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Bolton, Stuart Blacker (1834–1900)

Profound and wide-spread sorrow will be occasioned when it is known that Mr. Stuart Blacker Bolton, J.P., secretary to the Western Wimmera Irrigation and Water Supply Trust, and for many years secretary to the Wimmera Shire Council, passed away, at his residence, "Ellerslie," McLachlan street, in the early hours of yesterday morning. Mr. Bolton had been ailing for a considerable time, and almost a year ago he was compelled to obtain leave of absence from his duties at the trust. He never sufficiently recovered to resume these, and has, in fact, been an invalid since he retired, as it was then hoped, only temporarily, from active work. All that medical skill in Horsham and in Melbourne, and unremitting attention could do was done for him, but without avail. Dr. Macmillan had recently treated the deceased gentleman, and he was with him at the time of his death. The immediate cause of death was heart failure, and the proximate cause cirrhosis of the liver, with acute inflammation. Recently Mr. Bolton returned from a visit of some weeks' duration to Portland two or three pounds heavier than when he went away, and apparently considerably improved in health. He was able to attend the morning service at St. John's Church of England a few Sundays back, and it was hoped up to Friday last that he was experiencing a change for the better that would be lasting. On Friday, however, he became again very weak and ill and had to go to bed. He rallied slightly, but it soon became apparent that the inevitable end was not far off. It came even sooner than was anticipated, Mr. Bolton retaining full consciousness up to within a very short time of his passing away.

Mr. Bolton was twice married, on the first occasion to Miss Hunter, of Beaufort, and on the second to Miss Pitfield, sister of the late Rev. Mr. Pitfield, for several years incumbent of St. John's Church of England at Horsham, whom he leaves to mourn him. With his second wife he had no family, but eight children, five sons, and three daughters of the first marriage survive him. These are Mr. Railess J. Bolton, of Horsham, surveyor; Mr. Wilson Bolton, manager of the Colonial Bank at Horsham; Mr. Egbert Bolton, Official Assignee of Insolvent Estates, Horsham; Mr. Lawrie Bolton of the Queensland Survey Department; Mr. Elwyn Bolton, surveyor, accepted for the Australian Imperial Regiment, now at Langwarrin; Miss Bolton, matron of the Geelong Hospital; Mrs. H. M. Murphy, of Melbourne and Mrs. G. E. Reed of Ballarat. A fourth daughter, Mrs. R. Palmer, died some years since. The name of the deceased gentleman is a household word throughout the Wimmera, through the length and breadth of which he is held in the highest esteem and regard, an esteem and regard as well deserved as they are general. He was a staunch adherent and devout member of the Anglican Church, of which in Horsham he was one of the founders and loyalist and most genuine supporters. For several years past he had acted as  incumbent's warden and was for some time superintendent of the Sunday school.

The deceased gentleman was the third son of the late Colonel John. Bolton, of Her Majesty's 75th Regiment of Foot (the Bengal Tigers) and was born in barracks, at Dublin, where his father's regiment was then' stationed, on the 8th January 1834, and was therefore at the time of his death just over 66 years of age. His early life was spent at Fernly, in the neighborhood of Cork, and in 1852, being then in his 19th year came to Australia. He was on January 5th  appointed a cadet in the Victorian Mounted Police in which being stationed for a considerable portion of the time in the Wimmera, he rose to be by the first July 1860, a first class sergeant. He resigned from the police, after nearly nine years service in September 1861. Cadet Bolton, as he then was, was on police duty during the whole of the time, in 1854, of the Ballarat riots. From November 15th 1858 to 16th June 1875, when he resigned, Mr. Bolton was clerk of Petty Sessions and collector of imposts at Horsham and for three years searcher of customs for the Wimmera district, extending to the South Australian border. Whilst holding this appointment, in 1881, he arrested 116 Chinamen, who had landed at Guichen Bay, South Australia, with the intention of evading the poll tax £10, then levied upon all Chinese entering the colony. From March 1859 to March 1889, or for 30 years, the deceased gentleman was electoral registrar for the North Western Province and the Wimmera Electorate, conducting a retaining officers substitute every Parliamentary election that took place within that time. For 10 years, from February 19th 1866 to 20th October 1875, when he resigned. Mr. Bolton was lands officer at Horsham, and he held the Commission of the Peace from July 1875 to the time of his death. He was returning officer for Electoral District of Horsham from 1889 to 1895, when he resigned the position.

It was, however, in connection with his work as a municipal officer that Mr. Bolton, who was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Incorporated Accountants, was most widely known. It is not too much to say that he stood in the very front rank of the gentlemen administering local government in the colony, and that there was in Victoria no better authority than himself in the interpretation of local government and water law, or on debateable points of procedure. The value of his services to the Wimmera Shire and subsequently to the Western Wimmera Water Trust, with the initiation of both of which bodies he was associated, it is simply impossible to overestimate, and his excellent management of the two bodies, and the ability with which from time to time he put their cases either for claims to financial concessions or in opposition to financial demands, before the central governing authorities, is responsible for advantage to the district to the extent of many thousands of pounds. In 1863 Mr. Bolton was appointed clerk to the Horsham District Road Board, under the constitution of the road district into a shire, under the name of the Shire of Wimmera, in April, 1864, he was appointed its secretary and treasurer, he resigned these appointments, and also the Secretaryship of the Shire of Wimmera Water Works Trust in December, 1890, to take up the position of secretary to the Western Wimmera Irrigation and Water Supply Trust, the formation of which–to control a district, including the territories of the Shire of Wimmera and Arapiles, and parts of the Shires of Barang and Dimboola, the three last named municipalities having been forced out of the original Wimmera Shire–was then effected. This office he held up to the time of his death, discharging its duties–as he had discharged the duties of all the important and responsible posts he had occupied during his long official life–with unremitting faithfulness, with conspicuous ability, and with the largest advantage to those he served, and the system he had to administer. Mr. Bolton will be greatly missed by all sections of the community, his abilities and amiability alike making him a personality, that, now that it is gone, it will be exceedingly difficult to replace.

The flag at the Shire-Hall was flying half mast yesterday, out of respect to deceased.

The funeral will leave Mr. Bolton's late residence, Ellerslie, on Sunday afternoon at three o'clock.

Original publication

Citation details

'Bolton, Stuart Blacker (1834–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bolton-stuart-blacker-17055/text28905, accessed 25 November 2017.

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