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Osborne, Patrick Hill (Pat) (1832–1902)

by Edgar Beale

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

Pat Hill Osborne (1832-1902), pastoralist, was born on 20 May 1832 at Marshall Mount, Dapto, New South Wales, second son of Henry Osborne and his wife Sarah Elizabeth, née Marshall. Educated in England, he returned to work on his father's scattered stations; in the 1850s he managed Brookong. On 27 January 1864 at Earley, near Reading, Berkshire, he married Elizabeth Jane (Jeanie), daughter of Major-General E. H. Atkinson. They returned to Lakelands, Dapto.

In November Osborne was asked to contest the Illawarra seat in the Legislative Assembly. He told his electors that he had 'no desire to enter Parliament unless as an independent member, totally unfettered by pledges' and maintained that the wealthy classes should contribute more to the revenue; yet the Illawarra Mercury taunted him with supporting James Martin's ministry. In December he won by a comfortable majority but proved an inactive member and resigned without explanation to his constituents on 4 August 1866 and again visited England.

In 1865 Osborne bought Currandooley on Lake George and told his wife that she would 'have to rough it a little'. A keen shot, he was impressed by 'no end of Wild Duck, Swans and a variety of other game'. Wild horses were on the station and he later introduced deer. In 1873 he built a mansion where they entertained governors, neighbours and English visitors. He continued with his brothers to have an interest in his father's stations and coal-mines in Illawarra and Maitland including the Osborne Wallsend colliery at Wollongong. He had mining leases of his own and speculated moderately in mining shares. In the 1870s and 1880s he bought and sold stations; in 1875 he acquired Orange Plains on the Bogan with his brother George whom he bought out in 1883. By 1902 in addition to Currandooley and Orange Plains he had Willeroo, Douro and Gundaroo and five other properties. He travelled widely to his scattered stations and Sydney. In 1888 he bought shearing machinery from F. Y. Wolseley but unfortunately when shearing came round in November 'the machinery was not working well'.

An energetic race-goer, he bred horses from his thoroughbred mares to carry his all-green colours at local southern meetings. With Acmena he won the Australian Jockey Club's Champagne Stakes and Oaks in 1894, and several good races in England. He visited England where he had an estate Karenza, near Cheltenham. About 1898 he raised a local contingent of the 1st Australian Horse. Its Easter encampment was on Currandooley, where Osborne provided free rations, transport and forage besides entertaining the officers to dinner. In 1899 his fifth son Lieutenant James Bunbury Nott went with the 1st Australian Horse to South Africa; he later married the American actress Maud Jeffries.

Pat Osborne died suddenly from uraemia at Currandooley on 17 October 1902 and was buried with Anglican rites. He was survived by his wife, four sons and five daughters to whom he left an estate valued for probate at over £225,000. His widow returned to London and entertained many Australian soldiers in World War I.

Select Bibliography

  • G. N. Griffiths, Some Southern Homes of New South Wales (Syd, 1952)
  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1880-81, 1, 141, 1881, 1, 29
  • P. J. B. Osborne, ‘Some family history’, Canberra and District Historical Society, Papers, 1958
  • Illawarra Mercury, 22 Nov, 13 Dec 1864, 24 Aug, 4, 7, 14 Sept 1866
  • Goulburn Herald, 20 Oct 1902
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Oct 1902
  • Sydney Mail, 22 Oct 1902
  • Osborne family papers and press cuttings (privately held).

Citation details

Edgar Beale, 'Osborne, Patrick Hill (Pat) (1832–1902)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/osborne-patrick-hill-pat-4344/text7053, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 22 April 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

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