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Francis Lascelles (Frank) Jardine (1841–1919)

Advices received in Brisbane from our Thursday Island correspondent and from Mr F. Birtles, the well-known overlander, state that Mr. F. L. Jardine died at Somerset on Tuesday afternoon.

The late Mr. Francis ("Frank") Lascelles Jardine was a member of a well-known family of Queensland pioneers. His eldest brother, Mr. John Jardine, died in Brisbane a few years ago, and another brother, Mr. Alexander William Jardine (formerly Engineer for Harbours and Rivers, Queensland), is still living. The exploit for which the brothers Jardine are best known was the overland expedition made by Alex. and Frank from Rockhampton to Cape York in 1864-5. For this Mr. Alex. Jardine was awarded the Murchison grant of the Royal Geographical Society of London, and elected a fellow of the society. One result of the expedition was the establishment by the Jardine brothers of the "farthest north" cattle station in Queensland, within a very few miles of the extremity of Cape York Peninsula. The old homestead still stands, the buildings thickly festooned with creepers, and surrounded by several acres of mango trees, remnants of what was once the homestead garden. Since the abandonment of the station, Mr. Frank Jardine had lived in the old Residency, which is all that remains of the town of Somerset, on the shore of the beautiful Albany Pass. Once the busy headquarters of the Torres Strait pearling fleet and the "seat of government" of the northern extremity of Queensland, Somerset in course of time was deserted in favour of the more central position on Thursday Island. Only the Residency remains and that would have gone the way of the other buildings which formed the town but for its occupancy by the Jardine family. Writing in the Queenslander late in 1917 an account of a visit to Somerset, Mr. T. J. McMahon said of Mr. Frank Jardine: "In the old Residency lives a wonderful and remarkable man, the hero of many adventures, now in his eightieth year, an amazing specimen of strong and vigorous manhood, defiant of the supposed severe and trying climate of the Far North. Mr. Frank Jardine's name is one that will be known to many of the older people of the State, but especially in the Far North are he and his family widely known and beloved.

Stored away in large fireproof tin trunks are voluminous diaries, neatly kept and written, out of which may be gleaned the history of a wonderful life, and many of the notable events and doing of the early days. To this very day does this energetic old man store up the events of his life, and now from his easy chair he accounts to the eager listener the plucky deeds of the daring pioneers who have made Queensland. The Jardines have made round the old 'house of memories' a wild-looking but pretty garden, while at the back, with that true spirit of enterprise which characterises the old gentleman, there is the successful start of a large coconut plantation, and the clearing of many acres of the rich scrub land that will one day astonish all Queensland with what it can produce in the way of tropical and ordinary farming products. One little touching incident must be told of Mr. Jardine and his family. On the front of the house, on a lengthy board, and in large, plain letters, are the words 'Love—safe return' the parting greeting meant for the stalwart son who was supposed to be passing through the Pass in a transport on his way to the front. The transport, however, did not pass that way, nevertheless, it was a tender and loving and thoughtful act. Mr. Jardine, it may be mentioned, numbered among his souvenirs of the past the sword of the notorious Griffin, an officer of the mounted police, who was executed for the "sticking up" and murder of the gold escort between the Peak Downs and Rockhampton, in the prosperous days of the Clermont goldfield. Griffin, who was formerly an officer in a crack British regiment, presented his sword to Mr. Jardine, and for many years it has adorned the walls of the Residency at Somerset.

The late Mr. Jardine was one of the men who truly blazed the trail. He lived most of his life of over 80 years in North Queensland and was a remarkable specimen of strong and vigorous manhood. He traversed many unknown parts of North Queensland and had numerous encounters with blacks. In his more active years Mr. Jardine was an extensive cattle raiser at Somerset and other stations. He was a popular figure in the North, and was a noted host. Somerset station was a term regarded as regarded is synonymous with hospitality.

One who knew the deceased pioneer well describes him as a man of considerable literary ability. Particularly was he capable in natural history subjects, and his contributions to the Press were always regarded as valuable and interesting. Mr. Jardine is survived by two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Mr. Cholmondeley ("Chum") Jardine, has been actively engaged in pearling operations in the Aroos and in Torres Straits. His second son is Quartermaster-sergeant Bertie Jardine, of the A.I.F. who recently returned from the Front after four years of service in Gallipoli and France. Mr. Bertie Jardine for some time assisted Mr. Saville Kent in his experiments in pearlshell culture at a special station at Albany Pass. The eldest daughter is Mrs. Vidgen, of Piara, near Somerset. The other daughter was Miss Elizabeth Jardine.

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Citation details

'Jardine, Francis Lascelles (Frank) (1841–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Frank Jardine, c1910

Frank Jardine, c1910

State Library of Queensland, 9393

Life Summary [details]


28 August, 1841
Orange, New South Wales, Australia


18 March, 1919 (aged 77)
Somerset, Queensland, Australia

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