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William Dickson (1854–1938)

The death has occurred of Mr. William Dickson, well-known Central District pioneer. Born at Ballarat, Victoria, in 1859, he came to Queensland with his parents at the age of 14.

He was an excellent horseman and a wonderful bushman. At one time he broke in a mob of Souvenir brod horses for Stainburn Downs, Aramac. All this breed were noted buckjumpers. His early life was very adventurous. He had several encounters with the aboriginals on many of his droving trips. He and his brothers carried on droving operations for a long period and made some very long trips overland when there were neither fences nor roads. He put the first sheep on to Saltern Creek property, and during this trip had an encounter with the natives that would probably have ended in tragedy but for the courage of one of his domestic blackboys called Waverly.They were camped on the ridge about where Barcaldine now stands, the last timbered camp of the trip. In the dead of night Waverly could hear a peculiar whistle coming gradually closer. Realising they had been followed by natives he jumped out of his blankets, and running some distance from the camp, fired his revolver and yelled to them, meaning that the white man would kill all of them. The blacks departed in haste, as they were terrified of firearms, It was Mr Dickson's experience that the natives always were bent on killing the domestic black boy.

Mr Dickson then undertook fat bullock droving for Mt Cornish station. He took three mobs of fat bullocks overland to Melbourne when fences and roads were unknown. On one trip they experienced particularly wet weather and had to swim the mob over the Tallywartha River, which was nearly a mile wide, and did not lose a single head.

In 1884 Mr Dickson, with one young brother, drove a big mob of bullocks for Mount Cornish from Bowen Downs to Lakes Creek. It was a very dry time and he had to travel the stock from Clermont, via Broadsound. There were two four-day stages without water and to water the mob of bullocks at the end of these stages called for all their skill and knowledge. An amusing incident occurred on this occasion. While passing old Copperfield, near Clermont, one of the bullocks, a big fellow, with a hip down, who was always in the tail of the mob, fell into a shallow mine. He practically fitted into it, with just his horns above the surface. The two men had to dig him out with a tommy- hawk. They arrived in Rockhampton on the day Hanlon and Trickett rowed for the championship on the Fitzroy River.

Later Mr Dickson took up 120 sq. miles of cattle country between Charters Towers and Aramac, and called it Annievale, where he bred a number of good horses. Shortly after taking up this country he had a unique experience. While riding around he kept crossing many tracks and pads of a strong nature. He followed them for 10 miles and found them to be made by opossums on the move towards the coast. There were literally thousands of them on the trees and at the butts of the trees camping in the beat of the day.

Mr Dickson spent 20 years on Annievale. Late in life he spent much of his time in Aramac, where his two sons, both married, reside.

Original publication

Citation details

'Dickson, William (1854–1938)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

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