Southward and Sumpton both came from Cumberland, England, and are said to have known each other there. Apparently both were in Victoria before the gold rush, Sumpton coming first (in 1848 according to John Hope), then Southward coming out to join an ironmongery firm in around 1850. Sumpton is also said to have imported hams from Cumberland while working for that business (Gardner).
The partners were running a Grocery, Wine and Spirit business in Sturt Street, Ballarat by 1855. They are listed in both the 1862 and 1865-1866 Ballarat Directories as having premises in Sturt Street. Their business grew quickly, and they had branches in Clunes, Scarsdale and Booloorook, engaging in wholesale trade. Southward was a judge at horse-shows and the firm is said to have kept very good horses.
Gardner notes that an advertisement from 1861 gave the premises as 'on the site of Strong's book shop', and that the following prices were current: 'Candles: 1s. 6d. Per pound; sugar 6d.; tea 3s.; matches 2d. Per box; and oatmeal 5d per pound.'
In 1862 they took a quarter page advertisement in Birtchnell's directory to Ballarat, and through the first half of 1864 they advertised on the front page of Ballarat's Evening News paper.
The partnership was dissolved around 1874. John Hope reports on the conclusion of the partners' careers:
'Southward moved to New South Wales and, after about 30 years in several ventures, with varying success, retired to live at Bondi where he died in 1908. He left a widow and seven children. Sumpton died in 1876. One of his sons obtained employment in Melbourne with Sir Frederick Sargood, who also achieved success in softgoods trading on the goldfields.'
Gardner also states that this firm was the first to place the motto 'Advance Ballarat' on tokens, but gives no indication of when the tokens were issued. Sharples has has estimated the issue date to be 1862, the year that Thomas Stokes minted the majority of his tokens.
Gardner, F. (1910). 'Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them', The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal, 30 September, p.8. (photocopy)
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens,' Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Vol. 7, December, p.16
Advertisement, Birtchnell's Ballarat directory for 1862, p.82
The Evening Post, 9 January 1864, p.1.
Hope, John (2005). 'Southward & Sumpton', unpublished MSS, 2pps.