Thomas Cain

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The Late Thomas Cain, Esq., J.P. Bacchus Marsh Express, 25 October 1913


Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences


Mr. Thomas Cain, J.P., a prominent citizen of Bacchus Marsh, who died on Wednesday night, was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1838. He came to Australia when a lad, and was on the Ballarat diggings with his father at the time of the Eureka riot.
Deceased was a large land owner, and at one time he owned Lerderderg Park Estate, which he sold to the late Mr. Donald Wallace. Mr. Cain was a shire councillor for many years, having first been a member of the road board in 1867, and was also returning, officer for the State electorate of Bulla and the Southern, Province.[1]

DEATH OF THOMAS CAIN, Esq., J.P. This occurred at 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday last, 22nd inst., after an illness of 19 months, as it was on 20th March, 1912, that Mr. Cain was seized with cerebral hemorrhage, from which he never recovered. A trained nurse was in constant attendance. Mr. Cain was able, at times, to walk about the garden, with the aid of a stick; but for the last fortnight had been confined to his bed, gradually sank, and died as stated. Mr. Cain was born in Galway, Ireland, on 23rd February, 1838, so was 75 years of age. He left Ireland for Australia by himself when quite a lad, to join his father, who had previously come out here. Mr. Cain's father was employed on a station near Kilmore, owned by Mr. Mollison (a relative of the Mr. Mollison who recently had Bullengarook estate, now Mr. Skene's). Shortly after Mr. Cain arrived the gold rush at Ballarat attracted his father, and they decided to try their luck there. They were at Ballarat at the time of the Eureka riot, and Mr. Cain frequently described his exper iences during those stirring times. Mr. Cain then went to the Forest Creek diggings, near Castlemaine; and was one of the lucky miners. Shortly after that he came to Bacchus Marsh, and bought portion of the estate now known as Lererderg Park. It was then only a small area, but Mr. Cain afterwards bought adjoining pieces. Mr. Cain resided for some time on this property, which. he called "Green Lodge," but he sold it in 1891 to the late Mr. Donald Wallace, who renamed it Lerderderg Park, which afterwards became the home of the famous racehorse Carbine.
Mr. Cain's energy would not allow him to rest, and he bought the property now known as Coimadai Park, The Willows, and M'Kenzie's Flat, which properties he has highly improved, and still owns; together with land adjoining the Parwan railway station; a farm at Deep Creek, Coimadai; also a farm, occupied by: his brother, Martin Cain, at North Mirboo, Gippsland. He also bought a property in the Bacchus Marsh township, where he resided at the time of his death. Mr. Cain was married in 1865, at Bacchus Marsh, to Miss O'Connell, sister of Mr. Michael O'Connell. Mrs. Cain survived; there is no family, but a large number of nephews. "Mr. Cain, was a practical farmer, a good judge of stock, and he acted as judge at many important shows. He was 'also an authority on the cultiva lion of lucerne, and by request pre pared and read a paper on that subject at one`of the Farmers' Conferences at Mildura. There was such a demand for this information that it was twice reprinted in the Express. He was re cognised as a keen land buyer, and in 1901 made a Valuation of the whole of the property in the Shire. There were some appeals, but Mr. Cain's val uation was always upheld. Mr. Cain took a prominent part in all local movements. He was elected a member of the Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley Road Board in 1867. In 1871 the Road Board wasc onstituted a Shire, and Mr. Cain was elected President in 1876, which position he held many times since. In 1889 the Shire was subdivided, and Mr. Cain did not seek re-election, but was returned un opposed in 1902. He held his seat in the Council until 10th March, 1913, when he resigned owing to illness. The Council then presented him with an ad dress in appreciation of his services. He was practically in harness until the time of his death, after almost half a century of work as a public man. The number of positions he held were in numerable, but at various times he was President of the Shire, Agricultural Society, Horticultural Society, Water Trust, St. Patrick's Society, Racing Club, Rifle Club, Bay Excursion Committee, Mechanics' Institute, also a Trustee of the latter and the Racecourse He was a Justice of the Peace; Returning Officer- for the Electorate of Bourke West (now Bulla) and the Southern Province and Returning Officer for the Bacchus Marsh Division of Corio. Was one of the first Directors of the Bacchus Marsh Concentrated Milk Co., and he, with Messrs. Mac Farlane and Grant, guaranteed the bank the payment of the milk suppliers' cheques, in the 'early days of the com pany. Mr. Cain was one of a number who for many years urged the claims of a direct railway line from Melbourne to Ballarat, and has told many amusing stories of his experiences at banquets held in Melbourne after interviews with different Ministers of the Crown. The Government of the day were so im pressed with the continued agitation for the construction of this line that they shortly afterwards authorised it. The late Hon. Thomas Bent was then Min ister of Railways. The survey pro vided that the line should branch off at Parwan, and contour round Collie's bridge to the existing line, thus leaving Bacchus Marsh still without a railway. Mr. Cain was one of those who insisted that Mr. Bent should visit the district, and personally see the injury likely to occur to Bacchus Marsh if such a course was adopted. Mr. Bent offered to construct a tramway from Parwan, but Mr. Cain was one of the leading residents who said such a proposal was not acceptable. At that. particular time, Mr. Cussen (now Judge Cussen). was in charge of the party making the. permanent survey of the line. Previous surveyors had said it was impossible to get a railway into Bacchus Marsh and out again. Mr. Cain and his band of enthusiasts' were not. going to he put off in this way, and a company of them visited (on a Sunday we believe) the survey camp, which was located in the Police paddock. After that Mr. Bent gave instructions to Mr. Cussen that the railway had to be brought into Bacchus Marsh at' whatever cost, and the present line and station was the result. Subsequently, Mr. Cain and the late Mr. P. M'Grath induced the Railway Department to run a Sunday passenger train to Bacchus Marsh to convey milk to the metropolis, and these two gentle men guaranteed any loss on the train. The guarantee was not required as the train was always a success. For 46 years Mr. Cain was a public worker for the district, and was widely known and respected. He at tended innumerable deputations asking for a railway and for irrigation works. He was one one of the main workers for the Agricultural Society, and principal lay man in the Catholic Church. He will be much missed in all those respects, although advancing age had curtailed his activity of late years. 'Mr. Cain was a constant attender at St. Bernard's Church, and a liberal subscriber at all times to any movement to assist the building, of the Church, Presbytery, and Convent. Mr. Cain always took a great pride in St: Joseph's Convent school. He was some years ago one of the Victorian Delegates appointed to attend a large Catholic Conference held at Sydney. A Requiem Mass was held at St. Bernard's Church on Friday morning, and was largely attended. The funeral took place on Friday afternoon, at the Maddingley Cemetery, the Rev. Father Gleeson officiat ing. There was a large attendance.[2]

See also

Eureka Stockade

Further Reading


  1. The Age, 25 October 1913.
  2. The Bacchus Marsh Express, 25 October 1913.

External links