Mudgee History | Junior Clerk

Henry Kater: Survived by his wife and younger son (Sir) Norman Kater. Able in business and a shrewd judge of men, Kater left an estate of over 190,000 pounds.

Henry Kater: Survived by his wife and younger son (Sir) Norman Kater. Able in business and a shrewd judge of men, Kater left an estate of over 190,000 pounds.

Henry Edward Kater (1841-1924) former accountant A J S Bank Mudgee

From Australian Dictionary of Biography (Abridged)

Henry Edward Kater (1841-1924), pastoralist and business man, was born on September 20, 1841 at Bungarribee, near Penrith, the eldest son of Henry Kerman Kater (1813-1881) and his wife Elizabeth (d 1909), sister of Sir John Darvall. 

His father arrived in Sydney on December 23, 1839, in the Euphrates with Durham cattle and six thoroughbred, he bought Bungarribee but after 18 months faced bankruptcy and had to sell his stock. 

He moved to Caleula, started a cloth factory and later made enough as a flour-miller to retire to Sydney where he died in 1881.

Henry Edward was educated by his mother and for a year at Calder House, Redfern. 

He became a junior clerk in the Australian Joint Stock Bank at Mudgee. 

He was held up by bushrangers when carrying bank notes to Bathurst. A winter’s day in July 1863 and the Mudgee mail coach (on way to Bathurst) was labouring up the steep incline known as Big Hill, about 30km from Bowenfels. Mr Kater, the accountant of the Mudgee Stock Bank, had got out to walk and ease the strain on the horses. He had the charge of consignment of worn bank notes with a face value of more that 5,000 pounds, worth in modern terms (1991) of more that one million pounds. 

The other passenger was a Mrs Smith who was carrying about 50 pounds. The driver of the coach was “Shake--speare”, a colourful character who had a vast knowledge of English literature and poetry in particular, and who had earned his nickname by the habit of quoting his favourite author on all appropriate occasions.

Suddenly two well dressed men rode down the hill and one presented a revolver to Mr Kater’s head. The other ordered Shakespeare to lead the horses off the road into a secluded clearing in the bush. 

Mr Kater nearly got himself shot.  He tried to go for his pistol but was sharply told by Lowry to keep his hands up or he would be a dead man. They threatened to strip him of all he had because “he dared to feel for his pistol and wished to come Robert Lowe over them”, an interesting reference to an earlier colonial politician, an unpopular tyrant (?).

In 1863 he acquired on the Castlereagh River Gungalman (believed to be Gungalma  of 16,000 acres previously held by William Blackman of Mudgee. Roy Cameron insertion).

He established good relations with the Aboriginals and learnt bushcraft from them; he often used the local rainmaker. 

He sold Gungalman and setup a flour mill in Wellington. 

On 8th February, 1870 at St, Anne’s Church of England, Ryde, he married Mary Elizabeth (d. 1935) daughter of William Foster.

In the 1870s Kater took up land in Wellington.

With his brother Edward Harvey (died 1903) he acquired Mumblebone on the Macquarie River near Warren.

From John Smith in 1879 they bought merinos directly descended from Rev. Samuel Marsden’s flock.

In 1881 the brothers formed a partnership of Kater Bros. Henry had an interest and attended to the city end of the business. Under Edward Mumblebone became one of the foremost stud in New South Wales. 

He developed strong-woolled, large frame and plain bodied sheep. In 1879 Henry had brought Mount Broughton near Moss Vale. He was founder and president of the Bon Bong Picnic Race Club and sometimes President of the Berrima District Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society. 

In 1889 he was appointed to the Legislative Council of NSW.  In1892-1924 he was a director of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and its Chairman in 1901-20.

In 1896 Henry E bought Egelabra, near Warren and in 1910 he took into partnership his son Norman who added Eenaweena. Their three properties totalled 72,000 acres.                                                          

This story Yesterday Today with Roy Cameron first appeared on Western Advocate.