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Collins, John (1859–1932)

from Burra Record (SA)

Seldom has it been the sad duty of a family so closely bound together as was that of the John Collins family of Collinsville, to stand within the span of five days at the graveside of a much loved mother and father. On Wednesday last we recorded the death after a brief illness of Mrs. Collins at what might be termed the early age of 69 years and to-day it is our sad duty to chronicle the death of the then bereaved husband which occurred at their beautiful station home, Collinsville, on Saturday morning last. The deceased gentleman had been ailing for about a fortnight when pneumonia supervened and this coupled with the shock of his devoted wife's death proved too much for him. After 50 years close companionship the two are again united but the loss to their family of six fine sons and one daughter has proved a heavy one. The builders of that wonderful home are now gone and the ties that bound each member of that family all of whom have homes of their own are now broken. Both Mr. and Mrs. Collins loved the beautiful in life and it seemed most fitting that amidst a wealth of the beautiful flowers he loved so well, his remains were peacefully laid to rest besides those of his wife and daughter, Hilda, he had cherished so dearly. The latter died in April of last year and her death was a heavy blow to both parents, in fact, neither father or mother ever really recovered from the shock.

The second son of that fine old pioneer pastoralist, Henry Collins, of  'Lucerndale,' Mt. Bryan, the late John Collins after his school days, with his many brothers received a sound training in grazing pursuits and on reaching manhood it was no wonder that the subject of this sketch decided to strike out on his own assisted by his loyal wife. After a short residence at Mt. Bryan East in 1892 he took up land further east known to-day as Collinsville and there the dreams of his young manhood materialised. It was ever his ambition to establish a certain breed of Merino sheep and in a few years he had with the aid of his sons all of whom are noted for their sound knowledge and judgment of sheep, built up a flock of commercial Merino sheep of exceptional size and quality which have become widely known throughout every State in the Commonwealth and South Africa. The first outside blood introduced into the Collinsville flock was in 1910 by the purchase of the ram, Dandie Dinmont, from the famous Haddon Rig stud, N.S.W. for 1,500 guineas. Then followed other noted purchases including the ram, Lord Charles, of Bundemar, bought in 1915 for 2,000 guineas. Several of the progeny of the last mentioned ram have been sold at the same figure. Mr. Collins held many other properties on which one found not only sheep but well-built homesteads. His one idea was the best or nothing and this he instilled into his children and employees and no matter how small the homestead, he saw to it that each carried its own fruit and vegetable garden, in fact, before the recent severe drought the garden at Collinsville was famed far and wide for its luscious fruit and beautiful flowers. The same can be said for his Mulga Hill and Willera properties. Apart from his interest in sheep Mr. Collins found time for district affairs and for many years was a valued member of the Hallett District Council. He had many outside interests and spared no expense to provide sport for his family and workmen and although reared on a sheep station all of his sons were prominently before the public in cricket and tennis. He was also an ardent Methodist and was until his death a most acceptable local preacher in the Hallett circuit and although for many years past a martyr to asthma he was never happier than when conducting a Sunday service en famille in the spacious dining room at Collinsville. Years ago he frequently acted as local preacher for Terowie circuit taking services frequently at the little mission church at Pandappa and at Ketchowla station. At the latter station where services are conducted monthly by the Terowie minister when their health permitted, Mr. and Mrs. Collins were regular attendants. The hospitality of Collinsville was known and enjoyed by scores of visiting sheep men from all over Australia besides other notable folk and his death will create a blank and he will be greatly missed by a very large circle of friends throughout South Australia. At the funeral on Saturday last at Kooringa the large gathering included men from all parts of the middle north as well as from the city who came to pay their last respects to a man who fought clean, who helped his fellow men and died holding the esteem of all who had ever come into contact with him. He was also a member of the Kooringa Masonic Lodge and of the A.O. Foresters and many members of both were present at the cemetery. The service was conducted by the Rev. G. F. Johnson of Terowie. The chief mourners were his five sons, Messrs Horace C. J. Collins (Terowie); Fred H. Collins (Tooperang); P. ? Newton Collins (Booborowie); Arthur L. Collins (Mt Bryan), and Lindsay Collins (Collinsville); son-in-law, Mr. G. A. M. MacBryan. His brothers present were Messrs Joe, Dan, Eddie and Arthur Collins, with his sisters and other numerous relatives. The bearers were Mr. S. Hanlin of Tuilkilkey station, Messrs Arthur and Harry Pearlove, Ketchowla; D. B. Simpson, Terowie, and Messrs G. E. Dane and F. Harris of Kooringa.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Collins, John (1859–1932)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/collins-john-17049/text28901, accessed 11 December 2018.

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