The Passing of Mr. William Clee

The Tumut Advocate and Farmers and Settlers' Adviser

25 August 1925

An Octogenarian Native. There passed away at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Matthew French, Brungle, on Thursday last, at 1 a.m., the oldest link that up to then had remained living to connect the dim and distant past with the civilisation of the present.

We refer to Mr. William Clee, who for the whole of his long life resided in the Tumut district, without even a single break, the period being for nearly 88 years.

Deceased was born on Pinbeyan Station, in our mountain fastnesses, between the Tumut and Yarrangobilly Rivers, in November, 1838.

Becoming an expert horseman, he was put in charge of the horses there (horses were the principal stock bred in the mountains in those times), and later on came to Gocup, spending the greater part of his active life on Gocup Station with the late Mr. Archer Broughton sr., and afterwards with the late Mr. John Hay, superintending the entire live stock.

His exemplary character inspired his employers with the utmost trust in his integrity and ability, he was the soul of honor and a fine pattern for others to emulate a grand inheritance for the large family which he leaves behind.

When the big estates were changing hands he selected at Meadow Creek on his own account, land now held by his son Richard.

Losing his helpmeet and old age rendering him unfit for active farming pursuits, he went to live with his daughter, Mrs. Matt. French, some 15 years ago.

He enjoyed remarkable health all his life, never once for 87 years having to call in a doctor, and only during his last two illnesses did he seek medical advice.

The first occasion was a paralytic seizure, and a week before his death he had another stroke which resulted in his death.

He was one of the few of the true pioneers left of the old brigade who conquered the wilderness for civilisation to enter and for us to enjoy the advantages they strove to bring about.

A family of 14 children is but typical of the hardy old stock which helped to populate the then open spaces there were no fences dividing the station holdings in those early days, and the area of a ranch was calculated in so many score of miles square.

The survivors are: Richard (Gocup), James (Mullimbimby), Mrs. Harry French (Tumut), Mrs. Jas. Duffy (Midway), Mrs. Matthew French (Brungle), Charles (Bankstown), Wallie (Mill Dairy, Tumut), Andrew (Bombowlee).

The deceased are Mrs. Hugh McKinnon, William, Mrs. Jas. Patton, and Archer and Gertie (who died in their young years).

There are 45 grand children.

The funeral took place on Friday the remains being interred in the Roman Catholic portion of the old cemetery alongside those of his wife and other members of the family who passed away before him.

Very Rev. Fr. J. Sharkey, P.P., officiated at the graveside, and Messrs. Fuller and Burt were the undertakers.