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John Hubert Fairfax (1872–1950)

Mr. John Hubert Fairfax, who died in hospital yesterday was well-known and highly respected in business as well as pastoral circles.

He enjoyed an Australia wide reputation as a successful breeder and judge of livestock.

Besides his business and country interests he was closely associated with many philanthropic causes.

Mr. Fairfax, who was 78, had been in ill-health for some time and latterly had been living at his property at Castle Hill.

Mr. Fairfax was the fifth son of the late Sir James Reading Fairfax and grandson of Mr. John Fairfax, one of the early proprietors of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Born in Sydney in 1872, he was educated at the Sydney Grammar School and at Bath College, England.

As a youth he joined the staff of Dalgety and Co. in Sydney, and through his associations there became keenly interested in live stock.

Deciding to go on the land, he went out in search of practical experience, and gained his initial insight into pastoral work on Lue Station, Mudgee, then the property of Mr. Vincent Dowling, whose daughter he married in 1899.

Two years earlier he had taken up Dalmore Station, in central Queensland, and there he spent 10 years in active stock work and made great improvements on the property.

In 1908 he moved into richer country on the Darling Downs, buying a portion of the old Eton Vale Station and naming it Marinya. Here he spent the next 20 years of his life breeding Ayrshire cattle and Corriedale sheep. During this period he also formed Kioma Station, in the Goondiwindi district.

His stock were known throughout Australia for their outstanding qualities— trueness to type and conformation—and he was a prize-winner in many show rings.

He was also recognised as a great judge of the breeds, and was frequently called on to make the awards at leading Australian shows.

Although he never exhibited at the Royal Sydney Show, he had acted as a steward in the Ayrshire cattle section for a number of years.

Among official positions he held in the stock world at various times were president of the Ayrshire Association of Queensland, president of the Corriedale Association of Australia, president of the Sheep breeders' Association of New South Wales.

When two of his brothers, Sir James Fairfax and Mr. Geoffrey E. Fairfax, died, he came to live in Sydney in 1931 and took a seat on the directorate of John Fairfax and Sons Ltd. This he held until the end of 1945, when he retired in favour of his son, Mr. Vincent Fairfax.

Mr. Fairfax was always interested in philanthropic work. He had been president of the Y.M.C.A. since 1935 and president of the Boys' Brigade since 1945.

Soon after settling in Sydney he was elected a councillor of the Royal Agricultural Society and had been a vice-president since 1946.

He was also on the council of the Royal Empire Society, and for some years was vice president, then president, of the Australian Air League.

Among directorates held by Mr. Fairfax were: Bank of New South Wales, A.M.P. Society (retired 1948), Royal Insurance Co., Walter and Eliza Hall Trust, and Sydney Hospital.

He had been a member of Sydney Rotary Club for some years and was a keen golfer.

Mr. Fairfax is survived by his son, Mr. Vincent Fairfax, who is at present in Canada attending the Empire Press Conference.

His only surviving brother is Dr. E. W. Fairfax, of Sydney. Mrs. Hubert Fairfax predeceased her husband in February, 1948.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 1950, p 4
  • probate, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1950, p 9

Citation details

'Fairfax, John Hubert (1872–1950)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 June 2024.

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