[Editor: This obituary for John Cathie (1813-1873) is an extract from the “News and notes” section published in The Ballarat Star (Ballarat, Vic.), 14 May 1873.]
[Mr John Cathie]
Mr John Cathie, once member for Ballarat East in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, died on Tuesday morning, in the district hospital, at the age of sixty, and his remains will be buried this afternoon in the Old Cemetery.
The deceased was a native of Scotland, and went when young to London, where he received what education he ever had in his youth. He was in great part, however, a self-educated man, a product in that sense, too, of the mechanics’ institute machinery of the old country. He took considerable interest in the elements of several sciences, and has often given plain lectures in Ballarat on electricity and chemistry.
In political questions and in the temperance movement he also took an active interest, and was in these senses a public man locally.
He arrived in Australia in 1853, and in Ballarat early in 1855. By trade a pianoforte-maker and cabinetworker, he became foreman, for the late John Stoneham, in Humffray street, and afterwards opened business himself in his own premises in Peel street.
At the general election in August, 1859, he stood for Ballarat East, and was returned at the head of the poll, Mr J. B. Humffray being at the same time returned as his colleague. He was again returned at the general election in August, 1861, when there were four candidates for the two seats.
After his retirement from public life he followed his business in Ballarat, but with indifferent success, and for several years sickness, personal and relative, helped still more to cripple his means. During the last three years he had suffered from heart disease upon which subsequently supervened dropsy, and finally paralysis. On the 26th April last he was taken to the hospital, where he died.
His widow had for some time before his death suffered from brain disease, and she was remanded to the Yarra Bend Asylum but a few days before his removal to the hospital. The deceased had no children, but had taken the care of an orphan niece, now ten years old. A brother, himself a cripple from rheumatism, and the brother’s family, including a nephew at Sunbury, are all the relations left. Several of the more intimate friends of the deceased have for a long time very kindly done all that was necessary for his comfort, but it is to be hoped now that they will meet with assistance in arranging for the disposal of the orphan child, and in doing what else may be required in winding up the affairs of one who in his way did much public work, who suffered from accumulated afflictions, and whose family relations are scarcely in a position to do anything in the direction we have indicated.
The Ballarat Star (Ballarat, Vic.), 14 May 1873, p. 2
dropsy = (also known as: edema) a medical condition characterised by an abnormal or excessive accumulation of watery fluid (fluid retention) in soft tissue or body cavities (especially prevalent in legs and feet, but can also occur in other areas of the body; the condition commonly affects older people); generalised swelling; the term “dropsy” was derived from Middle English “dropesie”, from Old French “hydropsie”, from the Greek “hydrops”, from the Greek “hydro”, meaning water)
See: 1) “Edema: Also called: Dropsy”, MedlinePlus
2) “VIII.39 – Dropsy”,
3) Hector O. Ventura and Mandeep R. Mehra, “Bloodletting as a cure for dropsy: heart failure down the ages”, PubMed (abstract of article)
4) H. M. Marvin, “The therapy of dropsy”, JAMA Network (The Journal of the American Medical Association), 2 March 1940 (abstract of article)
5) “Edema”, Wikipedia
J. B. Humffray = John Basson Humffray (1824-1891), miner, politician; he was born in Newtown (Montgomeryshire, Wales), came to Australia in 1853, and died in Ballarat in 1891
See: 1) Diane Langmore, “Humffray, John Basson (1824–1891)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “John Basson Humffray”, Wikipedia
old country = a reference to the country from where one came or from where one’s family originated; in an Australian context, “the old country” refers to the nation which settled Australia, and thus the phrase commonly refers to Great Britain or the United Kingdom (or to England specifically)
pianoforte = piano (the full, or formal, name for a piano)
temperance movement = the social movement dedicated to campaigning against the recreational usage of alcohol, citing alcoholism, drunkenness, and the social ills arising therefrom as reasons for not drinking alcoholic beverages; temperance advocates (also referred to as “teetotalers”, from the drinking of tea instead of alcohol) varied in their aims, but were generally in favour of minimising the recreational usage of alcohol, or removing such usage altogether (advocates for the latter being known as “prohibitionists”), and therefore they campaigned for “local option” (the right of local electors, by referendum, to decide on the issuing of liquor licences); significant temperance groups were the Blue Ribbon Movement (known as “blue-ribboners”) and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
See: 1) “Temperance movement in Australia”, Wikipedia
2) “Local option”, Wikipedia
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]