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Charles Butler (1820–1909)

The head of one of the most honoured families in Tasmania, in the person of Mr. Charles Butler, died yesterday afternoon at his residence, Hampden-road. He was full of years, having only a few days ago celebrated his 89th birthday. He had been ailing for some time, and his demise was not unexpected by his family. He was the father of the Tasmanian bar, and formerly head of the old-established firm of Butler, McIntyre and Butler. Both his sons (Mr. Edward Butler and Mr. Charles Butler) and his grandson (Mr. Leo Butler) are members of the legal profession, and whilst Mr. Charles Butler, sen., was alive the family possessed the unique distinction, which was said to be unparalleled in the whole of Australasia, of three generations living who were members of the profession.

Mr. Butler arrived in Hobart on the 13th December, 1835, in a small brig of 230 tons, called The Auriga, under Captain Chalmers, after a passage of between three and four months. He shortly afterwards went to school at Longford. The school was at Longford-hall, and the principal was Mr. W. G. Elliston, the father of the late Mr. Chas. Elliston, solicitor, of Hobart. Mr. Elliston shortly afterwards came to Hobart, and Mr. W. H. Wilmot was appointed principal. Young Butler was a great favourite with the scholars. The Hon. Thos. Reibey and Mr. Tom Gibson were fellow-students. Mr. Butler here first met his wife, then a girl of six years of age. She was a daughter of Mr. Wilmot. The late Ven. Archdeacon Davies was at that time the incumbent of Longford. When Mr. Butler left school, in January, 1838, he was articled to Mr. Robert Pitcairn, the leading solicitor in Hobart at the time, and after spending five years in his office he passed his examination as a legal practitioner, and was admitted to the Bar on December 4, 1843. He started practice on his own account, but subsequently give up practice, and followed agricultural pursuits. On the death of his brother (Mr. Edward Paine Butler) he was offered and accepted a partnership in his father's business. The other partners were Mr. Gamaliel Butler and Mr. R. W. Nutt, and the firm was known as Butler, Nutt, and Son. On his father's death, in 1857 the firm consisted of Mr. Nutt and Mr. C. Butler, and was known as Nutt and Butler. In 1858 Mr. Nutt decided to start practice in Melbourne, and Mr. Butler continued the practice for many years at the old offices in Harrington-street. Mr. Nutt, his late partner, was very successful in Melbourne, and the present well-known firm of Blake and Riggall carry on the business evolved by him. Early in 1867 Mr. Butler took Mr. John McIntyre (now Mr. Justice McIntyre) into partnership, and the firm was known as Butler and McIntyre. Mr. Edward Henry Butler was admitted as a partner some years later, and the firm's name was altered to Butler, McIntyre, and Butler, which name it retains to the present day. Mr. C. W. Butler joined the firm a few years later. The deceased was often asked to stand for Parliament, both for the House of Assembly and for the Legislative Council, but he felt that he could not both do justice to his business and engage in Parliamentary life, so he always refused. He was an enthusiastic supporter of cricket, and the Break o' Day Club owed its existence to him. He was a member of the Synod for very many years, and only resigned his position through old age. He was also for some years one of the board of the Benevolent Society. He had a family of ten— five boys and five girls, of whom eight survive him. Messrs. E. H. Butler and C. W. Butler, who are members of the above firm, and Mr. Herbert Butler, who is it surveyor in Queensland; Mrs. Cox, widow of the late Colonel A. T. Cox, C.B.; Mrs. Bean, wife of the Rev. E. Bean, headmaster of Brentwood Grammar School, Essex; Mrs. McAulay, wife of Professor McAulay, and the Misses Butler, of Ellerslie.

The funeral will take place to-morrow morning, at a quarter-past 9.

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Citation details

'Butler, Charles (1820–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 July, 1820
London, Middlesex, England


8 July, 1909 (aged 89)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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