Whannell, Peter Brunton
Peter Brunton Whannell came from Australia and eventually became Justice of the Peace at Fort Yale before getting let go due to a dispute called the “Ned McGowan War”.1
Whannell came to Victoria in 1858 with a letter of introduction from the British Consul in San Francisco in which he was referred to as Captain Whannell formerly of the Nizam’s service in India. Douglas appointed Whannell to Justice of the Peace and Revenue officer at Fort Yale, reported in the Victoria Gazette as: Captain P. B. Whannell, of the Victoria Yeomanry Cavalry, in Australia, and late of the Nigarris [sic] Cavalry in the East Indies. When this article was reprinted in an Australian newspaper, authorities in Australian contacted Douglas to inform him that Whannell was not a captain, but only a trooper in the Yeomanry Cavalry who had left the colony in 1856 with the wife of a resident of Melbourne.2
While employed as Justice of the Peace at Fort Yale, Whannel faced opposition while he attempted to enforce the law, which prompted Douglas to petition for a greater police force at Fort Yale.3 After his participation in incidents revolving around Edward McGowan and miners’ unrest at Yale, Whannell was arrested by his Brother Magistrate, George Perrier. As a result of issuing the arrest of Whannell, Perrier was also dismissed from his position.4
Whannell was dismissed on 23 August 1859 by Douglas who prevented him from serving in any other government position. The Australian charges were never investigated, and Whannell denied them. Upon his return to Victoria, Whannell opened a hotel on Broad street which he called Clifton House. After the hotel failed, Whannell took claim to 160 acres of land on San Juan Island. However, his attempts at farming also failed and Whannell was left destitute. Whannell attempted to return home to England, but only got as far as San Francisco.5
  • 1. Dorothy Blakey Smith, ed., The Journal of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1858-1859, The British Columbia Historical Quarterly XXI (1957-1958): 195-196.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Douglas to Lytton, 8 January 1859, 2147, CO 60/4, 42.
  • 4. Douglas to Lytton, 20 January 1859, 2738, CO 60/4, 70.
  • 5. Dorothy Blakey Smith, ed., The Journal of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1858-1859, The British Columbia Historical Quarterly XXI (1957-1958): 195-196.
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Whannell, Peter Brunton. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/whannell.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)