We regret having to record the death of an old and respected resident of Beaufort in the person of Mr. Joel Tompkins, who passed away yesterday morning. The deceased was seized with a paralytic stroke about two years ago, from which he had recovered, but about three weeks ago a second one seized him, and since then he has been in a very critical condition, having to be artificially fed, and getting weaker and weaker, till death ended his suffering yesterday morning. Deceased was born at St. John's, (sic) New Brunswick, on 12th August, 1828. In 1851* he, with five others, purchased a vessel at St. John's, (sic) New Brunswick, America, and sailed for Australia, arriving in Melbourne the same year. On arrival the same year they sold their vessel and his co-partners followed the rush to the goldfields while he stayed in Melbourne and in 1852* did lightering work on the Yarra. When the gold fever was at its height he sold the lighter and started contracting under the government. The first police station erected in Bendigo was built by him. Being in the lumber trade in St. John's (sic) he turned his attention to bridge building, and many of the bridges in the old digging days were erected by him. He then started storekeeping, and opened the first store in Avoca. From there he went to Ararat and opened the famous "Lone Star" store, also buying gold for the Ballarat banks, and many exciting times he had while conveying the gold, numerous attempts being made to stick him up. In 1855 he came to Beaufort (then known as Fiery Creek), and opened the Camp Hotel, well-known in the old coaching days. He also owned 640 acres at Kiora, which he farmed very profitably. He first came into prominence as a public man in 1863, when, after a great struggle, he was the means of having the Road Board transferred from Carngham to Beaufort, and had the same proclaimed a shire. In December,** 1865, he laid the foundation stone of the present Shire Hall and was presented with a silver trowel as a memento of the occasion. He occupied a seat in the council for a great many years. In 1877*** he called a meeting of citizens desirous of forming a fire brigade, and the Beaufort Volunteer Fire Brigade was founded, and existed till the Country Fire Brigades' Board took it over. Mr. Richard Humphreys (who is still amongst us, and who was an old Liverpool fireman) was elected the first captain, and the deceased his lieutenant, occupying the position of captain the following year. He was instrumental in getting the agricultural show grounds, the Mechanics' Institute, and the first school in Beaufort; in fact, he took a delight in securing anything that advanced the public welfare. He was one of the founders of the Beaufort Cemetery Trust. Probably no man in the town or district ever did so much in the interests of the town. He took an active part in all political matters pertaining to the district, and was one of the principal movers in the great battle of the "Pink" and Black" line, in which the "Pink" line, or the railway from Ballarat to Stawell, won against the "Black" line from Geelong to Colac. About this time he unsuccessfully contested the Ripon and Hampden seat for the Legislative Assembly against the late Hon. Francis Longmore, the Ripon portion of the electorate giving Mr. Tompkins a large majority over his opponent. He was part contractor with the late Mr. Hugh Cameron for the construction of the railway line between Burrumbeet and Beaufort. In December, 1886, he was appointed librarian to the Mechanics' Institute, which position he filled to the time of his death. Deceased was of a very charitable disposition. He was twice married and leaves a widow and family of five sons and two daughters. The funeral will take place, with Fire Brigade honors, on Sunday, at 3 o'clock, and the body is to be conveyed to the cemetery on the apparatus carriage by the firemen.

    * These years should be 1852 and 1853 respectively.
  ** JST laid the foundation stone on July 6th, 1865 - not in December; the silver trowel is now with JST's descendants in Western Australia.
*** The Beaufort Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed in 1874 - not 1877.