Walter Padbury

1820 - 1907







Walter Padbury


Walter deserves his own mention as one of the state's most successful early entrepreneurs.

He was born at Stonesfield, Oxfordshire on December 22nd 1820. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters.

At just 10 years of age Water travelled to Western Australia with his father aboard the Protector in 1830. His mother and other members of the family were supposed to travel out once Walter's father had managed to find suitable accommodation.

His introduction to the state was less than welcoming when his father Thomas, died of pneumonia only a few months after their arrival. Walter had been left in the care of a couple who had travelled out on the same ship, but they stole the money Walter's father had left and ran off.

With the rest of his family back in England, ten year old Walter had to fend for himself and after working as a carpenter's assistant, in a hotel, as a shepherd, drover and stock agent, he saved up enough money to purchase a property near Toodyay.

In April 1844 he married Charlotte Nairn and quickly set about building an empire that was to make him one of the richest men in the colony.


In 1849 he returned to England to bring out the rest of his family.

He was the first pastoralist to take up land in the north west in 1863, but with low wool prices and the loss of one of his ships (the Emma) he was forced to abandon the enterprise after only 3 years. When Walter decided to bring his stock back from the north west he selected 22 year old Edward Roberts of the Moora district to do the job. Edward did the job so well that he arrived after an overland trek of 7 months with more stock than the 4500 he started with. (This was due to stock giving birth on the way and managing not to lose too many as he travelled.)

In 1864 Walter was elected to the Perth City Council and represented the Swan River district in the Legislative Council from December 1872 to January 1878.

In 1865 Walter bought the ship Bridgetown used the ship to trade goods to India, Singapore and London. He subsequently bought other ships to extend his trading operations including the Charlotte Padbury (1874) and Helena Mena in 1876. These ventures were successful and continued until 1890 when too much competition caused Walter to withdraw.

In 1871 Walter was elected to the First Victoria Plains Road Board and in 1875 became President of the Agricultural Society a position that he held again in 1885.

In 1877-8 he and Charlotte retired to England but found they could not stay away and returned three years later to spend the rest of their lives in their adopted home.

In 1883 Walter was appointed as a Justice of the Peace and a year later became Chairman of the Guildford Municipal Council.

In 1895 his wife Charlotte died and was buried in the East Perth Cemetery.

In 1898 Walter established the Peerless Flour Mills Ltd. at Guildford.

During his life Walter was known as a kind and generous man and when he died in 1907 with no heirs, his vast fortune was left to be divided among several churches and charities. The Walter Padbury Memorial Church at Moora was built in his honour in 1910.

Walter stands out as an example of what can be achieved with a bit of good luck and a lot of very hard work.

Note: If you are researching Walter Padbury you will no doubt find a page that has strikingly similar text to this one but does not quote this as the source. While we don't mind other sites making use of the material we provide, we do appreciate it if they quote us as a source, especially when large chunks of text are quoted verbatim.

1) - One source quotes Walter's birth year as 1817 and says he arrived in W.A. at the age of 13. Both of these claims appear to be wrong.




1820 - Born December 22nd.

1830 - Arrived in Fremantle February 25th.

1836 - Worked for the Burges brothers of York as a shepherd.

1844 - Married Charlotte Nairn in April.

1845 - Opened a butcher's in Perth.

1857 - Purchased Yathroo and also established a flour mill.

1863 - Purchased the cutter Mystery and took up land on the De Grey River.

1864 - Elected to the Perth City Council.

1865 - Purchased the ship Bridgetown that he used for trade to India, Singapore and London.

1866 - Purchased the Emma to expand trade to the north west but in 1867 she sank with all hands. This forced Walter to abandon the area.

1872 - Represented Swan River, in the Legislative Council from December to January 1878.

1874 - Had the Charlotte Padbury built at Falmouth in England.

1875 - Elected president Agricultural Society. (Also in 1885).

1876 - Purchased the Helena Mena.

1878 - Returned to England to retire but found the climate to difficult.

1880 - Came back to Western Australia.

1883 - Became a justice of the peace.

1884 - Became chairman of the Guildford Municipal Council.

1887 - First mayor of the Guildford Municipal Council.

1887 - Served on the commission on agriculture until 1892.

1890 - Withdrew from shipping due to increasing competition.

1895 - His wife, Charlotte, died in February.

1898 - Started the Peerless Flour Mills Ltd. at Guildford.

1907 - Elected vice-president Agricultural Society.

1907 - Died in April 18th.


Links to more information:


Padbury, Walter (1820-1907)

Walter Padbury

Walter Padbury




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