PASSING OF A PIONEER.
THE HON JOHN MURRAY.
One by one of the pioneers, those who blazed the trail and helped to make Aus-
tralia what is to-day, are passing away. The last addition to an already lengthy list is the Hon. John Murray, whose death occurred at the private hospital of Dr. F. A. H. Michod, Longreach, on Sunday last, at the ripe age of seventy-six years. Few have bulked so large in the history of Central Queensland as Mr. Murray, and his death removes one who fought most strenously for its recognition. Mr. Mur- ray was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, on the 16th of July, 1841, and came to Aus- tralia eleven years later. After spend- ing a few years at school, Mr. Murray started to carve out his own destiny. He saw life on Ballarat, Bendigo. and Forest Creek in the feverish days of the gold rushes and took part in founding the ruin- ing industry of Victoria, His inclina- tions were, however, more for a pastoral life, and he entered upon farming and grazing. Soon after attaining his majo- rity he sold out his interests in Vic- toria and visited New South Wales, he entered into business with his brother in shipping cattle from that state to New Zealand. The cattle were shipped from Twofold Bay. Everything went along nicely for two years until an outbreak of pleuro-pnenmonia occurred and the im- portation of cattle into New Zealand was prohibited. With many cattle on hand and ships chartered it can be imagined that Mr. Mrrray and his brother were dealt, a stunning blow. Mr. Murray, however, took it philosophically and de- cided to visit Queensland. He arrived in
Brisbane in 1864, and a Queenslander he remained to the end.
Mr. Murray stayed but a comparatively short time in the metropilis. for he was in Rockhampton before the end of 1864 having ridden overland. The district
seemed fair in his eyes, and he decided to settle down in it, his first home being Fitzroy Park. He was practically one of the pioneers in farming in this district. He also launched out in pastoral pursuits. He soon became a man of note in the com- munity, for he was always to the fore in anything which had for its object the advancement of the district. Thus when the Divisional Boards Act was passed and the Gogango Divisional Board was consti- tunal he was elected one of the members and was chairman on three occasions. His first entry into political life was as re- presentative of Normanby in the Queens- land Legislative Assemhly. He defeated Mr. George Fox for that, seat in 1888 and represented it until 1901, being returned unopposed in 1893 and 1896 and defeating Mr. W. K. Peberdy in 1899. Mr. Murray made his mark in the very first session, being a keen debater and showing an analytical mind in 1893, when the first Coalition Ministry was formed, he was offered a portfolio, but. declined it. His reasons were that he was an ardent,
advocate for separation for Central Queensland, and be felt that, if he entered the Cabinet, the cause would be injured. In 1896 however Mr. Murray accepted a seat in the Cabinet of the Hon. T. J. Byrnes being the first Central Queensland member for many years to hold Cabinet
rank. He was warmly congratulated in
all quarters. A Minister for Railways and Public Works Mr. Murray did excel- lently. He it was who brought about the connection of the Central and Southern railway systems. He also performed the
ceremony of officially opening the Alexan-
dra Bridge. He was Minister for Rail- ways and Public Works until 1901. The terrible- drought which ravaged Central Queensland Avas in full swing during the last eighteen months that be held the officers, and Mr. Murray had to face a most critical period in the state's history. He did what he conceived to he his duty, and it must be admitted that he grappled with the situation well. In 1901 there was reconstruction of the Cabinet, and Mr. Murray became Minister for Public In- struction, being elevated to the Legislative Council. He was vice-President of the Executive Council. This necessitated his resignation as representative of Normanby in the Assembly and Mr. Fox became mem- ber for that constituency. With the advent of the Morgan Ministry to power in 1903. Mr. Murray lost office. Soon after he resigned his seat in the Council in order to contest the Senate election, but was unsuccessful. From that time he dropped right out of politics, or at least an activie participation therein. lt may be men- tioned that during the federation cam- paign in 1898, Mr Murray was one of the most earnest advocates for the union. He was one of the delegates chosen to visit Sydney prior to the taking of the referen- dum on thc Commonwealth Bill in New South Wales, and his earnestness con-
vinced many of the sceptical in that state of the sincerty of the Queensland Govern- ment in pressing Federal Enabling Bill through Parliament.
After his defeat in the senate campaign Mr. Murray devoted himself to his pas- toral properties. He aquired Gowan Hills, in the Bareoo, and also purchaser Delta, near Barcaldine, and Beaconsfield near Ilfracombe, from the Fairbairn estates. R mptions have taken a good deal of coutry from both Delta and Beaconsfield and thc rush for Beaconsfield selections was extraordinary. Still they are very fine properties. If we mistake not, Mr. Murray also owned a property called Moselle, in the Richmond district. Of late years his sons have been looking after his properties although Mr. Murray retained a very keen interest in them.
Mr. Murray was twice married-on the first occasion to Miss Hartley, daughter of the late Rev. Robert Hartley, and su- ter of Mr. S. W. Hartley ; on the second occasion to Miss M'Gavin,. a sister of Messrs. M'Gavin Brothers. He has left a widow and grown-up family.
Queensland is all the poorer hy Mr. Murray's death. Though a keen Conserva- tive, lie wns res-peelo.l by all his political opponents. There was no heating about thc bush with Mr. Murray. What he said ho meant. |