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National Trust of South Australia


Colton, William

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1795
Place of birth Devon, England.
Date of arrival 1839
Principal occupation Farmer, Hotel licencesee
Date of death 1849
Place of decease McLaren Vale, South Australia

William Colton was born in Devon, England in about 1795 and he married Elizabeth Blacker in about 1820.

William (aged 44), with his wife Elizabeth (aged 40) and their four sons William (junior) (17), John Blackler (15), Thomas (12), and Edwin (7) arrived at Port Adelaide aboard 540 ton ship Duchess of Northumberland on 19 December 1839. The ship was under the command of Captain Frederick Geare and carried a general cargo, 11 passengers and between 160 and 350 steerage passengers. It had departed from London on 5 August and son Albert (aged 1) had died on 8 September, during the voyage, of ulceration.

On Christmas Day 1839, William Colton and Charles Hewett accompanied William Randell on a tour of the South Australian Company’s southern country sections seeking land on which to settle. They choose four sections (including sections 136 and 147) that they named Oxenberry and Lower Oxenberry Farms, part of District C that they called Doringa Valley, later McLaren Vale.

William Colton and Charles Hewett were responsible for a letter addressed to the Editor of the Adelaide Chronicle newspaper that appeared in that newspaper in October 1840. It described their farms in glowing terms and the great successes that they had in the colony. This was part of a campaign that started in December 1839 to promote the opportunities offered by the new colony after negative commentary had been circulated and published in newspapers in other colonies, India and in England. A slightly different version of the same letter addressed to the Directors of the South Australian Company and dated September 1840 was published in the South Australian Record newspaper in Feb 1841.

On 11 March 1840 William Colton selected section 497 (80 acres) by virtue of land order 1046. He held an occupation license in 1843 and 1845. In 1846 he purchased Lot 349, section 84 (80 acres) in District C for 80 pounds and then on 5 Nov 1847 he purchased section 177 (80 acres) for 110 pounds at the Government Land Sale.

In 1847 William Colton served on a Grand Jury for the Supreme Court (Criminal) and he held the license for the Devonshire Hotel (located on section 146) in McLaren Vale in June 1849.

William Colton, aged 58 years, died on 10 July 1849 and he is buried in the McLaren Vale Congregational Cemetery.


  • South Australian Record 10 July 1839:1
  • South Australian Record 14 Aug 1839:10
  • Southern Australian 19 Dec 1839:3
  • South Australian Register 21 Dec 1839:3
  • South Australian Record 16 May 1840:6
  • South Australian Record 3 Oct 1840:6
  • Adelaide Chronicle 7 Oct 1840:3
  • South Australian Record 24 Feb 1841:7
  • South Australian Register 13 Jan 1843:2
  • South Australian Register 26 Feb 1845:1
  • Adelaide Observer 11 April 1846:3
  • South Australian Register 10 March 1847:2
  • South Australian Register 6 Nov 1847:2
  • South Australian Register 13 June 1849:4
  • South Australian Register 14 July 1849:2.
Colton headstone, McLaren Vale Congregational cemetery
Colton headstone, McLaren Vale Congregational cemetery

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