|Matthew Fitzpatrick, 1849-1917|
Mr. Matthew Fitzpatrick, J.P., Orchardist, "Glen Fern," Port Cygnet, was born at Port Cygnet in 1849. He is a son of the late Mr. Matthew Fitzpatrick, who emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, in 1838, to Tasmania, with his wife and two sisters.
At the age of eleven years, he, together with his brother, was sent to England to be educated. In 1865 he returned to Tasmania, and assisted his father in farming and horticultural pursuits. A few years later he opened a general store, and combined with it the occupation of fruit-growing.
Eventually he devoted all his energies to the latter pursuit, and at the present time has 20 acres of orchard attached to his well appointed home. Mr. Fitzpatrick long entertained an idea that coal deposits existed in the district, and after prospecting for many months with Mr. Richard Hill, he was rewarded by finding the well-known Port Cygnet Coalfield, which has since been worked with unqualified success. Of course these prospecting operations were not carried out without a large amount of expenditure, and it is not too much to say that Mr. Fitzpatrick spent many hundreds of pounds before he met with his reward.
He was appointed a territorial police magistrate, and occupied the position for many years, when important demands on his time caused him to relinquish the honourable duties, and a gratifying recognition of his uprightness and integrity was accorded him on the occasion by the residents of the district, who presented him with a purse of fifty sovereigns and an illuminated address.
The pressure of business cares, however, slackened, and Mr. Fitzpatrick found himself again able to be placed on the honourary list of justices of the peace of the colony. As a public man in the Huon district, his record stands out pre-eminent. He is Government inspector of roads, returning officer of the electoral district of Kingborough, chairman of the local Board of Agriculture, and member of the Board of Advice. He was formerly chairman of the Road Trust and Board of Education, assessor for the Government in the district of Kingborough, first president of the local rifle club, first captain and president of the cricket club, and first chairman of the Board of Health.< /p>
He was elected chairman (in 1898) of the fire relief committee. The committee was composed of clergymen of every denomination and the leading men in the district, and several thousands of pounds were extended in relief of sufferers by the bush fires. It will thus be seen that Mr. Fitzpatrick has occupied many honourable public positions. He was married in 1878 to Miss Annie Hill, a daughter of Mr. Richard Hill, of Honeywood, near Geeveston, and has a family of five daughters and four sons.
The warden's eldest son is yet another Matthew Fitzpatrick (who moved to Sydney and became mayor of the Glebe, NSW in the 1930s).
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