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Thornton, William

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Birth Date: 15 June 1817 (Grenville, County Cavan, Ireland)

Death Date: 27 June 1884 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Parents: Perrott Mee Thornton and Ellen (nee Cochrane)

Family: Ellen Buttenshaw at Molong in 1842

Education: Dungannon School and Trinity College, Dublin

Religion: Church of England


Entered the East India Company's Mercantile Marine; Arrived in Sydney and obtained an appointment as a clerk in the Survey Office; Resigned and joined his cousin taking stock to South Australia, August to November 1840; Engaged in squatting pursuits in the Wellington district; Took charge of a farm near Liverpool; Entered the government service and despatched to Brisbane as second officer of Customs in 1845; Appointed Collector of Customs from 1859 until he resigned in Sept 1882; Served as water police magistrate during that time. Had interests in the Guardian newspaper and was partner in Brisbane Newspaper Co. from 1873 to 1876

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Council NONE Legislative Council 26 Sep 1866 8 Sep 1879
Council NONE Legislative Council 30 Oct 1882 27 Jun 1884 Died in Office

Additional Information

Notes: Thornton was recommended to the Legislative Council by the Macalister government because of his special knowledge of Customs business and general finance. He was very useful in the House, and the country is indebted to him for several practical measures connected with Customs and shipping. He was also very useful to the several Treasurers of the day in their efforts at tariff revision. Thornton was local director of the AJS Bank and a director of the Permanent Investment and Buildng Society

Sources: Image courtesy of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Image No.:APO-027-0001-0021; Brisbane Courier, 30 June 1884; Waterson, DB, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001)

[Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 July 2017]