Tom Gill (public servant)

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Thomas Gill (23 February 1849 – 21 July 1923) CMG ISO was a public servant in South Australia who served as Under-Treasurer from 1894 to 1920.



Gill was born in Glen Osmond the son of Thomas Gill (March 1816 – 1 January 1903) and Maria Florence Gill ( – 1910) née Selby, and educated at the local school.

Gill's father arrived in Albany, Western Australia aboard HMS Buffalo on 13 September 1833 in company with Sir Richard Spencer, for whom he served for three years before being involved in the construction of the coastal trader Emma Sherratt at Torbay. He was engaged with he W.A. Survey Department 1839–1844 then with the South Australian Government supervising construction of the Great Eastern Road between Glen Osmond and Crafers. He married Maria Florence Selby in 1848, and had three children: Tom, Mary Ann (1851– ), who married William Holmes on 28 December 1876, and George (1855– ) who moved to South Yarra, Victoria. [1]

In 1865 he joined the Public Service as a junior in the Volunteer Staff (the colony's militia) office. He transferred to the Audit Office, where in 1877 he became chief clerk. In 1878 he was appointed to the Agent-General's Office, London, [2] where he uncovered some valuable information regarding the way interest on the public debt of the colony was paid, resulting in significant savings. [3] In 1881 he transferred to the Treasury; in June 1889 he was appointed Accountant to the Treasury.

He served as secretary to the South Australian delegates to the 1891 Federal Convention, and in 1894 was appointed Under-Treasurer of South Australia, welcomed by the press as a "... smart, reliable, and most deserving public officer", [2] and faithfully served under eight (or nine if V. L. Solomon is counted) Treasurers of various political hues.

He retired in 1920; his replacement was Henry Furneaux Peacock. [4]

Gill and Peter Whitington were in 1922 appointed as a commission to enquire into the public service to identify savings and means of simplifying and improving procedures. [5]

He died in the Adelaide Hospital after being struck by a tram at the corner of Currie and King William streets. [6]

Treasurers for whom he served

See Treasurer of South Australia

Other interests

In 1886 he published a work on the bibliography of South Australia, and another on the Northern Territory in 1902. His large personal library featured an extensive collection of works on the early history of the Colony. He compiled and published a Bibliography of South Australia in 1886, a History and Topography of Glen Osmond in 1902, [7] and a biography of Colonel William Light in 1911.

He was a foundation member and longtime treasurer of the South Australian branch of the Royal Geographical Society. [2]

He was a trustee of the Savings Bank of South Australia from 1920, succeeding H. Allerdale Grainger.

He was a member of the Municipal Tramways Trust. [8]

He was an executive officer of the Public Service Superannuation Fund Board to 1920. [9]


He married Louisa Jane Bristow (c. 1857 – 18 September 1915) on 5 October 1874. They had a home "Willalar" in Glen Osmond. Their children were:

Walter Gill FLS (1851–1929), forestry administrator, for many years at Wirrabara, South Australia, has been described as a brother. [11] This is contradicted by what is known of their respective parents and their birthplaces.

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  1. "Personal". The Advertiser (Adelaide) . XLV (13, 795). South Australia. 5 January 1903. p. 4. Retrieved 14 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Under-Treasurer". The Evening Journal (Adelaide) . XXVI (7344). South Australia. 2 May 1894. p. 2. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  3. "The Civil Service Commission". South Australian Register . LIV (13, 299). South Australia. 28 June 1889. p. 6. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "New Under-Treasurer". The Chronicle (Adelaide) . LXIII (3, 228). South Australia. 3 July 1920. p. 34. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "The Public Service". The Advertiser (Adelaide) . South Australia. 28 July 1922. p. 11. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Death of Thomas Gill". The Express (Adelaide) . LX (17, 996). South Australia. 23 July 1923. p. 2. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Rufus" (Ernest Whitington) (23 July 1923). "A Pressman's Tribute". The Register (Adelaide) . LXXXVIII (25, 762). South Australia. p. 8. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "Mr. T. Gill Dies". The Mail (Adelaide) . 12 (584). South Australia. 21 July 1923. p. 3. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Concerning People". The Register (Adelaide) . LXXXV (22, 960). South Australia. 10 June 1920. p. 7. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "New Synod Secretary Appointed". The Advertiser (Adelaide) . South Australia. 9 February 1938. p. 25. Retrieved 19 February 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Mr. Walter Gill Dead". The News (Adelaide) . XIII (1, 873). South Australia. 17 July 1929. p. 10. Retrieved 20 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.