WARBURTON George Edward Egerton

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  7. WARBURTON George Edward Egerton

In 1755 the 51st Regiment of Foot was renumbered (from the 53rd). It received a county designation in 1782, as the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding) Regiment of Foot. In 1821 the regiment received royal status, becoming the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, The King’s Own Light Infantry) Regiment. During the early 19th century the regiment served in the Napoleonic and Peninsular campaigns and served at Waterloo in 1815.

Between August and December 1837, six convict ships left Britain with 51st Regiment guards on board bound for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The regiment continued to arrive in Australia as convict guards, and in larger numbers on troopships, during the decade that followed. Some of these ships are profiled on the Ships page. Arguably the most famous of the journeys made by 30 officers and men was on the ship Buffalo. That story can be read on the Anecdotes page.

In June 1840, a detachment of 145 officers and men arrived in Western Australia on Runnymede from Hobart; a further 46 men arrived on Eudora and Champion between 1841 and 1844. Thirty three 51st men took their discharge and settled in Western Australia; one of them was this man featured on the right.

The 51st in Australia left Hobart for India on Java in 1847. Its last port of call was on 15th March 1847 when the balance of the detachment in WA boarded Java on her way to Calcutta.

51st Regiment at Waterloo
NAME: George Edward Egerton WARBURTONName variations: Egerton-Warburton.
Birth date and Place25 Mar 1819 Northwich, Cheshire, England [WO76-350-227/228].
Baptism date and Place27 Aug Wallazey Parish Church, Cheshire [Cheshire Archives].
Occupations pre-WAOfficer in the British Army.
Marriage date and Place(1st) 23 Nov 1842 Strawberry Hill, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#44].
(2nd) 14 Apr 1873 Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#3553].
Spouse(1st) Augusta SPENCER.
(2nd) Emily Rosina Martha COGHLAN.
Children(1st marriage):
George Augustus b.1843, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#271].
Rowland b. 1845 Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#669].
Alice b. 1847, Strawberry Farm, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1019].
Horace Egerton b. 1848, Strawberry Hill, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1208].
Augustus Egerton b. 1850 Strawberry Hill, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1442].
Mary b. 1851, Strawberry Hill, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1777].
Emma b. 1853, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#2121].
Reginald b. 1855, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#2857].
Philip Egerton b. 1856, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#3421].
Randal b. 1860, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#5497].
Anne b. 1864, Albany, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#8052].
(2nd marriage):
Francis Joseph Egerton b. 1876, Albany, Western Australia  – not verified.
Cecil William Egerton b. 1878, St Werburgh, Western Australia – not verified.
Death date and Place20 Mar 1889 Mt Barker, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#170].
Burial date and PlaceMarch 1889 St Werburgh’s Chapel and Cemetery, Mt Barker, Western Australia [Find a Grave].
Will and ProbateWill: 16 Mar 1884. Probate: 2 Apr 1889 Supreme Court of Australia.
[Cons. 3403-1889-934].
ObituariesAlbany Mail and King George’s Sound Advertiser 23 Mar 1889.
Western Mail 30 Mar 1889.
Regiment81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment.
51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) The Kings Own Light Infantry.
78th (Highland) Regiment.
51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) The Kings Own Light Infantry.
Commission date & Rank6 Oct 1837 Ensign 81st  (without purchase) aged 18 years 8 months [WO76-350-227/278].
Service/CampaignsVan Diemen’s Land 1839 & Western Australia 1839 to 1845.
Promotions2 Nov 1838 51st Ensign (removed).
28 May 1843 Lieutenant 78th (without purchase).
29 May 1843 51st (without purchase).
Medals, Clasps and BadgesNone.
Regimental Courts MartialNone.
Arrival Australian State: Ship and DateEgyptian. Embarked at Chatham 23 Mar 1839 [WO12-6200-547].
Arr. 23 Aug 1839 Hobart Town, dep. 9 Apr 1839 Sheerness, England [DPS].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateRunnymede 8 Jun 1840 from Hobart [TROVE].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaKing George’s Sound 8 Jun 1840 to 30 Jun 1842.
Perth HQ 1 Jul to 30 Sep 1842.
King George’s Sound 1 Oct 1842 to 31 Dec 1845.
[All sourcing from WO12-6202 to 6208].  See Additional Details below.
Retirement/Resignation date and Place31 December 1845 [WO12-6208-62].
War Office Reference -Statement of ServicesWO76-350-227/278.


While the official War Office Musters and Pay Lists indicate that Warburton was posted to King George’s Sound for almost his entire Army service in Western Australia, this does not reflect where he was physically ‘on the ground’.  For example Bignell’s First the Spring p.38 writes ‘Warburton in August 1840 walked to Perth a distance of 300 miles carrying a load for the greater part of the way and sleeping in the open air for fifteen nights.’  This would have been a regular occurrence as he was in command of an area of at least 100 miles radius, including Kojonup. Each quarter from October 1844 to December 1845,  Warburton and a servant were paid 1½d. per day for ‘rations’ on shore; undoubtedly as they moved about the southern half.

Warburton seems to have kept a fairly low profile given his considerable land holdings, his status as possibly the only officer of the British Army detachments to have settled permanently in the Colony, and the respect he seems to have generated in the community.  Nonetheless, shy as he may have been of public exposure, Warburton did hold the position of Superintendent, Albany Convict Depot from 1852 to 1855.  This seems ironic given a remark he wrote in a  letter (recipient unknown) in February 1849: ‘Anything rather than convict labour, though some foolish colonists here wish for it,  I sincerely pray they never obtain it’ [Bignell:p.59]; written less than 18 months before the first convicts arrived in Western Australia.

We are fortunate to have access to the private papers of his family.  Click here to view the documents by the State Library of Western Australia.