THE LATE MR. WILLIAM BIBBY
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser 4 May 1900
A telegram received in Singapore referring to tomorrow’s funeral arrangements gives the date of Mr. Bibby’s death as the 3rd, not the 2nd. So that Mr. Bibby must have passed away just after midnight. The actual date of his birth has been now ascertained to be the 31st March 1837, so Mr. Bibby had turned 63 when he died.
In an obituary notice, published elsewhere yesterday, certain implications and insinuations are made that quite misrepresent Mr. Bibby’s character and personality.
Outside of Mr. Bibby’s family and personal staff at the mines, there is no one who knew Mr. Bibby so well as the present writer. For five months, (an editorial holiday) when on special duty in charge of the district between the Selangor pass and Budu and Benta, we lived in Mr. Bibby’s house, stockade as a headquarters, during the period of disturbances in 1892. Five months of daily and nightly contact, five months of personal confidence, especially in such times, make you know a man to the core.
We know well what Mr. Bibby’s views were on most things, even on those that an average man properly keeps to himself. It is insinuated that Mr. Bibby was “not pious”. We simply say he was far better than that; he was genuine in his position, honest, and really reverent to his own ideals. What these were was his business alone.
Passing by the insinuations, it is said that Mr. Bibby sometimes did not “talk straight.” He always did to us, and the reverse was inconceivable. But suppose, for instance, any person had made propositions to Mr. Bibby in the direction of share-rigging, and so forth, we can quite imagine that Mr. Bibby would have given an evasive answer, probably, and excusably a profane one. We can think of no other contingency in which Mr. Bibby would not have “talked straight” except in the staving off of impertinent inquisitiveness.
THE CRISIS IN RAUB
We well remember the gloomy days in the autumn of 1892. Machinery intercepted by rebels on the Semantan and smashed and thrown into the river. Most of the Malay labour bolted. The Raub Hole not cleared of the debris from the flood. The Western lode out-turn dwindled to a phenomenal poorness. The Eastern (Telegraph) lode just opened. And a little surface work done in prospecting on the face of Raja Impi’s hill on which the Sikh barracks stood.
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Then came that momentous Sunday morning when the battery was stopped at 7 a.m., and we walked down the hill, Bibby, Will Bibby, and the writer, meeting White and Eglington at the battery. Then the clean-up, with the final result, squeezed out in a small cloth, a little lump of amalgam, smaller than one’s shut fist. We were all silent. It was like a funeral: for the result was apparently, the death-knell of Raub. Brisbane would not advance a dollar or consent to a call; and wages had to be paid and coolies to be fed, and the end of the resources had been reached.
We walked a mile of the way with Bibby, on his old white horse, going to Singapore to report and confer with the local directors on the apparently hopeless position of things. But Bibby had not lost hope. An advance might save the situation and let the corner be turned, and so, with an encouraging word, we set Bibby on his way to Tras.
Next Sunday – there had been some work going on at the Eastern lode – we had been visiting the hospital and the guards in that direction. There had been rain overnight, and we turned to the heap of stuff sent up the previous evening to see if there were any promising signs.
At once we noticed a good big chunk of stone with gold pretty well all over one side of it. At once the sergeant in charge was told to put a sentry on the heap (it was just by the roadside) and we went on the office to display the specimen to Whyte and W. Bibby. The consultation was a serious one. Should Mr. Bibby be wired to about this “bow of promise,” or should we do nothing, for fear of raising hopes that might not ultimately be justified? After consideration a very guarded telegram was drafted by Mr. Whyte and sent to the telegraph office.
It is a matter of common knowledge that Mr. John Anderson and Mr. Bibby out of their private resources advanced the funds that enabled work at Raub to be kept on just long enough to give ground for further continuance.
But it was touch and go. Perhaps the little ray of hope derived from the telegram may have effected the sufficient encouragement at the very blackest time in all the history of Raub.
|Specimen Hill Mine|
|William's Patent 1873|
|A Gold Field|
|Cricket at Raub|
|The Misses Bibby|
|40 Head Battery|
|Family After Raub|
|Return to Raub|