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Singleton, Francis Corbet (1812–1887)

General regret will be felt at the announcement that shortly before noon on Tuesday Mr. Francis Corbet Singleton the well-known Clerk of the Legislative Council, dropped dead at the Parliament buildings. Mr. Singleton had been in a weak state of health for some time part, but his friends were not expecting any serious result. So sudden was his death that Mr. Mattinson, M.P, who had been speaking to him but a few seconds before, turned to address him again, when he fell and expired instantly. Mr. Singleton, who for many years had filled the office of clerk of the Legislative Council, first entered the Government service on May 8, 1847, when he was appointed Auditor-General. This post he occupied till January, 1851. From December, 1850, to December, 1851, he acted as Clerk of the Executive Council, and in December, 1850, he was also appointed Clerk of the Legislative Council of this colony, which was then a nominated Council. When the Legislative Council became a partly elected body he was in August, 1851, again appointed to the position of Clerk. Under the Constitution Act the Council shortly afterwards was reconstructed, Captain O’Halloran being appointed Clerk. He, however, was succeeded on February 2, 1857, by Mr. Singleton, who held the office from that time to the present. He appeared to be in better health than usual on Tuesday morning, and was in excellent spirits. Dr. Phillips was sent for as soon as Mr. Singleton fell, but being out Dr. Way was called in, and on his arrival stated that the deceased gentleman had been dead several minutes. At the time of his death he was in his 75th year, and on Saturday last had completed his fortieth year in the service of this Government as the head of a department a longer term of service than that of any other head officer. Mr. Singleton belonged to the English family of Singleton, of Aclare, and was the great-grandson of the Very Rev. Francis Corbet, D.D., Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin. His father, Mr. Francis Corbet, in compliance with the will of his great-grand-uncle, the Right Hon. Henry Singleton, some time Master of the Halls and Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, assumed the name of Singleton only by royal license. The late clerk of the Council was the third son of this gentleman, and was born on December 17, 1812. In his younger days Mr. Singleton served in the Royal Navy, under Captain (afterward Admiral Sir Edmund) Lyons, the father of the present Lord Lyons. He entered the navy in 1825 and continued in that service till 1836. During that time he was present at the engagement which took place at the capture of the Morea Castle in Greece. He afterwards came to the Australian colonies, choosing Western Australia as his first home. Here he commenced farming, and in 1840 he was appointed to the position of Government Resident of the Murray district of Western Australia. This post he occupied till 1847; and in the meantime he was nominated in 1844 a member of the Legislative Council of the colony, in which he sat till 1847. In that year he retired from his offices under the Western Australian Government and accepted the post of Auditor-General in the service of the South Australian Government as mentioned above. He married Louisa, the daughter of the Rev. T. Gore, rector of Mulcanran, who died about two years ago, leaving two married daughters and three sons, all of whom still survive.

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'Singleton, Francis Corbet (1812–1887)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/singleton-francis-corbet-1597/text1684, accessed 10 July 2014.

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