DAVID CHAPLIN STERRY
David Chaplin Sterry is the son of William Sterry and Mary (Chaplin) of Southwold, Suffolk, England who were married on Feb 21, 1830 in Southwold. (See Southwold Branch) David emigrated to Australia along with thousands of others from Britain following the lure of Australian gold. He arrived in Victoria on the "William Money" in Aug 1854 and made his way to the Bendigo diggings. He was then aged 21.
David worked principally at Epsom and Huntly and in 1856 became involved in quartz reefing. He became one of the pioneers of that industry and continued these mining interests for several decades, creating considerable wealth and a small business empire.
Quartz was only of passing interest to the early diggers as gold was very difficult to extract from the quartz without machinery and there was an abundance of alluvial gold which could be dug by hand with minimal equipment. As Luffsman, Sterry & Co and later the New Victoria Company he commenced operations on the 'Victoria Reef' which proved one of the richest in Bendigo. David was also a prominent shareholder in other Bendigo mines such as the New Chum.
David became prominent in the local community. He was a member of the Oddfellows of Bendigo; as chairman of the first Miners' Accident Association in the district, he successfully negotiated a settlement of a threatened miners' strike in 1879; in 1897 he was elected to the local City Council and was Mayor from 1878-79; he was also a member of the Marong Shire Council.
David took up horse breeding and was President of the Bendigo Agricultural Society for 24 years. He was elected to the state parliament, then called the Legislative Council, in 1882 and in 1890 entered the upper house, then called the Legislative Assembly, as the member for South Sandhurst until 1904, when he retired due to health reasons. He was presented to Prince Albert Victor and Prince George (the sons of the then Prince and Princess of Wales) in 1881. Prince Albert Victor and the state Governor inspected the crushing works at the New Chum United Company, which was then owned by David, and later that evening attended a royal ball, at which David Sterry was a notable guest.
David had many property interests, apart from his interest in several prosperous goldmines in Bendigo in which he was a partner. He owned and ran the Gold Mines Hotel; he had a large property in Bullock Creek and a street of houses in Park Street, Melbourne (which he reportedly lost in a gambling game). David built the original Gold Mines Hotel in 1857 and the one that stands today in 1872. The hotel has an extensive garden which is believed to have been laid out and planted by Sterry at an early date and originally stood on 1.25 acres. David used the surrounding land at different stages for a pig sty, a chicken run, horse stables, a small orchard and two dams and later built a small house on it, called 'the Cook's Cottage' for the servants to live in (and where the Campbell family lived for many years). The hotel's current address is Marong Rd, Bendigo, but it was previously known as Inglewood Road, Bendigo and Alley Street, Ironbark. The hotel was directly opposite Victoria Hill where David had several quartz reef mining interests. The two storey stone building at the rear of the current hotel is part of the old hotel. David also built a home for himself just out of Bendigo, off Bullock Creek Road, in the area which is now known as Maiden Gully. The house was single storey with double storey stables built from hand-made bricks and natural local stone.
(With thanks to Karen Esposito for making available a thesis called "The Gold Mines Hotel: The Man, His Hotel and Four Generations", written by Fiona Hanrahan in 1991 as part of a university course and from which much of the above has been taken.)
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) Tue 27 Sep 1904, Page 3
DEATH OF MR. D. C. STERRY
A USEFUL PUBLIC CAREER
At 10.30 yesterday morning Mr. David Chaplin Sterry passed away peacefully at his residence, Gold Mines hotel, Inglewood-road, Ironbark. His demise will be regretted by a wide circle of friends. Some months ago Mr. Sterry sustained a severe paralytic stroke. From this he made a comparatively good recovery. Last week, however, he suffered a paralytic affection of a somewhat different nature, and it was felt that his constitution would prove hardly strong enough to bear the second attack. His medical adviser, Dr. Atkinson, realised the gravity of his patient's condition, and called in Dr. Gaffney in consultation. All that medical skill could suggest
was done for Mr. Sterry, but yesterday morning the end came, the patient expiring in the presence of his family without a struggle.
Mr. Sterry was born at South Wald[sic], Suffolk, on the east coast of England, in 1832. Living on the shore of the North Sea, he early developed a taste for a seafaring life, and as a youth followed the hazardous but healthy calling of a sailor. When he had attained his majority he heard of the gold discoveries in Australia, and his spirit of adventure prompted him to forthwith set out for the far-away southern land. He arrived in Victoria in 1853, and immediately made his way to the Bendigo diggings. The young Englishman, possessed of an energetic nature and a robust constitution, joined in search for gold with considerable energy.
He worked principally at Epsom and Huntly, and was pretty successful. In 1856, however, he turned his attention to quartz-reefing, and in fact became one of the pioneers of that industry. With the late Mr. Luftsmann, the syndicate, being styled Luftsmann, Sterry and Co., he commenced operations on the Victoria reef, which is on the opposite side of the road to his late residence. The reef proved very rich. With the late Messrs. Luftsmann, Burrowes and
Gibbs, Mr. Sterry formed the New Victoria Company, which proved to him and his partners a veritable gold mine. He remained on the directorate of the company from its inception up to within six months ago. He was also one of the original prospectors of a lease at Eaglehawk which afterwards became known as the Catherine Reef United, and was a very large share-
holder in the company that was subsequently formed, retaining his connection with it up to within a few years ago. Mr. Sterry was also interested in the Bendigo Goldfields Company, now the Victoria Proprietary (1903) Limited, the bulk of the shares in which are held in London, Mr. Sterry being one of the local directors at the time of his death. The deceased gentleman was an enterprising and plucky investor, and in addition to being largely interested in local ventures, speculated in mines further afield, as for instance, Russell's Reef, at Lauriston,
and other places.
In connection with the mining industry, it is fitting here to remark that Mr. Sterry was always looked upon as a champion of the miner's rights, and took a leading part in
forming the first Miners' Accident Association in the district, being appointed chairman for several years in succession. About the year 1879, at the time when a serious strike of miners was threatened, it was largely through Mr. Sterry's instrumentality that an amicable and satisfactory settlement was arrived at.
Mr. Sterry first entered public life in 1876, when he was elected as a representative for Sutton Ward in the Bendigo City Council. This position he continued to occupy until the year 1888, when he retired through effluxion of time, and did not again contest the seat. During his term of office as a councillor he filled the Mayoral chair in 1878-9. His year of office was rendered
notable through the holding of the Juvenile Industrial Exhibition, which proved highly
successful, and out of the proceeds of which the present Alexandra Fountain at Charing Cross was erected. Mr. Sterry also entered the Marong Shire Council in 1878, as a representative of
the North-east Riding, and continued to hold the seat up to last year, when declining
health compelled him to resign. He was highly popular among his colleagues, and
was four times elected president.
Mr. Sterry took a keen interest in agricultural pursuits, and had landed interests. At
one time he devoted his attention to horse breeding with considerable success. In recognition of the interest he took in agriculture, he was accorded the distinguished honor of being elected president of the Bendigo Agricultural Society for 24 years in succession. The last occasion on which he was elected was at the society's annual meeting in June last, when he was warmly congratulated on having held the honored position for such a length of time.
As a member of the State Legislature, Mr. Sterry rendered the district useful service.
He first sought Parliamentary honors in February, 1880, when he contested the elec-
torate of Sandhurst, which then returned three members. He was, however, unsuccessful, the voting being: R. Clark, 2921; R. Burrowes, 2392; J. M'Intyre, 2329; D. C. Sterry, 2238. Mr. Sterry then turned his attention to the Legislative Council, and in October, 1882, was returned for the Northern Province, defeating Mr. I. Winter-Irving. After sitting in the Upper House for a few
years, Mr. Sterry, in 1889, contested the seat in the Assembly for the newly-formed electorate of South Sandhurst. He was successful in defeating Mr. R. O'Neill, the voting being: D. C. Sterry, 967; E. O'Neill, 640. Though opposed at every subsequent election, save one, he retained his seat throughout until the present year, when under the reformed constitution the electorate was abolished, and Mr. Sterry, finding his health unsatisfactory, retired from the political
arena. His public life, except for his connection with the Agricultural Society, may
be said to have closed at this juncture. In addition to the offices enumerated, Mr.
Sterry was a justice of the peace, a Past Master of the Golden and Corinthian Lodge of
Freemasons, and an honorary member of the Earl of Hopetonn Lodge, M.U.I.O.O.F.
During a long and useful public career, Mr. Sterry made a great number of staunch friends, to whom the news of his death will cause sincere regret. Of an unassuming and genial disposition, he was held in esteem by all classes, and his memory will long survive in the recollection of the public of this district as one of the sturdy pioneers, who did much to lay the foundation of the city's wealth and prosperity.
Mr. Sterry, in 1859, married Mrs. Moss, widow of the late Captain Samuel Moss, and had three sons, Wm., John and Alfred, who, with the widow, survive him.
The funeral will take place to the Bendigo Cemetery, leaving his late residence, Gold Mines hotel, Inglewood-road, at 4 o'clock this afternoon.
We are requested to notify members of the general committee of the Bendigo Agricultural Society desirous of attending the funeral to meet at the office of the secretary
(Mr. H. M. Marks) at half-past 3 o'clock.