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Duffield Walter

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual

Principal occupation MLC

We thank the SA Parliament Research Library and John Dawkins MLC in 2018 for the following information...

"Born 1816 at Great Baddow, Essex, England, the son of William Duffield, farmer. Walter arrived in South Australia on the "William Barras" in December 1839.

Not long after his arrival, Mr Duffield took charge of Mr. Jacob Hagen's estate at Echunga, and was one of the first manufacturers of wine from the produce of the South Australian vineyards.

He was a keen politician, and took a prominent part in the determined contests in Yatala in 1851 which resulted in the return first of the late Chief Justice (then Mr. Hanson, leader of the bar), and subsequently the late Mr. William Giles, both in opposition to State aid to religion. 'This last election settled the question of church grants for ever, and when it is recollected that elections then were by open voting, and that the successful candidate only won by a majority of three votes, the excitement that prevailed may be imagined'. Such contests did not hinge exclusively upon the the question of State aid to religion, but paved the way for our present constitution, for which the first Parliament under the self-government constitution was held in 1857.

As a politician he was independent and fearless, and never shrank from taking what for the time was the unpopular side of a question.

Popular for his liberal views and as a practical businessman, Duffield represented Barossa in the House of Assembly in 18857-68 and 1870-71, and was treasurer in John Hart's ministry for five months in 1865-66 and under Sir James Boucaut for twelve months in 1866-67. His most noted legislation was the 1867 Dog Act which remained unamended until 1884. He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1873 and on urgent advice of his family doctor resigned on 5 March 1880."

While in Gawler he built Para Para Mansion, purchased Victoria flour mill built by Steven King and the Union Mill was bought from the Harrison brothers.

Walter Duffield died in Gawler on 5th November 1882.

The majority of information so far gathered relating to Walter Duffield is contained within the link below "Para Para Mansion Penrith Avenue"

George E. Loyau "The Gawler Handbook" p120 "Societies - The first Building Society was established in the year 1856, and called "The Gawler Town and Suburban Building and Investment Society". It was on the terminating principle, and proved a great success, the shares running out in six years and three months. The first Trustees were the Hon. Walter Duffield, J.P., Dr . Otto Schomburgk, J.P., Rev. Canon Coombs."

George E. Loyau "The Gawler Handbook" [G.E.L.] pp166 and 167 "After McKinlay's death it was universally felt that something should be done to perpetuate his memory, and accordingly, meetings were held in Gawler and a Committee was formed to carry out the wish of the people - vis., that a suitable monument should be erected "to commemorate his personal worth and the services rendered by him to the colonies as an explorer." The site selected was at the terminal point of Murray-street, at its junction with Cowan-street, and adjacent to the old burial ground. The Committee chosen to carry out the matter, and who brought it to a successful issue, were as follows:- Chairman, W.F. Wincey, Esq., J.P., Mayor of Gawler; Treasurers, J. Thornley, Esq., J.P., Manager Bank of South Australia, Gawler, Richard Holland, Esq., J.P., Turretfield, near Gawler; Hon. Secretary, John Rudall, Esq., Gawler; Committee, A.H.F. Bartels, Esq., Mayor of Adelaide, E.M. Bagot, Esq., J.P., Charles Bonney, Esq., J.P., E.S. Burkett, Esq., J.P., W.R. Cave, Esq., John Chambers, Esq. ,J.P., Rev. Canon Coombs, Hon. J. Crozier, M.L.C., Walter Duffield, Esq., J.P., James Dawson, Esq., Samuel Davenport, Esq., J.P., James Fergusson, Esq., Robert Fotheringham, Esq., Thomas Fotheringham, Esq., Rev. James Gordon, Joseph Gilbert, Esq., J.P., F.A.Grant, Esq., J.P., E.L. Grundy, Esq., John Hope, Esq., Thomas Hogarth, Esq., J.P., G.W. Hawkes, Esq., S.M., J.H.Howe, Esq., Joseph Keynes, Esq., J.P., Hon. A.B. Murray, M.L.C., Rev. J.C. McMchael, James Martin, Esq., J.P., John Mitchell, Esq., J.P., H.T. Morris, Esq., J.P., W.F.H. Popham, Esq., M.D., Ross T. Reid, Esq., Henry Scott, Esq., J.P., Dr. Schomburgk, H.C. Swan, Esq., S.M., R.J. Turner, Esq., S.M., and George Warren, Esq., J.P.

According to Sharron Gawler in her sms to Brian Thom 12/2016, Walter Duffield's grandson Walter Geoffrey Duffield [1879 to August 1929] married Governor Gawler's great grand-daughter Doris Boult at Glenelg in 1909. Doris was the daughter of Arthur Boult and Maud [nee Gawler]. Maud was the eldest child of Henry Gawler and Henry was the 4th child of Gov George Gawler. [see Trove Adelaide Observer Dec 1894]. The father of Doris was the 1st organist of St Peter's Cathedral. Doris's husband, Dr Walter Geoffrey Duffield was an eminent scientist and was 1st Director of the Commonwealth Solar Observatory at Mt Stromlo. The Canberra Times obituary on 2nd August 1929 claimed that he was born in Gawler on 12th August 1879.

Please click here for photos of Walter Duffield.

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