Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Thomas Hussey Kelly (1830–1901)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published:

Thomas Hussey Kelly (1830-1901), wool broker and businessman, was born in Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland. He went to Sydney about 1860 and worked as a clerk, and later wool-buyer for Gilchrist, Watt & Co. About 1874 he set up as a wool and produce broker and began to extend his business interests. He became a director of the Union Bank of Australia, the South British Insurance Co., the Perpetual Trustee Co. and the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Co. He was also a large shareholder in such companies as Burns, Philp & Co. Ltd, Tooth & Co. Ltd, the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd and Aarons' Exchange Hotel Co. Ltd. His main interest was in the development of Australian mining in which he was prominent; by 1901 he was a shareholder in no fewer than twenty gold and copper mining companies. For many years he was managing director of the Sydney Smelting Co. and empowered his trustees to borrow up to £10,000 from his estate to continue it.

A quiet and popular businessman, Kelly was a familiar figure in aquatic circles; he was commodore of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and in 1900 donated the Carleton Cup to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in memory of his son. In July 1894 he was present at a conservative rally in Sydney with Thomas Buckland, Ebenezer Vickery, T. A. Dibbs, George Cox, E. W. Knox, J. H. Story, W. S. Buzacott and others who urged electors to return 'men of character and ability … [and] of known probity and business capacity' at the general elections. In 1898 he was strongly opposed to the Federation bill.

Kelly died at his residence, Glenyarrah, Double Bay, on 25 July 1901 and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery. His estate was sworn for probate at under £259,000. He was survived by his wife Mary Ann Dick (d.1902), whom he had married on 5 September 1864 according to Presbyterian rites, and by three sons and a daughter.

Select Bibliography

  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1889, 2, 58
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 1894, 27, 29 July 1901
  • DaiIy Telegraph (Sydney), 27 Sept 1913.

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Kelly, Thomas Hussey (1830–1901)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 22 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Athlone, Westmeath, Ireland


25 July, 1901 (aged ~ 71)
Double Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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