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Leeds, Arthur (1891–1956)

The death on 9th of last month in Brisbane of Mr. Arthur Leeds was a very great shock to a legion of friends throughout western Queensland and New South Wales, and his passing severs yet another link in the chain of development of Australia's pastoral industry, for he was responsible for continuing the improvement of stock husbandry on wide areas of country that had been pioneered by members of his family. But of equal distinction throughout his life-long association with station management was his loveable nature, his profound natural commonsense, and his kindness to others.

The late Arthur Leeds, of Maroo, Mon Abre, and Airlie, in the Wyandra district of western Queensland, was identified more with the control and general management of Claverton Station, at Wyandra, and Coombing Park Station at Carcoar, N.S.W. The elder son of the late Mr. Arthur Leeds, he was born at Burrenbilla Station, Charleville, in 1891, which property his father managed for the Royal Mail Coach proprietors, Messrs. Cobb and Co., having been transferred there from Buckiinguy, on the lower Macquarie, which was his first management for Cobb and Co., and the place where he was born in 1847. His sister, the late Mrs. W. F. Whitney, also was born there in 1845. Joseph Leeds, who founded the well known agency firm of that name in Sydney, was their brother. Cobb and Co.'s Claverton and The Yowah Stations, on the Warrego and Paroo Rivers respectively, also were managed by the late Arthur Leeds senior, until he became general manager of all Cobb and Co.'s pastoral holdings. These in the '90's embraced Playboy, Cunnamulla and Claverton Stations, which ran 175,000 sheep, Miranda Downs at Normanton, with 14,000 cattle, and Davenport Downs, near Winton, with 10,000 cattle, as well as other places in Queensland.

In 1880 Cobb and Co. purchased Coombing Park, Carcoar, N.S.W., from Thomas R. Iceley, whose father, the Hon. Thomas Iceley, M.L.C., received as a grant in 1826 a wide expanse of these tablelands that took in what became later on the Waugoola and Sunny Ridge runs. When Coombing Park was taken over by Cobb and Co. it carried a pure Merino flock of about 3000 sheep descended from the Camden Park flock, and the management was entrusted to William Franklyn Whitney, one of the original partners in Cobb and Co. When he died 14 years later his widow, Mrs. Isobel Whitney, carried on the property and the stock with the aid of her son, the late Mr. A. W. Whitney, as manager, and her brother, Arthur Leeds, as general adviser. When Waugoola was formed in 1907 Coombing Park and some other properties were transferred to the family ownership of The Whitney Pastoral Co. Ltd. (later Pty. Ltd.) and Claverton was included.

After 13 years as manager of Claverton, the late Mr. Arthur Leeds succeeded his father, upon the latter's retirement in 1927, as supervisor of the Whitney Pastoral Co. Pty. Ltd.'s holdings, and devoted an energetic life to their wellbeing. His aunt, Mrs. I. (W. F.) Whitney, who died in 1942, had been responsible for the establishment, in 1910, of a stud of Shorthorn cattle that became renowned, and Mr. Leeds maintained this stud under capable management, as well as its offshoot at Claverton.

There could never have been a greater lover of stock than the late Mr. Arthur Leeds, who had a reputation of losing less capital in a drought than anyone. When the shearing strike began last March the prospects of sheep not having their wool off within the prescribed season worried him, and it is felt that the continued frustration and concern for the stock caused by the strike brought on the stroke that ended his life so suddenly and unexpectedly. He had enjoyed normal good health right to the last day, when he sought some relaxation at Ascot races. His untimely loss will be a tremendous one to a lot of people, but particularly to his widow, Mrs. Dorothy Leeds, of Brisbane (who formerly was Miss Ivy Barriskill, originally from Bundaberg), and their family of three daughters, Miss June Leeds, of Brisbane, Mrs. Georgette Schmidt, of Bando, Qld., and Mrs. Phillipa Meynink, of Barbara Plains, Wyandra.

Original publication

Citation details

'Leeds, Arthur (1891–1956)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/leeds-arthur-591/text592, accessed 14 November 2019.

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