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Alonzo Sparkes (1848–1923)

Mr. Alonzo Sparkes, one of Queensland's beat known business men in connection with the meat industry, and also a grazier and breeder of blood horses, died at midnight on Wednesday, after a short illness, at his home at Hamilton. Mr. Sparkes was a real Queenslander. He was born in August, 1848, in premises in Queen street, Brisbane, somewhere in the vicinity of where the Telegraph Newspaper offices now stand. He first encountered the commercial arena in the butchering business, when there were tree stumps and tents in our now busy metropolitan thoroughfare, and later took to droving. Tiring of this and being infected with the gold fever, which had broken out in Queensland he, in company with Zac Skyring, J. Woodard, and Mike Quinn, went prospecting in the vicinity of Kilcoy Creek. Here they fell in with Nash, who was on his way to the diggings, and advised him where there was gold. Shortly after Nash and his party discovered the Gympie field, but the late Mr. Sparkes and his colleagues having struck gold remained where they were in the hopes of picking up the main reef. As with most prospectors, funds at the time ran low, and Sparkes supplemented the exchequer of his party by working at his old trade of butchering. About 1870 he returned to Brisbane and laid the foundation of the now flourishing business of Sparkes, Ltd. Some years later he purchased the well known cattle station Manumbar, on the Burnett, previously having taken into partnership Mr. McKinnon in the Brisbane butchering business. He dissolved partnership and went to take charge of the station, McKinnon having the Brisbane business. After about three years he returned to Brisbane and again took over the business here, which under his supervision flourished and in 1920 he converted the enterprise into a limited liability company, and at the time of his death was governing director. The cattle station, which he retained, was also made an asset of the company. The late Mr. Sparkes was twice married. His first wife was a Miss Katherine Roy, and by this union he had three sons, all living, Alonzo, Arthur, and Sydney Sparkes. His second marriage took place in 1889, when he wedded Miss Pauline Heller, and the children resulting were three sons: Eric, Roy, and Theodore, and three daughters, Mrs. Hutton, Mrs. Barnes, and Zoe Sparkes (unmarried), all of whom are living, as is his wife. Mr. Sparkes took keen interest in the development of Queensland, and especially in the port of Brisbane, recognising its importance to the growth of our primary industries. He was a keen sportsman, and bred a large number of blood horses, of which Donald Durham, Black Donald, and Bold Boy won many races at Albion Park. The cause of the late Mr. Sparkes' sudden demise was hemorrhage. He was only taken ill suddenly at the sale yards on Friday, and it was not thought that the attack would prove fatal. The deceased gentleman was interred at Toowong cemetery yesterday afternoon. The wreaths included:—Mother, Theo, Zoe, and Mary; Eric and Pearl; Roy, Jean, and Shirley; Bernie and Esmee; Jack and Gwen; Pauline, Ray, Mary, Zoe and Joan; Silas, Jane, and family; Doris and Horaing; Jack and Kate: Arthur and Ivy; A Sparkes, Ltd., Winchcombe and Carson, Ltd., Manager and staff Dalgety and Co. Ltd., The Australian Estates and Mortgage Co., Ltd., Fenwick and Co., the directors Queensland Primary Producers' Ltd., Queensland Meat Traders Association, Ltd., Thorpe and Sharp, Directors of Baynes Ltd., B. C. Cameron and A. T. Williams, Brisbane Meat Preserving Co., Ltd., R. Trout and Sons, Preston's Ltd., McTaggart Bros., the members of the Brisbane Club, Officers and Members Motor Yacht Club of Queensland, Officers and Brethren, Lodge, Sir Wyllie Norman, Officers and Brethren, Jubilee Lodge, Hamilton Red Cross, Mrs. and Miss Hutton, J. O'Brien, Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Morris, G. I. Bond and family, Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Simpson, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Blacklock and family, James Byrne, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Carter and family, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Hall, Mr. and Mrs. H. Bracker and family, Mrs. Pointon and the girls, R. D. Frew, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Isles, Mr. and Mrs. Mick Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Wood, Mr. and T. A. Ryan and family, Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn, H. A. Archdall, Mr. and Mrs. R. Trout and family, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Trout and family, E. Barstow, Miss C. Raff, Mr. and Mrs. Billington, Fiji, E. A. Thorpe, and J. MacGibbon, Mr. and Mrs. Earwake and family, Mr. and Mrs. Cannan and family, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Markwell, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Day and family, Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Blume.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Brisbane Courier, 4 August 1923, p 6
  • probate, Brisbane Courier, 17 March 1924, p 6

Citation details

'Sparkes, Alonzo (1848–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

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