Frank Hann’s Lolworth Diaries 1866-1875
Transcribed and edited by Ian Elliot
ISBN 978-0-85905-547-5, (2013, New), A4, illustd., 192pp, 515 grams
$50.00* + POST
The long awaited precursor to Do Not Yield to Despair. Frank Hann’s early days in North Queensland. Annotated and indexed. Cattle Cape mining, characters, conflict, social and family life. Essential for any work on the period in N. Q.
These diaries are a remarkable daily documentation of a decade of effort at the very beginning of North Queensland’s cattle industry. They were kept by Frank, youngest son of the pioneering Hann family, during his management of Lolworth Station near the Great Basalt Wall eastward of present-day Charters Towers. The entries are peopled by such giants of North Queensland history as Frank’s oldest brother, William, whose exploration of the Cape York Peninsula would bring the tree kangaroo to the notice of naturalists and lead to the discovery of the Palmer River Goldfields, and Richard Daintree, geologist and photographer, whose mineral reports resulted in North Queensland’s first goldrush to the Cape River. Lolworth was adjacent to the Cape River Goldfield and supplied cattle to butchers at ‘the Diggings’ as thousands of Chinese and others flooded the region and fortunes were won and lost. Clashes between cattlemen and Aborigines are mentioned and occasional visits to Townsville and other settlements give revealing snippets of town life on the frontier. The diaries are an astonishing record of the pioneer years of mustering, droving and the establishment of rural infrastructure in North Queensland, a record that amazes modern pastoralists by the distances routinely travelled, even during the wet, when travel was by horseback, bullock wagon and Cobb & Co. coaches and before the advent of formed roads. After lying hidden at Hann stations for over a century, family members are happy to have the diaries now made available to all with more than 270 explanatory footnotes.