Richard Thom KeysPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Russell Byers

The gates to the sports ground commemorate the public services provided by Richard Thom Keys to the Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter District. Mr Keys was a pastoralist who was president of the Upper Hunter P and A Association for many years. The gates were erected in April 1914 and officially dedicated on the 10th June 1914. 

In 1846, "Bengalla" Station was leased to John Hudson Keys, manager of Henry Dumaresq’s Hunter River property St Heliers, and several years later Keys purchased the station from Captain Wright.  Under J.H. Keys, a further 6,000 acres was added to the estate when he purchased the adjoining station of Rossgoll.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, first Keys and then his son, Richard Thom, who was born at Bengalla, introduced many improvements to the property. A share system of dairy farming began as early as 1897 and at the turn of the century a centrifugal pump was installed which raised 90,000 gallons of water an hour, with wonderful results for Richard Thom Keys' much-loved gardens. Richard Thom married Emily Margarette, daughter of Captain Deloitte, of Balmain, and their son, John Hudson Keys, spent his life continuing the improvement of the lands of Bengalla by irrigation, fencing and maintaining the station's high standard dairy herd.

The Keys' memorial gates at the entrance to Gerald Park are, we notice, approaching the stage of completion, and when the painting is done, and the finishing touches put on, there will be left to follow, a great opening ceremony, particulars of which will be duly announced in due course. The fine memorial is in the form of ornamental iron gates hung on massive stone pillars. The gates number four—two large ones in the centre or carriage way, and two small, one at each side for the use of pedestrians passing through. The freestone pillars are of tasteful design, the two principal being massive and lofty, and the smaller, on right and left sides in due proportion to the general plan of the structure. Near the top of one of the main pillars on an inlaid marble slab is the inscription :—"Erected in memory of Richard Thom Keys by residents of Muswellbrook and Upper-Hunter in recognition of great public services rendered by him to this community." In the centre of each of the large gates in bold scroll-like ornamentation are the letters "R. T. K." the deceased gentleman's initials, which his friends were accustomed to use in addressing and referring to him during life. The gates are from Messrs D. Sims and Sons' well-known Morpeth foundry, and do credit to the makers while the masonry is the work of Mr. W. Armitage a local builder of repute.
Muswellbrook Chronicle (NSW), 13 May 1914.

The ceremony of opening the gates which have been erected at the entrance to Gerald Park and dedicating the same as a memorial to the late Richard T. Keys in recognition of the many services he rendered to the town and Upper Hunter district, was performed by the Hon. R. D. Fitzgerald who eulogized Mr. Keys life and character and stated that as president of the P. and A. Association and other institutions he worked well and with untiring energy and as head of any such institutions he could not be excelled and that Muswellbrook could ill afford to lose such a man. The attendance comprised the majority of the representative people of the district, while there were apologies for absence from others.
The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Tamworth Daily Observer (NSW),
13 June 1914.


Address:Wilkinson Avenue , Olympic Park Entrance, Muswellbrook, 2333
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.269435
Long: 150.892092
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Gate
Monument Theme:People
Monument Manufacturer:Messrs D Sims & Sons (gates) , Mr W Armitage


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 10th June, 1914
Front Inscription

Erected in Memory Of RICHARD THOM KEYS By Residents Of Muswellbrook And The Upper Hunter District 

In Recognition Of Great Public Services Rendered By Him To This Community.

 April 1914.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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