Back to . . North Devonshire Regiment
Another old Colonist in the person of Mr William Lockton passed away at the residence of Mrs M. C. Kenny, Pekina at the age of 78 years after a life of many ups and downs. He was born on the 5th September 1826, in the parish of St George’s, London. On the14th October 1844 he enlisted in the 11th Regiment Foot commanded by Colonel Sir Michael Cray. Was first quartered at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, where he went through his recruit drill, after which he was sent with a detachment to Ipswich Redouby (10 gun battery), where he stayed for four months. On being recalled to head quarters he got marching orders for service abroad, and on the 10th August 1845 he sailed from Gravesend dor Van Diemans Land [Tasmania] in the troopship ‘Ramalees’ under Major Singleton with 750 mixed troops and stores aboard. Good weather prevailed during the voyage, but notwithstanding this the troops had a rough time as six men were served with only four men’s rations. Drill every day on board, and once a week in full marching order regardless of the state of the weather. Arrived in Hobart on 10th December, where he remained for 12 days and sailed again the troopship Lady Franklin with 75 men (No. 8 Company) aboard, bound for Spring Bay, Maria Island where they had to guard State prisoners, the notorious Smith Obrian [O’Brien] being one of them. After nearly two years of this work they were next ordered to Launceston where for 15 months they were escorting prisoners to Perth from Launceston, a distance of 12 miles. On receiving orders for Sydney, they marched from Launceston to Hobart (121 miles), where they embarked on the barque, Sir Edward Paget arriving in Sydney on 28th August, where they remained for seven months, six weeks of which was spent guarding prisoners on Cockatoo Island, Parramatta River.
Sailing for Adelaide in the ship ‘Ratcliffe’, arriving in March, they remained in Barracks for a week or two after which Mr Lockton went as coachman to the Commissariat General, which position he held for two years. Through a reduction in the Regiment from 1,000 to 750, he applied for and received a free discharge, his discharge being 1st October 1850. Unknown to the Military Authorities he had married in 1849, and after receiving his discharge he went together with his wife to Bagot’s Station, about five miles from Kapunda, where he worked for two years. In May 1852, he started for the Bendigo Diggings in the barque, ‘Anna Dixon’.
Making up a party of six they started on foot from Melbourne, paying a teamster £1 a piece to carry their swags to Forrest Creek, about 80 miles away. On arriving at the fields they found everything selling at fabulous prices. Flour was £20 a bag, salt, sugar and soap two shillings per lb., but splendid mutton could be had at 3s 6d [35 cents] a quarter [112 pounds or 50 kg]. He could not buy a tent so they camped under boughs for five weeks in very wet weather. He did quite well during his three-month stay, taking 14lbs of pure gold out of one claim, as much as three and a half pounds being washed out in one afternoon, went back home, but made another start five months later, was not so successful the second time, after coming home again he went to live at Mt Barker, staying there about two years, subsequently he took up land at Moppa Springs [near Greenock, Barossa Valley] where he shifted with his family. Here he followed farming pursuits for 18 years, but on the North land being open for selection he took up land at Black Rock where he resided till his death.