Born 11th March 1897 in Nelson Bay, and, according to Jack Dalton's pamphlet entitled William Dalton of "Riversdale", Scone [c1974], after studying at Newcastle's first high school (known as the Hill School), William Dalton became an engineering apprentice with Morison and Bearby at Carrington, and attended the Technical College at night.
He joined the A.I.F. in April 1917 and served two years in France. After the Armistice, and awaiting passage home, he worked for Kincaid's shipbuilding works on the Clyde, Scotland.
After his discharge in December 1919 he began dairy farming with his brother Harry at Sandy Hollow. In May 1923 he married Anna May Gibson of Singleton and had two children, Jack and Gwen.
He sold his interest in the dairy farm to his brother and in 1934 bought 'Riversdale' near Scone, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1937 he began share wheat farming on 'Nandowra' which continued through the war years.
In the sphere of community affairs he was instrumental in the formation of the Parkville Bushfire Brigade in 1944 and served as Honorary Secretary until 1970.
An active campaigner for the health of the local environment, in 1946 he organised a planting of a Pioneer Memorial Drive at Parkville on Arbor Day, which led to the formation of the Parkville Progress Association to which he was foundation member and served as Vice President (1947-1949) and President (1950). He was also a member of the Upper Hunter Re-afforestation League and urged for the establishment of offices for the Soil Conservation Service and Forestry Commission in Scone.
In December 1947 he was elected to the Shire Council and campaigned for the formation of the Upper Hunter County Council, which became a reality on the 1st October 1953. Among his other achievements was the establishment of the Public Library, which was officially opened in July 1954 by the Governor of New South Wales Sir John Northcott. In April 1954 he resigned from Council.
He was a foundation member of The Hunter Valley Conservation Trust that was formed in 1950. In 1958, as part of the Trust's work, the Barrington Tops Bush Fire Prevention Association was formed to create fire trails to prevent the destruction caused by bushfires in the area. He served as the Trust's representative and Chairman from 1960 until 1965.
On the 21st March 1956 he convened the inaugural meeting of the Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, and was elected its first President, an office which he held until his retirement in 1969. He continued to be involved in the Society's affairs and activities, and in 1973, along with Mr Wilfred Green, (the Society's first Honorary Secretary) was unanimously elected as its first Honorary Members.
Following his wife's death on the 17th July 1971, his own health deteriorated and he died on the 22nd June 1974.
From photo album presented to James Dalton (1836-1909) by The Officers and Teachers of the Gravel Lane Wesleyan Ragged School, Manchester, UK, [n.d.]