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P. J. Kelly (1849–1923)

P. J. Kelly, n.d.

P. J. Kelly, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 February 1923

By the death of Mr. P. J. Kelly, governing director of the Sussex and Booroomugga Pastoral Co. Ltd., at Friarscroft, Leura, on the 3rd inst., the western division of New South Wales loses another of the old pioneers, and a man widely respected for his sincerity of purpose and upright character.

He was born in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1849, and as an infant accompanied his parents to South Australia, where his father owned large tracts of country.

On leaving school he assisted his father in the management of his stations until the death of the latter in 1872, when Mr. Kelly returned to Melbourne, where he lived for two years before buying Burrowye, on the Victorian side of the Murray, which he sold in 1882. In the interval he married Isabella, daughter of James Robertson, of La Rose, Victoria.

Late in 1882 he purchased Booroomugga, in the Nyngan district (N.S.W.), driving to it across country from Albury, a distance of 500 miles. Here he commenced the strenuous fight which characterised his life in the West. The incursions of the rabbit and the prolonged drought of the early nineties, which ruined many of the western pioneers, also gave Mr. Kelly a set-back from which few would have recovered. He experienced very heavy losses, his liabilities became very large, and he was faced with a situation that would have daunted many a stout-hearted man. But Mr. Kelly was not of the cold-footed type, and he determinedly fought on until better fortune came his way. In 1916 he purchased Sussex, an adjoining station of 111,000 acres, and in 1918 formed his interests into a limited liability company.

Mr. Kelly was noted for his progressive spirit and a readiness for adopting new methods. With the introduction of machine shearing, he built a new shearing shed and installed one of the first machine-shearing plants in the West. He was always anxious to improve the quality of his stock. He favoured the Wanganella type of sheep, and by using first class Uardry rams improved the stock to such an extent that in 1912 the wethers averaged 13 lbs. 14 ozs. of wool per head, a striking contrast to the 7-lb. fleece produced in the early days of his term at the station. As a result of his efforts, Booroomugga is now one of the best improved properties in the West, with a heavy carrying capacity.

Mr. Kelly was a noted judge of sheep and he acted in that capacity at the Cobar, Coonamble, Nyngan and Warren shows. He was also well known in Sydney as a judge of the sheep dog trials at the annual sheep show.

His widow, one son and two daughters survive him

Original publication

Citation details

'Kelly, P. J. (1849–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 February 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

P. J. Kelly, n.d.

P. J. Kelly, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 February 1923

Life Summary [details]


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


3 February, 1923 (aged ~ 74)
Leura, New South Wales, Australia