“THE LATE COUNCILLOR URIE”
“Councillor James Urie died at his residence, Wellington Street, Flemington, on Monday evening, after an illness which barely extended over a week and which, in its first appearance, gave no indication or warning of fatal termination. The family of the deceased gentleman – and never was there a family more united or more affectionate – were led to expect the worst only a day or so before the end came, but it needed the exercise of true Christian resignation to enable them to bear up under the dreadful visitation. The people of Flemington and Kensington received the announcement of Cr Urie’s death with unfeigned sorrow. Outside the municipality the sad item of intelligence was discussed in terms that gave indubitable evidence of the general esteem in which the deceased was held. By the removal of a prominent public man such as Cr Urie the borough and district have sustained a grievous loss. Relatives, friends, and acquaintances have just cause to deplore the demise of one endeared to them by reason of innumerable good qualities, kindly disposition, and upright character. In commercial circles too, where his unswerving rectitude and sterling honesty in all matters of business were well known, the deceased merchant will be greatly missed.
Mr Urie came to the colony from Scotland (his native land) early in the fifties and, after ‘roughing it’ in the usual pioneer fashion, started in trade in Curzon street, North Melbourne, and, by dint of genuine hard work, laid the foundation of the flourishing Collins street firm of Ferguson and Urie. Some 17 years ago Mr Urie purchased the land in Wellington Street, on which his late residence now stands, and erected thereon a house for his mother. On the death of the old lady he enlarged the house, removed there with his family, and continued to reside there for the remainder of his days. The deceased took deep interest in the progress of the borough, and when the agitation for the removal of the cattle yards was begun he joined in the crusade with all the ardour of an enthusiast. For six years he occupied a seat in the Borough Council, and once held the position of Mayor. As a councillor he performed his duties without fear or favour, bringing with him to the Council table the same honesty of mind and singleness of purpose which characterised all his actions outside, His return at the head of the poll at the last municipal election may be taken as evidence of the popularity of the deceased gentlemen. CR Urie was a staunch supporter of the present member for the district, Mr Deakin, and at the general elections last year acted as chairman of the committee for the Flemington district. The deceased was a leading member of the Presbyterian Church and chiefly to his exertions and assistance is due the presence of ‘the Kirk’ in Norwood Street. In private life Mr Urie was distinguished for his imperturbable good humour, his lack of ostentation, and for general all-round ‘goodness’.
The funeral left Wellington Street about half-past three on Wednesday afternoon, the procession being the most imposing seen in the borough. The employės of Messrs Ferguson & Urie marched in front of the hearse, then came four mourning coaches and upward of fifty vehicles. Immediately following the mourning coaches came a hansom, in which the Hon Alfred Deakin was seated, then next in order a buggy containing the deceased gentleman’s council colleagues. Crs Millar (mayor) and Barrett. The other members of the council, Mr Cattanach (town clerk), Mr McIver (surveyor), Mr Elmslie (valuer), Mr Glyn (foreman of works), Mr Ryan (borough inspector), were also in attendance. Essendon Council was represented by the Mayor and Cr Hanna, and North Melbourne Council by Cr Fogarty. Rev J. Thomson, minister, and the adherents of the Presbyterian Church, the president and leading members of the Australian Natives Association, the business people of the borough, and a number of private citizens also followed the remains to the cemetery. The funeral arrangements were conducted by Mr A. Allison, of Victoria street, in his usual efficient manner.
Deceased was interred in the Presbyterian section of the Melbourne Cemetery, the pall bearers being Messrs James and William Urie, Ferguson, Yeaman, G. Young, Cr Millar, and the Hon A. Deakin. Rev J. Thompson delivered a brief address at the grave.”
This photo is a portion of the Ferguson & Urie employee poster kindly provided by Mrs Noelle Nathan via Mrs Valma Jean McPhail, April 2011.
The photo below is from my family history collection and shows James Ferguson and James Urie in a portrait taken specifically for the occasion of the company dinner held at the North Melbourne Mechanic’s Institute on the evening of the 22nd June 1887.
‘Urie, James (1828–1890)’, Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/urie-james-14449/text2553.
(Transcription originally submitted by Ray Brown – Feb 2012)