Frank Pinkerton (b.1858)

SMB Benefactor

Frank Pinkerton's obituary

Frank Pinkerton and his sister Martha were long-standing supporters of the School of Mines and Industries Ballarat (SMB) and its students. Their father William Pinkerton was one of the 'Golden City's' pioneer mining investors-each of three children were born in Ballarat.

Frank entered Ballarat College in 1877. He successfully completed a law course at Melbourne University before commencing as articled clerk to Hon. Agar Wynne, solicitor of Ballarat and Melbourne, and member of the SMB Council 188?-1894. Pinkerton was admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1885. He was also a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits in Victoria and NSW.

During these years Frank Pinkerton retained a casual interest in book publishing. In 1878 he co-authored and published Zuleika, the Pirate Queen: An Extravaganza with another College student, Charles A. Sherard. In 1889 Pinkerton published a book of poetry by Hannah Fisher, Charity in Mrs Hannah's Original Poems in Ballarat.

In 1885 Pinkerton went into partnership with one of Ballarat's leading solicitors, Charles Salter (Salter & Pinkerton) who had first established himself in practice locally in 1856. After this partnership was dissolved in 1899, Pinkerton continued in sole practice at Ballarat. The firm of Salter & Pinkerton survived until 1928 when it taken over by another local firm, Cuthbert, Morrow, Must & Shaw.

Frank Pinkerton played a prominent role in Ballarat's civic affairs and was honorary solicitor to various important institutions, including the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum. He died at Ballarat on 24 March 1931, leaving an estate valued at approximately £32,000. Under the terms of Pinkerton's Will, the School of Mines and Industries received the sum of £1,000 as a fund to provide income to found a scholarship, to be called the 'Frank Pinkerton Scholarship.' His sister Martha died at Ballarat 5 April 1939.

Following their deaths, the School became the recipient of two important bequests that led to the establishment in perpetuity of the following student scholarships: firstly, the Frank Pinkerton scholarship valued at £30 per annum for three years and free tuition in architecture, metallurgy, applied chemistry, mining, electrical, mechanical or civil engineering-and secondly, the Martha K. Pinkerton art scholarship of the same value.

A number of other significant Bequests were also distributed for example, £5,000 to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Collins Street, Melbourne; £3,000 to the Mayor, councillors and citizens of Ballarat, for the purpose of buying a piece of statuary for erection in the Gardens on Sturt Street; £1,000 to St Andrew's Kirk Presbyterian Church, Ballarat; £1,525 to the University of Melbourne to endow a scholarship in the law of real and personal property, to be known as the 'Frank Pinkerton Scholarship.' By 1994 the value of that original sum had increased to A$16,120.

The winners of the Frank Pinkerton Scholarship are:
1968 B.E. Van Every and P.W. Pittard
1970 J.M. Ryan and N.E. Kerby
1971 B.C. Edward and C.D. Haustorfer
1972 B.C. Edward and G.A. Holland

Biography written by Di Campbell, 30 November 2005

Image Caption: Newspaper clipping of Frank Pinkerton's obituary, from the SMB Press Clippings Scrapbook (Cat.No.5669)