THE SILVER-HAIRED KNIGHT. BAGMAN TO COMMER CIAL KING, Sir Charles Goode's life. A Story for Young Men.
Eighty-five last Sunday, just a little bit hard of hearing, but a great leader still in the army of the world's commercial kings, That is the epitomised record -of Sir Charles Goode. merchant prince and phil-
anthropist. Time has dealt more than kindly with him. The passage of the years has not left on his brow the shadowy fur- rows that steal along with palsied age^ — only thin wrinkles to add a touch of the venerable to a face that is otherwise young and keen. His smooth upper lip and clear face disarm the evidence of a wealth of silver hair. A man old in years and bene- volence, but young in spirit and person- ality, are the dominant characteristics whieh strike the interviewer as he feels the grip of his hand, appreciates the wit of his speech, his wonderfu' mental vigour, and the physical power of a frame upon which a rugged head and countenance are set in bold relief. From 1 to 85 is a span wherein, most men, if indeed they have not already sought the grave, are glad to live out in sunshine and ease, the little bit left of their lives; but not so Sir Charles. The first ''bagman' in South Australia, he va- lues the honour, and though long since the road has lost his genial companion- ship, in the higher realms of commerce the claims of a business that is Empire wide chain him still to the narrow path along which it is the ambition of every knight of the road to travel. What a history there is in the life story of the Grand Old Man, a history which rings true to the ideals of those who can conceive, though perhaps not live up to, a life that is worth living, a history of hardship, perseverance, honour, integrity, and fair dealing; one, too, which is & link between the colony of yesterday and the State of to-day, and a tie which binds weal end woe to the good of the common people. Above all dunes out the achieve-
ment : of success—that elusive goddess fought and clamoured for by nearly all the world of men and women. To study the photograph is to realise the man the pressman saw, and has seen for many* yearSj In many parts of !Ajns tralia, especially on one memorable occa sion when, seated in his favourite haunt on the balcony of the Esplanade Hotel Perth, overlooking the broad, gleaming Swan, the news came through of his knighthood— a recognition which came at a late hour of life, but on a man whom the public can look forward to for many years yet as one of its truest friends. EARLY DAYS. Just after the eighty-fifth anniversary of bis birthday this week Sir Charles chat- ted with a representative of The Mail concerning the early days, beginning from May 26, 1827, of Hinton, Herefordshire, where he was born. 'That was a long time ago,' he remark- ed; but life has moved along pleasantly for the most part ever since. People often ask what college I was educated in. As a matter of fact, I did not go to one at all. I remember leaving school at an early age— about 12— and being apprenticed to a draper in Hereford, and later in London; but that became irksome, and in 1848, when 21 years old, I decided to come to Australia. Australia was a long way off in those days. My brother-in-law, the late Mr. Thomas Good, threw in his lot with me, and we arrived here in 1849. There were 14,000 people in Adelaide then, and the squares we have now were open fields. There were no roads, no footpaths; indeed nothing which suggests the Adelaide of to-day. THE HAWKING VENTURE I remember going across to Mr. Mas- lin's, in Wright street once. We used to put on bluchers to get there through the mire. Hindley street was then the busi- ness centre, and Rundle street was almost unknown. We first of all took a situa- tion, but did not like the style of busi- ness, and after being there a short time we left, thinking that if we could not get anything better we could at least fall back on cracking stones — an employment paid for in those, days at 4/ per day. As we found we could live on 4/ a week there was at least no prospect of starvation ahead us. There was no necessity, how- ever, to take that alternative. By happy chance a covered cart was open for sale, and, buying a horse, we started out to tour the country with cases of drapery.
We firstes went up to Mount Barker and Cox's Creek on a Saturday night and putting the cases in a bedroom, it was not long before the people came around and we had quite a big sale. Going through Mount Barker, we headed towards Willun- ga, which was a rough journey in those days. There were only tracks, and not long before the country higher up was infested by cattle thieves and others, who came across to Adelaide from the other side to ftve on what their wits could pro- duce. We got bushed on the trip across. My brother-in-law would not risk a light to boil the billy on account of the va- grants who were lurking about. We saw out a cold night as best we could, and next morning we went on to Willunga. We did not continue hawking for long. After all, it was only a stepping stone to something better. We tried the north and did good business— especially at the Burra —and next the prospects justified a little softgoods ehop in North Adelaide. Then my brother-in-law separated from me, and I was joined by my own brothers Samuel and Matthew. Samuel was at one time Mayor of Adelaide. That was the begin- ning of the present business, although it was then known as Goode Brothers. THE PRESENT FIRM. 'We gradually got from one thing to another, and in 1859 I made my first trip home again. That was the year we opened a London buying house of our own. ine Kermode street shop became too small tor our requirements. A Bundle street site was secured, and in Stephens place a ware- house was erected. Samuel had retired some time before, and in 1882 Matthew and I dissolved partnership. Mr. W. H. Durrant, of London, then became my part- ner, and we also took in the late Mr. W. H. Tite who had previously, been with the firm. Business expanded every year, and in a short time the place we had taken in Leigh street proved too smalL We secured all the spare room in the Y.M.C.A. Building, which was being erect- ed at that time, and occupied it for 21 years. Before that had expired, however, prospects justified a building of our own; and in 1905 we went into our present home in Grenfell street, where, as you see, we are still progressing. That in a nutshell was Sir Charles's story of the foundation at the firm. On the retirement of Mr. Tite it was styled as Goode, Durrant, &. Co., Limited, and of its present-day success the public itself can best be left to judge. The facts of its foundation do not demand recapitu- lation at greater length- they are one with the history of the foundation of the State itself. It is, after all, the man that counts— the silver-haired old gentleman who has defied age in piecing together the business he is so prond of. Weaved all round it is the striking personality of the
one who made it all— the young man who launched out in youth for the unknown, as Australia was in those days, prepared to mend the roads if necessary to earn an honest crust, and from the small be- ginning of an aged horse and an infirm cart jogging along the old-time tracks of South Australia, built up the business which now has its name in the five storied edifice in Grenfell street and stretches out an arm of influence-to Perth, to Broken Hill, and across 12,000 miles ef sea back again to the great seething, metropolis of London, whence he set out 64 years ago to earn feme and 'fortune. It is not a record, because others have done it, too, but success hallmarks the achieve- ment. THE Y.M.C.A. One naturally linked the name of Sir Charles with Y.M.C.A. He seems to have been the father of it in South Aus- tralia, and can trace back his first connection with the movement to 1845, "when", he said, "I ewnt up to London and used to attend the Bible classes conducted by the first Y.M.C.A. Soon after I arrived here we started two similar organisations be- fore the present one, but they did not live. I was secretary of one, although I am sorry to say they both fell through until the present one was started. On my re- turn from England in 1879, having been 20 years at home, they elected me presi- dent following the late Mr. Searle, who was the first president of the branch. I think I have held the officce five times on different occasions. PRESS AND POLITICS There was a break in that 20 years in London which you mentioned? 'Yes, from 1863 to 1867. I was back in Adelaide then, and was elected far East Torrens to the House of Assembly by the largest majority that had ever been polled by any candidate in the State up to that time. In 1866 there was a terrible slump all over the world. It was at the time of the American Civil War, and cotton fell from 2/6 to 6d. per lb. Our Mr. Searle, who had been buying for us in London, was trying to keep down to prices instead of up to quality. 'We were overstocked and, resigning my seat in Parliament, I went on the road again as a traveller. did that for a few months, and believe that it was in coming back from Mount Gambier - a journey covering three days and nights - that brought about my first and only illness. A few years ago I had an attack of influenza, but before that I can say I took a dose of allopathic medicine in 1869 after I recovered from my illness, and had not taken anything whatever throughout the intervening years until the intervening years until the influenza came along." THE GENESIS OF THE 'ADVERTISER' Besides that political experience, Sir Charles, you also dipped into journalism?' 'Yes, I once, purchased the 'Advertiser'
for £3,000. It came about in a rather unusual way. The late Mr. J. H. Barrow, who was editing the 'Register' at the time, wanted to stand for Parliament, a pro- ceeding that was objected to by the news- paper so long as he was connected with it, so be decided to leave, and a friend of bis, the late Mr. P. H. Burden, came and asked us to join with others in start ing a new paper, and the name of the old firm of Goode Brothers was first on the advertisement. We called it the 'Adver- tiser,' and though it was carried on for some time the directors did not get along well together. They were such men as the
late Mr. John Baker and old Captain Scott, who was a good Scotch Baptist of the. old school. After a few years the business was put up for sale and I bought it for myself and some others. That was a good bargain, as there was £9,000 worth of book debts besides other property. We then floated a small company, including myself, Barrow, and King, James Coun- selL Thomas Graves I think, and some others. It was carried on for some time, and while I was in London my brother sold my share to Messrs. Barrow and King. I received 20 per cent, on my out lay, but it really was a pity my brother thought fit to sell it. Had I stuck to it the return would have been much better still. I feel almost sure that one of the first pieces of reporting done by the pre- sent editor, Sir Langdon Bonython, was to take a note of my speech when stand ing for East Torrens in 1866 . ETERNAL YOUTH. . . 'There are many, Sir Charles, who would hkc to know your recipe for youth, and that wonderful faculty of yours of growing into gracef.il old agr.rj (- 'A1T'— the big eyes twinkled their own reply. '-Quiet living,' he saisi; 'that iB tbe secret of it, quiet .trd rc-uiar living. l generally turn out at C o'clpek in tile morning, and after my 'cold' bath take a pint of hot water before breakfast. Poiv ndge is my breakfast, mixed into it a couple of teaspoonfuls of, oliro oil. It's splendid, the olive o31. If people took more of it there would bet very much less consumption in ^Anstraha. I take a very hght. lunch, and eat a mederate dinner at ax ©clock, but nothing *..fterwards. T3iat is the regularity. Sim- is easy except when one wakes at nig at at times like these, and wonders about the rain which doesnt come, and other things. To-day I feel as veil and Vigorous as ever I did, ' WorTlVt11^ *''* tO * WJ* ' ^Before I get- old.' Sir Charles Btrock'. - the keyaote there. He has grown up mSi nearly a century of progress, has seen the advance of the Taflroad, known tile dais when ocean steam began, and now. on tie threshold of «ie twentieth century he has stOl the quick, rapid intellect of youth, impatiently waiting to eee the world pr-- gpss more. - Truly, a wonderful young man, this, knight of the silvery iair, jqaeaS chant prince, -and philanthropist, and fnead of the halt, the aek, and the blinSl ' 'You are.not a teetotaller, Sir Chailes?' ''Jso, and I still tnjoy a ckw. I hare newer been a teetotaller, and have never been drunk. I cannot see' my way to , condemn die people who produce tbe wine-:- ? here, which has such a ready sale in -W ,old country. I think our 'own people weald be better if they took more of oW : own wines and clarets and less of tea; I always take one-third of a tumblerful of claret and two-thirds of water. It is a very good substitute for the cider I was brought np tm in Herefordshire.' A 7SX&ND IN 2JEED.
- K §£ -*frfe? Goode has scored heavily m most other waUtB of life, he bas scored ' CFF rt.0'6 lMai2i£y s*»n in the world of philanthropy. aSiereis hardly an institu faon which has for its aim the assistance of those unable,, to help themselves, and the extension of a cheerful hand to tile 5?'™.-°** and oat/'whiih has not had tar Charles connected with, it, and withal - to_ the tone of ever-ileady financial SKostence, He has been *iee ^rfent of the Eoyal Institu tion tor the Bund ever since it started. is a vice-president of the ChiHten'e H«£ mtal, president of the James Brown Me- morial Trust, and of the South Australian' Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission, and Angaa Home for axed and infiypi deaf mates at fcarafieM. Sneaking of the litter, Sic Charles remarked that of all afflictions he abpriy to speak deserved most-jympathy at the hands of tJbe people. 'Theljlind always join in pleasures -which they can not pee, but the deaf and dumb, Sit «ff from -speech and eowtifi, hive reuly^ttie to hope from the pleasures which sight alone can «iv« them.' Miuda, the home for. weakmmded children, also claims turn ap a president. Be is connected with the ffistnet Trained Nursing Society ''? and gcan its inception 'has been a member -of Pie State Children's Council. - Among Otter institutions he has. been, connected- . with— either as a member of the commit- ? tee or holder of higher offices— are the Benevolent and Strangers' Friend Sbcte^y, ISU Jopn .Ambulance Association, a trus tee of aeAngas Missionary College; p» stden$ of the North Adelaide Institute fop m suarter *£ * century, Belair Betcoac, : Convalescent Home, and British feiid Fqgeagn Bible Society. When in Engiazld his connection with ?- philanthropic iriititu tiens was extensive there, as it -is ia South Ausfaiatta. in the realms of *om- ,-? merce his name is equally prominent. He tfls been »* vice-president of the AJULP-t ? Society for a 'good many years, and many; companies' boards chum him as a m°nii-er. Sir taiarjes belongs at St. Alban Lodge of Fpeeutasons, ifj a life, member of the Commercial Travellers'. Association, and, among some of his latest honours, is that - of president .of the Commonwealth Club. - Perhaps of all honours -the most striking is the fact that for 33 years Sir Charles jjaf wmdpeted a young men's Bible class at if flinders Street Baptist Church. H» «fflnncbj it stiD,Land -.rarely is it that lie tniajnnri one - of tiie meetings. He has - a juait of aayice for young men. Coining jpai » xoan^who landed -in the. State wij£ ;- of flf precebts arii, : obvious. HIb chief ?dvice given Inm jnaijy platforms and *t- , matty young men: ia' to. remember the' J weeds of St. Paul 'Young man, keep tiiraelf pure.' *3$»t means a great tteat* - s»d Sir Charlee, 'and I also tell them to pe temperate both in eating «mf drink-* - jng. It would be better if many young men took up Bible teaching instead T of walking about the park lands on Sundaysv I also say— Be strictly honest, be fair i# ; all dealings, and endeavour to do untq others as yon would like them to do unto! * you.'' - . ??-.-??? ? ? _, . -,--.. ; .Time passes pleasantly in talking with', Sir 018X168, and in a State which has*'1 produced a wealth of able men one conies !?'? away with the firm conviction tiiat fcerea^ indeed, is one of its most famous, and to whose memory ti»e future will lovingly'