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William Frederick Butler (1878–1941)

The death took place yesterday at his residence, Bishop St., New Town, in his 64th year, of Mr. William Frederick Dennis Butler, for many years a partner in the Hobart legal firm of Butler, McIntyre, and Butler. Born at Bagdad, where his father, the late Mr. Francis Frederick Butler, had landed interests, Mr. W. F. D. Butler received his early education at the Bagdad school, and afterwards at the Hutchins School. At the University of Tasmania he took the degree of B.A., M.Sc., and LL.B. After a world tour he joined the legal firm with which he was associated until his death, first as managing clerk and in due course as junior partner, and senior partner. On the death of his father he took over the management of the Korongee orchard property at Glenorchy, to which earlier the family had removed. During his period of residence there he was a member of the Glenorchy Council, of which he was treasurer at the time of his retirement in 1910, when he left the district to live at New Town. In 1896 he married Miss Constance I. Morrisby, daughter of the late Mr. Tasman Morrisby, and Mrs. Morrisby, of Ravensdale, Glenorchy.

For many years Mr. Butler was president of the Southern Tasmanian Law Society; he was also a founder and one-time president of the Australian Legal Convention. He was one of the conveyancing counsel to the Supreme Court of Tasmania and took a prominent part in the consolidation of Tasmanian statutes. While president of the Law Society he closely studied new legislation and advised regarding its form and incidence. His political standpoint was strongly independent. In association with other Tasmanian advocates he vigorously supported the movement towards Australian Federation. He was leading supporter also at the time of its introduction of the Hare-Clark voting system.

Mr. Butler filled a prominent position in Church affairs. A member of the Anglican Synod in Tasmania for 34 years and of the general Synod of Australia and of the Tasmanian Diocesan Council for 31 years, he was appointed Church Advocate in 1916 and Diocesan Chancellor in 1940. He was a trustee of Church property from 1914 onwards and from 1936 Chairman of Church Trustees. He was also chairman of the Clergy Provident Fund Board and member of the Diocesan Insurance Board and of the board of Christ College, to whose interests he devoted himself un sparingly.

In addition to giving his services in these many offices, he gave personal support to successive rectors of St John's parish, New Town, as lay reader and churchwarden. He was chairman of the Hutchins School Board and was Warden of the University Senate.

His range of interests was wide. In earlier years he was an active supporter of the A.N.A. Rifle Club. An ardent bush lover, over a long period of years he undertook expeditions to unfrequented areas of Tasmania. With Prof. L. F. Giblin and others he resurveyed the heights of Ben Lomond and Barn Bluff. He was an active member of the Royal Society, a life member of the Royal Agricultural Society, and a charter member of the Hobart Rotary Club, of which he was a past president. He was also president of the Tasmanian section of the League of Nations Union.

He is survived by his wife and by his son, Mr. Eustace G. Butler, of Smithton, his daughters, Miss Dorothy Butler, who is a nurse on overseas service with the A.I.F., and Miss Margaret Butler, of New Town, and by his sister Mrs. B. Wall, of Hobart.

The cremation, at Cornelian Bay tomorrow afternoon, will be preceded by a memorial service at St. John's Church, New Town.

Original publication

Citation details

'Butler, William Frederick (1878–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

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