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Kenneth Beauchamp Cameron (1887–1957)

The death occurred last month of Mr. Kenneth Beauchamp Cameron, of Bullamon Plains, Thallon, Q., whose association with the control by cactoblastis of prickly pear and his development of one of the most elaborate and effective private water conservation schemes in Australia at Bullamon Plains made him an outstanding figure in primary production circles throughout the Commonwealth.

Mr. Cameron was born at Fairholms, Toowoomba, Q., 70 years ago, and when he left school he took up a farming property on the Burnett River, near Wondai, in partnership with his brother, Mr. E. B. Cameron. Subsequently he went to Coomoomie, in the Glenmorgan district, and while there married the eldest daughter of Mr. W. J. Hooper, at that time owner of Talwood Station and also chairman of the Queensland Turf Club.

It was when Coomoomie was sold in 1927 and Mr. Cameron took up Bullamon Plains in 1928 that he began to take a practical interest in the recently introduced cactoblastis. Mr. Cameron had a tremendous job to bring prickly pear under control, but when the pest was conquered in 1932 he had acquired 219,000 acres in 19 leases. A good deal of this country was resumed by the Crown, but the Cameron family retained about 100,000 acres, including 29,000 acres at Bullamon Plains, the balance being in the Goondiwindi district.

The late Mr. Cameron experienced heavy losses of sheep from drought and it was then that he conceived the idea of making Bullamon Plains drought-proof. The Moonie River was locked and its flow diverted into another branch and then back into the main channel about two miles downstream. With his own heavy earth-moving plant, Mr. Cameron excavated more than one million cubic yards of material to link over 30 earth tanks by 50 miles of main canals. These were designed to flow in such a way that practically any portion of the property could be flood irrigated. Eventually Swan Lake, of more than four thousand million gallons, was created and Bullamon Plains was made a bird sanctuary.

Mr. Cameron was also part-owner of Lundavra, Goondiwindi, the development of which to its present high standard involved the conquest of heavy brigalow scrub—a job he undertook and achieved on a scale that was previously unknown in that type of country. Under the management of his son, Rod, Lundavra is now a highly improved property, including a big area brought under cultivation.

Mr. Kenneth B. Cameron, who was keen on all sport as a young man, including boxing, at which he excelled, was an individualist who did not always court popularity; nevertheless, most of his strongest critics were his keenest admirers. The works he carried out at Bullamon Plains and Lundavra will long provide monuments to his initiative, tenacity, and ingenuity.

Mr. and Mrs. Cameron had three sons and a daughter. The two eldest sons enlisted in the R.A.A.F. and were killed. Miss Cameron married Mr. Stan Willis, who manages Bullamon Plains.

Original publication

Citation details

'Cameron, Kenneth Beauchamp (1887–1957)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

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