Obituary - Mr. Henry Whatman

18 October 1949 The Tumut and Adelong Times

After 82 1/2 years of useful life in this world, Henry Whatman (affectionately known as 'Old Dad') was called to his eternal rest on Saturday, 8th October, at 2.45 p.m. at his home, 'Bonnie Doon,' Gilmore. 

He passed away very peacefully and happy in the presence of his family, whom he embraced, one by one, in farewell, then prayed quietly and peacefully breathed his last.

This world is truly poorer as one by one these great old pioneers lay down their burden; and the Gilmore section of the Tumut district has lost a great friend and benefactor of the past.   

Henry Whatman was a pattern for all men to emulate. His motto was 'The Golden Rule of Life,' and he lived by that rule unswerving. 

True friend to all in need of help and a wonderful, warm hearted, considerate neighbor, by his honesty, straight living and persevering character he made a great success of his life.

Born at Bowral on 3rd April, 1867, he was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Whatman, and when seven years old journeyed with them per bullock dray to Gadara, near Adelong, to their new home, 'Pleasant View'. I

n his early teens he went to Ellerslie Station to work, also for the Broughton family at Gadara, for T. Campbell at 'The Vineyard,' Gilmore, and other landholders, gaining excellent knowledge of all branches of farming and stock raising - a knowledge which he later put to valuable and successful use. 

Later he had his own bullock team in the carrying business and with Jack Quilty, J. Prowse and other Adelong teamsters did carrying business in many districts hauling wool, wheat, flour and store goods, etc., travelling long distances in all weathers and over dreadful roads with their bullock waggons - the only means of heavy transport in those days.

They often had to form their own roads and cut away fallen trees; but, undaunted, they always reached destinations. Such conditions tested the stamina of those many 'overlanders,' but they gloried in the testing.

It was all part of the plan of pioneering and progress.

Deceased, in early life, also carried the mail on horseback from Gilmore right up the Gilmore Valley and over the hills to Reedy Flat (now Batlow) before Upper Gilmore Post Office was established at Callaway's, 'Ferndale'.

The long ride was undertaken often in pouring rain, but deceased always brought the mails safely to his destination. 

In the year 1894 the late Mr. Whatman married Miss Annie Rowe, of Adelong, and soon afterwards they bought the Gilmore Hotel, where they carried on an excellent business.

They often had people of high station in life privately boarding to enjoy cod and perch fishing in Gilmore Creek before the wily trout frequented the stream; also they catered for sports clubs, football, tennis or cricket teams, for Henry Whatman was a keen sportsman and excelled in all branches of sport, winning medals and trophies at football, cricket and tennis, also foot running.

He loved music and dancing and won many waltzing competitions.

Even up till a couple of years ago he danced the old-time waltz with perfect grace and he could dance Irish jigs and reels to perfection.

Deceased was a true sport in every way. 

For over twenty-eight years Mr. and Mrs. Whatman conducted the Gilmore Hotel and also Gilmore Post Office, which was then attached to the building.

Mr. What man's sister Emily (Mrs. J. Wade) looked after this department with great credit and mail could be collected at any time to suit the convenience of the district settlers. 

Mr. and Mrs. Whatman were never too tired to care for weary travellers and meals would be served twenty-four hours a day if required. 

Their kindness and generosity were known far and wide. On Christmas Day free meals were always served during the whole period Mr. What man owned the hotel. Deep sorrow came to them when they lost their elder son Frederick at the early age of 14 years.

Soon afterwards they leased the hotel and bought that well-known property 'Bonnie Doon'. 

There Mr. Whatman put into practice the valuable agricultural knowledge he gained in his youth and built up a beautifully-kept farm of fat stock and dairying, ably assisted by his son Jack.

He was for many years a member of Tumut P. & A. Society and exhibited winning hacks and hurdlers, gaining blue ribbons at Tumut, Adelong and Gundagai shows and keeping a lively interest in Tumut Show right to the last. He was not known to miss a Tumut Show. 

After nine years at 'Bonnie Doon' Mr. Whatman leased the farm and returned to the hotel for a time.

He then bought that compact little property 'Briar Brae,' next to the present Gilmore Post-Office.

Mrs. Whatman's health becoming of great concern, Mr. Whatman sold the hotel business to Tooth & Co. and then retired to 'Braeside'.

Later they moved to 'Bonnie Doon' again, where Mrs. Whatman died sixteen years ago. 

Mr. Whatman lived on at 'Bonnie Doon' with his son Jack and daughter-in-law, Mrs. Jack Whatman.

Always of a bright and happy nature, deceased was beloved of all who knew him.

He rarely missed his daily ride on Bobbie, his white pony, to Gilmore Post Office to pass the time of day and collect his mail and papers.

Mr. and Mrs. Whatman were great benefactors to all deserving calls and gave generously.

The hospital balls they helped to organise were a great success and benefitted Tumut Hospital immensely. In spite of great generosity, they prospered and always gave full and plenty to the needy. 

On retiring from business life the grateful people of the district presented Mr. and Mrs. Whatman with a magnificent walnut sideboard and an illuminated and framed address in token of the love and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Whatman and family were held.

They were leading lights, too, in farewells and welcome home parties to the soldiers of the 1914-1918 war and the 'boys' still speak of them with love, affection and gratitude.