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Franks, Robert William (1837–1900)

Robert Franks, n.d.

Robert Franks, n.d.

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review, 15 January 1901

We regret to announce the death, on the 16th of December, 1900, in his sixty-fourth year, at Melbourne, of Mr. Robert William Franks, for twenty-seven years manager of Booabula Station, near Wanganella, New South Wales. In many ways the deceased was a man of note. Born in Tasmania, where for many years his father managed the Talbot estates, when quite young he emigrated to New South Wales, and acquired practical pastoral experience in Riverina, on the Yanko blocks, then the property of the late Mr. W. R. Forlonge. So pleased was Mr. Forlonge with Mr. Franks' ability that he sent him, although not yet twenty-one years of age, to stock up the two properties—Beemery and Bellalie—he had purchased from the Bogan River Company. One of the conditions of tenure from the Government was that each block was to be stocked within a certain time, and young Franks was instructed to carry out the condition, although the term had nearly expired. In those days—in the sixties—it was not an easy job to get good men at short notice to drive 10,000 sheep, especially through little known country. However, a scratch lot was got together in a hurry, and the story of that trip, the innumerable difficulties met with, and the successful landing of the sheep on the place within a day of the allotted time assured Mr. Franks' future promotion in pastoral management. His work on the property mentioned, and some of the adventures he encountered, would form good material for stirring stories of early bush life. After he gave up the management he took a trip home to Ireland, where he met the lady he made his wife, and the year after his marriage returned to Tasmania, where he had a nice property, Meadston, near Fingal, named after the place in County Cork, Ireland, which was also his property. Used to large holdings the confines of Meadston gave him but little scope for his energies, so he let his property on lease and moved to Melbourne. He then took charge, of the Buckley Estates, in Gippsland, for a year after the owner's death, when they were sold by the Government. In 1873 he was offered and accepted the management of Booabula Station, New South Wales. The property then belonged to Dalgety, Blackwood and Co., Melbourne. His sterling qualities as manager, his skilful horsemanship, his keen judgment of stock, and his integrity, combined with kindness of heart, very soon made him respected and beloved by all with whom he came in contact. The management of Booabula he retained till the day of his death, but when the late Richard Blackwood, of Hartwood, died, he also got the control of Hartwood until the young Blackwoods came of age, and he had besides the supervision of Moonbria whilst it was in the hands of Dalgety, Blackwood and Co. For many years he was president, and a moving spirit of the Deniliquin Pastoral and Agricultural Society. As a breeder of stock he had few equals, and the successes of the Booabula sheep at Deniliquin, whilst not always in the front rank, were of a constant nature. Mr. Franks came of a noted Irish family, and was closely connected with the Dumaresqs, Legges, and Grays of Tasmania. He married his cousin, Miss Legge, who is connected with the Dartmouth family in England. His sister, also deceased, was the wife of Dr. W. G. a'Beckett, of Melbourne. He leaves one son and three daughters.

Original publication

  • Australasian Pastoralists' Review, 15 January 1901, pp 727-28 (view original)

Citation details

'Franks, Robert William (1837–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/franks-robert-william-398/text399, accessed 16 July 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Robert Franks, n.d.

Robert Franks, n.d.

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review, 15 January 1901