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OUR AGENTS-GENERAL.— NO. 1.: MR. FRANCIS S. DDTTON, AGENT. GENERAL FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
[From the Australasian SketcherA
Mr. F. S. Dutton is one of several brothers who have for many years been well known in connection with the pastoral interest in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Aus
tralia. The elder brothers, William Pelham and Frederick, were owners of a great deal of squatting property in the Manaro and other districts in New South Wales, on the Loddon in Victoria, and in the County of Light in South Australia. Francis, the sub jest of this notice, was born in Cuxhaven, on the Elbe, in Germany, where his father was many years British Vice-Consul. He was educated at the celebrated College]of Hofwyl, near Berne, in Switzerland, and afterwards at the High School of Bremen. At the early age of 17 he went to Brazil as junior clerk in a firm at Bahia, and subsequently to Rio de [Janerio. He remained in both places about five years, and laid the foundation of that mercantile knowledge and business ex perience which stand him in such good stead now in his important office in London. In 1839 he joined his brothers in Sydney, pro ceeded overland to Melbourne in the very early days of its settlement, remained there 18 months engaged in mercantile pursuits, and then joined his present only surviving brother, Frederick, in Adelaide. Mr. Dutton is an accomplished linguist, French and German being quite as familiar to him as English, and he also acquired mastery of the
Portuguese language in South America. During his academical career at Hofwyl, the institution being conducted on the principles of the great Italian educationist, Pestalozzi, it was the custom of the masters to take the boys out on excursions, during which they were in the practice of searching for crystals and other mineralogical specimens, which were then explained by the teachers. This habit of searching for mineral specimens never left him, and thus it came to pass that in one of his journeyings through the bush in South Australia he stumbled upon an out crop of rock in the scrub showing unmis takable signs of being impregnated with copper. This was the origin of what soon after became known as the Kapunda Copper Mine, about 60 miles due north of Adelaide. It was the first copper mine worked in any part of Australia, and it is beyond doubt that the copper-mining industry, which has now reached such gigantic proportions in Australia, dates from the discovery of the Kapunda Mine, which set everyone else searching for minerals, and produced in rapid succession the discovery of the Burra Burra Copper Mine (18 months after the Kapunda was discovered), and numerous other mines, not alone in South Australia, but also in New South Wales and Queensland. In 1845 Mr. Dutton visited England. During his stay he made arrangements with the great East India house of Cockerell, Larpent & Co. (not in existence now), for working the Kapunda Copper Mine, this firm becoming the proprietors of Mr. Dutton's interest in the mine for a consi derable sum. Early in 1847 Mr. Dutton returned to South Australia in independent circumstances, since which period he has uninterruptedly been identified with the public affairs of that colony, besides follow ing his customary mercantile pursuits. On the advent of Parliamentary institutions Mr. Dutton was the first who offered himself for election to the newly-formed electoral districts of the colony. His candidature was favourably received by one of the elec toral divisions of the capital, for which, after a severe contest, he was elected to the Legislative Council, on liberal principles, in 1851. We learn from the Colonial Office list that Mr. Dutton was a member of the Legislative Council from 1851 to 1857; member of the House of Assembly, 1857 to 1865 ; Minister for Crown Lands, 1857 to 1859, and again in 1863 ; Minister for Public Works, 1865. He formed two Administra
tions, one in 1803 and another in 1865. Under the distinguished leadership of the then Mr. R. D. Hanson (now Chief Justice Sir R. D. Hanson) whom Mr. Edward Wilson, in his ' Rambles at the Antipodes,' described as 'the ablest public man in the Australian Colonies,' Mr. Dutton took an active part in the many important poli tical questions which in a new country like Australia, follow each other with such rapidity. In 1862 Mr. Dutton went to England as Commissioner for South Australia to the Great International Exhibition, to the troublesome duties connected with which he applied himself with great energy and assiduity till the end of the Exhibition, returning to South Australia in January, 1803. In 1665 Mr. Dutton resigned his then Ministeral office of Commissioner of Public Works, and was appointed Agent-General for the colony in England. As Agent General in London Mr. Dutton is favourably known to a wide circle in official and financial life. He is the senior amongst the Colonial Agents-General, having already held the office over seven years. His name is identified with the negotiations of no less that six loans for the Government of South Australia. On the occasion of the comple tion of the telegraph from London to Ade laide, Mr. Dutton recently received from the Queen the honour of being appointed a Companion of theOrder of St. Michael and St. George. Mr. Dutton is Associate of the nstitute of Civil Engineers, Fellow of the ioyal Geographical Society, Member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Member of the Royal Colonial Institute, and Member of the Reform Club, Pall Mall, and the Greaham Club, Lombard-street.