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Wilson, James Lockie (1880–1956)

by Lorna L. McDonald

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

James Lockie Wilson (1880-1956), pastoralist and studmaster, was born on 29 August 1880 at St Leonards, Sydney, fifth surviving son of David Wilson, merchant, and his wife Annie, née Struth, both Sydney born. Educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School and Hawkesbury Agricultural College, Richmond, he served in the South African War in 1899-1901. He purchased Calliope station, near Gladstone, Queensland, in 1905 in partnership with P. J. C. McDouall whose daughter, Jessie, he married with Anglican rites on 18 April 1906 in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Belford, New South Wales.

On 8 February 1916 Wilson enlisted in the 11th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, and was promoted sergeant in May. Attached to the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company in 1917, he helped to drive a 110-foot (33 m) tunnel beneath Hill 60 near Ypres and to plant 40 tons of high explosives under the enemy. Embarking in January 1919, he was discharged in April.

With McDouall, he bought Calliungal, Rannes and Balcomba stations, all in central Queensland. Balcomba, on the Mackenzie River, was 209 sq. miles (541 km²). By the 1930s Calliope and its associated stations ran 45,000 head of cattle. The partners founded a Hereford stud in 1919 and a Poll Hereford stud in 1936. Wilson was a councillor of both breed societies; Calliope Herefords became champions at Brisbane and Sydney shows from the 1920s.

An executive member of the United Graziers' Association for twenty-seven years, Wilson chaired its cattle committee. He and Edward Archer were responsible for the formation in 1936 of the Central Coastal Graziers' Association (affiliated with the U.G.A.) which catered for the specialist needs of beef producers. Wilson's commitment to the British Hereford (Bos taurus) led him to oppose the introduction into Queensland of tropical Zebu cattle (Bos indicus) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1933. The powerful influence of the U.G.A. cattle committee restricted experimental breeding by the C.S.I.R. to privately-owned stations. Despite criticism of the mongrelizing of British breeds, the development of tropically adapted Brahman stock eventually revolutionized the beef cattle industry in northern Australia.

As director (from 1912) and chairman (1923-34) of the Port Curtis Co-operative Dairy Association Ltd, Wilson was largely responsible for its expansion to seven butter factories in central Queensland in the inter-war period. In 1925 he led a band of primary producers who broke a waterside workers' strike at Gladstone. Wilson was a member of the Gladstone Harbour Board from its inception in 1914 until 1942, a Calliope Shire councillor for over twenty years and president of the Gladstone Show Society. As a member of the Royal National Association (president 1948-51), he initiated many reforms in the showing of beef cattle. He was appointed C.B.E. in 1955. Survived by three daughters and a son, Wilson died on 13 November 1956 at Toowoomba and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • Calliope Tropicalised Herefords (Brisb, nd, 1969?)
  • L. McDonald, Gladstone (Brisb, 1988)
  • L. McDonald, Cattle Country (Brisb, 1988)
  • Pastoral Review, 17 Dec 1956, p 1547
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Lorna L. McDonald, 'Wilson, James Lockie (1880–1956)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wilson-james-lockie-1050/text16125, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 15 December 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

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