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Butler Philip

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1816
Place of birth England
Date of arrival c. 1840

Date of death 1899
Place of decease London, England

For eighty years, from 1846 to 1926, Philip Butler and his relations were involved in the land and the people of the present Mallala District Council Area.

Philip Butler and his friend Alexander W.Thorold Grant were granted occupation licences for land along the River Light in 1846. Philip then established his pastoral station 'Redbanks' named after the colour of the river's banks. Philip Butler also took up large leases in the area of the Hundred of Grace and Hundred of Dublin, also with Alexander Grant. After the Hundred of Grace was proclaimed in 1856, Philip took the opportunity to purchase many sections and to become a large landowner. The large landholding in the Hundred of Grace was known as 'Mallala Station' and a post office and store were developed on the property, prior to the establishment of the adjacent Mallala township.

Philip Butler was the youngest of three orphaned brothers from Oxfordshire, England. He arrived in South Australia, a well-educated, enterprising twenty-four year old and soon became one of the wealthy pastoralists in the Colony.

In 1849, he married Matilda Roe, a daughter of Captain J.S. Roe, Surveyor-General of Western Australia.

He purchased a number of acres South East of Gawler and built a large, two storey house. 'Yattalunga'. This house was known as 'Butler's Folly' because he obtained expensive building materials and was unable to proceed as the builders went away to the Victorian goldfields. When the house was completed, Philip's married brother and three young children arrived from England on 8 March 1854, and stayed at 'Yattalunga'. One of these children, Richard Butler, became a prominent member of the Mallala community, and councillor and chairman of the Grace council, before entering a parliamentary career.

Philip had became a wealthy man and was also active in civic and church affairs. In 1857 he returned to England with his wife and children. His wife Matilda died on 12 April 1862. He remarried to Margaret Chesshyre in 1863 and the family sailed to South Australia, but they soon returned to England as his new wife refused to live in 'a wilderness'.

While in South Australia during 1872 and1873, Philip disposed of 'Yattalunga' and on his return to England gradually transferred land to his family.

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