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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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Walter Cecil Miller (1871–1954)

The death of Mr. Walter Cecil Miller, of Coreena, a well-known Central Queensland pastoralist, was briefly reported in the July issue of the Pastoral Review at time of going to press. The late Mr. Miller, who was 83 years of age, spent a lifetime in Queensland and played a prominent part in shaping the progress of the Barcaldine district.

Born at St. Kilda, Melbourne, Vic., in 1871, he was a son of Mr John Miller, B.A., whose father took up Murrundindi Station, Vic., in 1840. In 1880 the Miller family went to Queensland, settling at Rockhampton, where Walter Miller received his education, being one of the first pupils of the Rockhampton Grammar School. On leaving school he spent a year in an office and then went cattle droving, journeying from Peak Downs to Narrandera, N.S.W., a task which took ten months in the saddle.

He then went to Coreena Station, in the Barcaldine district, as a jackeroo. At that time Coreena was owned by the Coreena Pastoral Company and extended over a vast area between Jericho and Aramac. In 1897 he was offered the management of the property and continued as manager and supervisor of the Coreena Pastoral Co. properties for the next 50 years. In 1903 he joined his youngest brother, Mr. John Miller, in a partnership which became known as Miller Brothers' and which acquired Mildura, Margot, Murrabit and The Garches, all portions of the original Coreena holding.

When the Coreena lease expired in 1929, Mr. Miller formed the Coreena Stud Sheep Co. Pty. Ltd. to take over the lease and the stud from the Coreena Pastoral Co. Under his supervision the Coreena Merino stud was formed in 1895, but prior to this the property was well-known for the quality of its sheep. Trophies and certificates owned by the Miller family, dating back to the 1870's, testify the success of Coreena flocks. The late Mr. Miller married Miss Jane Cooper, of Rockhampton, in 1900. His wife and two children predeceased him and he is survived by two sons and six daughters. They are Messrs. W. C. Miller, Coreena; and J. A. Miller, Margo; and Mesdames C. E. Cook, Sydney; H. C. Macmillan, Brisbane; G. A. Watson, Pittsworth; K. L. Mackenzie, Brisbane; E. L. Easton, Gordon Downs; and J. C. Macmillan, Bundaberg.

Miller, Of Coreena
An Appreciation, by Henry G. Lamond

Those names, in Central Queensland are synonymous. W. C. Miller went as a jackeroo to Coreena during February 1891. He rose to boss-musterer, sub-overseer, head-overseer, acting-manager, and during '97 became full manager of the Coreena Pastoral Co. He went on from there to managing director and owner. After 50 years he resigned in favour of his eldest son, but he retained his interest and love of the place. At one time, when the station embraced 1240 square miles, it carried 191,000 sheep, 6000 cattle, 660 horses. And every last one of each class of stock was of top quality! Prize winners at shows, fit to compete in any company in Queensland.

I only met Mr. Miller once—I was a stripling overseer of another property; he was showing some friends of his the Coreena prize exhibits in the sheep section at the Longreach show. Strangely enough, he remembered that meeting, and during the last few years I had a deal of correspondence with him. One learns more of the inside nature of a man by an intimate correspondence than by odd meetings at different places. I always did admire Mr. Miller. I knew he was curt, abrupt almost, and when he said anything he meant it. By our correspondence I found out he had an intense love of his country and admiration of the pioneers, and he gloried in little things which so often pass quite unnoticed. For instance, I learned from him of the slow growth of the gidyea trees, which had often puzzled me. Coolibahs, noted and measured, grew 27 feet in 61 years. A clump of gidyeas, in '91, was 2 feet high. During 61 years they grew to about 15 feet with a diameter of 6 inches.

W. C. Miller must be the last of the old-time managers, men whose names ring in pastoral history with all the sonorous grandeur of the opening lines of an epic poem—E. R. Edkins, of Mt. Cornish; O. J. Brabazon, of Maneroo; Henry J. Sealy, of Barcaldine Downs; Dundas Hamilton, of Portland; A. J. Rogers, of Westlands; A. R. Brown, of Saltern; and others. They were the men who tamed the land opened by Oscar de Satge, Hill, Lacy, Rule, Buchanan, Welford, Little, Bell, Stephenson, Yaldwin, Milson, and others of a grand band.

Original publication

Citation details

'Miller, Walter Cecil (1871–1954)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

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