William Ranson Mortlock

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The Mortlock Library of Australiana is located in the Mortlock wing of the State Library of South Australia.
The main building at the Waite Research Institute.

William Ranson Mortlock (1821 – 10 May 1884) was a pioneer grazier and politician in colonial South Australia, member of the South Australian House of Assembly.[1]

Mortlock arrived in South Australia on the Imaum of Muscat on 9 November 1843. Along with his son, William Tennant Mortlock (1858–1913), grandson, John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894–1950), and John's wife Dorothy Elizabeth Mortlock (1906–1979), the Mortlocks have left the Waite Agricultural Research Institute, the University of Adelaide, the State Library of South Australia, the City of Adelaide and the State of South Australia with many significant and lasting legacies.

Family tree[edit]

0. William Mortlock (1747–1807)
0. Simon Mortlock (1749–1831) married Anne Berry[2]

1. Ann Mortlock. Married Captain William Ranson
2. John Daniel Ranson (Elphinstone, Victoria)[3]
1. William Mortlock (1789-1824) In 1813 married Mary Newling
2. Elizabeth Ann Mortlock (1814-1856) In 1833 in Meldreth married Thomas Scruby[3]
3. Henry Mortlock Scruby Snr(South Australia)(born 1843 in Cambridge.U,K)
2. a daughter
2. a daughter
2. Simon Mortlock (-1860)
3. William Doubell Mortlock
4. two children - still living in 1991[3]
2. William Ranson Mortlock (1821-1884)[1] married Margaret née Tennant
3. a daughter
3. a daughter
3. Florence Margaret ( – 23 February 1941) married (1) John Tressilian Toll on 29 December 1881 (2) John Lewis (1844–1923) on 5 July 1907
3. William Tennant Mortlock (1858-1913) married Rosina Forsyth née Tennant (c.1870-1939), daughter of Andrew Tennant (1835-1913)[4]
4. William Ranson Mortlock (1891-1892) Born in Nov 1891. Died on 16 July 1892, aged 8½ months, at Essenside.
4. John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894-1950)[5] On 7 December 1948, married Dorothy Elizabeth née Beech (1906-1979)[6]
5: - no issue
4. Frederick Ranson Mortlock (1900-1936) - never married[3]
4. son - died before adulthood
4. son - died before adulthood
Commemorative plaque on the Jubilee 150 Walkway.

William Ranson Mortlock (1821–1884), grazier and politician, was born at Moat House, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England.[1] He was a member of the South Australian House of Assembly for Flinders from 7 May 1868 to 20 April 1870, from 27 December 1871 to 28 February 1875 and again from 30 April 1878 to 22 April 1884.[7]

In 1850 at Port Lincoln he married Margaret, 18-year-old daughter of John Tennant who had arrived in South Australia from Scotland in 1839.

Aged 63 he died at Avenel House, Medindie, on 10 May 1884, survived by his wife, son and three married daughters.[1]

William Tennant Mortlock[edit]

William Tennant Mortlock (1858–1913), grazier and politician.
On 28 January 1891 at St. Peter's Church, Glenelg, he married Rosina Forsyth Tennant in a double-wedding with her sister, Clayre Jessie Tennant, daughters of Andrew Tennant.[5] Andrew Tennant was a brother of Margaret, William T's mother - i.e. Rosina and William were cousins. Mortlock was a member of South Australian House of Assembly for Flinders from 25 April 1896 - 28 April 1899 and 8 June 1901 - 2 May 1902.[8] In 1892 he bought Martindale Hall.
He died on 17 August 1913 at Martindale Hall.[1]

John Andrew Tennant Mortlock[edit]

John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894–1950), benefactor and pastoralist, was born on 30 March 1894 at Mintaro, South Australia, the second of five sons of South Australian-born parents William Tennant Mortlock, grazier, and his wife Rosina Forsyth Tennant.[5]

In 1948 John discovered he had cancer. On 7 December 1948 he married Dorothy Elizabeth née Beech at St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide.

J. A. T. Mortlock died on 15 March 1950 in North Adelaide and was buried in North Road Cemetery.[5] He left a huge estate which was held in trust and administered by his widow - they had no children.

Dorothy Elizabeth Mortlock[edit]

Dorothy Elizabeth née Beech (1906–1979), benefactor, was born on 5 October 1906 at Clapham, London, the daughter of Ernest Robert William Beech, pawnbroker's assistant, and his wife Elizabeth Lillian, née Beauchamp.[6]

On 7 December 1948 she married John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894–1950) at St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide.

After John's death, Dorothy administered the Mortlock estate. The estate funded, amongst many things, the Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Dorothy died on 10 August 1979 in Adelaide and was cremated - the marriage had produced no children.[6]

William Ranson Mortlock (1820-1884)
William Tennant Mortlock (1858-1913)
John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894-1950)
Frederick Ranson Mortlock (1900-1936)


Waite Agricultural Research Institute[edit]

In 1926, Rosina and her son John donated £2,000 to the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. In conjunction with Peter Waite's 1924 donation of a large amount of land, these funds were used to establish the Institute at Urrbrae.

Ranson Mortlock Trust[edit]

In 1936, Rosina and her son John donated £25,000 to establish the "Ranson Mortlock Memorial Research Trust" in memory of her sons William Ranson Mortlock (1891–1892) and Frederick Ranson Mortlock (1900–1936). These funds provided for research by the Waite Research Institute into soil erosion and plant regeneration at Yudnapinna station in 1952.

Mortlock Library[edit]

Main article: Mortlock Library

Martindale Hall[edit]

Main article: Martindale Hall

Martindale Hall is a Georgian-style mansion built in 1879-80 near Mintaro.
In 1892, William Tennant Mortlock bought Martindale Hall.[1]
With help from the J. T. Mortlock estate and Mrs Dorothy Mortlock, the Mortlock Experimental Station was established at Martindale Hall for research into animal production.[1]
John Andrew Tennant Mortlock, developed Martindale Station and built up an impressive collection of artwork which was displayed at the Hall. The Mortlock Family bequeathed Martindale Hall and the estate to the University of Adelaide in 1965.[9][10][11]

Jubilee 150 Walkway[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g H. Kempe, 'Mortlock, William Ranson (1821 - 1884)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, Melbourne University Press, 1974, pp 301-302.
  2. ^ http://www.mortlock.info/portraits/mports.html
  3. ^ a b c d http://www.mortlock.info/encyclopedia/China.rtf
  4. ^ Gordon D. Combe, 'Tennant, Andrew (1835 - 1913)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp 255-256.
  5. ^ a b c d Valmai A. Hankel, 'Mortlock, John Andrew Tennant (1894 - 1950)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, Melbourne University Press, 2000, pp 426-427.
  6. ^ a b c Valmai A. Hankel, 'Mortlock, Dorothy Elizabeth (1906 - 1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, Melbourne University Press, 2000, pp 426-427.
  7. ^ "Mr William Mortlock". Former Member of Parliament Details. Parliament of South Australia. 
  8. ^ "William Tennant Mortlock". Former Member of Parliament Details. Parliament of South Australia. 
  9. ^ "Martindale Hall Revisited: Clare Valley". Postcards. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Martindale Hall South Australian History". Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  11. ^ "Martindale Hall website". Retrieved 2009-01-20.