Dr Horace Dean


The Northern Champion    Friday 9th May 1952


Dr. Horace Dean

Sir,— I sincerely, hope, that the Jubilee Year of Tinonee (1954) will not be allowed to close without some public remembrance and recognition being recorded of the life and work of one of the greatest, if not the greatest of our pioneers.

I refer to Dr. Horace Dean, of Tinonee; that colossus who bestrode our district and the Manning Valley during most of the last half of the last century, spreading practical Christianity, firing the whole population with his newspaper, the ‘Manning River News’ and with his great eloquence. That he spent a fortune and sacrificed a great career in her interests, there can be no doubt. I feel sure I speak for hundreds, if not thousands of souls in drawing attention to the noble work in many directions of this magnificent citizen, democrat and benefactor.




The Northern Champion    Friday 24th April 1953

Dr. Horace Dean Memorial


I notice with pleasure that Tinonee intends to honour this famous name by a Dr. Horace Dean Memorial Library at the Tinonee Public School.

The district should go further and establish a fund for a scholarship to the local High School to be known as the ‘Dr. Horace Dean Memorial Scholarship’ and a moment should be erected on the hill at Tinonee where this genius so often meditated.

For those who are unaware of his brilliant, career, I give a few notes.

Born of British parentage in U.S.A., with a distinguished College and University education at Pennsylvania and Virginia, where he spent 10 years graduating with high distinction in academic is well as law and medical subjects; secured his M.D. degree in addition to his D.Sc, and Ph. D.

He fought in the Texan War, won high praise, was made a General on the field of battle.

He was offered several professorships, one at Harvard in jurisprudence (law), another in medicine; sailed for England secured his M.D. degree in London, invited to join English Bar.

He married and toured Europe, before coming to South Australia, where he practised medicine.

Dr. Dean was one of the first to use anaesthetics in Australia. He entered politics before moving to Melbourne, where he lectured. In Sydney, he met Sir Henry Parkes and wrote for the ‘Empire’.

He went to Port Macquarie, where he was horrified at treatment of convicts. Visiting the Manning, he decided to settle at Tinonee, where he subsequently became the idol of the Manning Valley and laid the foundation of its present prosperity.

He acted as agent, postmaster, confidential adviser, lawyer, chemist, medico, surveyor, bManker and financier, all of which he carried out in masterly fashion.

His oratory and literary work were of the highest order for he established the ‘M.R. News’ and became the local M.P.

Subsequently went to Grafton, where he became Mayor of that city. While there Sir Henry Parkes and Sir John Robertson visited Grafton ostensibly to persuade him to re-enter Parliament with a promise of any portfolio he might choose.

Such are a few salient points in the career of this distinguished man, if written in detail would be an absorbing story of an outstanding genius whose life, work and upright character should never, be forgotten.

I trust my suggestions will not be overlooked by a, generation which has prospered by the sacrifices of this outstanding genius.


Jean Cameron, Hurstville.

The Northern Champion    Friday 18th September 1953


(By G. Clinch arid Mrs. lean Cameron)

Dr. Horace Dean arrived at Port Macquarie to investigate the penal system there. The news of his presence reached the late Donald McLeod and his friends who invited him to the Manning River.

After some discussion, he decided to settle at Tinonee, which was about to become the leading centre.

The district ‘Blasted with sighs and surrounded with tears, Hither I came to spend my years.’

Such were his words after he returned from Sydney by the S.S. Fire King with his wife and young family on January 1, 1858.

Eight years previously,  Tinonee was known as the ‘Old Wharf’, Taree and Cundle did not exist. Mondrook, Kolodong, Glenthorne, Purfleet and the Islands were dense brushes.

Few people cared to go to the Manning although the district had been opened up to pastoral pursuits and cedar getters and cutters.

There were no roads, only, bridle tracks, no ferries, Wingham and Chatham were the most frequented places and the only centres of business.

There were no schools, no social life, no amenities such as the inhabitants enjoyed later.

Floods, fire and drought played havoc, while the dingo and the aboriginal played their parts.

There was neither a marked nor a chartered channel of the river.

Consequently great privation was experienced by the men and women of that period. No doctor, no baker, no butcher, no regular mail service and no regular steam service, no local newspaper, no library, but everything was of the rudest and coarsest kind— buildings, food, clothing and household utensils.

Men and women worked like slaves.


So the people, in whose cause he was about to peril his life and fortune, were ,poor and almost in a helpless position.

Did tills dampen his generous aspirations? No; it added new to each. ‘I will improve things’, exclaimed the enthusiastic newcomer; and in spite of the sneers of the young and the cautions of the old, the gallant man redeemed more than his pledge. Afterwards, he was the, pride and boast, of the District, its hero and champion. He won the affections of the people of Tinonee and the Manning Valley as well as those from the Wallamba to the Bellingen Rivers even as far as the Queensland border.

Suffice it is to say that throughout the pioneering struggles of our grandfathers, with unchanged fidelity and understanding devotion he continued to pour forth his strength and his treasure in the noble and. sacred cause he, had espoused and which had become the master passion of his life.

Such was the commencement of a career destined to be more dazzling and brilliant than any of which we read in tale or history, realising the wildest wishes of his enthusiasm and showing how the romance of real life often exceeds the stronger fictions of the imagination.


At once he purchased Bates and Renwick’s store in Manchester Street, Tinonee.

He explained that this was the easiest, way to get to know the people.

He was a man of great business and financial ability. For while in business, it appears at that time salt was used a great deal more than today, he also traded or sent a great deal up the .N.S.W. Coast.

The salt brokers and agents in Sydney offered to sell him all their salt at less than cost. Knowing South Australia and Melbourne salt well, he made inquiries as for the supply of salt for the new season, he found out that there was little available.

Meanwhile the  salt merchants were making lower quotations and giving every inducement to buy, so he went to Sydney and hurriedly bought up all the salt— within a month he had made a fortune, for the brokers and agents had to purchase it at his price as there was a great  scarcity.


He was simple in his habits perhaps his home belonged to the public as much as to himself; he loved the rough pioneer houses he cared neither for rank or money. ‘My object’, he said, ‘is to help this district not myself’

Thus he was always a natural and straight forward man, whom everyone respected and not a few loved. So his name stood and stands for all that is straightest, best and noblest in Manning. history.

In a short time, he became the districts doctor, chemist, lawyer, journalist, orator, surveyor, business man, financier, banker and confidential adviser, all of which he carried out with remarkable skill.

He was the central light of Tinonee, its’ guide, philosopher and friend’, for he spent his energy and resources eagerly and willingly for its advancement as well as that of the district.


In the circumstances, Dr. Dean saw that in order to unite the district and to voice its claims, to educate its citizens and to have interchange of ideas a newspaper was an absolute necessity.

That was its sole object, not to make money or merely a financial concern, but to advance the interests ‘of the district, with these points in view we quote from Mr. P. A. Fitzpatrick’s book ‘The Manning in the Early Days’,’ on page 47, a very, very’ significant and appropriate passage.

‘We must not omit for mention one of the principal agents employed ‘in ‘raising this district to its present position.

The advent of the ‘Manning River News’ marks an important era in the history of the Manning.

For five years and more, has that journal ably and energetically striven to obtain ‘equal rights and justice’ for the Hastings Electorate — often in face of the bitterest opposition. We may, however congratulate ourselves upon having such an unyielding defender (Dr. Horace Dean) of our rights and rejoice that something like justice is at length being done to a long neglected and despised district.

How great indeed, has been the change wrought upon the Manning within the last nineteen years! Truly, the solitary places have become habitable an the wilderness is blossoming as the rose’ (1870).

Mr. N. C. Hewitt, a well-known journalist writes: In the middle ‘sixties’ the late Dr. Horace Dean M.D., M.L.A., for the Manning, a versatile man, printed at Tinonee a very creditable newspaper called, the ‘Manning River News’.

We now quote, the leading article or address of the first issue of the ‘M.R. News’. Editor, proprietor and publisher. Dr. Horace Dean. Published Tinonee, 15th April, 1865. ‘



The Northern Champion – Tuesday 26 January 1954

Tinonee’s Dr. Dean Had Magnetic Personality

Dr. Dean was a magnetic personality.  Standing over six feet in height, he was endowed with a photographic memory, sparkling luminous eye and a rich resonant voice which gave him great conversational and oratorical power. |

He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and received ample remittances from his family estates in U.S.A.

Such was the man who roamed over his beautiful garden on the left hand side of the Tinonee ferry a garden almost run riot with color midst which his home was pleasantly situated, presided over by his charming wife and family.

But what a heart the man must have had! Physician, surgeon, storekeeper, postmaster, lawyer, financier, surveyor, confidential agent and the self-imposed task of editing a newspaper.

Almost anyone of these would have provided enough work for the energies of one man.


He had a brain as massive as his head, and a wonderful capacity for work, for he often laboured the whole night.

A keen political student, possessing constructive ideas as well as a faculty for destructive criticism, his determined advocacy of certain policies ultimately led through Sir Henry Parkes, to their translation into Australian statute laws.

As leading postmaster of this district, he organized and arranged the mail system. His scientific work consisted in research and revealing the secrets of eucalyptus and the Morton Bay fig trees of this district. In this work he collaborated with Dr. Stephenson whom in later years he befriended.

He was the farmers friend, in whose cause it is estimated, he spent at least £25,000.


He instituted the first Agricultural Show in this district at Tinonee, and delivered a great speech in which he paid tribute to the pioneer farmers of the district.

‘You know, I love these people, he said to a friend as they sat in the grandstand, and I hope that some of them love me.’

He advocated the growth of sugar cane , peanuts, tea, coffee, and cotton and did a great deal in various parts of the district to open up a gold field in order to attract people.

He said he felt confident that there was payable gold at  Kiwarrick Mountain, and on the Upper Manning.

In fact, some years later (1880) Messrs Hill and Donkin took one ton 18 cwts of the ore from Kiwarrick, had it assayed, and received a cheque for £56/12/6.


He encouraged the ship building trade and encouraged the establishment of local industries, lime, timber, sugar and flour.

He was a great supporter of the small farmer and opposed men who came to the Manning Valley – and surrounding districts to obtain grants of land from the crown, hold them and sell them for large profits; Among these were  C. Wentworth, the Davis Dumaresq and Burdekin families, Lewis Gordon and Sir William Lyne.

These Dr. Dean openly and bitterly opposed, as it was against the opening up and progress of the district.

This action made Dr. Dean the champion and hero of the Manning Valley. Among his admirers and friends were the Wynter and Flett families, the McLeod’s, Captain Hector Gollan, Captain Newton of Pelican Bay, Joshua Cochrane, Doctor Allen, Morgan Poole, the distinguished pioneer John Newby of Chatham, David Scott Target and many others.

Many stories’ have bene told, of the Doctor, for his name has become a household word.

Once in Tinonee, a meeting decided to help an unfortunate family.

The Doctor was requested to head the list, and he wrote down a sum, twice the amount required. The list was returned to him, and sensing the position, he said: ‘1 knew you had forgotten your purses, so I acted accordingly.’

Many Scots were present who laughed heartily.

The district had a bad year. A family who had met with disaster by flood, fire and drought, told the Doctor, who had lent them money that they could not carry on, and pay the arrears, so the position, was helpless.


The doctor took the document from his desk and tore it to shreds, telling the man to return to the farm and he would supply what was necessary to rehabilitate him.

Again, a baby was brought to Taree in a dying condition. On arrival, the Doctor diagnosed the case as malnutrition.

He wrote out instructions, a prescription, enclosed a cheque and handed it to the mother who remarked: ‘We cannot pay you Doctor, we are too poor.” “Oh, you will be able to when you are rich,” the Doctor replied with a smile.

Both the baby and mother, were restored to health.

Dr. Dean was a good horseman as well as a rower and swimmer.

Notwithstanding this, he almost. lost his life trying to save some document in the “M.R. News” office in the 1886 flood.

In the same flood he was the means of saving 10 lives at Taree Estate.


Floods and droughts were frequent and he suggested a weir should be built for a water supply at Wingham, and that a channel should be dredged from the sea to Wingham.

Later this was carried out.

Even at that time, people suggested a breakwater at Harrington, but he thought a canal should be built for Crowdy Bay.

In this connection he built up a plan for ferries loathe Islands, -and ultimately, their connection by bridge.

_____________________ the first ferry and Ghinni and Dawson bridges were built in accordance with his suggestions.

He strongly advocated that a number of distinguished people should be invited to visit the district. As a result, the Governor of N.S.W. (Lord Carrington) and Sir Henry Parkes visited the Manning.


Sir Henry paid a magnificent tribute to Dr. Dean as a doctor, statesman , orator, writer, lawyer and patriot.

__________________ then he said Dr. Dean has been his friend and mentor and had made valuable suggestions, on Education, Federation and the White Australia Policy.

Dr. Dean had begged him to depart the Kanakas saying that if, he did not, in, later years it would lead to ‘Civil War as it had done in U.S.A.