One of four
children to Samuel Mason, a corporal in the Royal Artillery and Eliza née
Harris, John was baptised at Blackburn, Lancashire on 18 January 1838; the
Mason’s were originally from Worcester. In 1849, the family migrated to
Hobart, Tasmania on board the convict ship Eliza arriving the
following year; Samuel was able to secure a birth as a military pensioner
guard and the family eventually settled on an allotment at Richmond. Mason
went on to undertake mining pursuits at Rushworth, Victoria before opening a
store as a butcher in High Street; business progressed, considerable wealth
acquired and he soon became an esteemed citizen. He took an early interest
in public matters of the area being elected to the Waranga Council (1871-74,
1884-91), and later to state parliament as the Legislative Assembly member
for Rodney (1897-1902) and Waranga (1907-08). A “thoroughly straightforward
and upright man”, Mason died on 3 December 1908 aged 70 during one of the
most tumultuous periods of Parliament - the defeat of the
(Sir Tomas) Bent
(q.v.) ministry. He resided at Paringa - 113 Grey Street, St. Kilda,
survived by his wife Annie née Delaney whom he married around 1863.
The Murchison Advertiser said of Mason that he “made no pretensions
to being an orator but he stood very high in the esteem of members of all
sides of the House”.
(above) John Mason
(Reproduced with kind permission of the
Victorian Parliament Library)
The Argus 4 December 1908.
The Age 4 & 7 December 1908.
The Murchison Advertiser 11 December 1908.
Thomson, K & Serle, G., “A Biographical
Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900” (1972).
Information supplied by Rosalie Ryan of New
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