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Dutton, Francis Stacker (1818–1877)

It is with great regret that we record the death of Mr. Francis Stacker Dutton, the Agent-General for South Australia in London. The sad news reached the colony in a Government telegram, and it is somewhat singular that the event is not referred to in our own messages. The particulars respecting his death are very meagre, but we believe the cause was erysipelas. The deceased gentleman whilst in this colony was an active and a prominent politician; and since his removal to England he has rendered good service in his capacity as Agent-General. He proved himself an able financier, and loans which he brought out were floated as successfully as those put on the London money market under the auspices of the Associated Banks. As the representative of the colony he maintained the dignity of the position; and the Parliament lately showed their appreciation of his services by increasing his salary to £1,200 per annum.

Mr. Dutton was born in Cuxhaven, on the Elbe, in Germany, where his father was for many years British Consul. He was educated at the College of Holwyl, near Berne, in Switzerland, and afterwards at the High School in Bremen. At the age of seventeen years he went to Brazil as junior clerk in a firm at Bahia, and subsequently to Rio de Janeiro. He remained in these two places about five years, laying during that time the foundation of the mercantile knowledge and business experience which have proved of such service to the colony while he has represented it. In the year 1839 we find him joining his brothers William Pelham and Frederick in Sydney. Thence he proceeded overland to Melbourne, where he stayed for 18 months engaged in mercantile pursuits. He then joined his now only surviving brother Frederick, in this colony. They were extensive squatters in the Light District, the brothers also owning large pastoral properties, both in Victoria and New South Wales. Our readers will at once remember that the well known Anlaby estate now belongs to Mr. Frederick Dutton. Whilst interested in that property, the deceased gentleman accidentally discovered the Kapunda Copper Mine. In his youth he had been accustomed to look for crystals and mineral specimens, and the habit never left him. He was journeying through the bush when he saw upon an outcrop of rock indications of its being impregnated with copper. This was the origin of the Kapunda Mine, which was the first worked in any part of Australia, unless we except the single drive known to old colonists as the Wheal Gawler, on the face of the hill at the back of Sunnyside. In 1845 Mr. Dutton paid a visit to England, and while there made arrangements for working the mine. He returned to the colony in 1847, and has since that year been identified with its public affairs. In 1851 Mr. Dutton was elected a member of the old Legislative Council, and continued to be a member of that body till 1857, when he became a member of the House of Assembly, retaining a seat in that Chamber till 1866. He was in several Ministries. He was Commissioner of Crown Lands from 1857 to 1859 and he again occupied that position in 1963. He filled the position of Commissioner of Public Works in 1865, and it was whilst holding this office that he was appointed Agent General. He had visited England in 1862 as Commissioner for South Australia to the second Great Exhibition, and in that capacity displayed great assiduity. He was by some years, the senior amongst the Agents-General for the Australian colonies. On the completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph Line he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He had at different times had a variety of honors conferred upon him by Societies who appreciated his ability. Mr. Dutton was an accomplished linguist, French and German being nearly as familiar to him as English.

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'Dutton, Francis Stacker (1818–1877)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/dutton-francis-stacker-2241/text25928, accessed 25 November 2017.

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