Australian Dictionary of Biography

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George Samuel Hutton (1848–1913)

by Merle M. Gynther

This article was published:

George Samuel Hutton (1848-1913), accountant and Freemason, was born on 1 October 1848 at Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, son of George Hutton (1820-1902), civil servant, and his wife Mary, née Dowenend. Educated at Manchester Grammar School, he migrated to Queensland with his parents in November 1862 in the Prince Consort. After farming with his father he worked briefly in the railways, then joined Clark, Hodgson & Co., merchants at Ipswich and Brisbane.

From the late 1870s Hutton was confidential accountant with the Brisbane branch of S. Hoffnung & Co. until in October 1893 he commenced practice as a public accountant. Specializing in insolvencies and liquidations which were so numerous at the time, his practice flourished. His audit clients included his old firm Hoffnung's and the Queensland National Bank, while he managed the Queensland business of the Manchester Assurance Co. A member of the Brisbane board of advice for the Federal Institute of Accountants, and founder and principal partner of G. S. Hutton & McFarlane, he was a prominent figure in the business world.

Hutton was initiated as a Freemason in 1871 and by 1898 had succeeded Sir Samuel Griffith as provincial grand master of Queensland under the Irish constitution. Although the other States had united their lodges formed under the English, Scottish and Irish constitutions, Queensland had failed to do so and in 1903 Hutton was asked to try again. Although he succeeded in achieving a measure of unity by 1904, most of the English and many of the Scottish lodges remained aloof, and the three parent lodges in the British Isles withheld recognition from the new grand lodge of which Hutton had become grand master. The split became notorious in Freemasonry circles as the 'Queensland question'. In an effort to heal the rift he induced the governor, Lord Chelmsford, to accept nomination as grand master in his stead in 1906, but the union was not completed until 1919. The first building of the Freemasons' Homes at Sandgate was named Hutton.

6 ft 4 ins (193 cm) in height, Hutton was commissioned in the Queensland Defence Force in 1876 and retired as a captain in 1897. Through his land order certificate granted to volunteers, in 1881 he acquired fifty acres (20 ha) of land in the Gympie district. He was a member of the Hamilton Town Council in 1902-11 and mayor in 1905-06. A government appointee on the committee of the Brisbane General Hospital in 1909-13, he was active in Liberal Party politics but never stood for parliament. He was a foundation member of the Brisbane Club.

On 13 October 1885 Hutton had married a widow Catherine Palmer, née Chapman, by whom he had two daughters and a son. They lived 'a gracious sort of life' at Bay View, a fine house in spacious grounds at Albion, with his aged parents living in a small house adjacent. He died of cancer on 4 August 1913 and was buried in Toowong cemetery with Masonic and Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £5581.

Select Bibliography

  • Alcazar Press, Queensland, 1900 (Brisb, no date)
  • United Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons Queensland, The Centennial Story — the History of Freemasonry in Queensland (Brisb, 1959)
  • Australasian Insurance and Banking Record, 19 Oct 1898, 21 Aug 1913
  • Brisbane Courier, 12 Feb 1899, 12 June, 30 Nov 1906, 23 Jan 1912, 5, 6, Aug 1913
  • Week, 3 Nov 1893, 8 Aug 1913
  • Grand of Queensland, Proceedings, 1904-21 (Masonic Temple, Brisbane)
  • private information.

Citation details

Merle M. Gynther, 'Hutton, George Samuel (1848–1913)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 15 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 October, 1848
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England


4 August, 1913 (aged 64)
Queensland, Australia

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