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Thomas Bent: Hero or Demon?

Click on thumbnail image to link to larger image (K364)

Statue of Thomas Bent erected in Point Nepean Road near the intersection with Bay Street. The statue commissioned after a public appeal for donations was unveiled on October 1913, by the Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, Sir John Madden. Courtesy Graham Whitehead 1999.

A report and a letter published in the Southern Cross newspaper in 1886 refer to Thomas Bent, Member of Parliament, Mayor of Brighton and President of the Moorabbin Shire. The two writers express different levels of confidence in this high profile politician.

"Mr Bent is again retuned to his seat in the Legislative Assembly for Brighton. Our member is, or ought to be, a proud and happy man, - an all round vote of confidence; - his constituents are perfectly satisfied and have confidence in their member, and his would-be opponents, if any, have an equal confidence that if they run in opposition a disgraceful beating would be the consequence. it is such a position as would make most men careless and perhaps a little bumptious, for few can bear success with any degree of modesty or grace, but not so our member. He knows every individual in the district, and has a kindly word for all and a keen eye for the political interest of each, never losing an opportunity when anything can be gained for the borough and district."

To the editor

"Sir, - Allow me to draw attention to what appears as accidental, yet when taken in conjunction with the under-mentioned expenditure, is of grave importance to the ratepayers of Brighton. I refer to the fact that the Mayor is also President of the adjoining Shire of Moorabbin. Now, the principal thoroughfare to Moorabbin is the Nepean -road, and it so happens that some portion of this runs a little inside the borough boundary. The Council has already expended (including the Munro claim of £600) some £5000 of borough money on this piece of road, and including the amount they propose to expend out of the coming loan of £10,500 (with extras) fully £8000 of the burgessesí money is to be spent on a highway, four-fifths of the traffic on which belongs to Moorabbin. This large expenditure has been and is going on while the streets of the borough proper have been shamefully neglected. Looking at the above state of things, I think that Mr. Bent should resign one of the two positions. Even the member for Brighton, with all his daring enterprises, must not be allowed too much latitude nor should he continue to hold the two offices at this particular time.

Yours,

Lister."

Click on thumbnail image to link to larger image (L5121)

Thomas Bent Statue. Courtesy Leader Collection.

References

  • Southern Cross, February 27, 1886.

Category: Did You Know?
Reference Number: 16
Date Created:
Date Revised:

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