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Peter Augustus Lautour 1787-1866

Often aka "Latour". I have silently corrected many incidences.

He was an Anglo-French military officer who was one of the two major absentee investors in the Swan River colony. (The other being Solomon Levey.) He never came to the Swan River Colony and his business here was conducted by an agent, Richard Wells.

Many of the settlers on board the Marquis of Anglesea, and most of those on board the Lotus, which arrived 23 October 1829, were indentured to British Army Colonel Peter Lautour who planned an ambitious emigration scheme on 100,000 acres of land in the Leschenault area. (Among them were the Gallops.) The scheme came to nothing, and within a year most settlers were freed from their indentures.

Alexandra Hasluck:
Colonel Peter Lautour was the promoter of a much smaller settlement scheme than Thomas Peel's. He sent out eighty-five settlers by the Calista and the Marquis of Anglesea under the management of Richard Wells. They arrived at Swan River in August 1829. His establishment was located at Fremantle while waiting for suitable land, and Mr Wells had the same trouble with idle, grumbling servants as did Peel. Land to the extent of 100,000 acres was allotted on the amount of Colonel Lautour's capital investment. He himself never set foot in the colony. Hasluck 1965: 112.
... Colonel Lautour, who had made an attempt at a settlement scheme in 1829 but who, like Peel, had failed, managed to get the Western Australian Company interested in the 100,000 acres of country he possessed situated on Leschenault Inlet, near the townsite of Bunbury. William Hutt, M.P., a brother of Governor Hutt, belonged to the company, and so did Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Lautour himself, Jacob Montefiore, and quite a few other well-known people. Hasluck 1965: 218.

The first locally-grown wheat was ground into flour in Colonel Lautour's horse flour mill, which was situated on the corner of Market Street and Bay Street [Elder Place], during 1831. Hitchcock: 222.

Colonel P. A. Lautour, who introduced large capital in stock and servants, and received grant of land amounting to 113,100 acres on the Swan and Helena Rivers and at Leschenault, also suffered. So disappointed was he with the land he obtained, and the early evanishment of his capital, that he determined to leave the colony. The dimensions of his investments were nearly half those of Mr. Peel, and, as with the pioneer, he served the colony well in introducing large numbers of people, but he had not heart enough to remain in it through its first struggles. Kimberly, History of West Australia, Ch. 11.

Heritage Council:
Point Lautour is named after the original land owner of the large portion of land north of the Collie River. Colonel Peter Augustus Lautour was an Anglo French military officer who made a significant investment in the Swan River Colony. He never visited the colony but his representative Richard Wells selected a holding of 103,000 acres known as Wellington Location 1 in 1830.
His land was transferred to The West Australian Company which was responsible for the establishment of the settlement at Australind. Some of the first settlers who were part of the scheme were Lautour's indentured servants.
A survey of the land was undertaken in 1840 by surveyor H.M.Ommaney and in his fieldbook the name is first recorded as Point Lautour.
In 1879, it was noted in The West Australian that the land was being transferred to Benjamin Piggott and the description of the lot includes a reference to a tree on the point marked with two horizontal lines as a survey reference marker. It is believed that this tree still exists on the site.
The swampy land to the east of the Point is known as the "mier" a Nyoongah word.

Lautour had a horse-driven flour mill in Adelaide Street (Market Street?). It also contained the first printing press in the colony, a Ruthven press. The WA Museum has a page about the machine: see my page for the Observer newspaper.

References and Links

Hasluck, Alexandra 1965, Thomas Peel of Swan River, OUP, Melbourne.

Hitchcock, J.K. 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia, 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

WAGS page for the ship Lotus.

Garry Gillard | New: 10 May, 2020 | Now: 9 September, 2023