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Willett, George (1835–1918)

Mr George Willett, who was regarded as the first pioneer of the Darling Downs, died at the residence of his son James, of Forest Plain, on Friday. The deceased had attained the age of 83 years. He was born in Derbyshire, England, and arrived in company with his parents, in Moreton Bay, at the age of 9 years in 1844. At that time Brisbane was known as "The Settlement." In his early teens the deceased entered upon the occupation of shepherding on the Richmond River and Acacia Creek. His spirit of adventure then took possession of him, and he then went to New Zealand to seek his fortune, where he stayed for about two years, but, Dame Fortune proving fickle, he returned to Queensland, and entered into employment as a shepherd at Canning Downs, which had been taken up by the Hon. Patrick Leslie some years before. From there he went to Glengallan station, then owned by Messrs. Marshall and Deuchar, and stayed in their employ as stockman for 13 years, 10 years of which he fulfilled the duties of head stockman. Prior to entering upon employment at Canning Downs, he followed the occupation of carrier for a time, and was one of the first carriers between Ipswich and Warwick before the advent of the railway. After leaving the employ of Messrs. Marshall and Deuchar he took up farming pursuits at Freestone Creek for some years, after which he sold out, and took up land in the Allora district at Forest Plain, where he resided till his death. The deceased married at an early age, and it is understood that the marriage ceremony was celebrated by the Rev. John Gregor, the first minister of "The Settlement." Mrs. Willett predeceased her husband by nearly 25 years. There were six children of the marriage, three of whom are deceased, the surviving members being George (Toowoomba), James (Forest Plain), and Mrs. G. Bradford (Maryvale). There are 40 grand children; and 18 great-great-grandchildren. The funeral took place at the Allora Cemetery.

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'Willett, George (1835–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/willett-george-14426/text25507, accessed 21 September 2019.

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