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Franc Sadleir Falkiner (1833–1909)

by Dianne Patenall

This article was published:

Franc Sadleir Falkiner (1833-1909), pastoralist, was born on 23 October 1833 at Beechwood, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, the third son of Daniel Falkiner, a solicitor whose forebears had pioneered the Irish woollen industry, and his wife Rebecca, née Sadleir. He was intended for the Anglican ministry but migrated to Victoria about 1853. He went to the Maryborough goldfields and later opened a store in Ararat where he had some success in assaying and buying gold. On 10 July 1856 at Carisbrook he married Emily Elizabeth Bazley.

Falkiner took up land near Ararat and in 1875 moved to Cliff Cottage, Geelong, where he was appointed government land valuer for the first land tax. The family moved to the drier western plains of New South Wales to benefit his asthmatic son Otway. In 1878 in partnership with J. Ross and Malcolm McKenzie, Falkiner bought from Peppin & Sons the 75,000-acre (30,352 ha) station of Boonoke and half its total stock. Falkiner bought out his partners in 1882, transformed the property and developed a stud with sheep bred from the original Peppin stock. His rams were characterized by robust constitutions, big frames, high quality fleeces and ability to endure rigorous climatic conditions. Between April 1882 and July 1884 the sale of sheep had brought £74,721. By 1884 Boonoke had 200 miles (322 km) of fencing. In October 1888 Frederick Parker protested against the award of prizes to Falkiner for stall-fed sheep entered in the grass-fed section at the Deniliquin Pastoral and Agricultural Show. Falkiner was disqualified and accused Parker of similar practices, whereupon Parker sued for libel. Falkiner was acquitted at Deniliquin but Parker appealed as Falkiner had stayed in the same hotel as the jury and allegedly influenced them in his favour. The Supreme Court granted a new trial in Sydney and ordered Falkiner to pay all the costs. Chief Justice (Sir) Frederick Darley severely denounced Falkiner for making a false declaration. He was refused leave to appeal to the Privy Council but the case was apparently settled out of court.

In 1884-1909 Falkiner bought for over £1,000,000 the Riverina stations Moonbria, Tuppal, Moira, Morago and Pericoota. In 1899 all these properties were formed into F. S. Falkiner & Sons Ltd, with Falkiner, his wife and his sons as directors and each son manager of one station. Later purchases by the company included the Wanganella stud and the Widgiewa estate, later called Boonoke North.

Falkiner died at Boonoke on 8 September 1909 and was buried in the Anglican cemetery, Deniliquin. He was survived by his wife, five sons and four daughters to whom he left an estate of £204,000. In 1912 his widow established a scholarship for boys going from Deniliquin High School to an Australian university. His third son Otway took over the management of the company and his eldest son, Franc, sold out and bought Haddon Rig near Warren.

Select Bibliography

  • H. N. Maitland (ed), New South Wales, 1920-1923 (Syd, 1923)
  • New South Wales Law Reports, 1888
  • Weekly Notes (Sydney), 5 (1889-90)
  • Sydney Mail, 18, 25 Oct 1884
  • Australasian, 8 Dec 1888, 16 Feb 1889
  • Pastoral Review, 15 Oct 1909.

Citation details

Dianne Patenall, 'Falkiner, Franc Sadleir (1833–1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 16 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


23 October, 1833
Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland


8 September, 1909 (aged 75)
Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia

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