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John (Jock) Garbutt (1846–1910)

Major John Garbutt died yesterday morning at Misses Fraser and Garbutt's private hospital. Death was due to heart disease. By the demise of Major Garbutt Ballarat has lost a most-valuable citizen, valuable not only, because of his own estimable personality. But also, on account of the impress, of honor and manliness, which, as principal of Ballarat College, he had left on the character of thousands of scholars who have passed, through his hands. The deceased gentleman, who was 63 years of age, was a native of Wales. He came to Victoria very-young, and took up his studies in Melbourne. In  1866 he gained a valuable exhibition, and the same year he was a first class honor man in arts and laws at the Melbourne University. Subsequently he took his Bachelor of Arts, and later on his Master of Arts Degree. He took up teaching at the Geelong College, and afterward received an appointment at Scotch College, where he was master for seven years. He came to Ballarat in 1877, having been invited by the board of management of the Ballarat College to take charge of that in situation. He accepted the offer made to him, and from 1877 to the end of last year was principal of the college. In this capacity he made a splendid reputation as a teacher. In fact, Dr A. Morrison, of Scotch College, once characterised Mr Garbutt as one of the most capable instructors who had ever come under his notice. He always endeavored, above all things, to inculcate truth and honor in boys. As he had often bean heard to observe, he loved a manly boy, and so strongly was this feeling engrained in him that he had no particular objection to two boys settling their differences with their, fists as long as the matter was not brought under his official notice. Major Garbutt was always popular with the young people both collegians and ex-collegians, and the latter, who are scattered all over Australia, will be deeply grieved to learn that their old mentor and kindly friend is gone.

The great estimation in which old college boys held Major Garbutt was strikingly evinced by the muster at Craig's Hotel., on the 26th November last, to bid farewell, and make him a presentation. "The Star" report of that function states, inter alia: —"It falls to the lot of few men to receive from younger generations the ovation which was accorded to Major Garbutt last night at the Ballarat Old Collegians’ dinner. His health was enthusiastically honored with musical accompaniments and cheers which lasted for several, minutes, but the enthusiasm evinced when he rose to acknowledge the sentiments conveyed to him would be impossible to describe. Middle-aged men who had left college 30 to 10 years ago waved handkerchiefs wildly, jumped on chairs, and yelled out ‘Good old Johnnie,' while the young collegians gave 'tigers' and rallies with a furry that nearly lifted the roof off. Major Garbutt, seasoned old veteran as he is, was visibly affected by the reception, and it took him some time before he could pull himself together and respond in the chatty, bluff, straight-from-the shoulder mariner, which his old pupils have come to look for at these annual gatherings."

Major Garbutt was an enthusiastic bowler, and played regularly with the Central Club up to last year. He. was also a capable golfer, and a strong supporter of every form of manly sport. He was actively connected with the old Volunteer movement, and when the present Militia was instituted obtained rank as captain. He subsequently got his majority and was some years ago placed on the retired list. The

deceased, leaves a widow, six daughters and one son.

The funeral will take place to-morrow morning. The remains will be removed from the late residence of deceased, Forest street, Wendouree, at 11 a.m., for interment in the New Cemetery. The funeral will be private.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Garbutt, John (Jock) (1846–1910)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Garbutt, John

June, 1846
Dyfed, Pembrokeshire, Wales


1910 (aged ~ 63)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.