Pastoralist, politician, business director, railway builder, road and bridge contractor, Sir Simon Fraser, who died in Melbourne at the end of last month, filled his eighty-seven years of life to the brim, and left the marks of his energy on every profession he touched. Born at Picton, Nova Scotia, in 1832, he was educated at the Seminary there, and reared on a farm, studying engineering to some extent. His arrival in Australia took place in 1852, and he first landed in Victoria, having come out from Nova Scotia via the Cape of Good Hope in a small barque of 310 tons. From gold prospecting at Sailor's Gully, Bendigo, Mr. Fraser, as he was then, started trading between New South Wales and Victoria in horses and produce, and did fairly well. In 1857, however, he took up contracting work, his operations extending over most of the States, dealing with road works and bridge and railway building. A few years later he took up pastoral pursuits, in which he was interested up to the time of his death. Mt. Hutton, a noted property at the head of the Dawson River in Queensland, was purchased about 1867 by him in partnership with Messrs. G. Simmie, Matthew Craig, and William Forrest, now all dead. He lived on the station for two years in company with Messrs. Simmie and Craig, and afterwards purchased Cornelia Creek, near Echuca, on the N.S.W. border. Later he bought Nyang Station, on the Edward River, N.S.W., still holding this property when he died. It was managed until recently by his eldest son, Simon Fraser, jun., who died in May of this year. Sir Simon was also interested in Western Queensland properties, and in connection with the Squatting Investment Company's station, Thurulgoona, on the Warrego, of which company he has always been the chairman, put down the first deep artesian bore in Australia, near Cunnamulla. From that occasion practically dates artesian boring in this country.
About 1867, with five partners, he built the railway from Bendigo, Victoria, to the Murray at Echuca. His next two big railway construction projects were, in conjunction with partners, the private line from Echuca to Deniliquin, which is still prospering under the Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company, and about 1877, together with two partners, the late Messrs. Barry and Brookes, the line from Port Augusta to Farina, 200 miles long, for the South Australian Government. This was the first section of the Transcontinental Railway.
Sir Simon Fraser had a long and successful political career, his first entrance to Parliament being nearly fifty years ago, 1874, when he was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria for Rodney. Right up to 1912, when he retired from politics, he held a seat with the exception of about two years, during most of which time he was abroad. He was elected to the first Senate for Victoria in March 1901, and re-elected in 1906, being returned at the head of the poll on both occasions, with a majority of over 50,000 votes.
Sir Simon Fraser, who was knighted in January 1918, took a prominent part in the Federal movement, and was a member of the National Convention which framed the Commonwealth Constitution in 1897-8. He rendered many great services to his country, and a very wide circle of friends will miss this fine old man. He is survived by Lady Fraser and a daughter and two sons, both of whom have recently returned from active service.
'Fraser, Sir Simon (1832–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/fraser-sir-simon-399/text400, accessed 23 May 2013.