Faces of Tamworth: district hospital life governor Andrew John Telfer

One of Tamworth’s “outstanding personalities”, Andrew John Telfer contributed to the medical, musical and sporting life of the city.

Here, we republish the majority of Mr Telfer’s obituary, published in The Deepwater and Emmaville Supplement in the Glen Innes Examiner of July 30, 1936.

By the death on Saturday morning of Mr Andrew John Telfer, Tamworth has lost one of its outstanding personalities.

He will be best remembered for his work for Tamworth Base Hospital, the isolation block at that institution being regarded as his memorial, for it was one of his chief objectives in his earlier days on the committee of what was then the Tamworth District Hospital.

In business and in his work for charitable bodies and sport he earned a reputation for being plain spoken, and nobody ever doubted his word.

He was full of energy, and when he was informed by a doctor on presenting himself for enlistment during the war, that he could not be accepted on account of a complaint that was to trouble him more seriously in later life, he immediately put his energy into work for organisations which were associated with war work.

Born at Tenterfield Station 63 years ago, he was a son of the late Mr Andrew Telfer, and joined the staff of the old A.J.S. Bank, beuig in the bank’s employ when he came to Tamworth over 40 years ago.

He soon left the bank’s services and joined Piper and Co Ltd of Tamworth.

After a short term with the company at Tamworth he went to Manilla to manage the branch there, returning to Tamworth to manage the local branch after 12 years.

Fond of music, he became choirmaster of the Presbyterian Church at Manilla and later at Tamworth.

He took part in a number of athletic sports, including cricket, football and tennis, representing the State in the latter, and was also a good billiard player.

He was president of the Tamworth District Cricket Union for some years, retiring about four years ago, and since then was a member of the disputes committee.

He was a foundation member of Tamworth Tennis Club, and helped to establish the present courts.

For 30 years he played golf, and not long ago, in recognition of his influence on the younger players, was elected a life member by Tamworth Golf Club.

He was a vice-president for some years.

The late Mr Telfer joined the committee of Tamworth District Hospital 30 years ago, and was president for 10 years, retiring in 1930.

At the annual meeting of subscribers that year tributes were paid to his valued service, and when he announced at the subsequent committee meeting that he was not seeking re-election to the chair it was unanimously decided to place on record the services he had rendered, and he was made a life governor of the institution.

He made the hospital his greatest care and maintained that interest to the end as senior vice-president.

He was a member of the Lodge Peel.

The late Mr Telfer married Miss May E Piper, youngest daughter of the late Mr James Piper, of Tamworth.

It was Mrs Piper who switched on the electric light at Tamworth on completion of the service in 1888.

He is survived by his widow, who was president of the Hospital Auxiliary until it disbanded recently, and three daughters, Mrs R M Brooke (Tamworth), Miss K Telfer (Sydney), and Miss M Telfer (Tamworth) and three brothers, Messrs George and Bert (The Glen, Tent Hill), and Harry Telfer (Tenterfield), and four sisters, Mesdames Jas McKerihan (Sydney) and W McCreadie (Suva), and Misses Ruby and Ida Telfer (The Glen).

The funeral on Sunday was largely attended, and the Presbyterian Church was filled.

The service in the church was conducted by the Rev C P McAlpine and the Ven Archdeacon Fairbrother, a fellow director of the Base Hospital, who had worked with Mr Telfer on the comniitec and board for many years.

The service was of a brief nature, and included the hymn, When our heads are bowed with woe, at deceased’s request.

At the grave the Rev McAlpine made eulogistic reference to the late Mr Telfer, referring especially to his great work for the hospital.

“He never considered his own convenience when it was necessary to work for this institution,” said Mr McAlpine.

He spoke of his leadership In a number of movements for the good of the town and district.

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