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Hopkins, Francis Rawdon Chesney (1849–1916)

Francis Hopkins, n.d.

Francis Hopkins, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 August 1916

The late Mr. Francis Rawdon Hopkins was born at Bombay in 1848. His father was a naval officer in the East India Company's service. He was educated in Dublin and Cheltenham, and it was intended he should go into the Indian Civil Service, but about this time his father became interested in a Victorian station. In 1866 he came out to Victoria to get station experience at Woodlands with his uncle, Mr. John Wilson, and left there in 1871 to take over Toorangabby Station, on the Murray. He then for a time assisted the late Sir Samuel Wilson in the control of his numerous properties and in 1880 took delivery for him of Toorale and Dunlop on the Darling River, from the Bogan River Company.

About this time he acquired an interest with Messrs Robertson, Wagner and Co. in Richmond and Moselle Downs on the Flinders, Q., and took over those properties, but did not settle there. He went to Perricoota, N.S.W., as manager for that firm until 1886, and while there took delivery of Midkin, a very large cattle station on the Gwydir on behalf of Robertson, Wagner and Co. In 1885 he joined Alexander Wilson in the purchase of Errowanbang, near Carcoar, N.S.W, and in April 1886 took up the management of that property living in the district until his death. He almost immediately became a member of the Pastures Protection Board, and was for many years chairman, and did excellent work in that capacity. In 1889, with Mr. Wilson, he acquired Coubail, in the Gwydir district, and a little later, in conjunction with Messrs. George and Charles Hebden, purchased an adjoining holding, Welbondongah, and the properties became one.

In July 1890 he was one of the founders of the Pastoralists' Union of New South Wales, and for many years was an active and useful member of the council. Since the war he has been most active in support of schemes for prosecuting the fight and in support of our men at the front. He had considerable artistic as well as literary ability. He was possessed of a keen dramatic instinct, for some time was a close friend of the late Mrs. Scott Siddons, and about the same time became a firm friend of the late Alfred Dampier. It was during these associations, and while living a bachelor life on stations, that he wrote "All for Gold," which was dramatised and produced in London as well as Australia. For some years (and strenuous ones at that) he wrote Our Bookshelf in the Bush for the Pastoral Review, while also frequently contributing articles and cartoons thereto. About a year ago eye trouble compelled a residence in Sydney in order to be near professional advice, but notwithstanding he consistently visited Errowanbang to assist his son Rawdon, and it was during his last visit that when out on the run he was inspecting an abandoned mining shaft to see if it were dangerous to stock, and being either seized with an attack of vertigo or slipping in the mud, fell to the bottom, and before he could regain consciousness was drowned.

While at Perricoota he married Miss Kennedy, daughter of a Victorian Lands Department official, who survives him. He also leaves a son, Rawdon Chesney Hopkins.

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'Hopkins, Francis Rawdon Chesney (1849–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hopkins-francis-rawdon-chesney-505/text506, accessed 22 September 2019.

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Francis Hopkins, n.d.

Francis Hopkins, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 August 1916