The Naming of the town
What touches the imagination more warmly than the facts of our birth place? This also happens when we learn the history of some place we have come to recognize as our home. A lot of the beginnings of most country towns, particularly the smaller ones, are lost in the mist of forgetfulness. Riverton is different.
Riverton grew according to a plan, designed by Jame Masters in 1856.
He had previously laid out the township of Saddleworth, named after his native town in Yorkshire, England. He realized another township was necessary to supply the needs of the other new settlers who were already taking up smaller properties in the neighbourhood.
He chose a site in the Gilbert Valley a little south of his home as an ideal spot. In 1853 he had bought Section 500 and 461, Hundred of Gilbert, where he set about planning this second town of his designing.
What to name this town? The answer came to light when, as late as 1931, Mr.Gilbert Horner, grandson of John Jubb Horner ( fellow settler and friend of James Masters ), wrote the following letter to the Riverton District Council -
'My grandfather, John Jubb Horner, often told us that he'd named the town but I was not aware of the actual circumstances until a few years ago when I got into communication with an old gentleman by the name of Shipley. Mr. Shipley was well over 80 years old when he wrote to me, but at the time he was referring to, he was a boy working for my grandfather.
One day, three people were sinking a well in the Gilbert about 200 yards south of the rifle butts. Their names were John Masters, John Jubb Horner and young Shepley. At the time the only land taken up in the district was occupied by Mr. Masters and Mr. Horner. Mr. Masters remarked that the Surveyor - General had written announcing his intention of laying out a new town area between Saddleworth and the Gilbert crossing, and asked for a name to be recommended for a new town. 'What about calling it Hornertown' suggested Mr. Masters. My grandfather, however, would not consent to this and said, 'Call it after the river!'
So the name Gilberton was sent in, but a reply came back stating that Gilberton had already been chosen for one of the new suburbs which were being laid out around the city of Adelaide. Mr. Masters then called on Mr. Horner and suggested Hornertown, but grandfather stuck to his idea and said ' name the town after the River Gilbert. If they will not have Gilberton, then call it Riverton '
Thus these Englishmen agreed on a name for their town by the river.