02-12-1871: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Stawell, Victoria.

A two light Ferguson & Urie stained glass window exists in the nave of Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Stawell in western Victoria. The window depicts St Peter & St. Paul and is dedicated to the memory of William Henry Pettett (1814-1871), M.L.C, J.P. The memorial text on the window reads:

“THY ETERNAL GOD IS THY REFUGE AND UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS Deut’n 33d: 27th” (Deutronomy, Ch-33, Verse-27)

“IN MEMORY OF THE HON W. H. PETTETT MLC WHO ARRIVED ARRIVED IN THIS COLONY IN 1837 AND DIED 3rd DECEMBER 1871 AGED 56 YEARS”.

Photos taken: 12th June 2011.

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William Henry Pettett, M.L.C, J.P, was born in Greenwich, London, 4th September 1814. He arrived in Van Diemens Land in 1832 and in 1837 moved to Victoria where he managed property for W. J. T. Clarke[1] at Dowling Forrest, between 1838-1842, and then the James Hodgkinson run known as “Maiden Hills” in 1848[2].

In June 1847, he had a minor altercation in relation to a breach of the customs act regarding the stated value of thirteen horses he was to pay duties on and was subsequently fined £10. [3]

His first wife Caroline (nee Taylor) died at their residence in Lonsdale street on the 11th of October 1854[4] aged 27, (three children), he then married Emily Ruddle in St Mark’s Church, Collingwood, on the 28th of June 1855[5] (ten children).

In 1863 he was elected Mayor [6] of Hawthorn for a twelve month period and in October 1864, he soundly defeated Thomas Herbert Power M.L.C  for the seat of the Southern Province[7] by a completely unpredicted margin of 615 to Power’s 388 votes[8].

By mid 1871 his political activities were being hampered by his declining health. He drew up his last will and testament on the 23rd of June 1871[9] and died five months later on the 2nd December 1871 at his property “Warra Warra[10]station near Stawell in Western Victoria, aged 56[11]. He left an estate valued at £12,709.

Note: The memorial date on the stained glass window indicates his date of death as the 3rd of December 1871. Newspaper reports of the time, and his probate documents, have this recorded as the 2nd December 1871.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 4th December 1871, page 5.

News of the death of the Hon. William Henry Pettett, M.L.C., one of the members for the Southern Province, reached town on Saturday. Mr. Pettett had been ailing for some time past, and on that account had not taken an active part in political affairs. During the last three months of the late session he was absent from the Council on leave. Mr. Pettett’s connexion with the colony dates from an early period. The following reference is made to him in Mr. Wither’s ‘History of Ballarat’: “Messrs. Pettett and Francis in 1838 (as managers for W. H. T. Clarke) took up the country at Dowling Forest, so called after Mrs. Clarke’s maiden name. Shortly after they had settled there Mr. Francis was killed by one of his own men with a spear-blade at one of the stations on the run. Before Mr. Pettett took up the Dowling Forest run he was living at the Little River, and a native chief named Balliang offered to show him the country about Lal Lal.” Mr. Pettett was elected a member of the Legislative Council in October, 1864.[12]

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 4th December 1871, page 4.

“PETTETT.- On the 2nd inst, at Warra Warra, Hon. W. H. Pettett, M.L.C., aged 57 years.”

Foot notes:

[9] Vic Probate file 9/523, W.H. Pettett. 1871.

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