Judge Benjamin Boothby
Benjamin Boothby (1803-1868) a manufacturer in partnership
with his father, had
success in the 1830's as electoral agent for Thomas Wilde (later Lord
a barrister, who suggested that he study law. He was called
to the Bar in
1853 he was appointed the second Judge of the South Australian Supreme
Court, apparently on the recommendation of the Duke of Newcastle.
He travelled to Adelaide with his family of 12 at the same
as the Boyketts, but not on the Gipsy.
He was a man who would have insisted on a ship for himself
his family alone. Perhaps the season was right for sailing to
Australia. He was the last Judge to be appointed by the
Office. As a judge,
he upset the S.A. legal profession
his attitude. He was nearly sacked twice over his unorthodox
views, the British Parliament instead legislating each time to
that he was wrong, the first occasion in 1865. He believed
that only Judges appointed
England were validly appointed, refused to accept the status of Judges
appointed locally and ignored the second Imperial Act, which expressly
answered his point. He was finally sacked on 29 July 1867.
In 1855 the conflict may have been yet to come, because in a
letter applying for a position in the S.A.
Public Service, Thomas relies on Boothby as a reference. His
family appear to have been friendly with the
his son William was best man at William Boykett's wedding. It is
a fair assumption that Boothby
suggested Adelaide to Thomas. Other Boyketts from Kent
to the U.S., but Thomas appears to be unconnected with them.
(The sons were prominent in the S.A. public service as well.
William was Sheriff and did much to develop our electoral system.)
The voyage is described in detail in a letter Thomas wrote upon his arrival in Adelaide. Thomas was appointed Chairman of the passengers. There was a mutiny of the crew - a not uncommon occurrence. They were probably a result of the cramped conditions on board. Thomas and his sons armed themselves, and Thomas had special responsibility for the captain's protection. There was of course at least one storm. There were no seasick pills back then. The only remedy was fresh air. One female passenger tells how, when she came up on deck, the mate very kindly tied her to the mast, so that she would not be washed overboard - a very real possibility on a ship only 50 metres long.
Thomas set up his legal practice in Waterhouse Chambers, still standing at the corner of King William Street and Rundle Mall. His three sons obtained employment locally, William as the first Town Clerk of Port Adelaide, Charles in partnership with Edmund Wright, the architect responsible for the enduring look of Adelaide, John in the Government Survey Office initially, then with Downers, Solicitors.
Thomas died at home on 27 April, 1857. The cause of his death is unknown. His funeral was held the next day. His son Charles had already taken ship for Victoria, accompanied by a child. William followed in about 1859. Charles and William made their futures in Victoria. John married and became integrated into the Adelaide community.