THE LATE MR. R. J. SHOLL, J.P
An obituary notice will have told our readers that on Saturday last Mr. Robert John Sholl expired in his sixty-seventh year. He breathed his last in the house of his son in-law, Dr. Scott, the recently-elected member for Perth. Of him, like many others of our fellow-colonists it would be, perhaps sufficient to say that "he died ;" but he helped to build up our social edifice ; he did his duty in that state of life into which it had pleased God to call him. He was known, he was respected amongst us. He worked for our common good, and we cannot let the grave close over him without a few lines in recollection of his services.
It is not necessary that, to merit distinction, a man should be an office-holder. Until very recently the members of onr community have been banded together in a strong feeling of brotherhood. Their object was hardly selfish; they all worked together for one end-the advancement of the Colony. A colonist was valued for his worth, not for his wealth or place. Honesty, clearsightedness and ability were his most acceptable attributes, and these qualifications our friend had. He used them to advantage. He was one of a band of workers who fixed strongly the substratum of our social system ; there are many of those he has left behind him who owe him much that they cannot define, but which neverthe- less kept society sweet, and helped what was insignificant in politics to bo at least credit-
Mr. Sholl having been partially educated for the medical profession, arrived here, in we believe the year 1841. in the Shepherd. Mr. Richard Sholl, his uncle, had been purser of the Sulphur in the very early days of the colony, and his family was ultimately represented here by his mother, his sister (Mrs. Corbett) and his brother William, a surgeon, who died some years since in South Australia, and his brother Charles who was long the chief clerk in the office of the Colonial Sec- retary.
An early colonist did not as a rule bring much money with him. It was generally thought sufficient that a
sound mind in a sound body the education and demeanour of a man were a
gentleman's passport to society. There were but few drones in the hive, everybody knew everybody else ; and when a body of colonists did not exceed some three thousand souls, a man's good and bad qualities were well known to his neighbours, and so he accord- ingly took his place among them.
For many years Mr. Sholl was clerk to the Bench, tidewaiter and schoolmaster at Bun- bury, under Mr. Eliot. Then he succeeded to the editorship of the " Inquirer." and in course of time started at Fremantle the newspaper now known as the " Herald." Again he edited and was a part proprietor of the " Inquirer " ; and at length in the early part of 1864, Governor Hampton selected him to establish at Camden Island a settle- ment. At that time some persons from the Eastern colonies, attracted by the reports of Augustas Gregory (elarum et venerabile nomen) resolved to find their way to the " Denison Plains," a problematical Eden supposed to exist on or near the Victoria River. So an expedition was equipped for Camden Sound, and Mr. Sholl was at its head: his surveyor was Mr. James Cowle ; his surgeon, Mr. Charles Smith Bompas; his private secretary was his son Trevarton, with some pensioners for a guard, and some
The Denison plains company broke up. The Government party stayed until they were recalled and stationed at Nicholl Bay. Mr. Sholl was appointed to the post of Govern- ment Resident there ; and he saw the riches of that part of our territory developed. He was virtually a Lieutenant Governor, as in those days communication with the settled districts was by sailing vessels-infrequent and tedious. Nickol Bay contributed to our list of exports pearl shells and pearls. The " Lilliput " of Swift, which Dampier had visited, was occupied by squatters. Sheep, cattle, and horses, soon made men wealthy. Grant, Harper, and Anderson settled on the DeGrey. Exploration was ex- tended, population increased, a vast provision was added to the Empire without any flourish of trumpets, and for its first order and social well-being Mr. Sholl was re- sponsible-and he succeeded. His duties were multifarious : as Magistrate, collector of Customs, Lay Reader, Surgeon, Sunday-school teacher, his services were at the disposal of the public. The public treasury did not re- ward him. His house was blown down in a hurricane which destroyed his "household stuff" and broke his son's thigh. He con- structed for himself a hovel from the wreck, in which he patiently discharged his public duties. A grateful country did not however, reimburse his losses. These losses were serious, for his books were destroyed, and could not be replaced. If it is to mankind a source of delight integros accedere fontes at- que haurire that gratification was denied him, for although under his rule and guidance fresh fountains of wealth had been added to
our colony has meagre salary £500 a year was all he got and was never increased. In the first administration of Governor Robinson he accepted a pension and retired from the public service, living in Perth till
He was essentially a public man : in a community such as was Western Australia during his period of service it was no mean thing to be a journalist or a Resident Magis- trate. In each capacity he did what he thought to be right. If his sphere of useful- ness was limited he did good as far as he could and his work lives after him. Western Australia owes him much, and we will not begrudge him our feeble meed of praise.
Tho funeral took place on Sunday after- noon, leaving Dr. Scott's residence at 4 o'clock, and was attended by nearly all the leading men of Perth. The pall bearers were Sir T. Cockburn-Campbell, Bart., M.L.C., Mr. Mckenzie Grant M.L.C., Dr. Way- len, and Mr. F. Lochee. The cortege was re- ceived at the cemetery gate by the Very Rev. Dean Gegg, who read the service for the dead according to the Anglican Ritual ; Dean Gegg also made a feeling reference to the deceased at the morning service in St. George's Cathedral.