This fine grey granite memorial was put up by Henry James when his mother Eliza died in 1887. He had his wife’s name Lucy engraved when she died in 1904 and his own demise in 1918 was recorded by his second wife Elizabeth. The memorial is not only a memorial but a symbol of the success of Henry James as a farmer and businessman. Henry and Lucy James arrived in Sydney in 1859 as assisted migrants from Somerset. He had nothing but his skills as a farmer and soon leased land at Abbotsford but later bought his first property. He eventually bought three farms and other property before retiring to his fine, new house ‘Fairview’ a kilometre from Picton. Henry James won many prizes at local shows and at the Royal Agricultural Show in Sydney.
Shortly before he died he gave an interview on some of his farming practices. The principal crops were wheat, maize, oats, potatoes and pumpkins. Dairies, fruit orchards and vineyards were also important in what was principally an agricultural district. Henry James made good money in droughts as he held a high quality fodder. He cut his oaten hay when in flower and before the grain formed. This prevented the mice getting into the hay and allowed the hay to stay fresh and sweet for up to four years. He also favoured deep digging and heavy manuring for potatoes that ensured an excellent crop.
This memorial is an obelisk and is one of several in the immediate vicinity. Although of Egyptian origin it was used by Victorians as a symbol of eternal life and regeneration. There are several obelisks in the vicinity as monumental masonry, like most things in society, followed popular trends.