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John Edward Bull (1806–1901)

A telegram was received in Castlemaine on Monday night to the effect that Colonel John Edward Newell Bull, the first goldfields commissioner in Victoria, died at Goulburn, New South Wales, on Saturday night at the advanced age of 94 years. Deceased, who was in receipt of a pension from both the Imperial and Victorian Governments, lived for many years in Castlemaine, where he was held in high esteem, and many of his descendants still live in the district. His wife, aged 92 years, and six children survive him.

He was the second son of Colonel Bull, C.B., K.H., Royal Horse Artillery, whose services are known in the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns. He was born at Athlone in 1806, entered the Military College, Sandhurst, in 1820, and received his commission in the 78th Highlanders April 7, 1825. He was appointed lieutenant, by purchase, in June 1820, and for over two years acted on the staff of the quarter-master-general's department in Kandy. In October, 1838, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and in 1840 appointed deputy judge advocate of the northern district of England. In January, 1842, he exchanged into the 99th Regiment, then under orders for New South Wales. Arriving in Sydney in October, Captain Bull was ordered to take charge of the stockade on the Blue Mountains, with a detachment of 50 soldiers. He was appointed magistrate and civil engineer in charge of the western road from Penrith to Bathurst, and, after six years so employed, he rejoined headquarters, but retired from the service on promise of civil employment. In October, 1852 on application from the Government of Victoria, he resigned an appointment at Newcastle and was appointed magistrate and commissioner of Crown lands, and took charge of the Bendigo goldfields. On the police magistrate leaving Castlemaine, Captain Bull was instructed to perform his duty, which, with that of warden, he continued to discharge till December 31, 1869, when he was placed on the retired list on account of his age. On the formation of the volunteers in Castlemaine in 1860 he was nominated their catain. They consisted of three companies. On September 3, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in charge of the corps in the North-Western district, remaining so till the abandonment of the volunteer system. Subsequently he was for a short period connected with the militia, but retired with the rank of colonel, his connection with the regular and local forces thus extending over a period of nearly 48 years.

Colonel and Mrs. Bull celebrated their golden wedding in Castlemaine in April, 1880 when they were presented with a purse of sovereigns, a clock, and two rings. The presentation was made by Sir W. H. F. Mitchell. They celebrated their diamond wedding in 1890 when another purse of sovereigns was presented to them. After this he took up his residence at Glenn Cairn, near the Castlemaine rifle butts, but it was burnt down on his 91st birthday in 1897. He was trustee of the Castlemaine Savings Bank from 1855 to 1895. After the loss of Glenn Cairn he removed to Goulburn, New South Wales where he resided with his daughter, Mrs. Raymond where his death occured as previously stated on Saturday night last.

Original publication

Citation details

'Bull, John Edward (1806–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 October, 1806
Athlone, Westmeath, Ireland


25 May, 1901 (aged 94)
Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia

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