William Bennett Huddlestone
Born: c1849 (UK)
Died: c1915 (Sale Victoria)
Huddlestone a professional artist and a member of the Manchester Art Society arrived in Australasia c1890. He stopped around New Guinea and possibly other islands before arriving in Sydney.
An intrepid and entrepreneurial character, Huddlestone travelled across Australia and New Zealand working to gain patronage and teaching painting classes.
From newspaper advertising placed in local papers from 1890-1913, it appears Huddlestone moved frequently and exhibited up the Coast of Australia. He spent the bulk of his time in NSW and QLD.
He also was known to have been a commission War artist for the ‘Graphic’ and documented the Zulu wars.
He visited New Zealand or a period between c 1896-8 and according to postal records possibly lived in Munro Street, Newton, Auckland.
He visited North Island gold-mines around this time and painted at least three of them in oils: The Kathleen Mine, Coromandel, the Union Battery at Waihi, both in 1897 and the Hauraki Main Lodes Mine, Coromandel in 1898.
An advertisement in the Thames star for 26 November 1896 reads: “Atelier des Art. W Huddlestone, M.A.F.A., artist, Thames, member of the Manchester Academy (England), exhibitor at the Royal Academy (London), is open to accept commissions to paint picturesque views of Mines and has just completed the following:”Tailing Mill Tararu”, “May Queen Mine.” Queen of Beauty” (Thames-Hauraki Mine) etc. Patrons Lords Carrington, Jersey, Glasgow Major Elliott, Sir W. Hamilton (late Governor of Tasmania), Lady Martin (N.S.W.)”
Huddlestone travelled with a companion named Theodora Drew. She was about 25 years his junior and he seems to have represented himself as her uncle. He was even given the title of her father by one of the newspapers covering their intrepid exhibitions. They spent 20 years on the road together travelling as far as New Zealand. It is reasonably safe to assume that they had an ongoing relationship and that he was not her father or uncle.
His death in Sale was likely from ongoing health issues advertised in the papers as early as 1913. A notice was placed in ‘The Age’ (Victorian Newspaper) on Saturday the 22nd of May inserted by a heart broken T.D (Theodora Drew) stating that he passed away on the 18th May 1915 in Gippsland Hospital.
The Age 22nd May 1915 (page 5)
Compiled with the help of Col Fullagar of Integrity Resolutions