George Hamilton – Biography


George Hamilton

George Hamilton came to Australia from Hertfordshire when he was a young man. He and Eyre became close friends in Melbourne in 1837.  He then arrived in Adelaide during 1839, when he overlanded a mob of cattle from Melbourne following Charles Bonney’s southern route. A lover of horses, he rode in a race on the day he arrived.

After following commercial pursuits, he entered the civil service in South Australia in 1848. He rose to the position of Commissioner of Police, which he held from 1867 until his retirement in 1882. He improved the training of police horses and did much to raise the status of the mounted police. His prudent and visionary management led to the re-establishment of a detective unit and the use of camels in the far north.

He was a skilled amateur artist. Beside his pictures of bush and sporting subjects, he contributed illustrations to the Journals of both Eyre and George Grey.

Energetic and a disciplinarian as Police Commissioner, Hamilton was nonetheless noted for his genial nature in his private life. In fact, some of his poetry was surprisingly sentimental.

He was one of the founder members of the Adelaide Club in 1863. Being a bachelor, he made it his home and died there when 71 years old.