Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Walter John Hutton

Walter John Hutton was born in Bath, England, on 1 July 1861, the third son in a family of eleven children. His father, William Forbes Hutton, was an officer with the 34th Light Infantry in India. Walter was living in Leckhampton, Gloucestershire when the 1871 census was taken. On 6 May 1874, when he was 12, Walter arrived in Australia, aboard the Northumberland, with his mother and family members not already in the country. His father had retired from the Army and had decided to settle in Victoria having purchased a property at Lilydale. Initially Walter and his family lived in a large house, Blythswood, in Kew. He would have initially attended school. His youngest brother, Maurice, later atttended Melbourne Grammar School but it is not known which school Walter and the next brother, William, attended. Walter would have helped on his father's property. The family appear to have lived at Cooring Yering from 1885.  When his father died in 1896, most of Cooring Yering was bequeathed to Walter's mother except for 150 acres, on which the vineyard was established, which was inherited by Walter and Maurice.

When the Victorian Mounted Rifles established a Lilydale attachment in 1891 Walter would have joined his brothers, William and Maurice, as members of this group. During the Boer War in 1899 some of the members volunteered to travel to South Africa to fight.

Private Walter John Hutton (No. 137) joined the 2nd Victorian Mounted Rifles which was part of the second contingent of Australians to leave for South Africa. Two hundred and sixty-four men with 305 horses left aboard the Euryalus on the 13 January, 1900, and arrived at Cape Town on 5 February. This number was made up of 14 officers, 12 sergeants, 10 artificers (servicemen who looked after the horses), 4 buglers and 224 rank and file. Three horses died during the voyage.

Once in South Africa they proceeded to the Maitland Camp and from there travelled to Naauwpoort. During their tour of duty they were involved with the action, initially going on patrols and then fighting in a number of encounters including Colesberg, Kuilfontein, Bloemfontein, Houdenbeck, Vet River, Zand River, Black Reef Mine, Pretoria and Doornkop. In October they returned to Pretoria and from there to Cape Town. A summary of their time in South Africa is provided on the Australian Light Horse website.

On 7 November the Victorians embarked on the Harlech Castle ultimately reaching Melbourne on 4 December. The Argus newspaper on Wednesday 5 December 1900 provided graphic descriptions of the return of the soldiers of the Victorian Mounted Riflemen and the crowds that welcomed them home.
Walter's brother, Arthur William Hutton, left Sydney for Cape Town in  April 1900 as part of the NSW Citizen's Bushmen. Another brother, William Lidderdale Hutton left Melbourne for Cape Town on 15 February 1901.

After his time in South Africa, Walter appears not to have returned to Lilydale to live. He did spend time in the Parkes area at the beginning of the twentieth century as he was on the committee of the Parkes Jockey Club in 1901. In the electoral roll for 1914 he is listed as being a landowner at Arcadia near Shepparton. William and his wife were farming also at Arcadia. Five years later the electoral roll shows Walter living at Rosedale in Pasley Street, South Yarra. In 1924 he was listed as a landowner in Croydon. In the 1930s Walter was living in Toorak Road, South Yarra while in 1943 his address was listed as Kooyong Road, Armadale. Walter John Hutton died 18 September 1943 aged 82.

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