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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Strickland, William Henry John (1841–1927)

by E. Zalums

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

William Henry John Strickland (1841-1927), hotelkeeper and businessman, was born on 6 October 1841 in Perth, Western Australia, eldest son of Henry Robert Strickland and his wife Mary Ann, née Hokin. Henry had arrived in 1830 under Thomas Peel's settlement scheme; after various jobs he acquired an interest in the whaling industry and in 1857 became manager of the Freemasons' Hotel, Perth.

Educated at the Perth Boys' School, Strickland was its first dux. He left at 13 and joined the large trading firm of R. Habgood. On 17 April 1862 at St George's Church of England he married Margaret Crosset. He was licensee of the Shamrock Hotel in 1863-66 and made it a fashionable meeting place for young people. For the next four years he held the licence of the Freemasons' Hotel, Albany. When his wife, who had borne him two sons, died in 1870 he returned to Perth to help his father manage the United Services Hotel, which had been left to William by H. L. Cole in 1866. On 22 September 1875 he married Henrietta Bell, daughter of Samuel Craig, licensee of the Castle Hotel, York.

In 1896 Strickland retired from the hotel trade to pursue other business interests. He was a substantial shareholder in the Stanley (Swan) Brewery, and was one of the founders as well as the chairman of directors of the Perth Gas Co. He was also a director of the Swan River Shipping Co. and was associated with insurance, trading and mining interests. Devout, he read the Bible daily but seldom attended church services. He left the colony only once for a short trip to Adelaide. He was a foundation member of the Volunteer Corps and an active Freemason, and as chairman of the West Australian Turf Club he was well known for his interest in racing, as well as in hunting, shooting and fishing. He built up his wealth by a keen business sense and by taking advantage of gold rush prosperity.

Strickland died at his residence in St George's Terrace, Perth, on 8 July 1927, survived by six sons and four daughters, and was buried in the Anglican section of the Karrakatta cemetery. His estate was sworn for probate at £11,766.

Select Bibliography

  • J. S. Battye (ed), Cyclopedia of Western Australia, vol 2 (Adel, 1913)
  • West Australian, 9 July 1927
  • Western Mail (Perth), 14 July 1927
  • Daily News (Perth), 25 Jan 1960
  • private information.

Citation details

E. Zalums, 'Strickland, William Henry John (1841–1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 30 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

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