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Walter H. Westbrook (1828–1897)

Regret will be expressed act the demise of Mr. Walter H. Westbrook, who died, at his late residence, Upper George-street, yesterday evening, after a protracted illness at the age of 69 years.

Mr. Westbrook, during his residence in this city, formed a large circle of friends, and, though his occupation precluded him taking any active part in public matters, his right hand was always extended in assisting any charitable cause. He has been a hard worker all his life, having to turn to work at the age of 11. He returned from Sydney after the burial of his father, and was placed in the auction mart of Mr. W. T. Macmichael, of Hobart, where he remained for about five years. In this employment he picked up a good deal of practical knowledge and experience, which stood him in good stead in after years, when he found himself in the box the sole performer before a large audience. When 16 years old Mr. Westbrook was appointed junior clerk in the Commercial Bank, Hobart, Mr. John Dunn then being manager. After four years' steady labour he worked his way up to the position of ledger keeper, then styled accountant, and this position he held for about five years with credit to himself and satisfaction to his employers. At this period, when only 25 years of age, Mr. Westbrook came to Launceston to succeed Mr. Vincent W. Giblin as manager of the branch of the Commercial Bank. In his new position, amongst comparative strangers he quickly made friends, and was very popular amongst the customers of the bank. After three years' hard work at the bank, Mr. Westbrook joined the late Mr. W. T. Bell in his auctioneering business, the firm being known as Bell and Westbrook.

During Mr. Westhbrook's bank career he had on several occasions very onerous duties thrust upon him. On two occasions he had to take charge of large sums of money, and convey them from Hobart to Launceston, the journey being performed by coach, the money being stowed away in boxes in the boot. Thirty thousand sovereigns formed the amount entrusted to him on one occasion, and 20,000 on another. In those times the bushrangers were about, and parties of them were continually being heard of scouring the country for plunder. The position was therefore one of great responsibility, requiring considerable tact and courage in carrying it out. In each case the money was safely conveyed to its destination to the satisfaction of all parties. With the exception of a slight intermission Mr. Westbrook continued with Mr. Bell till the latter gentleman's death—the intermission referred to causing the name to be altered to W. T. Bell and Co., which remains to the present day. At Mr. Bell's death the business passed into the hands of Mr. Westbrook and Mr. W. H. Dodery, who had been long and favourably known in connection with the firm, and these two gentlemen conducted the business for some years. Owing to ill health, Mr. Dodery's medical advisers strongly recommended him to retire from active pursuits, and his interest was purchased by Mr. Westbrook and Mr. H. J. Herd. Owing to ill health Mr. Westbrook was compelled to retire from the business about five years ago, when he was presented with an address and purse of sovereigns from a large number of the farmers of Deloraine and surrounding districts as a token of the esteem in which he was held by all who had business with him.

The funeral of deceased will leave his late residence, George-street, at half-past three o'clock to-morrow afternoon.

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Citation details

'Westbrook, Walter H. (1828–1897)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 May 2024.

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