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MR. F. B. WITTENOOM
A Prominent Pastoralist.
FREDERICK FRANCIS BURDETT
WITTENOOM was born on December 17, 1855, on the Gwambygine Estate (Hicks), near York, Western Australia. He was the son of the late Charles Wit- tenoom, fifth son of John Burdett Wit- tenoom, and Sarah, daughter of the late Captain Harding, of Fremantle, Western Australia. His parents died in 1860 and 1866 respectively (the father when he was ten years old).
Educated for some time at Perth Government Boys' School, and later at Bishop Hale's College he left school at 16, and joined the staff of the Western Australian Bank. After two years, he de- cided to try station life, and went north to Bowes station, near Northampton, owned by his uncle, Mr. Thomas Burges, and where his brother, the late Sir Ed- ward Wittenoom, was overseer. He re- mained there for ten months, until No- vember, »1874, during which time he assisted at Sir John Forrest's departure on his famous trip to South Australia. On November 1, 1874, he started for Mr. Burges's Yuin station, totally unimproved, about 115 miles east, in what was known at that time as the Tallering district. This property, with 15,000 sheep, he and his brother rented from Mr, Burges for a term of ten years.
Later, Mr. Wittenoom went further into the back country, and tool» up what is now Nookawarra and Mileura stations. This latter was later sold to Messrs. Walsh and Sons, the present owners. Still later, he took up à portion of the country now forming the Belele station, and sold it to Mr. E. Lee Steere, the present owner.
The late Mr. F. F. B. WITTENOOM.
This land extended close to the later found Meekatharra goldfields. In 187Í the brothers rented the Bowes station and a few years later opened a mercan- tile business in Geraldton under Sir Ed- ward's management. About 1884 Mr. F. B Wittenoom, with Mr. B. J. Carlyon, took up a large tract of country on the Upper Gascoyne, beyond what was afterwards known as Peak Hill, and stocked it with cattle from Nookawarra. This is now known as Three Rivers station.
About 1888 the brothers took up a large run on 90-Mile Beach, including Le Grange Bay, and stocked it with sheep from the Murchison. In connection with this, they employed the schooner Harriett and 50 native divers at pearling, but, after a few years of ill-luck, sold out. About 1898 they became interested In the Cooya pooya and Mulga Downs stations, in the Roebourne district, and, later sold the former, retaining the latter.
During his brother's absence in Eng- land, Frank Wittenoom managed the Geraldton business.. In 1893 he opened a wholesale branch and lived for 18 months at Day Dawn, paying continual visits to stations about 100 miles distant. In 1896 he put a manager in charge of the stations, and went to Boulder to take charge of the Great Boulder Perseverance Gold Mine and other properties in which the late Mr. Zebina Lane was interested, living with, and getting a practical mining education from, Mr. R. Hamilton, mana- ger of the Great Boulder. At the same time he started a business office in Kal- goorlie. He was elected first chairman of the Boulder Progress Committee, and assisted in choosing the site of the present Boulder city. He remained there for two years, and then accepted the position of manager of Dalgety and Co., Ltd., of Perth and Fremantle, where he remained four years. He made two overland inspec- tion trips in 1896 and 1901, through numerous stations from the far north- west to Geraldton. In 1902 he resigned the management of Dalgety and Co., Ltd., and opened his own office in Perth.
Beyond being a J.P. for Western Aus- tralia, Mr. Wittenoom took no public offices, having no taste for politics.
In 1909 he purchased land from the Midland Railway Company, near Moora, quite unimproved, and energetically de- veloped and improved it, becoming very interested in agricultural as well as pas- toral pursuits. He was unmarried, and had several trips round the world and through foreign countries.
Frank Wittenoom played cricket for Perth from the age of 16 until he left Perth at 18, and afterwards for several years for Northern Team. He started a race club at Murgoo in 1880, when settlers were so few that the attendance all told numbered only 14. He raced there in 1881, when the Murchison Amateur Racing Club was established, the meetings being held at his Nookawarra station. They were most successful, and continued for about 16 years, during which time he rode and won many races. He also won two four-in-hand driving competitions at Nookawarra, and one at Geraldton. This was the first club in the State to give £100 prize (outside of Queen's Plates), and this he won with Meroula, by Rand- wick, by Yattendon.
In 1872 and 1873 he rowed in four-oar races at annual regattas, and spent much time sailing and fishing. He has been president of the Pastoralists* Association and Weld Club and on the advisory board of Dalgety and Co., and was also a gover- nor of Hale School for a short term.