The Runting family

William Runting was born 3rd June 1813 in London and christened 25th June 1813 at St George the Martyr, Queen Square. He was the son of William Runting and Eleanor Clifton. The father William used to run errands for Mary Dixon Gunning's father. After he death of his wife in childbirth he had 4 or 5 children to provide for and we can assume that it was through this contact that his son came into contact with Mary and James Lilly's daughter.


James had already been married once, to Sophia Austin, before he married Anne Lilly in 1837. By profession he was a bookbinder. However, he was declared bankrupt in August 1843. It was announced in the London Gazette, and subsequently in newspapers throughout England, that William Runting and his partner William Jeffcoat of East Harding Street in the City were bankrupts. The newspapers list the official assignee as T.M.Alsager and the petitioning creditor as Thomas Hughes of Bunhill Row, bookbinding cloth manufacturer. This is likely to be the reason for his departure for South Africa by 1847. He stayed there with his wife and two sons for around three years before going to Melbourne in the early 1850s.


By 1853 William Runting had opened a bookshop in Collins Street East. He married Hannah Thurlow in 1856 but was a poor businessman and dependent on the fortunes of his son, William.

The history of successive generations of this family has been exhaustively recorded through the work of Muriel Runting and her brother Ross in their work 'The Family Face' first published in 1978.