John Spencer Brunton was born at Melbourne, Victoria, on 29 August 1861, son of Scottish immigrant the Hon. Thomas Brunton (1831-1908), MLC Victoria, and his wife Jane, nee Chattaway. In 1887 he married Evangeline (Effie) Rainer who died in 1896. In 1898, he married Eleanor Moffitt Thorne who died on 2 February 1936. He had two sons and died at Woollahra on 12 December 1937.
Occupation & interests
Brunton was educated at Scotch College Melbourne. He learned the flour milling business from his father who was a prominent Victorian mill owner. In 1887 Brunton senior opened a branch of his Australian Flour Mills at Granville near Sydney, subsequently run by his sons. John Spencer Brunton became senior partner of Brunton and Company with branches in Victoria and NSW. Brunton was a member of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce for many years, becoming president in 1900. His son John Moffitt Spencer Brunton (d.1948) later became managing director of the family business. John Brunton senior was a racehorse owner, yachtsman and golfer, being a member of the Royal Sydney yacht Squadron, the Prince Alfred Yacht Club, the Royal Automobile Club, and the Royal Sydney Golf Club. About 1886, John Spencer Brunton built Brunyarra at Strathfield as his family home. He also lived at one time at Gladswood, Double Bay, formerly known as Glenyarrah.
Brunton was instrumental in the formation of the Municipal Reform Association. For about 16 years, he was with the NSW Lancer Regiment and the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, retiring as Major.
Local government service
John Spencer Brunton was elected Alderman of Sydney City Council for Lang Ward on 31 January 1914, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Arthur Cocks. He served to 1 December 1918. He was a member of the Finance Committee, 1914-18 and the Electric Lighting Committee, 1914-17.
J. Ann Hone, ‘Brunton, Thomas (1831–1908)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brunton-thomas-3097/text4589, accessed 29 January 2013.
City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photo: CRS 54/240
Gibbney, H J & Smith, Ann G 1987, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, ANU
Seventh Congress of Chambers of Commerce of the British Empire (Sydney, W E Smith, 1909)
Society of Australian Genealogists: AGCI index
Strathfield Heritage strathfieldheritage.org
Town and Country Journal 4 February 1914, p 28
Who’s Who in Australia 1927-28