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Christopher Allingham (1829–1876)

by E. M. Allingham and G. C. Bolton

This article was published:

Christopher Allingham (1829-1876), explorer and pastoralist, was born at Hillgrove, County Fermanagh, Ireland, the youngest son of William Allingham, farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Martin. He was a near relative of the poet, William Allingham (1824-1889), and came of a Protestant Hampshire family who had settled in Ulster in the sixteenth century. His brother Edward emigrated to Armidale, New South Wales, in 1841, and was followed, probably in 1846, by Christopher and two other brothers. All four became landholders in the Armidale district and had lesser interests in mining and the building of inns on the Rocky River goldfields in 1856-57; Christopher was a partner in one of these public houses; he was also a surveyor.

About 1851 Christopher, accompanied by two Aboriginals, decided to explore the pastoral country to the northward discovered in 1845 by Ludwig Leichhardt. They travelled fast with only light supplies that could be carried by pack and saddle horses. They reached the Burdekin and returned without using the three old flint muskets carried as a protection against hostile Aboriginals. As the Burdekin country was not then open for selection, Allingham waited until the colony of Queensland was on the verge of separation from New South Wales. In July 1859 with his cousins, John and Johnstone Allingham, he set off from Armidale to overland 1500 sheep and 2000 cattle to the Burdekin valley. By the wet season of 1860-61 the party had reached the neighbourhood of Port Denison. There they were overtaken in April 1861 by a party of officials and pastoralists under George Dalrymple who had come to found the town of Bowen. Christopher Allingham joined forces with four of these newcomers on a reconnoitring survey of the Burdekin and on his return chose as his property Hillgrove station; it remains in the hands of the family. In 1863-73 the Allinghams encountered difficulties from unfamiliar seasons, hostile Aboriginals, financial problems and unsuitable pastures for sheep. By 1873 the family was able to take up a second run, Kangaroo Hills, but soon afterwards Allingham had to return, apparently for health reasons, to Armidale; there he died aged 47 on 7 November 1876, two months after an apoplectic stroke. Like many pioneer pastoralists, he never married, and his Queensland interests passed to his cousins.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Black, North Queensland Pioneers (Charters Towers, 1931)
  • R. B. Walker, Old New England (Syd, 1966)
  • G. C. Bolton, ‘The Exploration of North Queensland: Some Problems’, Journal and Proceedings (Royal Australian Historical Society), vol 46, part 6, 1960, pp 352-59
  • D. F. Mackay, The Rocky River Goldfield, 1851-1867 (M.A. thesis, University of Melbourne, 1953).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

E. M. Allingham and G. C. Bolton, 'Allingham, Christopher (1829–1876)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 24 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (Melbourne University Press), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Hillgrove, Fermanagh, Ireland


7 November, 1876 (aged ~ 47)
Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

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