The Longreach Leader Saturday 13 July 1935
Mr. ROBERT JAMES WEDGWOOD
By the death after a severe illness of some months, of Mr. Robert James Wedgwood at his home at Burslem, Tangorin at 11.45 p.m. on Monday the Longreach, Muttaburra and Tangorin districts lost one of their most respected and popular personalities, who had been associated with these areas since the pioneering days.
Mr. Wedgwood was born in Birmingham, England on 10th June, 1866, coming to Australia with his brothers about 18 years later, and arriving at Mt. Cornish, Muttaburra in 1885, his father, and the late Mr. E. R.Edkins, managing partner of the firm owning Mt. Cornish, and father of Mr. R. H. Edkins of Bimbah, being old friends.
The voyage out occupied over two months, and from Rockhampton they travelled by train to the then terminus of the Central Line at Pine Hill. From this point they went by Cobb & Co.’s coach to Muttaburra. Mt. Cornish was situated 3 miles from the town, and was then one of the largest of Queensland stations, carrying about 70,000 Hereford cattle of splendid quality. It was a busy, but happy, life under their “Chief” E. R. Edkins. Muttaburra in those days was a very busy centre, with the leading store, Klugh and Samuels doing a wonderful business. All telegraph and mail services for Winton, Boulia and beyond passed through Muttaburra, which was one of the important telegraphic repeating stations of the State. The annual show and race week, in which Mt. Cornish hands & staff took important parts, was the event of the year, but receded to more humble planes by the rise of Longreach in later years.
Mr. Wedgwood was jackerooing on Ambo, then a Mt. Cornish outstation, under the late J. H. Grimshaw, and carried out a number of droving trips to Bourke (N.S.W.), St. George and one adventurous one to Roxburgh, in the Northern Territory. For the next three years he was bookkeeper at the head station, and when a portion of Mt. Cornish was resumed, he drew a block, which is now known as Camoola Park. However, owing to an unlucky deal in cattle, he was unable to finance the property, and had to forfeit it.
THE LATE Mr. R. J. WEDGWOOD
His association with Longreach commenced in 1891, in the establishment of a commission agency with Mr. R. H. Edkins, the firm name being “R. H. Edkins & Co.” The late Francis Cory joined the firm a few years later, and afterwards assumed full control, the firm name being changed to “F. Cory & Co.” Included in a host of secretaryships which Mr. Wedgwood handled were those of the Longreach Club – on the Honour Board of which his name appears as a foundation member – Longreach Jockey Club, Longreach Hospital, Anglican Church. Often, in his capacity as hospital secretary, he had to assist in an .unofficial capacity, the late Dr. A. E. Hewer.
It was in 1897 that deceased with his brothers Willie and Charlie selected Burslem and Redcliffe in the Tangorin district, later purchasing their interests carrying on the property in his own name, and residing there ever since. During the big drought of 1900-02, horse teams were unable to travel, and flour and other necessities had to be transported by parcel post, until Cobb & Co.’s horses became so weak that, it was decided to close Burslem down, and the place was deserted for several months.
The transfer of deceased’s activities to Burslem, did not altogether sever his Longreach associations; he was always, a most popular figure on the occasions he came to town, especially among the older members of the community – who knew him in the early days of the district, and who always cherished a fond remembrance of a kindly lovable gentleman.
He married Miss Kate Edkins, sister of Mr. R. H. Edkins, and there is a family of two sons and three daughters, Messrs. Robert Rowland Wedgwood of the Cramsie Shearing Works, West .Longreach, and Kenneth Edkins Wedgwood who lives at Burslem; Mrs.. R. R. Edkins, Malboona, Corfield, Misses Beryl and Margaret who live at home.
Mr. Wedgwood was a keen and good horseman, and an ardent supporter of racing, particularly the amateur meetings, his chief interest in this line being the Tower Hill Picnic Race Club, of which he was secretary for many years, till his daughter, Berrie, took it over.
A few months, ago, Mr. Wedgwood was taken suddenly seriously ill, and was confined to the Longreach Private Hospital for some weeks, and when he went home, he seemed to be making slow progress till recently, when his condition became worse, and all the family were called to the home he had built and worked from for many years. Mr. R. H. Edkins was also there. However, despite the loving attention of his family, and expert nursing assistance, “Wedgwood of Burslem” passed on to the Heavenly Cattle Camps, just at a time when indications pointed to a bounteous season for the earthly camps. He was essentially a man of the bush, the scrub or plain. He soon became restless with town life on the few occasions he came in, and made for home again as soon as he possibly could.
Owing to the roads being impassable, preventing the interment at Muttaburra as was intended, deceased was buried at Burslem at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Only members of the family, and Mr. R. H. Edkins, with the station staff, were present.
[Source: Obituary. (1935, July 13). The Longreach Leader (Qld. : 1923 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39318498]