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James Barbour (1845–1943)

By the death of Mr. Jas. [James] Barbour, sen., at his home, "Glen Ken" Biarra, on Thursday last, a long career of useful service to the State was closed. The late Mr. Barbour, who attained the great age of 96 years, had figured in a number of spheres of activity, among which was that of the Queensland Police Force, with which he was associated for 32 years. Perhaps his most conspicuous service in this respect was that given in the Wivenhoe district, where he was stationed for 14 years. The area under his control was considerable, and often necessitated much travelling through rough country. He was a good bushman, however, and possessed of a sturdy, indomitable disposition, he never allowed discomforts to deter him from carrying out the most difficult tasks. His experiences in the force, especially in the Wivenhoe district, were typical of the days of hardy pioneering. Such experiences also included contact with some of the bushrangers of the times, and the young police officer acquitted himself well in the apprehension of several notorious characters. Other places in which he served were Laidley, Beenleigh, Helidon, Clifton, Roma, Pialba, and Pinkenba. On his retirement from the Police Force, the late Mr. Barbour was awarded the Imperial Service Medal by the King, the presentation being made by the then Governor, Lord Chelmsford.

The late Mr. Barbour was born in Balmachellan, County Kircudbrightshire, Scotland and arrived in Brisbane on the sailing ship Royal Dame. He then was 20 years of age. His first job, to which he carried his swag from Brisbane, was shepherding on Eton Vale station on the Darling Downs. Later, he was attracted to the tin mines at Stanthorpe, where he worked for two years before entering the Police Force, upon his retirement from which he engaged in dairying and grazing in the Biarra district. He was a keen judge of stock, and as a breeder won many prizes at the Royal National Show, in both horse and cattle sections. He took a close interest in public affairs, and was a staunch supporter of the Australian Labour party.

In the year 1875, the late Mr. Barbour married Miss Sarah Gill, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Charles Gill, of Forest Hill. Mrs. Barbour is a native of Ipswich, being born at Basin Pocket in 1865. The then young couple had their vicissitudes, but they faced them courageously, and won through. By them was reared a large family—ten sons and two daughters. Four of the sons saw service in the last war, and the youngest son, Walter Colin, who was with the Second A.I.F., is a prisoner-of-war in Malaya. The eldest son is Cr. Jas. Barbour, Chairman of the Esk Shire Council. There are 19 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

The funeral took place from the Esk Presbyterian Church on Saturday afternoon, and the large attendance of residents from all parts of the district testified to the high esteem in which the late Mr. Barbour was held.

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Citation details

'Barbour, James (1845–1943)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


30 April, 1845
Balmaclellan, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland


22 July, 1943 (aged 98)
Biarra, Queensland, Australia

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