Charles Throsby Smith was "the father of Wollongong", the town's first resident and influential in most movements that helped establish a new community.
His district career "extended back to the time when the Aboriginal chief, standing in his native nudeness, but clothed with the primeval authority of his ancient race in this district, could truly say in his own tongue, "I am monarch of all I survey," the Mercury said upon his passing in 1876.
"His life and experience . . . would form a fitting subject for the pen of the historian and the rapturous lays of the poet."
To read the Mercury tribute, it can be ascertained that Throsby Smith's influence was matched by his character.
"In health and frame he was strong, robust, active and energetic, and in disposition and demeanour was genial, kindly, affable and agreeable toward all with whom he came in contact, no matter whether they were crowned with prosperity or were penniless paupers.
"Hundreds, we might even say thousands, in this district will well remember the cordial shake of the hand, and the jovial, familiar salutation of, 'Well neighbour, how are you?' with which they were ever greeted on meeting 'Old Charley Smith', as he always designated himself."
Throsby Smith was born in Cambridge England on March 1, 1798. He went to sea at 16 and followed that vocation until arriving at Sydney in April 1816.
In 1819 he was given a land grant of 300 acres at Wollongong, then known as The Five Islands, having visited the area.
It was "consequent upon that visit that he was induced to return, he having noticed the fertility of the soil and also the existence of the boat harbour or bay in connection with which Belmore Basin has since been constructed".
In 1823 he married and relocated to Wollongong altogether.
"He was the first man who either cleared land or produced crop of any kind . . . He cast his lot in this district whilst it was in its wildest condition."
His credits included Crown Lands Commissioner, magistrate and returning officer for the electorate since it first began.
He was the first to promote steam navigation between Wollongong and Sydney, appointed as one of the first trustees of the town's first savings bank in 1856, and sat on the committee to establish Wollongong Council in 1858.
His death in September 25, 1876, resulted from a humble ingrown toe-nail that turned gangrenous.
Thrice married, he left three sons and seven daughters, and was buried in the family vault in the Church of England cemetery.
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