[Editor: This obituary, regarding Henry Frencham, was published in The Bendigo Advertiser (Bendigo, Vic.), 6 July 1897.]
Death of Mr. H. Frencham.
A pioneer gold discoverer.
On Saturday Mr. Henry Frencham, who claimed to have been the first gold discoverer in Bendigo, passed away at his residence, Berry, Richmond, at the age of 82 years, after a residence in the colony of 57 years.
Our readers will remember that the deceased gentleman paid a visit to the scene of his early experiences in March, 1895, he then being hale and hearty. Prior to the City Council meeting on the 1st March of that year Mr. William Welch, of View-street (who, by the way was an old friend of Mr. Frencham’s), introduced the veteran to the mayor (the late Cr. Heinz) and councillors in the mayor’s room. Mr. Welch’s remarks in introducing his old friend on that occasion may be appropriately quoted here:—
“I beg most respectfully to introduce to you my old and esteemed friend Mr. Henry Frencham, of Richmond, as the first discoverer of gold in Bendigo in November, 1851. We were shop mates in the daily newspaper offices in Melbourne during 1850 and part of 1851. In July of the latter year he went alone on a pack horse to the Plenty Ranges, about 20 miles from Melbourne, to try and find gold, in the honest endeavor to stop the rush of people from Port Phillip to New South Wales after Mr. Hargraves’ discovery at Bathurst. He was unsuccessful in his first attempt, but soon after he went to found real goldfields in this colony until he reached Ballarat. On and on he went across the Jim Crow Ranges to Forest Creek and on to Bendigo in November, 1851. When there he discovered gold, and as a faithful representative of the press, he made known the facts immediately to the Commissioners at Forest Creek, and thence to the Argus. The finding of gold at Golden-square has led up Bendigo to the premier goldfield of the world, wherefrom nearly 70 million pounds worth of the precious metal have been obtained — over a third of all the gold raised in Victoria. In conclusion gentlemen, this grand old pioneer, Frencham, dates back to 1840, and has now children and grandchildren numbering over 50. He is in his 80th year, and never has occasion to call in a doctor. Mr. Frencham has not been in Bendigo since 1854, and in showing him round the city and suburbs he has been amazed with its wonderful growth in substantial buildings, wide streets and tree planting. He exclaims that it is really the model city of the colony. He was also delighted with Eaglehawk, which had grown apace.”
Then The Advertiser report of the proceedings proceeded:—
“The mayor heartily welcomed Mr. Frencham back to Bendigo after such a prolonged absence, and said everyone was pleased to see such an old and worthy pioneer amongst them. (Applause.) Mr. Frencham returned thanks for the cordial welcome extended to him, and expressed his admiration of the magnitude of the city. In his opinion Bendigo was one of the most marvellous cities of Australasia. He was fairly astonished at the great progress that had been made by the city, which, he sincerely hoped, would continue to grow and prosper. On the motion of Cr. Carolin, seconded by Cr. M‘Gowan, a hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Frencham for honoring the council and the city with a visit.”
The deceased gentleman gave evidence before the select committee appointed by Parliament at the instance of Mr. A. S. Bailes, and his portrait appears amongst the large group of photos. of Old Bendigo Pioneers to be seen in the mayor’s room to-day — the interesting group having been presented to the mayor and citizens by Cr. Bailes, who was chairman of the committee.
The Bendigo Advertiser (Bendigo, Vic.), 6 July 1897, p. 3
Australasia = Australia and New Zealand; in a wider context, it can refer to Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and neighboring islands
Bailes = Alfred Shrapnell Bailes (1849-1928), hotel-keeper and politician; he was born in Baltonsborough (Somerset, England) in 1849, came to Australia circa 1852, was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria (1886-1894, 1897-1907), and died in Hampton (Victoria) in 1928
See: 1) “Alfred Shrapnell Bailes”, Parliament of Victoria
2) “Alfred Shrapnell Bailes”, Wikipedia
cordial = friendly, affectionate, warm in demeanour; hearty; nice
Cr. = an abbreviation of “Councillor”
Hargraves = Edward Hargraves (1816-1891), gold-seeker, was born in Gosport (Hampshire, England) in 1816, he came to Australia in 1832, went to the Californian goldfields in 1849-1850, returned to Australia in January 1851, and died in Sydney in 1891; he was widely regarded as the first discoverer of a payable goldfield; he publicly claimed the discovery of the Ophir goldfields in 1851
See: 1) Bruce Mitchell, “Hargraves, Edward Hammond (1816–1891)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Edward Hargraves”, Wikipedia
Henry Frencham = (1816-1897), journalist and gold-miner; he was born in Wexford (Ireland) in 1816, came to Australia in 1840, and died in Richmond (Victoria) in 1897
See: 1) Donald S. Garden, “Frencham, Henry (1816–1897)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Henry Frencham 1816”, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO)
photos. = (abbreviation) photographs
press = the print-based media, especially newspapers (can be spelt with or without a capital letter: Press, press)
[Editor: Changed “Hargreaves” to “Hargraves”.]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]