One of Manildra’s oldest and best known citizens and pioneer businessmen, passed away on Monday morning in the person, of Mr. Sidney Australia Tom, who died peacefully in his sleep at the home of his son.
The late Mr. Tom had been ill for some time and had gradually weakened over a period of some months. A member of a family connected with the early history of Guyong, the late Mr. Sid Tom was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Tom. An uncle, William (Parson) Tom was well known in the western districts as a cleric and a cousin, Edward Tom, was famous for the discovery of gold at Ophir.
In his early days, the late Mr. Tom was a traveller for a sewing machine company, but later moved to the Murga district where he engaged in pastoral work.
He became manager of a property for the late. C. O’Neill and about that time met his wife to be, Miss Emma Glazier, a member of a widely known family of that district The late Mr. Tom was later manager of
Willow Clear, where his two sons were born, and managed the
Yullundry property for Mr. W. R. Glasson.
Deceased was a keen lover of the outdoors and a shrewd judge of sheep.
Mr. Tom and family took up residence in Manildra in 1908 and became associated with the business life of the town. He purchased a skin and produce business from the late L. Wilcox on the site where G. Giffin’s office now stands. Later he took over a confectionery and fruit business on a site where the Royal Hotel now stands.
The late Mr. Tom and his sons were also the pioneers of the garage and hire car business in Manildra, which they established in 1914. He and his sons, Jim and Allan, were also associated with a grocery business in Derowie Street and with the advent of films to country areas, commenced the first picture theatre of a permanent nature in 1923, using an old hall building in Kiewa Street where the Freezing Works now stands.
talkies were screened in the Memorial Hall and the present Amusu Theatre was built during the 1930’s.
The late Sidney Tom suffered a blow in 1931 in the loss of his life’s partner and a further blow several years later was the death of his son, Jim, as the result of ill health caused from war service in 1914-18.
A man of staunch, upright character, the late Mr. Tom was ever ready to stand by his ideals, yet prepared to listen to the point of view of others. He did not take a prominent part in local public affairs, but was an active member of the Show Society for which he was made a life member in recognition of his services.
His health was remarkably good until the beginning of this year, despite his 87 years.
An early riser, he made it a habit to meet the Forbes Mail every morning as it arrived between 6 and 6.30 a.m.