History of West Australia/William Hepburn Gale

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William Hepburn Gale HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

IT has often been remarked that men's actions, in the discharge of their public duties, should be a copy of their business lives, in that they should bring to bear, when before the bar of public criticism, that sound judgment and shrewdness which won for them success in the commercial world. The application of this is very apt in connection with the various goldfields centres of Western Australia. Mr. W. H. Gale, who has worked so unremittingly for Cue and the surrounding goldfields, was born at Fremantle in 1855. His mother was a daughter of one of the earliest settlers—Captain Daniel Scott, who arrived in the foundation year—1829. Mr. Gale's father (William Gale) was one of the first Collectors of Customs at Fremantle, and had a long and honoured career in the service of the colony. William Hepburn Gale was educated at the High School, Perth, and the Commercial College, Bedford, England. After experience in a large commercial office in London, he returned to his native country, and started in business at Geraldton, in conjunction with the late J. H. Monger, under the style of Gale, Monger, and Co., general storekeepers, &c. The business progressed, and made rapid strides until in 1884—six years after its inauguration—the stores were burnt to the ground. This was a serious blow to both gentlemen, and Mr. Gale returned to Perth to make what is called a fresh start in the world. He stayed in Perth for some considerable time, and when the Murchison Goldfields broke out he determined to go thither. In company with Mr. Harry Page Woodward, the then Government Geologist, he went to Mount Magnet, where he remained for twelve months. He founded the Morning Star claim, from which he hauled every bucket of dirt up to the time of its reaching the 100-feet level. Then he proceeded to Cue, where, in partnership with Mr. Timperley (son of the resident magistrate of the Bunbury district), he established a general mining and commission agency. His advent into the business world of Cue was at an opportune moment, and the firm soon attained considerable status. From that time on Mr. Gale became a "successful" man, and at the present time there are few, if any, on the Murchison who are held in such high esteem as Mr. Gale.

But it has been his untiring work in municipal matters for the good of the community that has won for him the good wishes of the Murchison. He has been Mayor of Cue four times, and this, in itself, is eloquent enough tribute of the estimation in which he is held by the people. In September, 1894, he was first elected mayor, and then, when the usual election came on in November of the same year, he was returned unopposed. In November, 1895, he defeated Mr. Beggs somewhat easily for the civic chairship, and in November, 1896, he was again returned unopposed. Mr. Gale has been identified with every public movement in Cue. He was prominent in pushing the interests of the Mullewa-Cue Railway, and at its formal opening by the Premier on 20th April, 1897, everyone remembers the lavish hospitality Mr. Gale dispensed as chairman of the Railway Celebration Committee. Amongst some of the offices which he holds are those of president of the Stock Exchange of Cue, vice-president of the Cue Chamber of Commerce, president of the Cue Bicycle Club, and steward of the Cue Racing Club. He is manager of the Acadia mine, the Gem of Cue, the Highland Mary, and several others. Mr. Gale was the first Worshipful Master of the Murchison Lodge of Freemasons, No. 2,617, and is still an active office-bearer.

Much more might be written of Mr. Gale and his many good offices. With his name the progress of Cue, and the whole of the Murchison, is strongly linked. He is a pillar of the mining world there, and in the humble tent he is as well remembered and liked as in the capital centre. Mr. Gale has left his kindly imprimatur on whatever conduces to the public good of his mining world.