Goldfields Involvement, 1854
Post 1854 Experiences
- MR. HALL'S CAREER.
- A EUREKA STOCKADE MAN.
- The late Mr. Walter Hall was 81 years of age at the time of his death. A week before his demise he was apparently, in the enjoyment of far more robust health than is usually enjoyed by a person so weighted with years.
- He went to the races every day, enjoyed the sport, and on the Monday turned up as usual to his work as director of the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company, at the office in Pitt-street. During the afternoon he did not feel quite well, and went home earlier than usual, but no alarming symptoms displayed themselves. At the same time it was known that his heart was not strong, and Drs. Kelly and Scott-Skirving were called in. Under their care the patient seemed to be progressing towards recovery, and he was looking forward to a speedy return to his old life. Even at 10 o'clock on October 13 there was no suspicion that the end was so near, but a short time afterwards Mr. Hall collapsed, and with his heart failing to respond to the calls made upon it he breathed his last a low short hours after his initial seizure. His body was taken to Melbourne and interred in the General Cemetery there on October 16. Mr. Hall was born at Kington, a small rural village in the picturesque country of Herefordshire, England, and was the son of parents engaged in rural pursuits. He left England for Australia on February 14, 1852, and, arriving in Sydney some weeks later, became associated with the great coaching firm of Cobb and Co. He took up his residence in Victoria, but was quickly attracted from the more sedate lines of business by the rush to the gold diggings at Ballarat. Here he took a prominent part in the opposition that was raised by the miners to the action of the Government in seeking to introduce mining licenses. He was one of the very few survivors of the Eureka Stockade riot, one of the most thrilling events in the history of Australia. The story is familiar. On the morning of December 3, 1854, the gold-miners entrenched themselves, behind a lignt fortification, and for a short period, resisted the police and military who had been sent up-country to preserve order and carry out the authorised licensing of the goldfields by the Government then in charge. It was an exciting time, and Mr. Hall was in the middle of it, gaining the experience as a miner which stood him in good stead a few years later, when the Mount Morgan mine was opened In Queensland. Mr. Hall was connected with this mine from its inception. He was a member of the original company. Later he speculated successfully In the shares when they were thrown upon the market, and at the time of his death he was a director of the mine and chairman of the Sydney board. For many years the business of Cobb and Co. was carried on by Mr. Hall with Messrs. Rutherford and Whitney, but, becoming unwieldy in its then form, Mr. Hall and one of the other partners took charge of the section running between Victoria, and New South Wales; whilst Messrs. Rutherford and Whitney had the New South Wales and Queensland section. This arrangement existed until 1887, when Mr. Hall retired from the firm, prior to paying his, first visit to Europe. He was away for two years, and on his return never again left the land of his adoption. During these years Mr. Hall's affairs had prospered, and he might at that time have re-tired from business, altogether had he been so disposed, but he preferred that his life should be filled with work, and the last quarter of a century saw him as busy as he was in earlier years. He became a director of the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company, and of the Sydney Meat Preserving Company; but it was as a member of the Australian Jockey Club that he was perhaps best known. From his earliest years he was interested in horses. ll his life was spent amongst them, and it was perhaps natural that when circumstances permitted, he should have established a racing stable of his own. In 1872 he was elected to the committee of the Jockey Club, which was the branch of sport that occupied all his moments of recreation, though he frequently helped forward and showed his interest in the fields of athletics and amusement. Mr. Hall took no part in politics, or in the recognised public life of the community. His tastes did not turn in that direction; but he always had a deep interest in the people around him, and in a quiet, unostentatious — often unknown — manner, helped forward many a good object that showed signs of waning vigor. He contributed £5000 to the relief fund established during the Boer War by Mr. J. R. Carey; he was amongst those who contributed £10,000.each to the "Dreadnought fund some time ago; and he celebrated his 80th birthday by distributing a large sum of money to various institutions in New South Wales and Queensland — just to name three instances of his charity. But he never identified himself closely with any religious institution. He lived his life in his own way, making little show about anything; and the news of his death was received with much regret in the many quarters where his had been a familiar and welcome figure, for so many years.
Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
- Daily Telegraph, 24 May 1912.
- Daily Telegraph, 24 May 1912.