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Charles Madden (Charley) Lloyd (1826–1908)

by Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh

Charles Lloyd, c1870

Charles Lloyd, c1870

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 October 1908

At the ripe old age of eighty-two, my dear old friend Charley Lloyd has passed on to another life, and if loyalty in friendship, good fellowship and kindness to all in daily life, hospitality and straightness in business, and that charity which does not let the left hand know what the right hand doeth, and withal a keen sense of humour, are all, as I firmly believe they are, avenues to a higher life, then my old friend has most assuredly reached that higher life.

Moreover, patience and endurance are powerful factors in building up character—that part of us that endureth—and for many years "Charley Lloyd" was a great sufferer, and the wonderful patience with which he bore those sufferings is only known to those devoted ones who so tenderly ministered to his wants and who looked on that ministration in the light of a great privilege.

He has left none but happy memories with all who knew him for the courage and goodness he displayed. A meeting with "Charley Lloyd" was ever something to look forward to, contact with him was always bracing and cheering, and I know of no man of my acquaintance who had more friends.

Charles Madden Lloyd was one of the early settlers in Riverina, and like nine out of ten Riverina men, he came over from Victoria. He came to the Murrumbidgee in 1855, having undertaken a contract to make the cutting from the Murrumbidgee River into the Billabong.

He came out to Victoria from Ireland in 1852 with his brother Tom. The Lloyds and my father and my brothers, who also came out in 1852, all tried their luck at old Bendigo as diggers, but their luck proved not to be under the ground.

I first met him in Melbourne in 1853. I was then a youth and he was eleven years my senior. At that time he and a few other "young bloods" (my brother being one), most of them merry Irishmen—as wild as hawks and full of fun—kept house at the old Duke of York Hotel at the corner of Collins and Russell streets. Melbourne was then a lively place; lots of money was being knocked down by lucky diggers and others; diggers' weddings occurred constantly—the bride and bridegroom, gorgeously arrayed, rolled along Collins and Bourke streets in open carriages, the happy man with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a glass in the other, treating all comers. Those were the days of the old "Salle de Valentino," where I first heard Madame Carandini sing "Home, Sweet Home," and of Denning's "Polite Dancing Rooms," where I fear the conduct of the "Duke of Yorkers" was not always quite polite. The boys were fond of practical jokes, too. An unassuming, quiet, middle-aged business man unfortunately chose the Duke of York for a residence. The landlady told the boys they must behave, as the gentleman was particular! "Certainly!" was the reply, "we'll be quiet as mice." Next morning the boys, headed by "Charley," stalked steadily and quietly up to the breakfast table in their nightshirts, and began to make extraordinary signs to one another, but quite quiet. The poor visitor never got through his breakfast; he beat a retreat instanter, firmly believing he had got into a private lunatic asylum.

"Charley Lloyd" was the handsomest of the boys, all of them good-looking; he was tall and well set-up, and a "divil for fun," and he was well backed up. It was Charley Lloyd and my brother who started the Block on Collins-street, and who first "did" the Block.

As already stated, in 1855 C. M. Lloyd went to the Murrumbidgee, having contracted to make the cutting out of that river into the Billabong. He later on assumed the management of some of Mr. Howell's cattle properties, Yamma being one of them; it was all cattle in those days. The man who could muster his cattle (and brand the calves) without his neighbour's knowledge was considered the cleverest manager. I am afraid from that point of view that C. M. Lloyd was not a clever manager.

Here he married Miss Lucy Howell, and a very happy marriage it was, crowned by a fifty years' commemoration. A happier union could not be imagined, and whether in the little old Yamma home or at their home at Lissadurn, they were ever the same exceptionally perfect host and hostess. The many happy days I have spent at old Yamma are among the very best recollections of my life.

After our meeting in Melbourne in the early fifties, it was twelve years before I again met Charley Lloyd. A few months after I came to Brookong Messrs. William Sloane and Co., of Melbourne, for whom I had managed in Queensland asked me to inspect a property called Yamma, occupied by one C. M. Lloyd. I was delighted to do so, and found Yamma a valuable property of 50,000 acres. This was only the first of many visits, through the bush past Widgiewa and through Yarrabee to Yamma. During the following six years while managing Brookong I saw a great deal of Charley Lloyd, and more still for some years later while I was working as a bush-parson in the Urana and Jerilderie districts.

We were all much amused over one visit I paid to Yamma when I was a clergyman. I was taking four or five days' holiday, and a gentleman from Sydney was also at Yamma on sick leave, being delicate. Mr. Lloyd prescribed whisky and milk before breakfast. I always liked to have short family prayers if I could, and a short service on Sundays. When the Sydney guest was saying good-bye, he warmly thanked Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd for their kind hospitality, but he added, "I must say that I have never had so much prayer and whisky in my life." Perhaps I may state that Mr.. Lloyd was himself the most temperate of men.

Sometimes the Lloyds used to pay me a visit at Brookong, and those were indeed ''red letter days'' with me. On one occasion I took Mrs. Lloyd out for a four-in-hand drive, two of the team being youngsters. When going through some thick pine scrub (there was no track) Mrs. Lloyd suddenly clapped her hands and cried out, "It's just lovely; I can't see the leaders" (the scrub was so thick). When expatiating on the lovely drive we had to Charley, he did not seem to see it quite, and, in fact, further scrub drives were interdicted as being rather risky.  About 1867 Mr. Lloyd was just about commencing his racing career, which, on the whole, was a wonderfully successful one, that success being in a great measure due to the good purchase he made in that grand horse, Swiveller, and to his having secured such an out-and-out good trainer in Walter Hickenbotham, at this time quite a youth. Walter would at all times have staked his existence on Mr. Lloyd, and the feeling was quite reciprocal.

The first good horse Mr. Lloyd owned was old Troubadour, a three-cornered-looking chestnut, which at one time was the favourite hack of the noted bushranger Ben Hall. Mr. Lloyd won some races with a Troubadour filly. I had her over at Brookong at the time the place was stuck up by ''Blue-cap" and his gang of bushrangers. Bluecap knew every horse I had. He said to me, "You have a racing mare called Yamma?" I said, "Yes, but I can't let you have her." "Oh! how is that?" "Well", I said, "she does not belong to me; she belongs to C. M. Lloyd.", "Oh!" was the reply, "if she belongs to Mr. Lloyd we won't touch her.'' I used to chaff Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd about their friends the bushrangers, but the fact was that one of the "'rangers" before he joined the gang had been treated with great kindness when laid up ill at Yamma.

Mr. Lloyd was a great favourite, not only with those in his own station of life, but with all the small settlers and working men in the district, so much so that although land was being selected (later on) on all the stations round him, Yamma was left intact to a very late date. There was ''Scatty Turnbull,'' who wanted land, and who knew he could get just what he wanted on Yamma, but he said to me "Why, I'd cut my blooming hand off before I'd select on Mr. Lloyd." As a matter of fact, Mr. Lloyd put off buying land to the very last, and he then secured all he wanted, and formed Yamma into a very valuable property.

I was walking across the street from Menzies' Hotel one day, and I came right up against C. M. Lloyd talking to someone. He said, "Let me introduce you to Mr. O'Keefe; I have this minute sold him Yamma.'' It was the attacks of his enemy rheumatic gout that led him to part with the old place he loved so well. It was just as well for him though, for it cost a large sum of money to clear Yamma of rabbits in the following years.

With the purchase of The Diver in about 1873, Mr. Lloyd may be said to have fairly committed himself to a racing career. Mr. Lloyd met that great racing authority, W. E. Dakin, in Melbourne, and in looking over the stud book Mr. Dakin put his finger on the pedigree of a Maribyrnong colt. Said he, "Wherever that colt is if he is sound he is a racehorse.'' Mr. Lloyd was so impressed that he determined to find the horse and buy him. After considerable search the horse was found. Under the name of Dolphin he had won some up-country races, and Mr. Lloyd had to pay 600 guineas for him—a fairly stiff price in those days. But Mr. Lloyd looked to having got a Cup winner. And so he had; if The Diver had had a man on his back he must have won the Cup of 1874. He was ridden by a stable boy, and the boy knocked up and could not ride the horse home, and he came in third all abroad. It was a great disappointment to Mr. Lloyd and his thousand-and-one friends. There was a lot of money on The Diver, and I firmly believe that almost every boundary rider in Riverina had a pound on him. Great would have been the rejoicing had he won. Haricot won that Cup, but The Diver, with Billy Yeomans up, turned the tables on Haricot for the Wagga Cup soon after. Some years afterwards Mr. Lloyd was judge when Billy Yeomans won "Rawdon Green's" great ten-mile race on Australian. The best horse Mr. Lloyd ever owned was a Snowdon colt, Swiveller, out of Little Nell. The dam with Swiveller as a foal at foot, was purchased for a comparatively small sum from Peter McAlister, of Wagga. I think it was Mrs. Lloyd who happily christened the colt Swiveller. I cannot remember what races he won, but he won a lot of good races, in good company, too. I remember there was one Australian Cup for which he was considered a certainty, but some contretemps occurred in the race, and he only got second. Swiveller was a great horse; he could carry any weight and stay all day, and he finished his racing career as sound as when he started it. Swiveller was as true and honest as a horse as his owner was as a sportsman. There never was a straighter man on the turf than C. M. Lloyd, and we do not get many of his calibre, and when we do they have to do as he did—they have to retire. Such men are too heavily handicapped; they will not take points as do so many, the odds are against them, and they must either retire or go down.

As mentioned, I first met " Charley Lloyd" in Melbourne in 1853, and I last saw him in Melbourne about two years ago, very bent and aged, but not suffering, and looking right well. On that occasion I was lunching with a friend at the Melbourne Club, and quite without any premeditation we sat down at a round table where four others were already seated. On looking round I found that I had known all the five for over fifty years, and that our united ages ran into 450 years. It was just a little remarkable. "Charley Lloyd" was very fond of Lindsay Gordon's poems; he had often seen him ride over the sticks, and I cannot conclude better than with Gordon's lines, for in Charley Lloyd's life

" . . Two things stood like stone— ;
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in his own.''

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Citation details

Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, 'Lloyd, Charles Madden (Charley) (1826–1908)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Charles Lloyd, c1870

Charles Lloyd, c1870

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 October 1908

Life Summary [details]




14 September, 1908 (aged ~ 82)
South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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