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Plaque commemorates pioneer Chinese local resident, Thomas Coto, who died in 1883. The plaque was erected by the Victorian 150th Commemorative Committee. 

Thomas Coto arrived in Victoria in 1850 and became a successful farmer in the Sale district in Victoria. He was a prominent public benefactor and was instrumental in preventing the wages of agricultural labourers in the Maffra-Sale region from being lowered. For a time in the 1880s he ran a cheese factory at a loss to help ease unemployment in the area.

Considerable surprise and regret was evinced in Sale on Monday afternoon when it became known that Mr Thomas Coto of Bundalaguah had died of inflammation of the lungs caused by a cold that he had recently contracted. He was one of oldest, and most enterprising farmers in the district and was noted for his undoubted integrity and honesty, and was in consequence highly respected and esteemed. The deceased who was a native of Amoy in China arrived in Gippsland in 1849, with the late Mr Angus McMillan, the discoverer of Gippsland and some time afterwards entered into farming pursuits on a small scale which occupation he pursued with varying success for many years, having on several occassions nearly succumbed to the misfortunes which continued bad season brought upon him. By indominable perserverance and energy he struggled on and laterly fortune smiled upon him and at the time of his death, he had accumulated a large amount of valuable property. He was a large employer of farm labourers, by whom he was always greatly respected, was ever ready and willing to extend a helping hand in cases of distress and in an unassuming and quiet manner he performed charitable deeds that would set an example to his more enlightened and wealthy brethren.

Some years ago a movement was on foot amongst the farmers, to reduce the wages of farm labourers, and it was due to the decided stand taken in opposition to it by Mr Coto that the matter fell through. In addition to his farming pursuits, he for some years carried on a general produce business in Sale, and latterly purchased the Cheese Factory, both of which he conducted with varying success. He embraced Christianity some years ago, and at the tlme of his death was a staunch adherent to the Presbyterian Church. He was twice married and leaves a widow and five children to mourn his loss. His remains will be interred in the Sale Cemetery this afternoon.
Gippsland Times (Vic), 20 June 1883. 


Address:Cunninghame Street, Pedestrian Mall opposite Post office, Sale, 3850
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.107452
Long: 147.064581
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1984-1985
Front Inscription

In memory of
Thomas Coto
Born In Amoy, China,
Naturalized In Victoria In 1859
A Pioneer Citizen And Business Person
Of Sale And The Shires Of Maffra And Avon.
He Was Widely Respected As A Benevolent Employer

Source: VMR,RHSV
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au