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Suttor, William Henry (1805–1877)

We are sure that the public will learn with very great regret that Mr. William Henry Suttor died at his residence, near Bathurst, at 5 o'clock yesterday morning. The deceased gentleman became very infirm during the last few months, and for some weeks' past the precarious state of his health has been a matter of deep solicitude to his family and many friends. We are not informed of the precise nature of the malady to which he finally succumbed, but we believe that his death is attributable rather to the advance of years, than to any other cause. He was born at Baulkham Hills in the year 1806, and consequently attained the ripe age of 71 years. His father, Mr. George Suttor, was one of the earliest settlers of New South Wales, and was one of those who strenuously adhered to the fortunes of Captain Bligh when that unfortunate Governor was expelled by the officers of the New South Wales Corps, who usurped the government on the 26th January, l808. A few years after Wentworth, Lawson, and Blaxland proved the possibility of crossing the Blue Mountain Range, Mr. Suttor was one of those who followed in the footsteps of these intrepid explorers. As a farmer and pastoralist Mr William Henry Suttor was prosperous, and became the owner of large landed estates. He did not, however, allow his sympathies to become wholly absorbed by his personal concerns, but, on the contrary, took a large and enlightened interest in the public affairs of his native land. Mr. Suttor was one of the members of the first Legislative Council, in which body he represented the counties of Roxburgh, Wellington, and Phillip; and he had the courage to avow and maintain liberal principles in politics at a time when it required a large amount of independence and pluck to do so. The period of the anti-transportation agitation was one of the most memorable in the history of this colony, and it ought ever to be remembered to the honour of Mr. Suttor that he was one of the most uncompromising opponents of that Imperial policy which would have continued to make Australia the receptacle of the felonry of Great Britain. At every election which took place to the old Council, up to 1850, Mr. Suttor was elected for the same constituency - a fact which, if proof were needed, pretty conclusively showed that he was highly respected in the community in which he lived, where he was a large employer of labour, and where he exercised the functions of a justice of the peace. The discovery of gold, which was made in his immediate vicinity in 1851, completely unsettled for a time all the established industries of the colony, and in 1854 Mr. Suttor judged it necessary to retire from Parliament, and to give his undivided attention to his business interests. We find him, however, two years later again in public life, he having been prevailed upon to contest the election for the county of Bathurst, and he was elected by that constituency, in opposition to Mr. Thomas S. Mort, to the first House under responsible government. Mr. Suttor's public career during that time must be familiar to most of our readers. Of the eight Parliaments which have sat since the introduction of responsible government Mr. Suttor was a member of six. He sat for the county of Bathurst from the 10th of June, 1861, to the dissolution of the Parliament on the 19th December, 1857. He continued to represent the same constituency through the second Parliament from the 19th January, 1858, to the 9th of April of the following year. He was elected by the same constituency to the third Parliament on the 13th June 1859, and resigned his seat on the 13th September following. He re-entered the Assembly for the electorate of East Macquarie on the 11th December, 1860, and resigned his seat about three years and ten months later, his successor for the few remaining months of the Parliament being Mr. David Buchanan. In the fifth Parliament he sat for the city of Bathurst from the 21st December until it was dissolved on the 15th November, 1869. He again entered the Assembly for the city of Bathurst on the 20th December, 1870, and remained a member of the House until the dissolution on the 3rd of February, 1872, when he finally quitted the arena of politics.

It will be seen that for the space of nearly thirty years the deceased gentleman occupied positions of public confidence, and during the whole of that long period he preserved his reputation untarnished. He was an unostentatious, warm-hearted, thoroughly straightforward man - one who has been an honour to the country; and few things can add so much to the stability of the colony as the growth of a class of country gentlemen of whom Mr. William Henry Suttor was a type. Mr. Suttor married Miss Charlotte Augusta Anne Francis in the year 1833, and we believe that Mrs. Suttor survives her husband. The deceased has left a numerous family, and two of his sons are members of the present Legislative Assembly. The Honorable Francis B. Suttor, Minister of Justice and Public Instruction, left Sydney by the evening train for Bathurst last night, and would in all probability reach home a few hours before his father's death.

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'Suttor, William Henry (1805–1877)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/suttor-william-henry-1269/text1260, accessed 18 October 2019.

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