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Walter Padbury (1820–1907)

On Thursday, April 18, there passed away one of the very eldest of Western Australian colonists in Mr, Walter Padbury, whose death took place at his residence, St. George's-terrace, at 7.30 o'clock. The deceased gentleman had been confined to his room for only two or three days. He was out for a drive as late as Saturday afternoon last. His general health had been failing, however, for the last five or six months, and the end was not unexpected. He had been attended by Dr. Tratman, and latterly, in his absence, by Dr. Harvey.

Mr. Padbury, who was in his 87th year, came to Australia 77 years ago. He was born at a village called Stonestill, near Woodstock, in Oxfordshire. He arrived at Fremantle in a small barque called the Protector in February 1830. The Swan Settlement, as it was then called, had only been in existence a few months, the original settlers having come out in the Parmelia in June, 1829. Mr. Padbury's father died in the month of July following the landing, and the boy of 10 years was left a stranger in a strange land. At 16 years of age, after following a variety of occupations, he went shepherding at Tipperary, just below York. There he worked for Burges Brothers, and his wages, as he used to relate, were £10 a year, which he had to take out in wheat, the value at that time being 12s. per bushel. There was practically no money in those days, and there were no banks. Living was somewhat rough, and bread was made from flour which was ground by hand in a steel mill. Mr. Padbury, to use his own words, plodded on in the York district until he was in a position to send to England for his mother and the rest of the family to come out and join him. Thereafter his prosperity gradually increased with the development of the land of his adoption.

Mr. Padbury was never an ardent politician, although from his position as a leading resident in the State he was compelled to take a part in many public movements. Before the granting of Responsible Government he sat as an elected member in the Legislative Council for five years. After that he went to England for two years, but the climate of his native land did not agree with him after his long residence in a sunnier country, and he was glad to get back to the (to him) more congenial surroundings of Perth. He was a somewhat extensive traveller, having visited all the Eastern States except Queensland, and he also spent some time in the United States and the principal countries of Continental Europe.

The deceased gentleman was at one time, and for many years, in the Perth City Council, and also for a number of years chairman of the Guildford Council. But his career was more particularly on the land, and in the capacity of a pioneer. He was one of the first white men to open up the North-West district. As far back as 1863 he went North-West, beyond Carnarvon, and subsequently made two trips in sailing vessels, carrying livestock on each occasion. He retained his interest in the north-western portion of the State to the time of his death. He was also, at the time of his demise, vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Society, of which Society he was president in the years 1874, '75, '76 and '85. He took a great interest in the work of the Society, as he did also in Church work and in charitable institutions generally. To these last he was always a liberal subscriber. For many years he conducted a general store business in Hay-street under his own name, but subsequently the firm was known as that of Padbury, Loton and Co., the second partner being Mr. W. T. Loton, M.L.C. Of his kindly, considerate, and generous acts, not only to institutions, but to persons in distress of whatever kind, many stories could be told.

Among his many undertakings was the construction some eight or nine years ago of the Peerless Roller Flour Mill, at Guildford. The structure is a fine and imposing one, and is known throughout the length and breadth of the State. The mill covers four acres of land, and has a storage capacity for from 20,000 to 25,000 bags of grain, including the granary. The building and appurtenances cost over £6,000, and are situated at what is known as Padbury Siding, between Woodbridge and Guidford.

The wife of Mr. Walter Padbury predeceased him by several years.

The remains of the late Mr. Walter Padbury were buried in the Church of England portion of the East Perth Cemetery on Saturday afternoon. The funeral left Mr. Padbury's late residence in St. George's-terrace at 3 o'clock, and proceeded to St. George's Cathedral, where the first portion of the burial service was conducted by Bishop Riley and Dean Latham.

A large number of the older residents and leading public men followed the remains to their last resting place. The chief mourners were:—Mr. W. T. Loton, Mr. Edward Roberts, Sir. C. K. Davidson, Mr. H. Hardwick, Mr. William Padbury, Mr. M. T. Padbury, Mr. F. B. James, Mr. James Drummond, Mr. J. A. Ogden, Mr. C. J. Roberts, Mr. H. W. Drummond, Mr. Harry James. Mr. E. H. Loton, Mr. Arthur Loton, Mr. William Nairn, Mr. T. Roach, Mr. W. Roach, Mr. William Roach, Mr. G. Hardwick, Mr. Alfred Grigson, Mr. W. Grigson, and Mr. J. Grigson.

The pall-bearers were :—The Lieut.-Governor (Sir Edward A. Stone), the Chief Justice (Mr S. H. Parker), Mr. G. Randell, M.L.C., Mr. William Strickland, Mr. S. J. Philips, Mr. Jas. Morrison, Mr. W. Paterson, and Mr. George Glyde. Among others present were;—The Premier (Mr. Newton J. Moore), the President of the Legislative Council (Mr. H. Briggs), the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (Mr. T. Quinlan), Mr. J. W. Wright, M.L.C, the Town Clerk (Mr. W. E. Bold), Mr. R. Fairbairn, R.M., Mr. James Cowan, P.M., Dr. Harvey, Dr. Wilkinson, the Principal Medical Officer (Dr. Lovegrove), Mr. H. D. Holmes (manager of the Western Australian Bank), Mr. Oct. Burt (the Sheriff), Mr. A. G. Leeds, Mr. C. Lee Steere (Clerk of the Legislative Assembly), Mr. D. Forrest, Mr H. Stirling, Mr. J. M. Ferguson, Mr. R. A. Sholl, Mr. Alfred Burt, Mr. F. Spencer, and Mr. C. Spencer.

When the congregation was assembling at the Cathedral the organist (Mr. R. d'Arcy-Irvine) played Chopin's "Funeral March." The body was met at the west door by the choir and clergy, including Bishop Riley, the Dean of Perth, Archdeacon Watkins, Canon Lefroy, and the Rev. F. J. Price (staff-bearer). The opening sentences were read by the Dean, and after Psalm XC had been chanted, Canon Lefroy read the lesson from 1st Corinthians, 15th chapter. The hymn, "How bright those glorious spirits shine," was then sung.

In the course of his address, the Bishop said it was well that they should pay respect to one who had worshipped within those walls for many years, and keep in mind the lessons of his life. It was well that they should remember those who had borne the heat and burden of the day in the early times of this colony. It required stout hearts to battle against the difficulties in those days and none had a stouter heart than Walter Padbury. He landed here a small boy, and within a few months he lost his father. Ever since then, when he was ten years old, he had had to fight life by himself, and he had left behind a splendid example. They were not meeting that afternoon to do honour to a man simply because he was wealthy or simply because he had succeeded in life—it was not in the power of eeryone to succeed or to become wealthy—but they were present to recognise certain great characteristics of his life. As a boy he was left alone to battle with life, and he was content to take any work that came his way. Whenever he saw an opportunity of improving himself he took it. He must have had great perseverance, great energy, and great courage, and he was rewarded with great success. One of the reasons why most of them had met that afternoon was because Mr. Padbury had done his best for the country in which he lived. He believed that a good yeoman race was the best to make a happy country, and no one had done a greater share in developing the country or deserved more than the deceased did a funeral at the hands of the State. He was not content to gain money for himself; he was only content when he was enabling others to succeed for themselves. Perhaps this characteristic was the reason why he took such interest, as he always did, in the orphans, whether in the orphanages or in the Waifs' Home. His heart always went out towards them. He was an earnest, consistent churchman, with a faith, deep and reverent, that spoke in deeds and not in words. It was almost entirely due to his generosity and munificence that they had been able to establish the diocese of Bunbury.

The "Dead March in Saul" was played as the funeral procession passed down the nave.

After the service, the cortege proceeded to the East Perth Cemetery, where the remains were interred in the family vault. The Very Rev. Archdeacon Watkins read the Church of England burial service. The remains were enclosed in a polished jarrah casket, with solid brass mountings. Mr. Donald J. Chipper, of Perth and Fremantle, carried out the mortuary arrangements.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Padbury, Walter (1820–1907)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


22 December, 1820
Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, England


18 April, 1907 (aged 86)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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