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Robert William Butler (1838–1888)

by Barbara Butler

Robert William Butler, died of atrophy of the brain, at Grenfell, NSW on 19 April 1888, aged 50. Although born in Tasmania, Robert was baptised on 12 July 1839 at South Creek near Sydney, to parents Walter Butler, cabinet maker, and Eliza Bodecin nee Dwyer, the youngest daughter of 1798 Irish rebel Michael Dwyer, the "Wicklow Chief". He was remembered as one of the pioneering 'Butler brothers' of Piney Range.

In 1852, Robert and elder brother George found work on Bland Creek at "Billabong Station" a property owned by Tom Marsden, brother of Rev. Samuel Marsden, the locality becoming known as Marsdens, now Marsden. In 1862, with Marsden’s help, Robert built the Bland Hotel which he managed until it burnt down in 1875. Ben Hall, the 'Gentleman Bushranger', was reputed to have been one of its patrons.

In 1863 Robert married a housemaid at 'Billabong', Elizabeth Edwards. She managed the Post Office and store adjacent to the hotel. After the fire, Robert managed the Kurrajong Hotel at Bland and the Welcome Home Hotel at Wheogo. In 1880, Robert took a selection of land near his brother George, at Piney Range, near Grenfell, on which he built and ran the Piney Range Hotel, renamed The Selector’s Hotel, until his death.

Robert and Elizabeth had eleven children, Elizabeth, George, Thomas, Walter, Charles, William, Emily, Cecilia Ann, Mary, John, and Elva Josephine (known originally as Clara). Three sons, Walter, Bill and Charles, and daughter Annie would remain in the district, selecting parts of Ben Hall’s Sandy Creek Station, 50 kms south of Forbes, to farm.

Citation details

Barbara Butler, 'Butler, Robert William (1838–1888)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 July 2024.

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