ALMOST 177 years after James Dalton Senior started a shop near Lucknow, his descendants are still reaping the rewards of his entrepreneurialism.
About 85 people aged between 16 months to their mid-eighties gathered at Duntryleague on Saturday night for a dinner, followed by a barbecue at Summer Hill on Sunday.
James Dalton Snr was a convict for his role in an alleged kidnapping in Ireland in the 1830s. He earned his ticket of leave in 1840, and by 1849, acquired the parcel of land which became Duntryleague.
James Dalton Junior built the mansion and started a store on Summer Street, which he ran as Dalton Brothers with brother Thomas.
"We can't take credit for what they did, but it's nice having that connection."Timothy Dalton
Thomas's great great-grandson, Tom Dalton V, was at the weekend's festivities, and said he liked the way the family could trace its roots back.
"I have a lot of pride in it. I went to the same schools all Dalton boys should go to, it's part of your thinking," he said.
"Two brothers came to Australia and now there's hundreds of people representing them."
Today, many of the iconic properties built and owned by the Daltons have passed into other ownership, but Timothy Dalton said his family still felt an enduring connection to Orange, even from their home in Bondi.
Mr Dalton, who is descended from James Dalton Jnr's fourth son Edward Bede, even named his son Oliver James.
"We took him for a walk through the gardens at Galbally, which was my great-grandfather's home," he said.
"We can't take credit for what they did, but it's nice having that connection."
Family members travelled from interstate and even Thailand to attend the reunion.
John Kelman, whose mother Peggy grew up at Duntryleague, flew his plane from his property near Maryborough in Queensland.
Author David Hunt, whose wife Alison is a Dalton descendant, used his expertise in history to speak about the kind of world James Dalton Snr would have faced.
"He was separated from his family and he would have been doing hard labour, so it was tough," he said.
"James Dalton Jnr sailed from Ireland during the heart of the potato famine where people were dying like flies to a country he knew nothing about."
Mr Hunt said James Snr's success was "atypical".
"The store really took off during the gold rush. They made their fortune not from gold, but by selling things to the miners," he said.
THE DALTON FOOTPRINT IN AND AROUND ORANGE
'Knocklong' - 73 Hill Street
Built in 1863 for Thomas Dalton, James Dalton's older brother, who moved to the city from America in the 1850s to go into business with his brother. It became Thomas's summer home when he moved to Sydney to take care of the family's business interests there. Now located adjacent to the entrance to the Orange Regional Conservatorium, the original block was massive - fronting Hill, Summer and Clinton streets.
Dalton Brothers store - Summer Street
The first part of Dalton Brothers store - made of weatherboards - opened in Summer Street in the 1850s, but the current building dates from around 1870. Over the course of 150 years it has had numerous modifications. After the Dalton Brothers business closed in the 1920s he iconic building housed Western Stores and Myer, among other department stores.
'Kangaroobie' - Kangaroobie Road
Built in the 1870s by James Dalton for his son, Michael Francis Dalton. Designed, like 'Duntryleague' by English architect, Benjamin Backhouse, the homestead was built in Federation Queen Anne style, with period features. It was built on the site of the original Kite homestead erected in the 1840s, about 20 kilometres north of Orange.
'Mena' - 50 Kite Street
Built in 1875 by James Dalton for his eldest son Thomas Garrett, the property was originally known at 'Killiney'. Thomas was mayor of Orange three times, in addition to running the family businesses - the Dalton Brothers store and their flour mill. The property's name was changed to 'Mena' in 1925, when it was purchased by Matron Coote and became a private hospital. Today it is privately owned.
While the Dalton family lived for some time at 70 Byng Street, James Dalton commenced the building of this mansion in 1876. The name of the mansion was taken from near his birthplace that is roughly two miles from the village of Galbally in Ireland. The house was built over three levels from bricks made on the property. It features a magnificent stairway, wrought iron lace embellishments and iron lace portico.
'Ammerdown', Mitchell Highway
In 1878 James bought the land on which the historic 'Ammerdown' homestead would be built, about 10 kilometres north of the city, just off what is now the Mitchell Highway. It was the home of Edward 'Dick' Dalton, James Dalton's ninth child, and was constructed over the course of a decade, from 1896 to 1906. It is now on the National Heritage List.
Australia Hall - 183 Lords Place
Built by James Dalton Junior in 1886 to provide a venue for Irish supporters visiting Orange. It was constructed by J.H. Gain and and used as a venue for meetings, balls, shows and banquets. It later became the Australia Cinema, and is now unused.
'Emly' - 66 Byng Street
Built in about 1900 for John 'Jack' Ignatius Dalton, the third son of James Dalton, who married Isabella May Donaldson. This house was later known as 'Onslow House' and was used for the girls of Holy Trinity School. It is located on the corner of Byng and Hill streets, and is now privately owned.
'Bruff' - 31 Summer Street
Built in 1905, the Edwardian house was constructed by James Dalton for his daughter Mary Cecilia and her two children, Francis Joseph and Cecilia Mary, after the death of her husband, Dr John Edward Cruise. It is now a privately owned property.
'Galbally' - 60 Byng Street
Built in 1918, 'Galbally' was the last of seven houses of significance built by the Dalton family. It was built for Edward Bede Dalton, the fourth son of James Dalton after he moved into town from 'Ammerdown'. When Edward died it was to become the St Joseph's Church presbytery before becoming a private residence.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS AND PHOTOS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …