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Travers, Roderick (1831–1894)

To many readers the short notice in this issue of the death of Mr. Roderick Travers, the London agent of the Central Queensland Meat Export Company, may mean little; but to old residents of the division it will recall memories of the days when many young fellows, fired with youthful ardour and daring, animated by high hopes, and with money at their banker’s, arrived here from England and the southern colonies and journeyed inland to take up the new country in the west. Of these Mr. Roderick Travers was one. Born in London, the son of a highly respected and wealthy merchant, he entered his father’s counting-house at a comparatively early age, and after some years was admitted into partnership. But commercial life was not congenial to him, and he determined to adventure in squatting in the pastoral El Dorado, Central Queensland. Early in the sixties he purchased Malvern Downs, near Clermont, from Mr. Gordon Sandeman and forthwith commenced improvements on a scale then little known. He was the first to introduce the use of wire-fencing on Peak Downs, much to the surprise of his few neighbours, who prophesied that it would never answer. At a very heavy outlay he imported the best sheep he could obtain in New South Wales, and about 1875 the Malvern Downs wool clip realised as high as 2s. 8d. per 1b. in the London market. The station was then carrying about 110,000 sheep, so Mr. Travers (who had some years previously been joined by his brother Mr. Marcus Travers, and an old friend Mr. Gibson) purchased the present Aramac Station from Messrs. Rule and Lacy, and sent sheep there from Malvern Downs. Then came kangaroos, bad seasons, deterioration of the Malvern Downs country, lower prices for stock and wool, and various vicissitudes, and eventually after a gallant but hopeless struggle, the firm of Travers and Gibson relinquished squatting in Queensland and Mr. Roderick Travers went home to England, acting as London agent for the Lake’s Creek Company till his death. He was twice married, and leaves a widow and two sons and three daughters. Of a sunny, sanguine disposition, high minded, courteous, honourable to what some would term an absurd degree, fierily indignant at any tale of oppression or wrong, open hearted, and generous as the day, Roderick Travers was a man whom it did anyone good to meet, and to the few Central Queensland pioneers who now remain the news of his death will bring more than a passing feeling of sadness.

Original publication

Citation details

'Travers, Roderick (1831–1894)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/travers-roderick-32218/text39833, accessed 3 October 2022.

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