Buxton, Sir Thomas Fowell, third baronet 1837-1915, governor of South Australia, born 26 January 1837, was the eldest son of Sir Edward North Buxton, second baronet, by his wife, Catherine, second daughter of Samuel Gurney, of Upton, Essex. His grandfather, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton [qv.], was the friend of Sir James Mackintosh, William Wilberforce, and Zachary Macaulay, and succeeded Wilberforce as the leader of the anti-slavery movement. Buxton was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1858 succeeded his father as third baronet. In 1865 he was returned to parliament in the liberal interest as one of the members for King's Lynn, and he represented that constituency until 1868. His subsequent attempts to enter parliament, in 1874 (Westminster), 1876, 1879 (North Norfolk), 1880 (West Essex), were unsuccessful. He had a multitude of social interests: the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, of which he was elected president in 1899, the Volunteer movement, the welfare of African natives, the betterment of elementary schools, the Church Missionary Society, Missions to Seamen, and the Commons Preservation Society. He was closely associated with the movement begun in 1866 for saving Epping Forest, and was a generous contributor to the fund raised to enable a labourer named Willingale to contest the legality of enclosures at Loughton.
     In 1895 Buxton was appointed governor of South Australia. The choice was a happy one. The colony owed its foundation very largely to the efforts of men like the Buxtons—the members of the South Australian Association in London. This association included many people who had some of the spirit of the later Fabian socialists and who planned to set up in a new land a model state which would not reproduce the social inequalities of older countries. Many of the early South Australian settlers were people who had given up good positions in the home country in pursuit of this ideal. Their influence persisted in after generations, and Buxton, as governor of the colony, found himself in a sympathetic atmosphere. He retired from the governorship on completing his term of office in 1898, and in 1899 was created G.C.M.G. in recognition of his services. He died at Cromer 28 October 1915
     Buxton married in 1862 Lady Victoria Noel (died 1916), youngest daughter of the first Earl of Gainsborough, and had five sons and five daughters. He was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son, Thomas Fowell Victor (1865-1919).

     G. W. E. Russell, Lady Victoria Buxton: a Memoir, with some account of her Husband, 1919.

Contributor: F. F. [Frank Fox]

Published: 1927