Hampton Gleeson

Hampton Carroll Gleeson, born in Calcutta on the 14 Sep 1829 to John Hampton Gleeson and Elizabeth Lawson, arrived in South Australia on the Emerald Isle on 24 July 1838. His father and brother Edward Burton Gleeson, later better known as the King of Clare, were also on board as was William Baker and his wife. Other arrivals during that year were John Chambers, Philip Levi, John Warren, and J.W. Bull. All of them were to leave their mark on South Australia's early history, and particularly on that of the Flinders Ranges.

Gleeson was very much involved with the early mining industry. He held three mineral leases in his own name, three in joint names with McEllister, nine in joint names with Frost and one mineral lease together with Beare, all of them in the Northern Flinders Ranges. On 17 April 1862 Gleeson and three other partners took out leases, which included the Welcome mine, and paid the rent in advance for the next ten years. Ore from this mine was shipped to England.

Mining at the Daly and Stanley Copper Mines was started in 1862 but only the highest grades were recovered. In 1869 he stated that they had a few men employed there for a short time getting out the ore. All the blasting that was necessary was merely in the solid copper ore. We paid £10 a ton for cartage and still had a profit left. The miners were paid 2 guineas a week with flour and stores at cost price. However due to the prohibitive transport costs mining was discontinued. In September 1872 it was proposed to introduce some hundreds of Chinese to work these mines.

After a trip to the northern Flinders in October 1872 he reported a scarcity of labour at all mines in the north. As late as 1907 the Lyndhurst (SA) Copper Company, incorporated in London proposed to raise £200.000 to acquire the Daly mine. Between 1908 and 1911 they produced some 1500 tons of copper.

During his extremely busy and interesting life he did find time to get married on 17 November 1860, to Susan Mary McEllister at Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral. While living at Clare Mrs Gleeson had a son on 4 August 1861, followed by another son on board the Sussex on 22 May 1863. A third son was born on 5 March 1865 while the Gleeson family stayed at Barnard Street in North Adelaide.

Gleeson, after having resided at Illinawortina, about 28 kilometres northeast of Mount Serle in the Northern Flinders Ranges for some 3 years in the late 1860s, believed that thousands of men could be put to work there. Apart from his interest in mining he also bought up large sections of land in newly opened agricultural areas. At the land sales held on 16 February 1871 he bought 445 acres in the Hundred of Whyte. Gleeson also became involved in politics and served as a Member of Parliament.

John Hampton Gleeson's time in South Australia was only very short. He died on 4 Sep 1840 at his house in East Terrace two years after the family's arrival. Susan Gleeson died on 19 May 1887 and is buried at the West Terrace Cemetery as is her son Hampton Carroll Gleeson, junior, who died of diphtheria in 1869.

Hampton Carroll Gleeson, JP died at his residence, Juliette 44A Bayswater Road  Darlinghurst in Sydney, New South Wales in April 1907 at the age of 72 and is buried at the RC Waverly Cemetery, Sydney.


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