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Bethune, Walter Angus (1794 - 1885)


Chapman, GPR, Bethune, Walter Angus (1794 - 1885), Australian Dictionary of Biography, AGL Shaw and CMH Clark (ed), Melbourne, 1, pp. 95-96 (1966) [Entry]

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Walter Angus Bethune (1794-1885), merchant and settler, was born in Scotland, the son of Rev. John Bethune, D.D., minister of Dornoch, and his wife Barbara, née Munro. He visited Van Diemen's Land in 1820 and returned next year to settle. He rapidly established himself as a merchant in Hobart Town, with a counting house, several city allotments, a whaling base at Slopen Island and several country holdings. With George Read as his partner he built a warehouse on Hunter Island in 1822. In the next four years he exported 320 tons of oil and 10 tons of whalebone, and he claimed to have loaded four ships in 1827 with colonial produce for London and exported 8000 bushels (214 tons) of wheat to Sydney and Isle of France. By 1830 he was a director of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land and of the Commercial Bank of Tasmania. During his first decade as a colonist, his country managers often complained of stolen stock, and, although he seldom went into the interior, he had been robbed and thrown by Matthew Brady and his bushranging gang into the Sorell Town Gaol and shut up with common felons. He twice joined in pursuit of the gang, and in one crisis acted as a constable for a month; the leaders escaped, but he had sweet revenge in capturing one, Jeremiah Ryan, with his own hands.

Item Details

Item Type:Entry
Keywords:history, Australia
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Chapman, GPR (Associate Professor Peter Chapman)
ID Code:130205
Year Published:1966
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-01-16
Last Modified:2019-01-17

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