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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory

William George Stretton (1847–1920)

William Stretton was born on 1 February 1847. It is believed that he was living in Australia by 1865, apparently serving in the South Australian Mounted Police from 1865 to 1869. After apparently acting as Chief Storekeeper during the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line during 1871 and 1872, he returned to the Mounted Police in 1872.

On 6 March 1879 Stretton joined the South Australian State Public Service. By 1 August 1888 he was serving as the Customs Officer, Harbourmaster and Postmaster at Borroloola in the Northern Territory. On 13 November 1894 he exchanged positions with Charles William Nash and became Chief Warden of the Northern Territory Gold Fields. From 1 June 1896, he was Health Officer at Port Darwin and the Darwin Harbourmaster and Superintendent of Mercantile Marine.

In 1901, following Federation, Stretton became Sub-Collector of Customs, Darwin and Inspector of Distilleries at Port Darwin, responsible to the Commonwealth Department of Trade and Customs. At the same time, Stretton was apparently employed by the South Australian Government as Health Officer at Port Darwin, retaining his positions as Harbourmaster, Superintendent of Mercantile Marine and Registrar of Shipping. In February 1902, he was gazetted as the Authorising Officer and Receiver of Public Moneys in the Northern Territory for the Department of Trade and Customs. Stretton was appointed as a member of the Revision Court at Palmerston on 29 May 1905.

Stretton retired from the Public Service in February 1913. He was presented with a large cloth banner by the Wah On Society (now the Chung Wah Society) on behalf of the Chinese community of Darwin. The banner was given as a token of esteem, respect and admiration for the way Stretton had conducted his duties in respect of the local Chinese community. The banner is held by the National Archives in Canberra, and a copy is held in the Archives' Darwin Office.

Selected records relating to William Stretton
National Archives, Canberra
Chinese banner, 1913 E1244
National Archives, Darwin
Correspondence relating to Chinese banner, 1912–13 E1352
Photo of W G Stretton, undated NTAC1970/8, 616


Chapter 16
Territory Personalities