Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Cotton King's Claremont Was Result of Sweaty Convict Toil

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Cotton King's Claremont Was Result of Sweaty Convict Toil

Article excerpt



"THE name of John Panton has been connected for many years with the best interest of Ipswich and district, and it is difficult to reconcile the mind to the melancholy fact of his sudden departure from among us."

This was the commencement of the obituary of Mr John Panton, who had been born in Scotland in 1815 and died in Ipswich, Queensland in September 1866.

Mr Panton had arrived in Australia "when quite a lad". His father, known as "Baillis" Panton, held for several years the appointment of Postmaster-General of New South Wales.

In about 1851 he settled in Ipswich and became a merchant somewhere in Brisbane Street.

In 1858 the success of his business was such that he built a two-storey warehouse and a large residence which he named "Claremont".

A later report stated that his business came under stringent action adopted towards him by the banks, and his affairs were placed in the hands of trustees, but the fact that the whole of his liabilities were paid off in full and that he remained still an independent man, showed how entirely unwarranted had been the course pursued by the corporations.

Mr Panton was well respected, had a kind and generous disposition, became involved in the cotton industry and many regarded him as the father of the cotton industry in Queensland.

Along with Messrs Biggs and Ranken, he was also a founder of the Jockey Club. The North Australian club also owed its existence to him and others.

John Panton was the father of a large family - 11 of whom were alive in 1866.

The original home of Mr Panton, "Claremont", at the river end of Milford Street, was built of old hand hewn stones which were brought from Helidon in bullock wagons.

It was written that, "sweating convicts heaved the stones into position although some authorities doubt if convict labour would have been used at that time."

All doors and window frames were of solid cedar and most of the rooms had hand hewn marble mantelpieces.

"Claremont" was sold to Mr George Thorn and one of the other people who lived in it in earlier days was Mr Somerset Wilson. …

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