Founder of Australian Advetiser memorialised in Coolgardie

Published on Thursday, 13 July 2023 at 2:02:59 PM

L-R  - David and Jane Tucker, Mora Main

In a remarkable tale of ancestry and historical discovery, the relatives of Lancel Victor De Hamel (1849-1894) have visited the Coolgardie cemetery to see the installation of a memorial stone on his grave in recognition of his life.

Well  before he was laid to rest in his final resting place of the Coolgardie Cemetery Mr de Hamel was an active member of the Conservative Party, a founder of the Newcastle Conservative Club, and captain of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers in the early 1880s.

Mr de Hamel then initiated and went on an unsuccessful expedition to search for buried treasure on an island in the Carribean before moving to Albany where he became the founder of the Australian Advertiser (later Albany Advertiser)  – which is still running today.

 In November 1888, Mr de Hamel was elected mayor of Albany which was the start of his political career in Western Australia. In one article, it reads “De Hamel was seen as an agitator and trouble-maker” he was certainly known to challenging the established norms and sparking discussions on critical issues of the time.   

Following his mayoralty, he was elected to the WA parliament from 1890-94 as member for Albany. Standing down from re-election for Albany he ran for the newly created seat of Yilgarn in 1894. He was unsuccessful. Later that year he caught typhoid and died on 25 November.

Following his electoral defeat he came to Coolgardie, his family doesn’t know, but for the times, we can assume it was related to gold rush activities. As a lawyer we can imagine that he may have been assisting the mining registrar, Mr Gill, who supported him through is final days. Coolgardie was officially gazetted in 1893 and grew rapidly over the first 5 years that by 1898 Coolgardie was the third largest town in Western Australia.

Mr de Hamel certainly lived a very full and interesting life. It is no wonder that his family were sad to know that his final resting place was unmarked.

With the help and support from the Shire of Coolgardie staff, Mr de Hamel’s decendants were able to mark his final resting place with a gravestone. The Shire of Coolgardie has been working with the family to locate any further history and stories to help fill in his last few months of life in the Goldfields.

The family welcomes this recognition of a relative who had a significant presence in the early days of WA’s political environment.

If you would like to visit this site, or learn any of the other fascinating history of Coolgardie, please reach out to the Coolgardie Visitors Centre on (08) 9080 2111 or email Katherine Fox at

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