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William Dodery (1819–1912)

by F. C. Green

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William Dodery (1819-1912), hotel proprietor, pastoralist and politician, was born in August 1819 at Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland, son of George Dodery and his wife Grace (1797-1860). George Dodery had served in the ranks of the 1st Regiment at Waterloo and was stationed in Ireland with the 57th Regiment. In 1825 he went as a guard to Sydney with his wife and son in the transport Asia. Unlike Sudds, Thompson and other privates in the 57th he obtained his discharge by purchase in August 1827 and bought five £100 shares in the Bank of New South Wales. In 1831 he took his family to Launceston and next year petitioned Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur for assistance after losing some £3000 'honestly acquired … by rigid frugality, a spirit of enterprise and persevering industry … in a maritime speculation'. Unsuccessful, he later returned to Sydney and bought the Racecourse Inn on the Parramatta Road; he died there on 6 June 1857 aged 63.

William attended school in Sydney and Launceston and then entered a merchant's office in Launceston. He visited Britain with his parents in 1835 and returned to his work in Launceston. On 15 March 1842 he married Mary, daughter of William Webb of Avoca. They soon went to Longford where in 1845 he became the proprietor of the new Blenheim Hotel. He also established a coach line between Longford and Launceston. In 1858 he sold the hotel and coach line and bought land in the Longford-Cressy district. In England with his wife in 1860 he bought horses and sheep for breeding and later won many prizes at agricultural shows for his Lincoln sheep. He also became well known as a race-horse breeder and owner and was a prominent amateur rider. Dodery was a member of local agricultural, horticultural and sporting societies and a liberal supporter of local charities. In 1870 he built his home, Lauraville, at Longford.

Dodery represented Norfolk Plains in the House of Assembly in 1861-70 and was a prominent advocate of the Launceston-Deloraine railway. In 1877 he was elected for Longford (Westmorland) to the Legislative Council; on his retirement in 1907 he proudly claimed that he had to contest only one election in his parliamentary career. His presidency of the Legislative Council in 1904-07 prompted the Sydney Bulletin to refer to the Tasmanian council as 'the House of Dodery'. For over twenty years Dodery was a member of the Longford Municipal Council and its warden for eight years. He was a member of the Longford Road Trust, a territorial magistrate and a justice of the peace for Queensland. He died at Lauraville on 26 January 1912. His wife also died in that year aged 91. Of their eight children, the younger son, William, died in 1908 aged 60, and the elder, George, died in 1920.

Select Bibliography

  • Votes and Proceedings (House of Assembly, Tasmania), 1862 (130), 1865 (64, 76), 1880 (114), 1884 (132)
  • Examiner (Launceston), 27 Jan 1912
  • CSO 1/606/13833 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

F. C. Green, 'Dodery, William (1819–1912)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 17 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

William Dodery (1819-1912), by J. W. Beattie

William Dodery (1819-1912), by J. W. Beattie

Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania, AUTAS001125647842

Life Summary [details]


August, 1819
Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland


26 January, 1912 (aged 92)
Longford, Tasmania, Australia

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