Henry left his mark as al­der­man, busi­ness­man

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - OUT & ABOUT -

Henry Mathew­son, an early pi­o­neer of De­niliquin, was one of the first six al­der­men to be elected to the in­au­gu­ral De­niliquin Coun­cil in 1869 and was also an Elder of the Pres­by­te­rian Church. His de­scen­dants still live in De­niliquin to­day. Henry died in 1906 aged 86 years, hav­ing lived in De­niliquin for 50 years. Forty cars and six horse­men at­tended his funeral. Henry and other fam­ily mem­bers are buried in the De­niliquin Gen­eral Ceme­tery. The fol­low­ing was contributed by Dot Mathew­son (nee Adlam), who was mar­ried to Henry’s great grand­son An­drew and has lived in De­niliquin all of her life. Dot put this piece to­gether as a trib­ute to her fam­ily, but also in recog­ni­tion of 150 years since De­niliquin was gazetted as a town­ship and the fol­low­ing year an elected coun­cil in­stalled.

When Henry Mathew­son and his wife Chris­tian (nee Black) and three chil­dren — James, An­drew and Chris­tian — left their home­town An­struther Easter, Scot­land and sailed on the ‘Cham­pion of the Seas’ (unas­sisted pas­sage) in 1855 to Port Melbourne, lit­tle did they know of the hard­ships to fol­low.

What made Henry de­cide to come to De­niliquin is un­cer­tain — De­niliquin was a ma­jor stock route, so this may have had some­thing to do with it. They spent three months trav­el­ling by bul­lock and dray ar­riv­ing in 1856.

Henry was a butcher and baker by trade. His brother-in-law Wil­liam Black, who was ap­pren­ticed to Henry in Scot­land, fol­lowed him to Aus­tralia. Henry later made Wil­liam a part­ner in his busi­ness and he was with Henry for 44 years.

Henry ran a suc­cess­ful busi­ness and he and Chris­tian had two more chil­dren af­ter com­ing to De­niliquin but times were hard and af­ter only 10 years in Aus­tralia, Chris­tian died aged 45 years leav­ing Henry with a young fam­ily and a busi­ness to run.

Henry be­came in­volved in lo­cal af­fairs and in 1868 an at­tempt was made to break the mo­nop­oly of John Tay­lor on the butcher­ing busi­ness; he also had a big in­flu­ence on the town.

The Joint Stock Butcher­ing & Bak­ing Co Ltd was formed, and the fol­low­ing is a quote from the Pas­toral Times:

‘‘(the busi­ness) is now man­aged by Mr Henry Mathew­son, so long and favourably known in De­niliquin and the Di­rec­tors hope that a steady un­wa­ver­ing sup­port will be given to the Com­pany, as the greater the sale the lower the price will be of Bread and Meat’’.

On De­cem­ber 19, 1868, De­niliquin was gazetted a mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

On Jan­uary 30, 1869, Henry Mathew­son was asked to sit on Coun­cil.

The first Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Elec­tion was held on Fe­bru­ary 23, 1869. Henry was one of the first six al­der­men elected out of 18 can­di­dates. Mr James Wat­son was the first Mayor. It was quoted in the Pas­toral Times at the time: ‘‘We owe a lot to these Pi­o­neer Al­der­men who laid the Foun­da­tions for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment in De­niliquin.’’

In 1876 the Butcher Shop, along with other shops in the street, were de­stroyed by fire. Henry re­opened his shop on the other side of Napier Street.

It was dur­ing this year that his daugh­ter Chris­tian (who mar­ried Ge­orge Hunter) died aged 24 and his lit­tle grand­daugh­ter An­nie (21⁄ years old) from the Diph­the­ria Epi2 demic at that time.

Henry ob­vi­ously rode through these trou­bled times.

Af­ter suf­fer­ing ill health for some years, Henry died in 1906 aged 86.

The fol­low­ing obit­u­ary fea­tured in The In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per dated April 20, 1906:

‘‘Af­ter an ill­ness ex­tend­ing over a long pe­riod, Mr Henry Mathew­son died early on Easter Mon­day morn­ing. De­ceased had been a res­i­dent of this Town for close upon half a cen­tury of years and up to about 15 years ago car­ried on a suc­cess­ful Butcher­ing Busi­ness in con­junc­tion with the late Mr W Black. In the early days he was a good friend to many, but mis­for­tune over­took him in his old days and he was com­pelled to seek the char­ity which he had be­stowed upon others in his good days. The Funeral took place on Mon­day af­ter­noon, the Rev. WD Fair­burn of­fi­ci­at­ing at the Grave­side.’’

The Butcher­ing Busi­ness was car­ried on by Henry’s son An­drew B Mathew­son who mar­ried May Bell Irv­ing. Her father TC Irv­ing owned ‘Tup­pal Park’, De­niliquin (pur­chased 1873 - part of ‘Mundiwa’). May and An­drew had eight chil­dren.

It was dur­ing the early 1930s and Great De­pres­sion that An­drew and his wife May re­tired and went to Melbourne, leav­ing their son Phillip to carry on the Butcher­ing Busi­ness.

In 1937 Phillip de­cided to sell the Butcher Shop to Butcher & Sons of De­niliquin and in 1938 Phillip and his fam­ily went to Melbourne to live.

Dur­ing his life­time Henry and his fam­ily owned land and prop­erty around De­niliquin but lost it all dur­ing the hard­ship and suf­fer­ing of the 1930s.

Henry’s great grand­son An­drew B Mathew­son (known as Andy) was 12 years old when he went to Melbourne with his father. He fin­ished school­ing and started work at 14 and en­listed in the Army at 18. Af­ter four years — two years be­ing spent in Ja­pan (af­ter the drop­ping of the Bomb) — he returned to De­niliquin to live. He got work and played foot­ball with the De­niliquin ‘Blue & Golds’ and the West Foot­ball Club.

Andy met lo­cal girl Dorothy (Dot) Adlam and they mar­ried and had two chil­dren — Faye and Gre­gory — and Andy had his own freight or car­ry­ing busi­ness for the next 30 years.

Andy passed away in 2001 at the age of 75 years.

Dot and Greg and Greg’s wife Julie and their daugh­ters, Ge­orgie and Grace, still live in De­niliquin. There are other Mathew­sons who are Henry’s de­scen­dants liv­ing in De­niliquin.

Af­ter 162 years, Henry’s de­scen­dants still live in De­niliquin.

This photo of Mathew­sons butcher shop was taken in 1936. It fea­tures one of Henry’s de­scen­dants Wil­liam ‘Bill’ Mathew­son (se­cond from left) and Brenda Helsby who worked as an ‘of­fice girl’ at the shop. The man on the far left is un­known.

■ De­niliquin’s Dot Mathew­son with the his­tory piece she put to­gether on her hus­band’s great grand­fa­ther Henry Mathew­son.

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