Scottish born Robert Christison (1837-1915) emigrated to Australia with an elder brother when aged 15. He worked among cattle and sheep and became a winning amateur jockey.
He explored much of Queensland and chose an area to establish a sheep and cattle ranch, treating the local native people in a most creditable manner.
He helped to found the Anglican See of North Queensland and established a successful frozen meat export company.
He married twice; his second English wife found it difficult to settle in Australia. In 1910 he sold up and moved with his family to Burwell Park where he died, having meanwhile paid for the restoration of Burwell church where this plaque is mounted.
His daughter and biographer, Margaret (Mimi) Bennett, who entertained the children of Burwell at Christmastime, became a campaigner for the rights of indigenous people.https://insidestory.org.au/her-childhood-friends/
The plaque reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
EXPLORER AND PASTORAL PIONEER OF NORTH WEST QUEENSLAND
SON OF THE REV ALEXANDER CHRISTISON – FOULDEN
AND NEPHEW OF SIR ROBERT CHRISTISON BART – EDINBURGH
BORN JANUARY 8TH 1837
ENTERED A WIDER SPHERE OCTOBER 25TH 1915
BURIED AT FOULDEN, BERWICKSHIRE
‘Nor should those pioneers be forgotten who, for many years,
endured the greatest privations carrying their lives in their
hands and in the teeth of difficulties and disappointments
opened up the country and proved its resources.’
Jean Howard, August 2020