John Abbott Kingsmill Shaw

John Abbott Kingsmill Shaw

John Abbott Kingsmill Shaw & Mrs Geraldine Shaw

John Abbott Kingsmill Shaw was arguably one of the finest, naturally gifted and most capable citizens to make a home in Scone in its entire history. He showed outstanding promise in his school and University days. Dr Thomas V. Hickie wrote in ‘A Sense of Union – A History of the Sydney University Football (Rugby) Club’: “John Shaw was one of the great University Captains pre-1900. Shaw captained the team to the premiership for three years undefeated from 1887 to 1889. The accompanying letter was included in a photo album the club had specially commissioned to present to him on Christmas Eve 1889 prior to his departure from Sydney. In the album are the certificate and individual photographs of the 1889 team. The album is held by the Sydney University Archives on behalf of the football club.”

Sydney’s loss was Scone’s gain. J. A. K. Shaw was destined to spend the whole of his working professional life in outstanding service to Scone and district until his passing in 1920. J. A. K. Shaw might have been drawn to the Upper Hunter as his mother was a daughter of John Abbott of ‘Murrulla’, Wingen. The Abbott family of Wingen were very active politically prior to and after Federation in 1901. Biographer John Merritt labelled W. E. Abbott as ‘that voluminous squatter’. As a respected solicitor in Scone J. A. K. Shaw first occupied premises in Guernsey Street beside Campbell’s Store which later became Campbell’s Garage. In 1917 he acquired Cornwall Chambers in Kelly Street which were later demolished to permit the erection of the Commonwealth Bank on the same site. From 1903 – 1910 J. A. K. Shaw lived at Mrs Hopper’s House in Kingdon Street which later became the home of prominent Scone identity Mrs Audrey Johnson. This was beside the old Presbyterian Church in Kingdon Street which is now the Masonic Lodge. J. A. K. Shaw purchased Belmore House in 1909 and renamed it Geraldton in honour of his wife Isabel Geraldine Fitzgerald from Muswellbrook who was the only child of Hon. R. G. D. Fitzgerald M. L. C. The Hon Fitzgerald served for 16 years as member for the Upper Hunter in the Upper House of the inaugural Federal Parliament.  The house was registered in the ownership of Geraldine Shaw which was common practice with the professional caste of the day.

Masonic Lodge Scone No. 183 was to figure prominently in the life of J. A. K. Shaw. He was 4th. Master of Lodge Scone 183 in 1895 in the Lodge’s 7th year. He may well have officiated at the lecture delivered in the School of Arts next door by American author Mark Twain who came to Scone by train on Thursday 19 December 1895 and left next day. Mark Twain stayed overnight at the first Willow Tree Hotel in Liverpool Street. J. A. K. Shaw would certainly have been involved in his civic reception. He was again Master of Lodge Scone 183 in 1917 during the Lodge’s 29th year. Other Lodge members during the time of J. A. K. Shaw included Dr Harry Scott and William Bloomfield Pulling MA. The latter was a graduate of Corpus Christie College, Cambridge University and was headmaster of the Scone Grammar School since its inception as the Church School (St Luke’s) on Monday 18th July 1887. It may have been Mr Pulling who attracted ‘Banjo’ Paterson to visit Scone regularly. The triumvirate of Worshipful Brothers Shaw, Scott and Pulling were to have major impact on developing Scone serving on several committees together including the Hospital Committee and Parochial Council as well as the Lodge.  J. A. K. Shaw was also very active in political life and served as Mayor of the Municipality of Scone on two occasions 1897 – 1898 and 1900 – 1903. Apart from one term by Edward Solomons 1898 – 1899 J. A. K. Shaw was to share the office of Mayor with his close friend Dr Henry James Herbert Scott from 1893 – 1903. Dr Scott had captained Australia at cricket and was Mayor for two terms also. J. A. K. Shaw and Dr Scott would have shared much common ground.

In addition to the Masonic Lodge and Local Government J. A. K. Shaw was very active in community, civic, cultural and sporting events. He served the Scone Jockey Club as President, Treasurer and Secretary. The SJC raced at Mr Parbury’s track at Satur during this time. He was a Polo player of note and member of the Scone Polo Club in its formative years. He is included in the earliest known photograph of the Scone Polo Club. He was a member of the inaugural Committee of the Scone Polo Club in 1891: J. A. K. Shaw, W. B. Pulling, A. G. White, H. J. Leary, and W. H. Duckham. The Honorary Secretary was F. A. Parbury. The playing members were: J. A. K. Shaw, W. E. White, A. G. White, V. M. White, A. Ebsworth, F. A. Parbury, Dr Harry Scott, H. J. Leary, J. J. Dodd, W. H. Duckham, A. Davies, W. B. Pulling, and H. Wiseman. Victor White’s son Patrick was later to win enduring international fame as Australia’s only winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. This was eclectic company. J. A. K. Shaw was also on the Committee of the School of Arts 1895, President of Scone Football Club 1899, Memorial Fountain Committee 1902, Scone Cricket Team 1903, Vice President of the Scott Memorial Hospital 1915 and President of Scone Band 1919. In 1908 J. A. K. Shaw’s telephone number was No. 7.

Sadly J. A. K. Shaw passed away unexpectedly early on 11th. April 1920. The following is an article from the Scone Advocate Friday 16th. April 1920

“To those who like the writer had had the acquaintance and been associated with the late Mr Shaw for upwards of 30 years in many aspects of life’s affairs, whether public or private in the domain of business, politics or sport – his passing from amongst us at the comparatively early age of 56, and, we might add, in the prime of life, in the maturity of intellect, and the zenith of his usefulness as a citizen – comes as a severe wrench indeed. In whatever position he occupied, the late Mr Shaw was a personality to be reckoned with – in any movement, discussion, or dispute in which he was concerned.

He knew, and so did others, which side he was on, for he felt and spoke most decidedly on most public questions – and moreover, like most men of his character, he liked to be on the winning side, though he would accept defeat, if it came, philosophically, however hard the fight might have been.

In the world of sport, in his early and school days, a man of fine physique, he made a name for himself as a Rugby footballer, in which he won inter-varsity and inter-state laurels.

He was intensely devoted to cricket, and followed up the national game for many years after coming to Scone. But although in it he never achieved the same distinction that he did as an exponent of Rugby, he was a very fair all round player. When Polo was at the height of its boom in this district and the State, the deceased took up that game also, and ranked among our leading players. The ‘sport of kings’ had in him an ardent follower, and for many years he held office of President, and other offices, in connection with the local club, and also the much more important office of Judge for the Australian Jockey Club and other racing clubs around the city.

The late Mr Shaw, who was a B. A. of Sydney University, took up residence and commenced in practice of his profession in Scone 30 years before and soon began to manifest an interest and take an active part in the affairs of the town. He was a member of the Municipal Council from 1894 – 1902, and occupied the Mayoral Chair from 1897 – 1898 and 1900 – 1902. During nearly the whole of his residence here, he has been a member and officer of the local Hospital and School of Arts committees, and of the many years at the time of his death a vice-president. He was also President of the Scone Band, in which he took an active part. Another local body in which he took an active interest was the Polo Club. In the world of politics, he held, and still held at the time of his death, the office of President of the local branch of the National Association, and formerly the Liberal Association. He was a loyal subject of the King, of which he never hesitated to make a proud boast. He always warmly and loyally cooperated in all movements of a patriotic character, and this fact was more especially in evidence during the Great War. His services were always at the disposal of the various local patriotic committees, and he delivered many public addresses during that prolonged world conflict. In these, he was always at his best. Although it was known that the late Mr Shaw had not been well for some months, the real seriousness of his illness was not known or realised until 3 or 4 weeks before his death, in fact, up till then, he was to be seen at his office, and about the town, attending to his business and other affairs, and was hopeful – which, indeed, he was to the very last – that the trouble would yield to treatment, and pass off. Shortly after he took to his bed, however, and eminent medical men in the city had had consultations regarding his case, it became known to his family and friends that the trouble from which he was suffering was making rapid inroads on his once magnificent constitution, and that the end could not long be delayed, and as already stated in our last Tuesday’s issue, he passed away, in the presence of his wife and members of his family in Dr McKinnon’s Private Hospital, “Glengarlan” North Sydney, at 10 o’clock on Sunday night last. The sorrowful event, it is scarcely necessary to say, cast a gloom over the town, for the deceased was a great personality, and occupied a position in the affairs of our community which it will be hard to fill.

He is survived by his wife, the only daughter and child of the Hon. R. G. D. Fitzgerald M. L. C. also for some 16 years member for the Upper Hunter, and 5 sons, also his aged Mother Mrs Shaw of “Murrulla” to all of whom we tender our heartfelt sympathy in their hour of sorrow and trial. The remains of the late Mr Shaw were interred on Tuesday morning in the Church of England portion of the Waverley Cemetery so quietly and peacefully overlooking the deep, blue ocean, where repose those of so many of the great men which this still very young nation of ours has produced, or who have made it their adopted land. The Rev Canon Cadell, of St. Luke’s, conducted the burial service, and there was a very large and representative attendance at the grave site.

The chief mourners were Mr J. B. Fitzgerald Shaw, Mr J. O. Fitzgerald Shaw, and Master R. F.  Fitzgerald Shaw (sons), Mr R. G. D. Fitzgerald, MLC (father in law) and among those present were: Mr McCartney Abbott, Mr J. P. Abbott, Mr H. Connell, Mr Colin Stephen (Chairman of the AJC), Sir Samuel Hordern, Messrs Hunter White, W. T. Brunton, H. Chisholm, and T. A. Stirton (Members of AJC Committee), C. W. Cropper (secretary AJC), J. Barnes (Chairman Tattersall’s Club), Tom Watson (representing the Pony Racing Clubs), L. G. Rouse (Acting Judge AJC), Abel, Hyde and Mitchell (representing AJC Stipendiary Stewards), H. L. McKellar (Starter), G. F. Wilson (Handicapper), T. Luckey (Clerk of Course), G. W. S. Rowe (Rosehill Race Club), E. Woodbury (Wyong, Menangle and Kembla Grange Clubs), H. R. Evans (Gosford Race Club), Underwood and Clissold (Canterbury Park Race Club), P. C. Oatley (Warwick Farm Race Club) and T. Malone, S. Bukacoit, T. J. Marks, Victor White, W. H. Blaxland, P. O. Jones, P. McPhail, C. H. Doyle, A. Davies, James Osborne, P. B. Colquhoun, H. C. Piper and C. H. Parbury (Members of the Union Club), A. J. Usher, A. J. Taylor, D. Walker, A. Thompson, Dr W. Dight, A. E. Hall, C. Battye, G. M. Badgery, M. & W. Foley, C. Lewis, C. Scott, A. W. Turnbull, A. A. White, A. Payne, J. & R. Gordon, W. G. Blaxland.

From Scone were: Messrs E. N. Gaden, V. T. Hall, J. F. Morris, F. H. Thrift, J. R. Ferris, G. A. Thomas, W. Allen (‘Inchira’, Aberdeen) and A. Smith.

Of the numerous wreaths and floral tributes sent, we have only been able to obtain those of the following: The Staff of the AJC Racing Office, Committee & Members of the AJC, Chairman and Directors of Moorefield Racing Club, Chairman & Committee Hawkesbury Racing Club, Canterbury Park Racing Club, NSW Breeders Owners & Trainers Association, Mrs L. Shaw, Mr and Mrs j. Hardcastle – Scone, Mr James E. N. Osborne, Committee Scone Town Band, Lady and Miss Abbott, Miss Edith Hall, Mr & Mrs C. Brooks, Mr Pat Osborne, Jockey Club Scone, Lodge Scone 183, Mr & Mrs E. N. Gaden, Mr J. R. Ferris – Scone, Mr & Mrs J. Morris – Scone, Directors & Staff Hill Clark & Co, Dr & Mrs Newman, Mrs Rhoda Abbott, Mr C. Harold Parbury, Mr & Mrs Westgarth – Scone, Mr & Mrs A. J. MacArthur-Onslow, Dr & Mrs R. R. S. Mackinnon, Mr & Mrs McCartney Abbott, Mr Leslie Barnett, Alderman & Officials Scone Municipal Council, Miss Collins, Mrs Collins, Mrs McCue (Elizabeth Ann nee Miller – daughter of Mathew Miller) and Mr McCabe – Scone.

Before the conclusion of the service, Canon Cadell addressed a few words of sympathy and condolence with the bereaved family and relatives, and also spoke of the respect in which the deceased was held in the town in which he had lived so long as a husband, parent and citizen, and speaking of the position which he filled in our community, he said his death had created a vacancy which it would indeed be hard to fill, and he would be greatly missed by all those who had so long been associated with the affairs of Scone.

The following obituary was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 14th. April 1920:


Mr J. A. K. Shaw, who acted as judge to the Australian Jockey Club and the registered racing clubs in the metropolitan area, died at Glengarlen Private Hospital, North Sydney, on Sunday night after a short Illness. Mr Shaw was a member of a well-known Upper Hunter Family, and his mother was one of the Abbotts of Murrurundi – a family that produced many notable athletes.

Mr Shaw inherited the taste for athletics, and besides being a splendid footballer, he was a leading polo player of his time. On retiring from the polo field he took up ” the thankless task of umpiring the game”, and was accepted as one of its best authorities. Mr Shaw dabbled in racing, and, when a leading light of the Scone Jockey Club and a supporter of picnic racing on the Upper Hunter, owned a few good horses, including that smart mare ‘Cyanide’, who performed well in the best Randwick company. On the death of Mr Alec Benson the A.J.C. appointed Mr Shaw as judge, and he acted until a few weeks before his death. Naturally, in this position Mr Shaw came in for a good deal of criticism, but his unimpeachable integrity always retained him the confidence of the public. By profession Mr Shaw was a Solicitor, and practised during the whole of his career at Scone.

Mrs Isabel Geraldine Shaw (nee Fitzgerald) & Hennor, 3 Lorne Street Muswellbrook

Isabel Geraldine Fitzgerald was born and raised as the only child in one of the most prestigious houses in Muswellbrook, Hennor, 3 Lorne Street Muswellbrook. This stately home was built in 1885 for Mr R. G. D. Fitzgerald, solicitor, Mayor and member of both houses of the NSW Parliament. It included a coachman’s cottage (facing Maitland Street) which was erected many years prior to Hennor and was set in five acres of gardens. Skellatar was part of the original grant of 2500 acres to Francis Forbes in 1835. George Bowman purchased much of this land in 1871 and his sons Andrew and Edward inherited Skellatar from him and sold approximately 5 acres to R. G. D. Fitzgerald in 1885 for £165. It features cedar joinery, marble fire places, a detached office and a bull nosed veranda, added after the original construction. The house was divided into flats during WWII, and restored by The Hon. J. H. Jobling M. L. C. (Mayor 1974-1986) in the 1970s. Mr Jobling had previously been a resident and pharmacist in Scone. It may be that Geraldine Shaw transferred some of this style to her new home at Geraldton?

Robert George Dundas Fitzgerald M.L.C

Mr Robert George Dundas Fitzgerald, M.L.C, the oldest practising country solicitor in New South Wales and a former Minister of the Crown, died at his residence, Hennor, Muswellbrook, on Sunday 24 December 1933 in his 88th year. He had been a member of the New South Wales Parliament for 48 years, and had followed the profession of solicitor (lawyer) for more than half a century. The late Mr Fitzgerald was born in Auckland on January 5, 1846. He arrived in New South Wales in 1851 and was educated at the National School, Sydney Grammar and Reverend D. Boyd’s School at Muswellbrook. Mr Fitzgerald married Elizabeth Frances May Batten, daughter of Mr and Mrs William Batten of Bartou Hill House, Shaftesbury, Dorset, England. Their only child was Isabel Geraldine Shaw, later Mrs Geraldine Shaw of Geraldton, Scone.  Mr Fitzgerald’s mother was Isabella Caroline Stevenson formerly of Hennor House, Leominster, England and it was from this early home that the Muswellbrook property gained its name. The five acres of land was sprawling with gardens. Hennor contained a substantial rose garden, vegetable garden, fowl run and bird aviaries providing enough work to keep three gardeners employed.

Mr Fitzgerald was articled to J.R Brenan, Solicitor, of West Maitland, and later to W.H Mullen of Maitland. He was admitted to practise as a Solicitor in 1869 commencing in Muswellbrook with the firm of Fitzgerald and McIntyre to 1916 and as R.G.D Fitzgerald and Co, 1916 – 1933. Mr Fitzgerald was Chairman of New South Wales Board of General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Corporation of Scotland; Chairman of Usher’s Metropolitan Hotel, Sydney; St Helier’s Coal Company Limited, Muswellbrook, Bulli Pass Hostel Company Limited; director of Gundibri Estates Company Limited, J.H Doyle Estate Company Limited, North Portland Cement and Coal Company Limited; Commissioner of Melbourne Centennial Exhibition in 1888; President of Upper Hunter Amateur Race Club for 31 years. He was commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1887. He was Alderman of Muswellbrook Council from 1871 – 1873, 1878 – 1880, 1885 – 1886, Mayor from 1878 – 1879. Captain of 4th Regiment Volunteer Infantry 1885 – 1891