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Cumming, Gerald Dowling (1872–1958)

Gerald Cumming, n.d.

Gerald Cumming, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 18 November 1958

The death occurred on 16th October at the age of 86 of Mr. Gerald Dowling Cumming, a member of a prominent pioneer pastoral family in the Western District of Victoria, and for many years studmaster of the Jellalabad Merino and then Polwarth stud at Darlington, Vic.

Mr. Cumming was born on 23rd March 1872 at Stony Point, Darlington, a son of the Hon. Thomas Forrest Cumming, his mother before marriage being Selina Dowling, of Jellalabad. At that time T. F. Cumming had a leading Merino fine wool stud at Stony Point and in 1874 with his brother, William Cumming, of Mount Fyans, bought the famous Tasmanian ram Sir Thomas from James Gibson, of Belle Vue. Mr. Gerald Cumming was thus brought up in an atmosphere of stud breeding, and after completing his education at Toorak Boys' College worked with his grandfather and uncle at Jellalabad to gain experience. Later he managed North Station, Mortlake, Vic., for the Manifold family, and Woodhouse, Dunkeld, Vic., for the late Messrs. Allan and Blyth Ritchie, before purchasing Kyree, at Maroona, Vic., on his own account.

In 1915 Mr. Cumming purchased an uncle's share in Jellalabad, and on returning there became managing partner in a partnership with another uncle, the late G. W. Dowling. Jellalabad was then noted for its Merino stud but, realising the suitability of the new Polwarth breed for that area, Mr Cumming in 1916 established the Jellalabad Polwarth stud which became well known throughout Australia. The Dowling Cumming partnership was dissolved in 1952, when Mr. Cumming took his son Hector into partnership and continued his share of the stud on his own portion of Jellalabad, now known as Old Jellalabad. He resided there till his death.

Few men were better known or more highly respected as either judge or exhibitor at leading Australian sheep shows. He was a member of the committee of the Australian Sheep Breeders' Association from 1927, a vice-president in 1939, and made a life member in 1949. As one of the pioneers of the Polwarth Sheepbreeders' Association, he was vice-president in 1926, president from 1936 to 1939, and at the time of his death was still a Victorian delegate to Federal Council. He was also a past president and life member of the Camperdown Club and for many years secretary of the Presbyterian Church, Darlington, which he supported firmly all his life.

In 1904 Mr. Cumming married Mary Daisy Anderson, daughter of an early Scottish pioneer, the late L. W. Anderson, of Tower Hill, near Warrnambool, and she died in 1932. Their younger son Douglas was killed whilst serving with the R.A.A.F while the surviving children are Mary (Mrs. R. K. Campbell), Hector of Old Jellalabad, and Joan (Mrs. J. C. Wilson).

Original publication

  • Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 18 November 1958, p 1291 (view original)

Citation details

'Cumming, Gerald Dowling (1872–1958)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cumming-gerald-dowling-272/text273, accessed 22 July 2019.

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