History of Aramac, QLD

Aramac had one of the most hectic weeks of its existence in 1889 when the Aramac Riots took place. Races were scheduled for the end of the week and attracted a number of followers of the sport. A number of shed hands had cut out and the town was crowded with shearers and shedhands with a few pounds to spend. In those days, it was the custom of country people, who could manage it, to come to town for a week of festivities. Naturally this attracted a sprinkling of the spieler class after on easy shilling. Gambling was rife and these "Heads" introduced "Nobs and Greys" and crooked dice at every opportunity. During the progress of a dice game at the Marathon Hotel, one of the "smart boys" was caught in the act. He was given a hiding and thrown out, but his mates were a tough lot and returned looking for trouble. They got it. For the whole day the fight was on. When the Police endeavoured to stop it, the crowd turned on them. Sergeant Patrick Ryan, who was then the officer in charge of Police at Aramac, was roughly handled by the mob. One old identity said that he saw Sgt. Ryan fly into the room where the brawl was, only to get hurled out like a ball. He raced in again to receive the same treatment. However, the Police had their revenge on the succeeding days when led by Sgt. Ryan with his face all cut about and plastered up, they went to the racecourse armed with handcuffs and leg-irons, and arrested the ringleaders. One man, who had escaped with the handcuffs on was "yarded" the next morning.

The comedy of the riot was provided ty Paddy, the black tracker, who was hit in the stomach by a bottle and knocked out of the tree where he had taken refuge. This tree was a land mark in front of the Marathon Hotel for many years, and Cobb and Co. coaches used to pull up underneath it. Being in the middle of the street, it was considered to be a traffic hazard and eventually removed.

The Aramac gold rush of the 1880's is now regarded as one of the comical events of the early days. The story associated with this is that two prospectors, passing through from the Cloncurry district, camped at the creek, which runs from the back of the old dam. During the night they returned to their camp after having imbibed unwisely but too well at the local taverns. When they arose next morning, they found that they had knock­ed over a pickle bottle of quartz. The only thing to do was to shovel up the surrounding earth, and take it to the nearby dam and re-wash it. They were in the process of washing this earth, when a lad, off for his horse, enquired from the men what they were doing, to be told they were washing for gold. Probably being practical jokers out to "pull his leg" they showed him the gold, and to his enquiry where they found it, pointed out the nearby creek. The rush was then on. The whole of the creek down to its junction with Aramac Creek, was pegged out and dug up. At the same time Jack Kingston, then the younger, and his school mate Bob Lenehan (who died on 30/5/63) were running around with shanghais. The stones which they were using for ammunition had an auriferous appearance. These stones were sent away by Jack Kingston, Snr, to be assayed and it was found that they had slight traces of gold. This added further fuel to the rush. J.W. Kingston had his brother C.J. (later to become a very successful storekeeper at Aramac) and a man, named Tom Gilman out at Mt. Pattison, sinking shafts for gold, but without success. A
man, named Jewell, was prospecting at what is known as Mt. Jewell without any payable result. Mt. Jewell was then on Stainburn Downs, but is now part of Kingsborough Select­ion. When the late W.H. Rudd, the past owner of Kingsborough, first acquired the proper­ty he found a number of miner's tools in a shaft on this mountain.

The financial institutions were not slow in coming to Aramac, the Q.N. Bank opened its first branch in 1875 in an old building at the corner of Burt and Gordon Streets. This building was later used as a cottage by the Strutton Family when they owned the Albion Hotel. The Methodist Church is now on this site. When the bank smash came in the early nineties, this bank was closed. It re-opened in 1913, with F. Pace as Manager, at its present location in Gordon Street, being between the Post Office and Memorial Park.

The Bank of New South Wales was opened in 1898 with C.H. Hodgson as manager and a Mr. Walker as his assistant. A few months later, when the Bank was established, Mr. Hodgson was succeeded by Mr. Pearson of Cairns. The N.S.W. Bank was in what was formerly Thompson's old store in Burt Street, and what is now vacant land next to the Q.C.W.A. Rooms. This Bank did not move to its present site, at the corner of Gordon and Porter Streets, until a few years later.

This corner allotment was originally owned by George Porter, who built a black­smith's shop on it and put Jack Black in it, and later Hughie McLean. Walter Hall later owned this shop, before selling it to the Wales Bank, when he moved to the corner of Porter and Kerr Streets, where the Roman Catholic Church is now located.

The first medical practitioner to hang out his shingle at Aramac was Dr. Ben Poulton, in the year 1876. He lived in a little old cottage near the western end of Gordon Street, at the site where Mr. R. Wright now lives. Dr. Sydney Spark was his successor.

The next medico was Dr. Murdock Matheson, who was the first Medical Superintendent of the Aramac District Hospital.

The original Aramac Hospital was one of the first to be erected in the west, being built in 1879, only seven years after the formation of the town. The first hospital was situated out along the Muttaburra Road near the present cemetery. It was built at a cost of £720, exclusive of furniture. The old hospital was dismantled in 1909, when the hospital on its present site was constructed. Since then a maternity ward has been added. In 1956 a fine nurses' quarters were built by B.P. Branch, building contractor of this town.

Unfortunately the early records of the Aramac Hospital, like those of many other local institutions, were destroyed in fires which occurred in the years that followed, The first records of the hospital date back to 1881 and show that Thomas McWhannell was the president that year, with William Forsyth as vice president and William Fuller was treasurer; Sydney Sharwood was secretary, The Committee consisted of C.W. Little, A. Thompson, W. Brown-Steele, T.S. Sword, C. Moeser, D. O'Brien, J.T. Tilbury, G. Porter, J. Hollis, W.J. Gardener, W.H. Booker and W.J. Hodda.

Sydney Sharwood was the secretary of almost every board or society in Aramac in the early days. He conducted a commission agency as a sideline. He died in Aramac on the 12.1.93.

The Aramac Tramway, which is owned and controlled by the Aramac Shire Council, is one of the few privately owned railways in Australia. It was officially opened on 2nd July, 1913. The line took little more than two years to construct; and not without opposition, a section of the ratepayers contending that the Government should have built the line. The Minister for Railways (Hon. W.T. Paget), who performed the opening ceremony, said that in forty years the Tramway would belong to the people and not the Government from whom the money was borrowed. His prediction was very wide of the mark. For the first fifteen years the earnings were not sufficient to enable the original loan to be reduced. Additional loans have been granted and arrears of interest refunded, but still the debt has not been paid off. To commemorate the opening of the line a Ratepayers' Ball was held in the Shire Hall, when the Chairman (Mr. Fraser) announced that the
cost of the Tramway amounted to £74,371 plus the interest due of £1662. The cost of building the line was £1800 per mile.

Aramac gained in importance, when on 11/11/79, the Aramac Divisional Board, the forerunner of the Aramac Shire Council was formed. It covered a wide area of territory, taking in what are now the Longreach and Ilfracombe Shires and a portion of the Barcoo Shire. The inaugural meeting of the Board was held in the Aramac Court House on 6th April, 18B0, with Thomas McWhannell as the Chairman. The other members consisted of E.R. Edkins, J.T. Tilbury, W.H. Booker, S.W. Donner, and J.B. White, Sydney Sherwood was engaged as the Board's first clerk at the salary of £50 per annum.

After two meetings of the Board at the Court House, meetings were held in the office of the Clerk. In 1892 an allotment at the corner of Gordon and Porter Streets was purchased for the sum of £33 and offices were built at a cost of £331. This site is now occupied by the offices of the Queensland Primary Producers' Co-Op. Assn. Ltd.

The old Shire Hall was completed in 1913, having been transferred from Barcaldine. One thing of beauty about it was the backdrop from the stage. It was a scene of Lake Como, which was a fine piece of work and much admired. Mr. H. Waite of Paddington, Sydney was the artist. The cloth was the admiration of ratepayers and pointed to with pride. One day tragedy hit the town. Two goats and a little white "stinker" broke into the hall and ate Lake Como, pine trees and all.

Aramac's first bore was completed in 1896. The contractor was James Brown and the contract price for boring was 14/- per foot for the first 1000 feet, 15/- per foot up to 1500 feet and 16/- per foot thereafter. A good supply was struck at 1343 feet. The town was reticulated with water in 1897. The loan for the first bore was starting to give trouble in the 1930's so the contract for a new bore was let to a man, named Hannay. The new bore was sunk about 200 yards from the old site, and a splendid flow was struck at 1200 feet.

The original Aramac Aerodrome was situated about two miles to the south of the town and adjacent to the Barcaldine Road. It was opened on 6th October, 1948, by the then chairman of the shire, Councillor R.A. Stobo. As this 'drome proved unsatisfactory, the slightest amount of rain putting it out of service, a new 'drome about half a mile to the north-east of the town was constructed. It was opened by J.T. Neill, the present chairman of the shire, on 15/3/58. In order to provide the necessary emenities for air passengers during their put down here, a very fine terminal building has since been con­structed. This terminal was opened on 8/11/58. The new 'drome can be considered as almost an all-weather one as it has not been out of commission since its inauguration in consequence of unfavourable weather.

It was a red letter day for the town of Aramac when Sir John Lavarack, the State's first Queensland born Governor, visited the town at the invitation of the Shire Council, with the then Chairman R.A. Stoto, to perform a dual ceremony on 13th September, 1952.

In the afternoon at a well attended gathering his Excellency officially opened the swimming pool. Then at night from the Shire Hall, during the progress of a Ball in his honour, he switched on the town's electricity supply.

If there is one thing that local residents can point to with pride and say there is none better in the west, it is their Memorial Park. This place of artificial beauty was opened on 18th October, 1947. The fine swimming pool, which was opened by Sir John Laverack, is situated within this park.

For places of natural beauty, Aramac can lay claim to those scenic Lakes, particularly Lake Galilee, situated in the desert country to the north. The largest of these is Lake Galilee, covering when full an area of approximately 120 miles, being about 30 miles long and 4 miles wide. Apart from the deep arm adjacent to Eastmere, its average depth would be about 6 to 8 feet. After the wet season this lake abounds with almost every class of wild fowl, of which black swans are the most numerous. The main scenic spots of this Lake are the islands, of which Dolphin, St. Helena, and Swan are the largest situated within it. On these islands the birds, being safe from marauders, breed, and one not only sees swans nesting in the water but on the land. It is said that the aboriginal tribes, who frequented these lakes, were very hostile, probably on account of being well fed.

The other lakes are Lake Barcoorah, Lake Mueller - now usually dry excepting after very heavy rain, Lake Dunn and Lake Buchanan. Lake Dunn, with its circumference of 20 miles, is an excellent picnic spot. It was called by the blacks Pajingo Bola, meaning "Big Fella Waterhole". It was named after James Dunn, at one time head stockman at Mt. Cornish, who discovered it when he tracked a mob of cattle there. Lake Buchanan, the second largest and the northern most, was named after the founder Nat Buchanan, who found it in 1862 when surveying the road through from Bowen Downs to the township of Bowen. As this lake has no overflow it is salt. Here the pelicans nest and breed, When dry the salt is collected by the surrounding graziers, who use it as a supplementary stock feed. This salt is unsuitable for culinary purposes, turning meat black and dampers blue.


  • dan dickson 7 years ago

    I am 5th generation of the Dickson clan, John Dickson who help settlement in Aramac arriving 1872. There is a plaque outside the park in Gordon St acknowledging John Dickson pioneers days

    • Linden 7 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Dan. Great to hear from a descendant of "the wildest man to ever set foot in Aramac"! Cheers, Linden

      • dan dickson 7 years ago

        Thanks Linden,

        Are you related or the author, anyway thanks again for your response


        • Linden 6 years ago

          Dan, I'm the author - started putting it together after my father died in '93. I'm only able to work on the site spasmodically but hopefully I'll have more time in the not too distant future. Cheers, Linden

          EDIT: Sorry, clarification required. I'm the "author" of the site, not the author of this page. The Aramac Shire Council gave me the documents.

    • Heather Dickson 6 years ago

      Dan, do you know if your family was from Scotland originally? If yes what part of Scotland?

      • Vere 2 years ago

        The Dickson family came from Perthshire in Scotland and the great great grandfather was a laird but wouldn't return to Scotland to take over the estate. Landed in Melbourne and went to the goldfields where he became the Mayor. With all the fighting he loaded up the drays and his brothers etc left to find a better place. They camped on the Aramac creek and the rest is history.

    • Sharon Drew (nee Hatfield) 3 years ago

      My Dad who was 90 years old in 2014, the year of his passing he talked about Taydie Dickson who helped take Mum & Dad from Fleetwood Station out western Qld near Aramac in his truck to get Mum to Rockhampton a week before she was due to have her second child. The roads were flooded & boggy and it was a hard call for Mr. Dickson to even volunteer to come all the way to Fleetwood Station, he was remembered well by my father in his story of that era. Taydie Dickson may have had a mail-run & I'm not sure how Taydie's name is spelt but that's how Dad pronounced his name in the tape recording of his oral history. Dad was working on Feetwood Station in approx.1949 or around 1950 with my grandparents also working there at the time. Fleetwood Station had a close association with Kingsborough Station run by the Rudds and who were long-time employers of my grandparents. I was wondering if your family may be related to this Mr Dickson.

      Sharon Drew
      Rockhampton Q 4700

      • linden 3 years ago

        Thanks Sharon, great story. Dan didn't leave his email address so let's hope he checks back. Cheers, Linden

      • Vere Storch (née Dickson) 2 years ago

        Reading this today and I'd like to let you know that yes my dad was Tadie. He had mail runs when I was a kid before we moved out to Coorabah not far from from Fleetwood. My Dad was the oldest of the second family of David Dickson (my grandfather) Dan,s grandfather Les Dickson was my Dad,s step brother as their mother passed away leaving five children. Grandad remarried and he and Nana had nine children of whom my Dad was the oldest. All in his family are deceased. Dan lives in Brisbane and is on Facebook . His Dad is still alive and in his late nineties. I vaguely remember the name Hatfield but as I was born in 1948 can't quite put it all together. I live in Blackwater now as nearly all my family have passed. My father was well known for helping people and would go out of his way to do so.

        • Christine king 3 weeks ago

          Hi Vere I have a DNA match with the Dicksons and my great great grandmother was housekeeper to William. I am looking for a family tree for the Dicksons. Would love it if someone from the family would contact me.
          Regards Christine

    • Melinda Appleton nee Schofield 3 years ago

      Hi Dan, Sharon, Linden
      I know your post was 4 years ago but I am desperate to find connections to my father, Gordon (Sco) Schofield, shearers cook on many stations DOB 1947? Apparently his grandmother (Aboriginal Woman my great grannie) had a child to his grandfather, I am that child. I am in hope you may know further history of the area?

      • linden 3 years ago

        Hi Melinda, you submitted the same comment to Dan, Sharon and me so I took the liberty of combining them into one. Hope that's okay. I can't help at the moment but I hope someone else can. Cheers, Linden

    • Christine king 3 weeks ago

      I am looking for a family tree for the Dicksons I have DNA connections to the family and my grandmothers family Mitchell’s lived in Aramac and my great great grandmother was William Dickson’s house keeper... I would love to hear from you as I am tracing family history. Please contact me

  • Robyn Balfour 6 years ago

    John William Kingston & Matilda Maria Strutton are my great grandparents. My mother said her grandfather was killed in an accident, being squashed by his own bullock team against a cliff or fence in 1891 and I'm trying to find evidence to substantiate this tragedy, nothing so far.
    Even more importantly, I'd LOVE to have a photo of John & Matilda for my family tree. I came across one of the family pics from 1895 but, sadly, he was already gone and Matilda wasn't in it either. If anyone can help, I would be extremely grateful - Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

    Heather - I have John Dickson b.1827 Tibbermore, Perthshire, Scotland, arriving Melbourne 1853. His youngest son David married CJ Kingston's dau Amy 1892.

  • Anonymous 6 years ago

    My great, great grandmother was the sister of Jack Kingston and with her husband Frank Phillips came to Aramac in 1883 and took over the running of the Marathon hotel and Jack moved to the Aramac Hotel. Mrs Frank Phillips died in 1889 and Frank in 1890 leaving three children Annie, Francis and Frank. Francis later married a Kingston cousin, Frank left to work for Sidney Kidman and settled in Adelaide some 20yrs later and I have no idea what happened to Annie. Frances had 7 children and I believe decendants by the name of Winters are still in Aramac. I have a history of the Kingstons written by Jacks brother C.J.Kingston I am travelling to Aramac in late July early August to fill some gaps in my family history. regards John Phillips

    • Susanne Reidy 2 years ago

      John....are you related to the Barcaldine Phillips? There are at least 2 Frank Phillips in Aramac at the same time...one married Jack Kingston's sister ..the other to Elizabeth Eberston.....unsure as to whether they are one and the same person and if Elizabeth was Kingston's sister who remarried to be Eberston?????

      • John Phillips 2 years ago

        Hello Susanne
        Francis William Phillips married Jemima Louisa Kingston in England and then, encouraged by Jemima's brother Jack Kingston migrated to Aramac in 1885 and managed the Marathon Hotel. They died very young 4 and 5 years later. I do not know of any other Phillips relatives in Aus.

        • Susanne 10 months ago

          Hi John, thanks for the reply...still a mystery

  • Robyn Balfour 6 years ago

    Just wanted to say thank you, Linden, for all this interesting history and also for enabling me to find another 3rd cousin! Regards, Robyn

    • Linden 6 years ago

      My pleasure Robyn, glad it's helped. Cheers, Linden

  • Ron Porter 6 years ago

    George Porter of Aramac was my great great grandfather Thanks for the info

    • Therese Jansan 4 years ago

      Ron. George Porter is my husbands great great grandfather also.... I have only just started on this search of the Porter family!!!

      • Brian Carr 11 months ago

        Hi Ron and Therese, George was my great great grandfather also.

      • Andrew McCallum 11 months ago

        Currently reading a book written by a Joseph Porter. Son of George Parter. Title,Roll the summers back. Could be worth looking for as it contains some interesting local history.

        • Linden 11 months ago

          Hi Andrew, Lorraine Wearmouth posted here about a book called "Roll Back the Summers". Same book? Cheers, Linden

    • linden 5 years ago

      Apologies to Veronica. The following submission was found during conversion to the new site. It was submitted 3 Apr 2014:

      A very interesting history of Aramac where I was born. My father was the Anglican clergyman there till the late 1950 . I always tried to get in touch with Ron Porter as I knew his great grandfather when I lived in Sydney. Would you be able to contact him and he can contact me if he wishes.
      Thank you Veronica Jelinek

    • Shirley Huth 2 years ago

      I was interested to read about Robert Gibson Miller who spent 20 years as Aramac Shire Clerk. He was my great-grandfather. His second wife (not related to me) was Mabel Constance Porter, who I believe was the daughter of George. I don't know a lot about her as I am descended from Robert's eldest daughter. Both Robert's wives are buried at Aramac, and his ashes lie there as well.

      • Peter Miller 11 months ago

        Hi Shirley , my grand father was George Gibson and his son and my father was Donald Gibson, we may be related somehow , I am in the Brisbane phone book at Darra

  • Rosalea Mackay 6 years ago

    A wonderful history of the Aramac area that I enjoyed reading. My great grandparents, James and Ellen Mitchell had had one of their children, Frederick, aged about 3, go missing while herding goats with his brother in the Boongavinna area (October 1899) I'm have been trying to find out a little more about this area but it seems that name is no longer used. Ellen was a housekeeper for the Dickson family on Annievale station and died in Aramac in 1931. P corresponded with a MR Joe Dickson in the late 80's who was the nephew of the station owner William Dickson. rosaleaj[at]bigpond[dot]com

  • Gerard Ansell 6 years ago

    My great,great grandparents George and Eliza Phillips arrived in Brisbane in 1857 on board the Parsee with their seven children including two sons, Louis and Frank.

    Louis married Agnes Isabella Lawson and became the licensee of the Aramac Hotel (was there in1893). The Aramac Hotel along with The Albion Hotel was lost in a disastrous fire on 1 December 1924. Reports of the day suggest the Aramac Hotel loss was six to seven thousand pound with an insurance cover of only 930 pound.

    This must have been an enormous blow to Louis and his wife and Louis was dead within six months at the age of 73. His wife died in 1937 and both are buried together in Aramac Cemetery.

    one of Louis and Agnes' four daughters, Delia Isabella, married Charles Williams and a son Mervyn Louis Williams born in Aramac went on to be a Queensland boxing champion. He eventually located to Melbourne where he became well known as "Mr Boxing" in the press and on radio and TV.

    • PETER HYLAND 2 years ago

      Louis PHILLIPS and Agnes Isabella LAWSON are my G Grandparents - their daughter Eliza Jane is my Grandmother.
      Such a fascinating history of Aramac. My grandfather (Bill HYLAND) named his house in Narrabeen (n'thn Sydney beaches) "ARAMAC" in the 1920s
      I've been trying to compile the LAWSON family tree connection for 50 yrs - no real luck yet.
      I have only been able to ascertain Agnes' birth on 15/4/1854 near Condobolin (NSW)
      Peter Hyland

      • Gerard Ansell 2 years ago

        Hi Peter Hyland it appears we are third cousins.

        My father's middle name was Louis and he pronounced it as "Louie" but I understand Louis Phillips was sounded as "Lewis". Any information you have on the man would be appreciated as my reading about him in newspaper archives suggests he was a larger than life character.

        Gerard Ansell

        • Peter Hyland 1 year ago

          Hi Gerard,
          If you email me, I'll give you all that I have on the PHILLIPS family - a fair bit on Louis!
          He was a successful publican in Aramac, and when he died, his coffin weighed over 1/2 ton, so a crane had to be used to lower him into his grave. - From my research, he sure was "bigger than life"

          Peter Hyland

          • Linden 1 year ago

            Hi Peter, Did you intend to publish your email address? If so you may want to put it into the text of a message, as the email address fields don't get published. Cheers, Linden

            • Peter Hyland 1 week ago

              Hi Linden,

              Happy to give you all I know about Louis Phillips - my G Grndfather

            • PETER HYLAND 1 week ago

              For Linden, Gerard and Sandra,

              Happy to share my email = phy40183 {at} bigpond {dot} com {dot} au

              P Hy

              • Linden 1 week ago

                Thanks Peter.
                Actually you don't even need the {at} and {dot}s any more - any email addresses are converted into un-recognisable code and converted back for viewing, which means that bots etc can't see them when they scan the pages; doesn't stop the slave labour, paid to trawl websites and record any email addresses and phone numbers but it stops automated crawlers.
                I'm not researching the Phillips family at the moment but it's great to know you're there! Hopefully Gerard and Sandra are following the thread.
                Cheers, Linden

      • Sandra o’gorman 2 months ago

        Hi there my great grandmother was Agnes Isabella Lawson
        She was married to DanWilson before she married Phillips has any one any information or know about it I would like to know

        • Peter Hyland 1 week ago

          Hi Sandra,

          Happy to give you all I know about Agnes Isabella LAWSON / WILSON

    • Susanne 2 years ago

      Hi Gerald.....am researching Phillips family from Barcaldine....getting stuck at Frank Barney Phillips who married Florence Kate Summers. You state above that George and Eliza emigrated on the Parsee with 7 children including Frank.....however on checking shipping records of the Parsee in 1857 there is no record of Frank....can you provide any information to confirm that Frank was one of their children? Many thanks

  • George Allan Roots 5 years ago

    Approx 1908-9 my grandfather Daniel Roots started with the Aramac Tramways with him 1909-10 he brought my father James William Roots & his brothers David & George, Dan was not living with his wife,A tent was his home mostly for his 40years working as a overseer (I have photo's) most of those years on the Aramac Tramway building & permanent overseer after the completion in 1913 until 1934, he received a silver medal honouring his dedication in 1921, my father James William. Ariving after the other 2 siblings worked as a carpenter he helped build houses, the former 2 story hotel, the St George Church of England & the new post office in 1914 he claimed to have inscribed his name in the roof rafters, he met my mother in Aramac she was working as a cook at the Hotel in 1915 he married her in 1916 in Rockhampton. David has his name on the 1914-18 centetaf war memorial in Aramac, George met my mother's sister & married her, the family have quite a few photo's of that era. They all spoke highly of the Town of Aramac & the people, all were very strong Unionist & Orangemen.On my Aramac 2000 visit found the local Sergant Roots of police was related.

    • paula 2 years ago

      I was interested when reading your family history and would love to know more about your family regarding the Tramway as I am the vice president of the Aramac Tramway and Historical Assn and we would love to know more about the people who worked for the Tramway all those years ago. You also mentioned the Post Office. If you had any old photos of the post office we would also love to see them as the current owners are also interested in the history.
      I did mention to them about the inscription in the rafters but they had not seen it. I am sure they will have a look now :)
      Look forward to hearing from you.
      Paula Coulton
      Aramac Tramway

      • Gary Dickson 2 years ago

        Hi Paula, my name is Gary Dickson.I was born in Barcaldine in 1948 and in 1953/4 moved to Aramac when my father Maurice Donald (Digger) Dickson took the position of guard on the Aramac Tramway. He worked there till about 1962/3. We lived in the house opposite the bottom gate to the memorial park. I remember when the old steam train was there. Going down to the railway yards very early in the morning with dad for a trip to Barcaldine. Jonesy and his fireman were firing up the engine and i remember having bacon and eggs cooked on a shovel in the boiler fire. One of the firemen was a young bloke named Bobby Jacobsen. I think he came from Rockhampton. (if my memory is good). He was a boxer and Digger took the opportunity to have me taught to box. I remember when the RR MAC arrived. There was a school competition to name the new loco and I think it was Beverley Hallam who won the competition. Of course everyone called it Paw Paw. Did you know they had a motorised pumper that was used by the maintenance crews and used for the mail run mostly in the wet weather. On one occasion Digger was was coming back with the clinic sister from Barcaldine an the pumper derailed. It finished up on its side with Digger lying almost under it with a stick in his leg. I believe the clinic sister was thrown clear and not badly hurt. I remember when the drovers used to come with mobs of sheep and cattle that were loaded down at the stock yards. Sometimes 2 loads (trips to Barcaldine) were required to shift them. My grandparents and uncle owned the old Dickson & Ferguson store opposite the picture show. My uncle Jack Mitchell was the local Shell petrol agent. I dont know how much history you have or what additional information you may be looking for. I found your site purely by accident. The last time I was in Aramac was back in 2006 for a half day visit. If you have any specific questions I can possibly help you with please let me know.

  • Errol O'Farrell 5 years ago

    Thank you for the wonderful and date eventful history. My partner's grandfather is the Henry Edward Farrell born 1875 to John Farrell and Sarah McAnanley (both born Tyrone Ireland) in your story. Their correct name was O'Farrell but always known as Farrell . I wondered if there was a record of when sold the Albion Hotel as I believe the family moved to Winton after that. Do you have this date:- 1879 James Thompson Tilbury, Alfred Thompson, George Porter and John Farrell were appointed to be trustees of the Reserve for a Dam at Aramac, proclaimed 9.07.1879. A.E.Kennedy Governor. Regards Ellen Lyne

    • Linden 5 years ago

      Hi Ellen. Wish I could help. Perhaps you could try Aramac Shire Council? It's now part of Barcaldine Regional Council (admin_office [at] barcaldinerc.qld.gov.au). Phone number for the Aramac Admin Office is 07 4652 9999.
      Cheers, Linden

  • Sam Smith 5 years ago

    Hello, My Uncle was Town Mayor of Aramac for many years, His Name was Basil Smith. Please Contact me I have something very interesting that once belonged to your father.

  • Anonymous 5 years ago

    I'm a Glover and I do know that I am related to the Glover and Storch families. Are there any existing in Aramac from either of these families?

  • Sonny Thompson 4 years ago

    My great grandfather Jack Rolfe was on Annievale Station and his wife was Lizzie Rolfe, my grandmother was Annie Rolfe, shd wax taken away as a 9 year okd girl to Deebing Creek mission. Hsve you got any information on those names?

    • Linden 4 years ago

      Sorry Sonny, I don't at this stage. Maybe someone else reading this will be able to help. Cheers, Linden

    • Rosalea Mackay 2 years ago

      Hi Sonny .. My great grand mother Ellen Mitchell worked as housekeeper on Annievale Station in the early 1900's .. possibly until at least 1919. I know little of her life there but I do have a photo of what I believe is Annievale taken during this period. Joe Dickson, who I corresponded with in the late 1980's sent it to me (he was he nephew of William Dickson of Annievale Station) I would be happy to email it to you if it is of interest. In the photo are 2 women (one is Ellen) 6 men and 3 children (1 Aboriginal) Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

      • Christine king 3 weeks ago

        To Rosalea my grandmother Vera Florence Mitchell was the daughter of Margaret (Maggie) Mitchell and therefore Ellen was my great great grandmother. Love to hear from you.
        Also I have DNA connection to the Dicksons and would love to hear from family related to William Dickson.

  • Heidi Jai Goodwin 4 years ago

    Hi, this has been a great read. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather is C J Kingston. My family doesn't know much about our Kingston Family only from a book that was written by a cousin call Len which we only set eyes on only a few years ago. My Great Grandmother is Alice Clara Kingston whose father C W Kingston moved the family to Emerald where she met my Great Grandfather William Munro. (Munro was one of the first families in Emerald) Would love to know more or if anyone has photos that they can share.

    Thank you

    Heidi Jai

    • Suzanne Gay Lawrence 10 months ago

      I have a couple of pictures of C J Kingston and I married a lawrence whose aunt married Len kingston

  • Rachel Loosemore 4 years ago

    My great-great-grandfather is the James Tolson mentioned on this page. Thank you for sharing this information about Aramac.

  • Linden Pirie 4 years ago

    Im a descendent of the Kingstons. Claude Kingston was my grandfather. This was a fascinating history of Aramac. Im just wondering how two Lindens came out of such a little town?

    • Linden 4 years ago

      Hi Linden, Are you male or female? I was told my parents were in the Blue Mountains, drove through a town called Linden and liked the name.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    I'm trying to find relatives called Carole & Barry Cochrane. I believe they have twin daughters & a son who would be in their 40s. Barry used to work on
    longreach & I think Carole worked at the post office. I believe Carole & Barry retired to Brisbane. i would love to connect with their children/my cousins .Anyone know them?

    • Jenny 4 years ago

      I saw Barry earlier this year at a funeral. Call 0427580967 and I can put you in contact with his cousins

  • Linden 4 years ago

    The following was submitted by Michael Wiseman:

    I am trying to trace my grandfather Percy Melville Wiseman who disappeared from the Scone N.S.W. area in 1918 and is rumoured to have drowned in a dam at Aramac about 1930s or 40s. He probably changed his name as he was wanted for family desertion. Can you shed any light on this situation. Most Grateful if you could. My older sister has told me she can recall my parents talking about Percy being drowned after he fell off his horse because of am epileptic fit. His brother who lived at Dalby was asked to go and identify the body. Whether this helps or confuses I don't know. I would be most appreciative of any help you could give in contacting other sources. My sister believes his death occurred in the late forties.

  • Martin 3 years ago

    I am trying to find information on S Donner can you shed any light on him.

    • linden 3 years ago

      Hi Martin,
      I don't know how much you already know, but from what I can gather from NLA he died 1909 (aneurism). He was a well-known and popular figure in Qld. He was from "good English stock" (a brother was a baronet) and brought considerable capital to Qld, which he lost in pastoral pursuits in the Gulf. He managed 'Carandotta' and then became a commission agent, sharebroker at Cloncurry.
      Hope this helps.
      Cheers, Linden

  • Selwyn R (Bob) Pratt 3 years ago

    G'Day Linden, my Maternal Grandfather Edward (Ted) Lynch was born on 03/07/1886 at Monk's Creek near Alpha, his father Patrick Lynch, from Castleisland, County Kerry, Ireland, worked on the railway line in the late 80's & finally settled in Barcaldine. My Aunty, Annie Elizabeth Lynch married Cecil Lawrence (mechanic) were married in Longreach on 02/02/1926 & lived in Aramac Patrick's brother Michael Lynch married Margaret Moriarty & settled in Ararmac. Jim & Maggie (Lynch) Langdon "Adelong" Muttaburra 1902 -1990 buried in Aramac. Doris Lynch was a telephonist at the Aramac PMG exchange, left 18/01/1935 (Tvlle Daily Bulletin 21/01/1935, page 7). A town of PIONEERS!

    • linden 3 years ago

      Hi Bob,
      Good to hear of another family that has a long association with the area. Aramac certainly was a town of pioneers.
      Cheers, Linden

    • Geoffrey James Lawrence 2 years ago

      Hi Selwyn Your mother was my aunt Jessie who was my mother's sister. She was Annie Lawrence (Lynch). I came across your post while looking for info about my uncle Fred Lawrence's station (Cheryl I think). It may still be in the Lawrence family. Perhaps others may know of my grandfather Fredrick Lawrence (born in Bath Eng. emigrated to Brisbane 1884) who had a long history in Aramac. I kweg your half sister Pamela and may have met you in Winton around 1941. Cheers Geoff L.

      • selwyn robin pratt 2 years ago

        G'Day Cousin Geoffrey, I hope you & your family are well. I have fond & happy memories, when I stayed with you at Brighton. Uncle Cecil did take me to the "flicks", where he worked as the projectionist & to see Norths play footy at the Nundah Oval. I remember you building a TV receiver in aunt Nancy's laundry? I think Judy's Stephen was doing the Lawrence family? I've done the Lynch's tree.
        A couple of months ago, I enjoyed a morning tea with your sister Jenny & two other lost cousins. When I get your email address, I'll send you a photo. I just found out that Brian has gone into an age care home. When I was in the railway, I was Brian's fireman on a few occasions, many years back. I would love to hear from you. Kindest regards, Rob Pratt Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

      • Suzanne Lawrence 1 year ago

        I'm married to James Lawrence whose father is frederick Lawrence who lived at Cherhill Station Aramac. Cherhill Station has been sold and James and I still live in Aramac.

      • Doree Hartley 1 year ago

        My grandfather was Frederick Lawrence of Cherhill Station, he was a brother of Cecil, Bert & Jack. The property was passed on to his sons Frederick & Stan but has since been sold. Stan is still alive, he is 92 and lives just outside Rockhampton with my brother, Frank. My other brother Jim is the only Lawrence still living in the district.
        Doree Hartley Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

  • carmel rowell 3 years ago

    My great grandfathers brother William Alexander was unmarried and employed as a shearer. He passed away at Politic Paddock on 17th August 1912 and the inquest appears to indicate suicide. William was born in 1854 and when his mother died after arriving in Moreton Bay he was admitted to the Diamantina Orphanage in Brisbane. He was discharged to work for a Mrs Ferguson in South Brisbane but the date is unknown. Nothing more is know about him except that Louis Phillips, Licensee of the Aramac Hotel says he knew William for 30 years, so apparently he worked in the district for that time. Any information would be greatly appreciated

  • brenda bennett 3 years ago

    I was born at Barcaldine, my parents Ray and Barbara Talbot owned Barcoorah station north of Aramac 1964-1980. My sister Karon rests in the Aramac cemetery..... I am researching this chapter of our lives, if anyone has any information I would greatly appreciate.

    • linden 3 years ago

      Hi Brenda, the name Talbot certainly rings a bell, though I'm not sure why. I'll do a bit of digging but in the meantime I hope someone else is able to help.
      Cheers, Linden

    • Vere Storch (née Dickson) 2 years ago

      Hello Brenda,
      Your parents Barb and Ray lived on the property next to my home Coorabah, and they used to visit Our place nearly every Sunday or would say them through the week My brother Michael was there with your dad on the day that Karen who walked in your father's footsteps everywhere was accidentally burnt very badly Your father always blames him self for the accident and never ever got over the death of his special little daughter It broke his heart and the spirit and it wasn't long after that he sold up and returned to Broken Hill My family lost contact with him and your mum but we always remembered special days spent together playing tennis and and having lunch most Sundays .
      After I got married in 1969 and moved to Mount Isa I did not see much of your parents again my brother remained on Coorabah. after my parents passed away had a lot to do with him till he left to return to Broken Hill We lost my brother in 2002 at the age of 58 and now there is only my sister who is 75 and myself left in the family Maybe you may remember Donna as you were only little and it is a long time ago My email is Enable JavaScript to view protected content.. Your aunt Maxine came up to live at Barcoorah for some time.

  • Gary 3 years ago

    The old Gray Rock hotel is now a private residence in town

    • linden 3 years ago

      Thanks Gary, good to know. Cheers, Linden

  • David Pope 3 years ago

    I am trying to find any information regarding my fathers family and/or his life in Aramac.
    He was born Blair Athol 1904, family lived in Aramac, dad left his home approx, 1912. He had 7 brothers/sisters. Worked on cattle stations in the area, married at Clermont 1928. The family are unaware of our fathers life between those years.
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • David Pope 3 years ago

    It was remiss of me not to include my fathers name in my previous comment.
    My fathers name was William, son of Frederick and Wilhelmina.
    He left home approx. 1916 when 12 years of age. From "others" comments dad was an excellent horseman in the region working on cattle stations.
    Any provision of knowledge of our fathers activities from the Aramac region would be most greatly appreciated, thank you

    • linden 3 years ago

      Hi David, Did William have a middle name? Who did he marry in Clermont? Cheers, Linden

      • David Pope 3 years ago

        Hi Linden and thank you for your reply.
        Dad didn't have a middle name.
        He married our mother Jane (known as Jean) Hume Somerville 15.09.1928.
        A little more to dads story, is that he and a sister were to be fostered out due to our grandmother leaving our grandfather with 8 children and dad ran away at 12 years of age.
        The surviving children (6 of us) of William and Jane have no knowledge of where or what dad did between 1904 (born) and 1916 (leaving home) and 1916-1928. Being people of that era, they didn't share too much with us.
        I was hoping there may be some archival information somewhere perhaps of employ or news of that time.
        All we are aware of is dad gained a reputation as an excellent horseman and a boxing champion.
        I am planning a road trip next year to visit Aramac and other areas.
        Mum and dad were transferred to WA in approx. 1936 as dad was a gold miner by then.

        thank you again Linden, we hope something comes out of the information provided.

        • linden 3 years ago

          Hi David, thanks for the extra detail; hopefully it'll be read by an Aramac local who'll be able to assist. Have you tried the newspaper archives at NLA (http://trove.nla.gov.au)? They'll certainly give you background information related to the period. Cheers, Linden

          • David Pope 3 years ago

            Thank you for your help Linden, I haven't tried that site but will now.

  • Desley 3 years ago

    I am trying to track down family , of course, my great grandparents were Jim and Emily Dickson from the Aramac area Indigenous family and I was wondering if anyone knew of this family.

  • Christine 3 years ago

    Hi, I read History of Aramac, QLD page 3. Wondering if anyone has info on how John Dickson (butcher) got reputation of being ""the wildest man to ever set foot in Aramac?" I think he is my ggg-grandfather.

  • Cam SMYTH 2 years ago

    I worked with Paul Dickson at Fairbairn Dam Emerald in the early 1970s. He was a fitter/mechanic with the then Irrigation and Water Supply Commission. He used to drive to Aramac for weekends on a regular basis. Haven't seen him for years

  • Pauline palmer (hopes) 2 years ago

    Hi Linden. Are you Linden (dredge)? My dad worked on the railway as ganger for a few years from around 1961 for a couple of years then on the council. Loved reading this. Dad was Kevin Hopes.

    • linden 2 years ago

      Hi Pauline, glad you enjoyed it! Cheers, Linden

  • Tony mitchell 2 years ago

    My father & his brother Lou & George mitchell had a fransport business in aramac for 30 years sold out in 1959 & brought glentor downs hughenden

    • Jacqueline WALLER 2 years ago

      I was born in Hughenden and my parents Jack and Gwendoline Schulz owned Glentor Downs . They would have sold this property to your father and uncle . Do they still own it . My siblings and I are going on a journey back in 2018 and would love to visit Glentor where 3 of us slings lived.
      Is there an email address or contact.

  • Karen Courtney 2 years ago

    Hi Linden, I've really enjoyed reading about Aramac, the town where my mother was born and her family lived for a while. I'm looking for help from anyone with information on the Lynch family who may have adopted and raised my grandmother as their own. Her name was Agnes Patricia Lynch before she married my grandfather, George Brown and they lived in Aramac. I know nothing of her parents and little of her adopted family. She had a sister Eileen, who married Roy Winters and two other sisters, known only to my mother as Connie and Mary. Thank you

    • Linden 2 years ago

      Hi Karen, Glad you enjoyed it and best of luck in your search.
      Cheers, Linden

  • Adam Hammond 2 years ago

    My grandmother grew up on a sheep station in Aramac, and I was wondering if any of the Currie (Think this is the correct spelling) family still existed there? Her name was 'Vera Maude', and was affectionately known as 'Bebe'.

    When I was very young I stayed out on the property that was towards Barcaldine, and still remember nights out at the Aramac open air cinema. Thank you.

  • Lorraine Wearmouth 1 year ago

    I was brought up in aramac 2 of my brothers married one a niece of the bain family and the other married into the hallam family the family home still stand in gordon street i belive there is a book called roll back the summers about aramac histroy

    • Linden 1 year ago

      Hi Lorraine, "Roll Back the Summers" sounds interesting. They opened the new Matilda museum/centre in Winton last week so they may have it there. Since the old Matilda Centre burnt down I've often wondered whether they were able to replace all the wonderful stuff they had there. Cheers, Linden

  • Marisa Kingston 1 year ago

    Just returned from Aramac as my husbands grandfather was born there. His name was Authur Hubert Kingston. The Council out there was very genourous in giving my husband Kevin a photocopy of the writings of Len Kingston & the history of Aramac & the Kingstons. Awesome trip!!!

    • Linden 1 year ago

      Sounds great Marisa. I haven't been out there for centuries but glad to hear the council's the same - I can only reiterate your comments about their generosity and helpfulness. I might have to do another trip before too long, especially with the new Winton centre up and running. Cheers, Linden

  • Christine King 3 weeks ago

    Hi I have a DNA match with the Dicksons and my grandmothers family the Mitchells are from Aramac .. my great great grandmother was William Dicksons house keeper. I am trying to trace my connection to the Dicksons and looking for a family tree or any knowledge. Margaret Mitchell (Maggie) was my grandmothers mother. Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

  • Christine King 3 weeks ago

    Looking for information re the Dickson and Mitchell family for my family tree
    Enable JavaScript to view protected content.
    Thank you Christine king

Add Comment

Note: For privacy reasons your email address is not published. If you wish to publish it, add it to the text of your comment and it will be given spam-protection masking.