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Obituaries Australia

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Atkinson, Harry Leigh (1832–1915)

Harry Atkinson, n.d

Harry Atkinson, n.d

from Pastoral Review, 16 September 1915

By the death on the 14th July last at Bendigo, Vic., of Dr. Harry Leigh Atkinson at the ripe age of eighty-three, Victoria mourns the loss of one of her most prominent personalities and one of the largest landholders, if not the actual largest, in the State. Borne at Weaverthorpe, in Yorkshire, he landed in Melbourne in 1859, and his wise judgment and sound common sense, combined with brilliance in his profession, naturally marked out for him a prominent and successful career as a medical man. In mining and pastoral pursuits he was also most successful.

Probably the pastoral world will associate most readily with him the name of his first manager, the late Mr. E. H. Montgomery, whose influence showed in the splendid type of Merino sheep which were bred on the doctor's properties in the northern district of Victoria. His son-in-law, Mr. Alfred Fetherstonhaugh Kelly, managed Barwon Leigh Estate, on the Barwon, in the Western District. Dr. Atkinson's wool has been always in high favour, being a most useful all-round type, and is eagerly competed for by buyers from the chief manufacturing centres of the world, the Americans in particular showing a strong liking for these bulky staple wools, possessing splendid spinning properties.

His first pastoral investment was Terrick West Estate, in the Prairie and Dingee districts of Victoria, which he secured from the late Mr. Younghusband during a period when old-time settlers in the north of Victoria were inclined to sell out under the idea that the prices of freeholds in the north were too high for profit. Next he secured Auchmore Station, in the Raywood and Salisbury districts, from the late Hon. William Campbell, M.L.C., when the latter returned permanently to England. Later on he purchased Ravenswood Estate, on the main Bendigo line, and finally Barwon Leigh Estate, already mentioned.

In his intercourse with his employees and business men, Dr. Atkinson showed an intimate friendliness, combined with a shrewd grip of affairs. On one occasion, when the Closer Settlement Board proposed to treat with him for one of his estates, he refused to negotiate, and said if he sold his places his employees would be all scattered, and perhaps be out of employment for a long time. Steadfast consideration for his employees was one of his marked traits.

Original publication

Citation details

'Atkinson, Harry Leigh (1832–1915)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 October 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Harry Atkinson, n.d

Harry Atkinson, n.d

from Pastoral Review, 16 September 1915