(b Maldon, Essex, Nov 8, 1831; d Melbourne, Jan 8, 1904).
Australian philanthropist and businessman of English birth. In Britain he was apparently apprenticed to an apothecary before migrating to Victoria in 1853, where he profited from transporting supplies to the gold-fields in a horse-drawn dray. This enabled him to go into business in Melbourne, where by 1857 he was established as an importer and agent, and four years later he was recorded as a wholesale pharmacist. In 1867 in partnership with F. Grimwade he acquired control of a chemical supply company of which Grimwade had been manager. They prospered as Felton Grimwade & Company, dominating the market and establishing subsidiaries in other Australasian colonies. They also expanded into related fields of manufacturing such as acid works, glass making, eucalyptus oil extraction and salt production. Felton also personally invested in several rural properties.
Although probably largely self-educated, Felton had a keen interest in art and literature. He is recalled as a moderately eccentric bachelor who lived frugally in modest lodgings at the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, where he kept his large collection of books and works of art. He was a dedicated philanthropist, and during his lifetime he regularly donated large sums to various charitable causes. He bequeathed his fortune for the equal benefit of the ...