Fenton Family

Loetitia Casey, 'Fenton Forest', 1850s? (ALMFA, SLT)

Two Anglo–Irish families, cousins, settled in the Derwent Valley and Forth. Michael Fenton (1789–1874) arrived in 1829, developed Fenton Forest, Glenora, and was a member of the nominee Legislative Council, then MHA and Speaker (1856–61). His wife, Elizabeth, wrote Mrs Fenton's Tasmanian Journal 1829–30.

James Fenton (1820–1901) was the first settler at Forth, introduced ringbarking to clear the forest and gained wealth from shipping timber to Melbourne. He wrote A History of Tasmania (1884), a biography of Charles Price (1886) and Bush Life in Tasmania (1891). His only son, Charles Benjamin Monds Fenton, farmed at Table Cape, was MHA for Wellington (1886–97) and founded the Table Cape Co-operative Butter Factory. Arthur Benjamin Fenton, a son of Charles Benjamin, was MLC for Russell (1933–57), and was succeeded by his nephew, Charles Balfour Marcus Fenton AC, MLC for Russell 1957–81 and President of the Council. Ernest Henry Fenton (1872–1941), another son of Charles Benjamin, was active in the timber industry, as were several of his sons.

Further reading: P Fenton, James Fenton of Forth, Melbourne, 2001.

Paul Fenton