GEORGE STEVENSON, ESQ., J.P., LATE CORONER
OF THE CITY OF ADELAIDE.
It is with deep and sincere regret we sit
down to record the death of George Stevenson, Esq., J.P., late Coroner of the city of Adelaide, so long and so favourably known as one of South Australia's staunchest and truest sup- porters. This event took place at his residence, North Adelaide, at half-past one o'clock on Sunday morning 19th October. Mr. Steven- son was in his fifty-eighth year, and would, if he had lived two months longer, have been a South Australian colonist of twenty years' standing. He came out in H.M.S. Buffalo, in company with Captain Hindmarsh, R.N., the first Governor of the colony, now Sir John Hindmarsh, of Heligoland; James Hurtle Fisher, Esq, then first Resident Commis- sioner, now Speaker of the Legislative Council; Osmond Gilles, Esq., first Co lonial Treasurer ; the late Rev. C. B. Howard, first Colonial Chaplain ; and others of the ori- ginal Government staff; and was present at the Proclamation of South Australia, as a British colony, at Holdfast Bay, on the 28th December, 1836. Mr. Stevenson was Governor Hindmarsh's Private Secretary, and came out in that capacity. He also was first Clerk to the Legislative Council, first Coroner, and one of the first Bench of Magistrates. Before he came out to the colony he had been an extensive contributor to the leading columns of the Globe newspaper, and had devoted himself to other literary pursuits. He was also editor of the first newspaper in the co- lony, then The South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, now The South Australian Register, and part proprietor of that journal, as then carried on under the firm and style of Messrs. Robert Thomas and Co., of Hindley-street, Adelaide. He was consequently the "Father of the South Australian Press." But the colony was thrown into a state of the greatest confusion in 1841-2, by the dishonour of Governor Gaw- ler's drafts on the South Australian Commis- sioners, in London, and Mr. Stevenson then took his leave of that journal, and retired into private life. He was not destined, how- ever, to remain so long ; for, on the discovery of the Burra Burra mines, in 1845, his services as a public journalist were again demanded ; and he started another newspaper, under the same style and title as the first ; that, in the meantime, having again changed hands, as also the principles on which it was conducted. This latter journal Mr. Stevenson continued to carry on until the discovery of the Vic- toria gold diggings in 1851, when three fourths of the male population of South Australia were withdrawn to the diggings and newspaper property of every kind in, Adelaide was thereby rendered valueless. Only once more had Mr. Stevenson anything to do with the South Australian press, as a permanent writer, and that was when this journal (the Adelaide Times) changed hands in 1853 ; but he could ill-brook the interference of a joint proprietary, and he soon threw up his connection with it in disgust. Since then his contributions to the Adelaide newspaper press have only been occasional, and those mainly of a non-political character. His lite- rary attainments were varied, profound, and extensive, and his influence as a newspaper writer powerful and irresistible. He had the happy knack of knowing exactly what ought to be said, and of saying no more than should be said. But there was another field in which Mr. Stevenson laboured hard to benefit the colony, and that not without the most signal success—we mean, as our first and most laborious South Australian Horticultu- rist. When others were almost afraid to turn up the soil, he had a highly cultivated garden and vineyard in North Adelaide, which was the wonder and astonishment of all who beheld it, on their first arrival in the colony. To promote a taste for this, he spared no pains, either by viva voce lectures, by the continued productions of his pen, or by the distribution freely and gratuitously of the different varieties of plants, which he himself had either imported or reared, at almost inconceivable expense. This gratuitous distribution is, of course, in- tended mainly to apply to the earlier years of tho colony, when the promotion or further- ance of a taste of this kind was of such vital importance, but it never entirely left him. Nor was there over any diminution in his efforts to introduce new and rare varieties of horticultural or floricultural products, at whatever expense, or from whatever quarter they were to be obtained. For this purpose, he corresponded with the different Botanical Societies at the Cape, in India, and in New South Wales. Even when confined to his room, just before his lamented decease, he had fresh importations of plants and trees in the St. Michael, from London, which ought to have reached him some months earlier, so as to have been planted out before the rainy season closed. This is not said in disparagement of any others, who may have laboured with him in the same field, but the colony certainly owes him a great debt of gratitude in this respect, and it would be a piece of wanton neglect and indifference to withhold the ac- knowledgment. As a public man and a public writer, he was a sworn friend, but a bitter enemy. This was to be expected from his natural temperament, and his habitual pursuits. That such a man should some- times have been spoken of slight- ingly, and especially in so small a community, where every man knows his neighbour's business and no man likes to have his own toes trod upon, is less to be wondered at than that he should have met with such acknowledged and undissembled admiration from the lips of so many. The name of George Stevenson was a household word in all parts of the colony. His intellectual vigour, and general force of character, triumphed over all. The tree might be bent for a little, but speedily bounded back to it's former position. As a domestic man he was all that could be desired. He was a devoted husband and a fond father ; and, as a consequence of this, he was idol- ised in the family circle. His bed was watched with anxious tenderness by his wife and children to the last, and richly had he earned that tenderness from them. For some time past his health had been given way, but so speedy a breaking up of his whole frame was expected by few. He had a complication of disorders, but chiefly disease of the heart, upon which dropsy super- vened, and put an end to his sufferings. He had a full consciousness of his approaching death, and, in the words of one of his most attached friends, he met it bravely. His mind was perfectly calm, and he took his departure almost without a sigh or a groan. He leaves behind him a wife and three children to de- plore his loss. He had his faults, like all
others, but the whole colony, when this reaches them, will deliberately pronounce that he de- serves to be enrolled among its earliest, its
most attached, and its most assiduous and persevering benefactors.—Adelaide Times.