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William Duckett White (1807–1893)

by E. M. Allingham and S. D. Bassingthwaighte

This article was published:

William Duckett White (1807-1893), pastoralist and politician, was born on 5 October 1807 at Moate Castle, County Westmeath, Ireland, son of William White, miller, and his wife Sarah, née Clibborn. He was related to Thomas Clibborn. Educated at Cork, he annoyed his Quaker parents by enlisting briefly in the army. He joined Pikes Bank in Dublin, owned by an uncle, and in 1834 married Jane Simpson, daughter of a landowner from Cork. With financial help from his uncle he decided to migrate, and as an assisted migrant he reached Sydney with his wife and two children in the Royal Consort in November 1840. From January to March 1843 he taught in the Church of England school at Mangrove Creek near Gosford.

White bought land on the Richmond River but late in 1844 was forced out by flood losses. In 1844-48 he managed Beaudesert station, Moreton Bay District, for his cousin J. P. Robinson. With another cousin George Robinson, who later withdrew, he accumulated funds in 1849-50 to buy Beaudesert in 1851. By 1869 he held Tubber, Pimpama, Murryjerry, Beaudesert, Nindooinbah, Tweed Heads and Moreton, as well as town lands in Southport and Beenleigh. In 1855 he began building a house at Manly, Moreton Bay, called Lota after his wife's home in Ireland, and settled there in 1863.

White gave the freehold property Nindooinbah to his eldest son Ernest on his marriage to Annie Barker in 1867. In 1872 with Ernest and his second son Albert William (1847-1914) as partners, he took over the lease of Bluff Downs near Charters Towers, abandoned by William Hann as a sheep property. On the 400-sq.-mile (1036 km²) block, expanded by subsequent leases, Albert as managing partner introduced Shorthorn cows in 1874 and Devon bulls in 1876. The cross proved particularly suitable to the rough, often dry, tropical basalt country and set the pattern for most of the herds in the region.

White had been a foundation member of the Queensland Club. After first declining, on 26 April 1861 he accepted appointment to the Legislative Council, but he was not interested in politics; he resigned in August 1880 and remained in public life only as a foundation member of the Bulimba Divisional Board and as a leading parishioner of Christ Church Anglican Church, Tingalpa. In retirement he remained the dominant partner in a family company, W. D. White and Sons, but began to lose heart when his wife died on 2 August 1887. He died on 11 August 1893 and was buried in Tingalpa cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 12 Aug 1893
  • N. S. Pixley, William Duckett White of ‘Beau Desert’ and ‘Lota’ (RHSQ)
  • G. E. Mylne reminiscences (University of Queensland Library).

Citation details

E. M. Allingham and S. D. Bassingthwaighte, 'White, William Duckett (1807–1893)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 17 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (Melbourne University Press), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 October, 1807
Moate, Westmeath, Ireland


11 August, 1893 (aged 85)
Manly, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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