Duncan Gillies

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Duncan Gillies, Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection

Background

Duncan Gillies was born in Glasgow, Scotland.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences

Obituary

The Hon. D. Gillies, who had been identified with the political history of Victoria during the past 40 years, expired from heart failure whilst taking a bath on Saturday morning last. Deceased was 70 years old. Whilst acting as Agent-General in London he married a well-connected widow, named Mrs Sillals, who is at present carrying on business in South Africa. The late Mr Gillies was a native of Glasgow (Scotland) and began his career as a clerk in the General Post Office of his native city. He was the first representative of Ballarat West (where he worked for a time as a miner) in the Assembly, and, though he took no part in the Eureka Stockade he was contemporaneous with a previous Speaker of the Assembly the late Mr Peter Lalor. He started in politics as a democrat but died as a conservative and as the representative of Toorak (Melbourne)-a place described by one section of the daily Press as 'the invulnerable fortress of Toryism.[2]

In The News

THE HON. DUNCAN GILLIES, M.L.A., MINISTER OF LANDS.
Mr Gillies was born in the neighborhood of Glasgow about 1832, and is the son of a farmer or gardener in a respectable position pecuniarily and otherwise. He was brought up in a com mercial house, having received an excellent education at one of the parochial schools of the country. Mr Gillies was on Ballarat in the early days, but had left for Melbourne before the Eureka outbreak. He returned to Ballarat and, becoming a permanent resident, he was on a vacancy occurring in the second "Local Court," elected to represent advanced opinious in mining matters by the miners of Sebastopol, at the time, the frontage system had been started and advocated by Messrs Baker and Bacon, and a division existed as to the advan tage or disadvantage of large or small claims. The new ideas were represented by four Messrs Baker, Gillies, Yates and another, and the old notions by five members of the local court, of whom the chief were P. Curtain, of recent notoriety, and Andrew Forbes of the Band of Hope. The Eureka miners were opposed to those on the rest of the gold-field; The minority challenged the majority to resign and test public opinion. The challenge was accepted; and something like fifty thousand miners met on the White Flat, the township hill and the neighboring heights being occupied by excited spectators. 'The result of the election was that the 'frontage system men' were returned by an overwhelming majority, Mr D. Gillies being the the colleague of Mr W. Frazer, M.L.A., Mr James Baker, Mr John Yates, Mr C. F. Nioholls, Mr Stodart, and Mr A. A. O'Connor, and two others whose names we have not ascertained. This court organised and made the frontage system law, and recommended the first mining lease to be granted ; two things to which the present prominence of Ballarat in mining and wealth may be traced. Mr Gillies was elected a member of the second Parliament under the new Constitution, and has been returned for Ballarat at every election since. He is undoubtedly an able debater, find was understood to be liberal in politics until the time of the crisis whoch occur red in connection with the passing of the protective tariff.[3]


COMING HOME. BALLARAT REUNION.
By W.L.
Old Ballaratians scattered all over the Commonwealth, and, indeed, over the English-speaking world, are turning their eyes and their thoughts back to Ballarat. To them has come the call for a home reunion during Easter week. A general committee, with several sub-committees, is making extensive arrangements for a grand reunion extending from Tuesday, April 3, over Monday, April 10, and it is expected that many hundreds will avail themselves of the opportunity of revisiting the scenes of their early life.
Of the people who have left Ballarat during the last 30 years, there are estimated to he about 11,000 abroad. The figure is arrived at by taking the population in that period, the excels of the birth rate over the mortality rate, and the average death rate among those who left the place. Whilst Ballarat people are to be found all over the world, the vast majority of those who have left the city are settled somewhere in the metropolitan area of Victoria. From them the call home is meeting with a splendid response. Intimations have also been received of dwellers far distant returning home for Easter-week. Unfortunately, many brave young men who a few months ago thrilled at the sound of the name of their native city will not even hear the call home. They lie in their eternal sleep in Gallipolian Valleys or on French farms in the vicinity of the Somme. In the midst of its rejoicing, Ballarat will not forget its noble dead, nor its proud sons who are still fighting Freedom's battle.
Drawn generally from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, the men of the early Ballarat days were of a resolute and progressive type. Very few of them went to the goldfields intending to remain there, but the freedom of their environment accorded with their disposition, and they settled down to fashion the bushcountry around them into the beautiful city that Ballarat now is. The late Mr. Duncan Gillies was typical of the first residents of Ballarat. Digger at first, he became a member of the Legislative Assembly for Ballarat West in 1860, but lost his seat in 1868, when he first accepted office as Minister for Lands in the Sladen Ministry. Subsequently he was Premier of Victoria. An earlier pioneer of Ballarat, who also became a legislator, was Mr. Peter Lalor, one of the leaders of the Eureka Stockade riot against the Government authorities in 1854. Mr. J.B. Humffray and he were the first representatives of Ballarat in the old Legislative Council before the Constitution Act came into force. While representing the electorate of Grant in the Legislative Assembly Mr Lalor was elected Speaker of the House. Colonel W. C. Smith, or, as he was more familiarly known during the greater part of his Parliamentary career, "the Major," was another Ballarat man of some note who attained Ministerial rank. The late Mr. W.M.K. Vale, a former Attorney-General, was a Ballarat man of those stirring political times, while the late Sir Henry Cuthbert and the late James Campbell, M.L.C.'s. were typical Ballarat men who also became Ministers of the Crown. Turning to the municipal life of Ballarat - speaking collectively of the city and the town-the services of such men as James Oddie (the first chairman of the municipal council), Dr. James Stewart, Robert Lewis - (of Rowlands and Lewis), Daniel Brophy, John Whiteman Gray, J. Noble Wilson, Frederick M. Claxton, John Hickman, E. Morey, James McDowall, John G. McDonald, Charles C. Shoppee (city), W. B. Rodier. Dr. Clendinning, William Scott, Emanuel Steinfeld, James Russell, James Long, Theophidus Williams, and John Ferguson stand out. They were men of broad minds and high ideals. Ballarat's interests were supreme with them.
Among other men who influenced the life of Ballarat considerably in its earlier years were Mr. John Russell Thomson, whose magnificent bequest of statuary in the pavilion at the botanic gardens has attracted notice in world art centres; Mr. Thomas Stoddart, who made the first gift of statuary to the botanic gardens. Mr David Ham, a member of-the Legislative Council; Judge Rogers, Judge Trench, and Judge Gaunt, Mr. R. Walsh, Q.C., Mr. C.B. Finlayson, Q.C. (formerly Crown prosecutor), Mr. R. M. Serjeant (member of 'the Legislative, Assembly in I860), Mr., Andrew Anderson, Mr. R.T. Vale (a former member of Parliament for Ballarat West, who died recently), Mr. E. J. Bateman, one of the founders of the Ballarat "Star".
Public men of note who are still living include Mr Agar Wynne (who attained Ministerial- rank in both Stale and Commonwealth), Mr. J. Y. McDonald (who within the last few weeks resigned from the Legislative Council), Mr. T. D. Wanliss (formerly n member of the Legislative Council, and now a resident of Scotland), Mr. W. M. Achesoon, Mr. A.M. Greenfield, and Mr. J.M. Bickett.
Among the old Ballaratians residing in various parts of the Commonwealth are men prominent in legislation, law, art, science, and business. Legislators are found in the Minister for Customs (Mr. Jensen), the Victorian Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hagelthorn), Mr. Membrey (honorary State Minister), Mr. McWhae, M.L.C., and Mr. Menzies, M.L.A. The Chief Justice of Tasmania (Mr. Justice Nicholls), Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley are old Ballarat boys, as is Sir Bernard O'Dowd, poet and assistant, State Parliamentary draughtsman. Mr. H. E. Starke, the well known barrister, though born at Creswick, spent his boyhood in Ballarat. The Commonwealth Under Treasurer (Mr. J. R. Collins) is a native of Ballarat. Medical men among old Ballarat boys include Dr. Orr, of Collins street: Dr. T. E. Wills, of Malvern; Dr. H. E. Letcher, of Adelaide; Dr. G. F. Sleeman, of Creswick; Dr. J. H. Sleeman, of Portland; Dr. Gawne of Jeparit; Dr Fred Middleton, of the Ross Sea Antarctic Relief Expedition; and Drs. F. und H. V.- Bennett, of Prahran. Mr. A. A. Buley, formerly principal of Grenville College, where Mr. Justice Nicholls, Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley received their secondary education, is now on the staff of the Melbourne High School. Mr.D. Avery, of the Working Men's College-staff; Chief Inspector Fussell, Inspectors T. E. and J. J. Bothroyd and Mr. W. F. Gates (assistant chief inspector), of the Education department; and Mr. A.A. Peverill, chief clerk of the Lands department, are, old Ballarat boys, as well us the mayor of Prahran (Councillor Austin Embling), the Rev. S. Hoban, of the Central Methodist Mission, Sydney, and the Rev. M. Daly, Colac. Mr. William Davidson, formerly inspector - general of public works in Victoria, received his initial instruction in Surveying while a resident oí Ballarat, and the State income tax commissioner (Mr. R. M. Weldon) is a native of the city. Mr. J. F. Kirby, 'of Coleraine, who won the Melbourne Cup with The Parisian in 1911, was captain of the Ballarat Football Club in the seventies. Both Mr. Will Dyson, the artist, and Mr. E. Dyson claim Ballarat as their birthplace. Mr. Watkin Wynne, general manager of the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper in Sydney, in an old Ballaratian. He won the swimming championship of Ballarat in 1876, and the championship of Geelong by defeating Stedmun, on the Barwon River. Mr. Mcphan Ferguson, head of the Engineering firm which bears his name, was in business in Ballarat before he came to Melbourne. Ballarat men are conspicuous among members of the Stock Exchange of Melbourne. They include Messrs. W. J. Roberts (chairman). John McWhae. John S. Reid, Wallace Smith, John Rippon, A. E. and B. Millard, A. H. Tonkin, F. W. Holst, and J. Buchanan. Among other old Ballaratians may he mentioned Messrs- Alfred, Walter, and Frederick Sutton, of Suttons Proprietary Limited; Frederick and Maurice Cohen, of S. Cohen and Sons, hardware merchants; John Bailey, conductor of the Melbourne Choral Society: John West, secretary of the National Union; Hugh V. McKay, of the Sunshine Harvester Works; J.W. Kirton, formerly a member of the Legislative Assembly, and now secretary of the Master Bakers Association; Ex-Inspector Beckmann, of Warrnambool; Messrs. Hans Irvine, formerly member for Grampians in the House of Representatives; S. E. Figgis, secretary of the Colonial Gas Company, and a noted bowler in the Ballarat Cricket Club 33 years ago; Lieut. Colonel Wanniss, who had charge of a battalion in the First Australian Expeditionary Force; Captain D.J. Ham, who served through the Boer war; Major Jackson; and Messrs. J. IH. Dill and D. Murray, legal managers: E. Cocking. J. L. Anderson; James Scobie, the well-known trainer; Mr. H. Niven, (F.W. Niven and and Co.), and Mr. E. A. Bennett (Superintendent of the Homeopathic Hospital).
Miss Mary Gaunt, the novelist; the Lady Mayoress of Melbourne (Lady Hennessy). Ladv Irvine (wife of Sir William Irvine, K.C.). Mr. J.R. Trantham Fryer (Miss Bechervaise), and Mrs. J.J. Kingsbury (wife of a former Queensland Minister of the Crown, and now a Crown prosecutor) may also be mentioned as old Ballaratians. [4]

See also

Clara Seekamp

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


References

  1. North Eastern Ensign (Benalla), 18 September 1903.
  2. North Eastern Ensign (Benalla), 18 September 1903.
  3. Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 23 May 1868.
  4. The Argus, 3 March 1917

External links