upon whom this blow most heavily falls, and that the honoured name they bear may suffer no dishonour as long as they bear it on earth, and that it will be made to shine in Heaven.'

North Adelaide Congregational Church. The Rev. Oaric Copland in speaking of the lessons involved in his text made on Sunday morning the following reference to the death of Mr. Justice Stow:— 'One of our ablest men has been taken from our midst. It appears that Judge Stow was one of the most eminent Judges that these young communities in the southern world have produced. His opinion on legal matters was deferred to and respected by all classes of the community; and now that he has been taken from us — separated from the flesh— his great talents are now no longer available. Justice lives. The Judge may be removed from the Bench, but justice, which is the voice of God, lives on forever.' Mr. Copland also alluded to the loss the cause of Congregationalism had sustained in England by the death of the Rev. Samuel Martin, of Westminster, and the Rev. W. Braden, successor to Dr. Binney, at Weigh House Chapel.

Pirie Street Wesleyean Church. The morning service was conducted by the Rev. R. S. Oasely, who chose for his text Isaiah lv. 10, and dwelt on the mercifulness of God to man, as shown in the revelations of His will. Toward the close of the sermon he said — 'But how the unchangeableness of God's purpose contrasts with the uncertainty of our own. Our plans are often suddenly disarranged; our highest, best designs are frustrated. We mark the growing fitness of others for the task of life; but in the moment of their fullest equipment we have seen them called to lay aside their armour — to step out of the strife. We have had proof of this during the past week, for have we not followed to the grave the remains of one who, by his training and great mental endowments, was fitted for the honourable position he had attained? Whether at the Bar, in the Senate, or on the seat of the Judge, many of us have admired the splendid abilities he in each of such positions displayed; but the life so full of promise is cut off, and he stands in a higher Court and before a greater Judge. We may regret the early death of so valuable a man — may sympathize with those who in their bereavement mourn their loss to-day; but it is our duty to go forth to our task with earnest purpose, to do heartily as to the Lord what He may call upon us to undertake — though in lower spheres than the Judge occupied, and with less commanding talent than he enjoyed, yet to consecrate all to God, awaiting His summons, and cheered by the hope of His approval, remembering that though the grass witherith and the flower fadeth yet the Word of our God shall stand forever.'

St Luke's Church. The Rev. James Pollett preached on Sunday evening from the words — 'For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower or grass.' (1 Peter i. 24). After referring to the uncertainty of life the preacher paid his tribute to the memory of the late Judge Stow, whom he said he had known since Mr. Stow was 16 years of age, and whose career at the Bar and on the Bench had been a most brilliant one. He said the great legal knowledge and the keen discrimination of Mr. Stow had been of eminent service to this colony, and the general feeling of regret at his early death was signally manifested by the large attendance at his public funeral.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Stow, Randolph Isham (1828–1878)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Randolph Stow, c1870

Randolph Stow, c1870

State Library of South Australia, B 7018

Life Summary [details]


17 December, 1828
Framlingham, Suffolk, England


17 September, 1878 (aged 49)
South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

liver dysfunction

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.

Passenger Ship