Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Scott, Walter Jervoise (1835–1890)

by G. C. Bolton

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Walter Jervoise Scott (1835-1890), pastoralist, was the second son of James Winter Scott, M.P., of Rotherfield Park, Alton, Hampshire, England, and his wife Lucy, née Jervoise. Educated at Eton and Oxford (B.A., 1857), he became a student of the Inner Temple and acted as private secretary to a governor of Mauritius, but had returned to England by 1862. In that year his brother Arthur (1833-1895), who had been friendly with R. G. W. Herbert when both were fellows of All Souls, Oxford, was persuaded by Herbert to become a partner in the Valley of Lagoons, a well situated tract of country in the newly opened upper Burdekin district of Queensland. George Dalrymple had interested Herbert in the property but more capital was required.

The Scott brothers and other members of their family invested heavily in the venture. Arthur and Walter Scott arrived in Queensland early in 1863; Arthur went on an unsuccessful expedition with Dalrymple to blaze a trail between the Valley of Lagoons and Rockingham Bay; Walter overlanded some of the first stock from the Darling Downs north to the property. Adapting well to the conditions, Walter became managing partner at the end of 1864, when Arthur returned to England and Dalrymple went into politics. Except for a short holiday in England in 1888, Walter remained at the Valley of Lagoons for the rest of his life. Together with normal pioneering hazards he had to cope with Arthur's impractical schemes to remain in sheep long after the Burdekin country had been found unsuitable, and to use the property to train aristocratic English jackeroos.

The size of the Scott brothers' investment gave them repute for great wealth, although for years they were heavily in debt; but after the property went over to cattle in 1873 it soon paid its way despite the development of overlanding to markets in New South Wales and Victoria. The port of Cardwell, especially gazetted by Herbert for the firm's use, benefited considerably from Walter's work as shire councillor, justice of the peace, and patron of the local Anglican church and businesses. Aged 55, he died unmarried on the property on 29 June 1890. His brothers sent a granite obelisk to be erected over his grave, but the track pioneered by the Scotts from Cardwell was too rough for the teamsters, and it had to be left at the port; a smaller one was erected at the Valley. When Arthur died in 1895, the rest of the family lost no time in disposing of the Valley of Lagoons.

Select Bibliography

  • D. Jones, Cardwell Shire Story (Brisb, 1961)
  • J. Farnfield, Frontiersman (Melb, 1968)
  • G. C. Bolton, ‘The Valley of Lagoons: a study in exile’, Business Archives and History, 4 (1964), no 2
  • Macarthur papers (State Library of New South Wales)
  • Colonel J. Scott papers (Australian National University Archives)
  • Valley of Lagoons papers (State Library of Queensland).

Citation details

G. C. Bolton, 'Scott, Walter Jervoise (1835–1890)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/scott-walter-jervoise-4550/text7459, published in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 16 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

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