Colton, Sir John

WM legislator and merchant, born at Habertonford, Devon, the son of a farmer. After working as a harness maker, he emigrated to Australia and in 1842 began his own saddlery business in Adelaide. In 1859 he was elected to Adelaide City Council and was Mayor in 1874-75. Elected to the House of Assembly in 1862, he introduced a Stamp Duties Bill (the second in Australia) and was Premier from June 1876 to October 1877. He was back in government from 1880 to 1885, despite poor health and was made a KCMG in 1891.He was a trustee and benefactor of more than 100 WM churches. He served as a Sunday School teacher and local preacher and promoted Methodist policies on social issues. He supported the building of Pirie Street WM Church with the gift of £100 towards the £600 required. The Colton Wing at Prince Alfred College is a memorial to his generosity and the leading part he played in its establishment. He died at Hackney, near Adelaide on 6 February 1902.

  • Dictionary of Australian Biography
  • Oxford DNB


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Entry written by: DGH
Category: Person
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