Fremantle Stuff > people >
Marshall Waller Clifton and his wife Elinor (née BELL) arrived in 1830 with their eleven children. In 1841 Clifton was Chief Commissioner for the settlement at Australind. After Captain Henderson left the colony in 1863, Clifton and family moved into his house, The Knowle, remaining there until 1892.
Without misrepresentation by the press, Clifton might have led a determined body of opinion favouring liberal views on finance and constitutional development against the settler influence which became entrenched for the rest of the century. Dubbed 'King Waller' by Rev. John Wollaston for his grand manner and arrogance when crossed, Clifton seems to have commanded great respect rather than affection, though his hospitability was bountiful and his spirit elastic. He was widely known for his horticultural experiments. His vigorous intellect and long administrative experience added weight to his opinions, advanced with rare skill in debates and belying the shortness of his stature. His aim was the welfare of the majority rather than the increasing prosperity of the wealthy. His strong-minded wife continued Quaker observances all her life and helped to influence their descendants. Among them were his grandsons, Robert Cecil Clifton, I.S.O., under-secretary for lands, and Harry F. Johnston, surveyor-general; and their sons, Edmund Cecil Clifton, registrar of titles, and Frederick Marshall Johnston, Commonwealth surveyor-general.
Another son, Leonard Worsley Clifton (1830-1895) was Collector of Customs 1862-1891 in buildings in Marine Terrace between Henry and Collie Streets.
One daughter, Louisa, left diaries which are available in full on the website of the Australind Family History Society, as well in part in the article by Mrs Chase below. Louisa married George Eliot, then Govt Resident for the district of Bunbury, where the couple lived.
There was a Clifton Street close to the sea in North Fremantle, running between John Street and the river. It may well have been named after a member of the family, perhaps Leonard, as his office was in Fremantle.
Clifton, E. 1927, 'The Founding of Australind', Early Days, vol. 1, part 1: 38-45.
Chase, Mrs E. 1927, 'Early days at Australind', Early Days, vol. 1, part 1: 45-54.
Staples, A. C. 1965, 'Marshall Waller Clifton', Early Days, vol. 6, part 4: 53-74.
Staples, A.C. 1969, Bio in ADB.
Garry Gillard | New: 11 April, 2021 | Now: 19 June, 2022