Shilton, Charles Thomas

Date of Birth/Death:


Coach driver.

Charles Thomas Shilton was born on 7 May 1854 in Gloucestershire the son of James Shilton, labourer and Mary. Charles arrived in South Australia in December 1875 on the Lady Jocelyn as a young single agricultural labourer. Three years after arriving, he married sixteen-year-old Euphemia Craigie on 23 December 1878 in the United Methodist Free Church in Adelaide. She was the daughter of William Cullen Craigie and Margaret (Mary) Ann Wylie of Strathalbyn, and grand-daughter of Benjamin Wylie and Euphemia Bell, later described as from Esk Bank at Strathalbyn, who had arrived on the Fairfield from Liverpool on 30 April 1839. Charles and Euphemia had nine children – one died as an infant:

  • Charles Henry (Harry) born 1879 in Adelaide and married Laura Elizabeth Clements in 1905 at St Pauls Church, Adelaide. He died in Adelaide in 1956.
  • Albert born 1881in Adelaide, married Alice Marina Hunt. He died in 1952 at Glenside.
  • Percy John born 1885 in Adelaide, married Clarice Mabel Barret. He died at Angaston in 1926.
  • Olive (Ollie) May born 1888 in Adelaide, married Albert Lloyd at Hilton in 1918. She died in 1930 in Adelaide.
  • Frank Harold born 1890 in Adelaide, married Hazel Grace Warren married at the Methodist Church, Bull Creek (near Strathalbyn) in 1911. He died in 1976 at Myrtle Bank.
  • Ruby Florence born 1895 in Willunga, married George Francis Howard in Adelaide in 1914. She died in 1987 at Lockleys.
  • Charles Thomas born 1899 in Kangarilla, died at Kangarilla aged 5 months.
  • Euphamia (Fame) Bell Wylie born in Kangarilla 1900 married Richard George Freer at St Pauls Church, Adelaide in 1920.
  • Doris Neta Clarie born 1904 in Normanville, married Ronald Stanley Inwood in 1944. She died in 1982 at Glengowrie.

Charles Shilton drove coaches for Cobb & Co. and later for John Hill & Co, initially living at or near their Pirie Street depot which stabled 500 horses. From 1881 to 1895 Charles drove the morning coach from Adelaide to Willunga and back. Following that, he drove for seven years from Blackwood to Kangarilla to connect with the Ashbourne coach driven by his son Harry. He transferred to the Noarlunga to Normanville route for seven years, then returned to the Willunga run for two years. His usual pay in later years was six gold sovereigns a month. His final work for John Hill & Co was at their Pirie Street headquarters where he drove drags and other horse-drawn vehicles. Charles’ sons Frank, Harry and Percy were coach-drivers on hills routes including Ashbourne, Kangarilla, Blackwood, Normanville and Angaston.

Charles Shilton played a prominent part in two historical events. He drove the coach that took the Duke of York (later King George V) and his brother the Duke of Clarence part of the way from Adelaide to Melbourne via the Coorong, during their visit to South Australia in 1881. In recognition, he was presented with a silver-mounted whip now on display at Willunga Court House Museum. When the Star of Greece was ship-wrecked at Port Willunga in 1888, he drove a coach from Adelaide to transport the traumatised survivors back to Adelaide. Charles and Euphemia celebrated their silver wedding at Normanville in 1903. He retired from coach driving during World War I. In 1916, although over 50 years of age, he served for six months in the Remount Reinforcements Unit at Mitcham where his skills as a horseman were invaluable in training Australian war horses for overseas service.

Tragedy struck in June 1926 when Charles and Euphemia’s son Percy accidentally killed himself while shooting rabbits on his farm at Angaston. Euphemia died two years later in July 1928, aged 66. Following his War service, Charles worked for Harris Scarfe Ltd until 1929 when he was 75. In his retirement he was cared for by his daughter Doris. He died 6 June 1945 at his home in Blackburn Street, Adelaide, aged 91 years.


Gloucestershire Archives; Gloucester, Gloucestershire; Gloucestershire Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Numbers: Gdr/V1/452 per Ancestry

Passengers in History, South Australia Maritime Museum,

Genealogy SA,

National Archives of Australia, SHILTON Charles Thomas : Service Number – 2836 : Place of Birth – Lechlade England : Place of Enlistment – Adelaide SA : Next of Kin – (Wife) SHILTON Euphemia B2455,

1926 ‘BLED TO DEATH’, The Mail, 5 June, p. 10.,

1945 ‘Out Among The People’, [Oldest Coach Driver], Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), 14 June, p. 39. , viewed 12 Mar 2024,

FlickrID=16664128270, 16631659318, 16611918757

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