1795 - 1880
Born in London to Richard Hutt and Gilly Flower, John was the 4th child and eldest son of 13 children. He joined the East India Company in 1813 and served with that organisation until 1826 when he returned to England.
In 1815 John (as the eldest son) inherited the family estate. It is said that an extravagant lifestyle led to him selling the estate and entering the Madras Civil Service. Later the estate was bought back around 1870 by his younger brother William (later Sir William Hutt).
His brother, William Hutt, was closely involved in the settlement of South Australia. John was appointed superintendent of emigration for the South Australian Colonization Commission and both he and William applied for the Governorship of South Australia but neither was successful.
John Hutt arrived in W.A. on January 1st 1839 and took over as Governor after Stirling resigned and returned to England.
He had previously been Governor of North Arcott, Madras but his close adherence to regulations made him much less popular than his predecessor.
When Hutt replaced Stirling as the Governor, there was a change in policy toward the Aboriginal people with Hutt declaring; ‘the absolute necessity which exists, for not allowing any outrage, either on the part of the white population towards the Natives, or vice versa to pass unnoticed.’
One of Hutt's first actions on taking over the Governorship was to increase the number of people on the Legislative Council by adding 4 appointed un-official members.
Hutt was impartial in his decisions and although not liked by the general populace he was at least respected. He was blamed, somewhat unfairly, for policies that were forced on him from London. One of these was for the resumption of unimproved land within the time allotted. Hutt tried to alleviate this by allowing the retention of 25% of an unimproved grant and granting a remission certificate to the value of 1s 6d an acre for the balance of the resumed land to be used for buying crown land in other locations.
Hutt also had instructions to raise the price of crown land from 5s to 12s and acre but he resisted implementing this rise until London made it clear that it had to be done and the price was finally increased in 1840. Just a year later the price rose to £1 an acre.
He resigned from the Governorship before his tenure was complete but he had the satisfaction of seeing the area under cultivation in the colony double during his administration and over 1 million acres held in clear title. The population of the colony also more than doubled during this time.
His private secretary said of him:
'I cannot but admire the Governor's unwearied attention to every department of the colony from the most minute to the highest, and I may say the strict impartiality of his conduct looking to the well being of the community and disregarding individual interest, but at the same time he is too austere a turn of mind, brought on by too much solitude and study, wanting the kindlier feelings, sympathies of our nature and as he himself has stated without generosity he is too much inclined to stretch the law to the utmost'.
John Hutt never married and one source says that he died at Chelsea Hospital in 1880. We have been given information from a descendant of John Hutt's eldest sister that John did not actually die at Chelsea Hospital but at home on the family estate at Appley in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
Our thanks to Frank Grenfell for supplying some information about John Hutt.