Gamaliel Butler

#56862, b. 1784

Individual's Timeline

Birth1784Gamaliel Butler
Marriage1810Gamaliel Butler

Primary events

  • Birth: Gamaliel Butler was born in 1784.
  • Marriage: He married Sarah Paine in 1810. Many children born in England prior to their coming to AU.
Some aspects of Gamaliel Butler's life. Gamaliel Butler (1783-1852), lawyer, was born on 17 December 1783 at Hounslow, England, the third son of John George Butler, corn merchant, and his wife Ann, née Venables. Articled in 1801 to a cousin, Benjamin Goode of London, Butler was admitted to the rolls in London in 1808, and practised in Watling Street for eighteen years. Encouraged by reports from his brother-in-law, Edward Paine, who had emigrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1820, Butler and a partner invested £10,000 in a cargo of sugar for sale in the colony. News of Paine's drowning and anxiety as to the outcome of his investment decided Butler on visiting the colony. He arrived in Hobart Town with his wife, in the Prince Regent in July 1824, secured the disposal of the sugar, and was admitted as a practitioner in the Supreme Court, although he intended to return to England. Impressed with the colony's potential and the success of his practice, he decided to remain.

He applied for the customary land grant, became a director of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land in 1829, and was associated with the Commercial Bank. He was a member of the Hobart Town Book Society, and assumed some social responsibility on joining the Benevolent Society on its foundation in 1834.

Of a forthright personality and with astute business sense, he achieved success in his profession and added to his enemies, one of whom was the diarist, George Boyes, who dubbed him 'one of the richest lawyers and greatest rogues in the country'. Investing his capital in land, he soon owned large properties far and wide in Van Diemen's Land, and many allotments in Hobart.

On 5 July 1810 Butler had married Sarah (1787-1870), the eldest daughter of Edward Paine (1756-1843) of Richmond, Surrey, livery tailor to George III. The surviving six of the ten children born in England were left in the care of relatives when their parents emigrated. They were educated in England, and in the 1830s came to the colony where six more children were born. On 2 February 1852 Butler died in Hobart at Stowell, the house he had bought from the colonial secretary, John Montagu, for £6000. His widow died on 13 August 1870.

His third son, Henry, achieved eminence as a surgeon, politician and educationalist, and Francis, the fourth, was the architect of Hobart's Memorial Congregational Church, the Commercial (later E. S. & A.) Bank, and the Cotswold-style stone stables at Shene, Butler's Bagdad estate. Three other sons entered the legal profession. Butler had taken R. W. Nutt into partnership and when his sons joined the firm it became known as Butler, Nutt & Butler. In 1966 the seventh generation of Gamaliel Butler's descendants were practising law in Tasmania.

Miniatures of Gamaliel and Sarah Butler and portraits of Edward Paine Butler and his wife Martha Sarah, née Asprey, are in the possession of Mr Eustace Butler, Launceston, Tasmania; Wainewright's painting of three of Butler's daughters is in the possession of Miss D. Bisdee, Snug, Tasmania.1

Locus Operandi

  • 1784

Child of Gamaliel Butler

  • Edward Paine Butler b. 1811, d. 1849

Children of Gamaliel Butler and Sarah Paine

  • Sarah Butler b. 1813, d. 1887
  • Ann Butler+ b. 1815, d. 13 Jul 1888
  • Charles Butler b. 1 Jul 1820, d. 8 Jul 1909
  • Henry Butler b. 16 Nov 1821, d. 27 Aug 1855
  • Eliza Butler b. 1822
  • Francis Butler b. 24 May 1823, d. 7 Jan 1916
  • Georgiana Butler2 b. 7 Nov 1824, d. 29 Jun 1878
  • Alfred Alexander Butler b. 5 Jul 1826, d. 6 May 1902
  • John James Butler2 b. 7 Feb 1828, d. 18 Dec 1896
  • Richard William Butler2 b. 1 Aug 1829, d. 8 Jan 1913
  • Ellen Jane Butler2 b. 28 Jul 1831, d. 27 Apr 1905
  • Maria Butler2 b. 3 Jan 1833, d. 29 Oct 1891


  1. Copyright 2006, updated continuously, ISSN 1833-7538 Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian Dictionery of Bigraphies online,
  2. Tasmanian Archives database: Tas Links.