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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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Stephen Cummins (Steve) Anning (1883–1955)

Mr. Stephen Cummins Anning, one of the best known personalities in the North Queensland grazing industry, died in Sydney last month at the age of 72. Members of his family have been the owners of Reedy Springs, Pentland, North Queensland, since 1862, and Mr. Anning spent much of his early life in the lower Peninsula, mainly on Bulimba and Belle Vue. In 1915 he acquired Cornelia, in the Pentland district, and that was his home until about 10 years ago, when he retired to Townsville, although retaining an interest in the property.

Mr. Anning was noted as a knowledgeable stockman, and was particularly fond of good cattle and good horses. Over the years he raced a number of thoroughbreds, outstanding among them being Mulrose and Black Cloud, both of which won the Cleveland Bay Handicap at Townsville. He was also well known for his many thoughtful actions and for his ready smile, even in the face of adversity, and as a result he made a wide circle of friends.

He is survived by his widow and eight children.


(An Appreciation by Henry G. Lamond)

After a long illness, painful at times, with the Shadow hovering over him for the past five years or more, "Steve" Anning passed away on the 9th November. He was one of the sons of Frank Anning, of Reedy Springs. The family of Anning is not a name in North Queensland pastoral history; it is pastoral history.

"Steve" was on the land all his life, and he and his family still hold properties in the north. He knew what it was to be in debt, but it is extremely doubtful if anyone ever heard him complain. He was not a "squealer." He faced life as he met his death: square on and with courage. He loved his life, and filled every minute of it. He had more than enough friends to make it enjoyable, and there were enough petty enemies to make it interesting. He enjoyed it all. One of his peculiarities was his reputed ability to argue on any subject, for any period, at any time, on any side of it—and enjoy it all. He delighted to discomfort those who aped a smartness which was not really theirs, and as he would fight at the fall of the hat he had to be treated with care. I do not know what he was like on a rough horse, on a camp, in scrub or other things of that sort, but I have rarely seen a more graceful horseman riding round a mob of cattle. He was part of the horse.

He had dabbled in sheep in partnership with others, but was essentially a cattle man. He belonged to stock as much as they were his property. He also had a great pride in his family. As he told me one winter morning, about 4 a.m., waiting for a train to truck bullocks at a remote siding: "I've a good old-fashioned family. Eight of them. And all champions." Even if it was only in a remote way, it was my proud privilege to regard him as a friend.

Original publication

Citation details

'Anning, Stephen Cummins (Steve) (1883–1955)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/anning-stephen-cummins-steve-19/text19, accessed 27 May 2024.

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