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About John Hutt
John Hutt (July 24, 1795–April 9, 1880) was Governor of Western Australia from 1839 to 1846.
Born in London on July 24, 1795, John Hutt was the fourth of 13 children of Richard Hutt of Appley Towers, Ryde, Isle of Wight. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, and in 1815 inherited Appley Towers. He is said to have lived extravagantly, and eventually found it necessary to sell his estate and enter the Madras Civil Service. When he did so is unknown, but in about 1830 he was collector of the North Arcot district. He later became Governor of North Arcot.
Along with his brother William Hutt, John Hutt was heavily involved in the arrangements for the establishment of the colony of South Australia. He was recommended to the position of first Governor of South Australia, but was instead appointed to succeed Sir James Stirling as Governor of Western Australia. He took office on January 1, 1839, holding the position until resigning his commission on February 19, 1846.
Politically a liberal, one of Hutt's first actions as governor was to increase the membership of the Western Australian Legislative Council by adding four unofficial nominees. He also oversaw many changes in the colony's land regulations, especially in the enforcement of the conditions governing land grants. It is said that his rule "saved the infant settlement from utter disaster, even though eventually he may have erred on the side of over-caution."1
Hutt's attitude to the Aboriginal peoples of Western Australia was notably different to that of both Stirling and most of the settlers. Relations between the settlers and the natives had deteriorated badly in the final years of Stirling's reign, with natives regularly spearing stock, robbing houses, and occasionally murdering settlers. Stirling's response was to attempt to subdue the Aboriginal people through harsh punishment. In contrast, Hutt implemented a policy of protecting the rights of Aborigines, and educating them where possible. His approach made him very unpopular with frontier settlers, who felt that themselves more in need of protection than the natives. Hutt developed a personal interest in the languages and culture of the Aboriginal peoples, and helped fund George Fletcher Moore's book A Descriptive Vocabulary of the Language in Common Use Amongst the Aborigines of Western Australia.
After resigning as Governor of Western Australia, Hutt returned to England, where he apparently went through more money. For a while he lived in Chelsea Hospital. He died, unmarried, in his brother's house on April 9, 1880.