Graziers of Turkey Station
Worthington Street is named for William Valentine Worthington who, along with his wife, Susan (nee White) subdivided land in that area. The Worthington family were early pioneers of the district of Gladstone.
William’s father, James Worthington, was born in England around 1828, and arrived in the Gladstone district around 1860. In 1863, when the first Gladstone municipal elections were held, it was decided that the vote was to be a secret ballot. As James Worthington was a noted horseman, he was sent to Rockhampton to fetch the ballot papers. He married Matilda Amelia Frances Prizeman (sister of William Benjamin Prizeman) in 1865. The couple had two children, James, born 2 Sep 1867 and Jane Ann, 1869, before Matilda died in 1870.
Throughout his time of residence in Gladstone, James put his hand to many types of employment. In the 1868 Qld Post Office Directory, James was named as a butcher. He also dabbled in mining, and owned the Alma Copper mine. From 1872 to 1875, he was the licensee of the Commercial Hotel in Gladstone, taking over from his brother-in-law, William Prizeman. The hotel was situated on the corner of Yarroon and Goondoon Streets on the site of the present Reef Hotel Motel. A lease was secured for Turkey Station in 1870, and in 1873, Worthington selected 160 acres of Turkey to freehold, and in 1877 purchased a second block of 640 acres.
In May 1874, Worthington became the proud owner of a small steam launch, the ‘Wave’, which he brought to Gladstone. It was reported that she was: ‘a beautiful little vessel, and steams at the rate of about ten knots an hour. She carries six tons of cargo, and is licensed for the river trade to carry thirteen passengers.’ Some excitement occurred soon after Worthington purchased this vessel when it disappeared from its mooring alongside the Government wharf. All that was initially found was a broken rope. The harbour was the scene of frantic searching for some hours, before the little craft was found at the bottom of Auckland Creek. It was supposed that the nose of the vessel had caught under the wharf, and she had filled and sunk on the incoming tide. The ‘Wave’ was brought to the surface with the aid of a block and tackle at low tide.
In 1873 James remarried, this time to Caroline Perry. The couple had six children, William Valentine, 1874, Caroline Maud, 1876, Arthur Victor, 1878, Jacob, 1881, Albert Edward 1883 and Victoria Regina 1887. Worthington became interested in public affairs and served as a councillor on the Calliope Divisional Board in 1890 retaining his seat in 1891. He was also a partner to Mr J Manning who was investigating the introduction of meat preserving in the town.
James died on 28 July 1903 and is buried in the Gladstone Cemetery near his first wife, Matilda.
His son James, known as ‘Jim’, worked with his father on Turkey Station. Jim married Isabella Wallace in 1898. Jim was for a period of time the mailman to Rosedale, and a little later managed Rodd’s Bay cattle station for W. W. Watt. He also worked as a carrier for H and J Friend, whose Victoria Store was built partly over Auckland Creek so ships could discharge their cargo at the rear of the store. Jim would carry wagonloads of groceries six days a week to Calliope gold diggings.
On leaving school in 1919, Jim’s son, Noel, also gained employment with H and J Friend at their Goondoon Street store at seven shillings and sixpence per week (75 cents). He left to work for the same amount for Jason Boles, whose shop was in Goondoon Street opposite the Customs House, then moved to employment with Gladstone Hardware Company.
For a time, Jim and Noel operated a carrying service together, but later bought a taxi business, two Dodge cars, from Gordon Hickson in 1925. On one occasion when Noel was bringing passengers from the Railway Station to the Grand Hotel, he recalled that he was fined ten shillings for allegedly exceeding the speed limit of 10 miles per hour (16 Km/h) over an intersection.
William Valentine Worthington married Susan Elizabeth White in 1911. They became partners with John Henry Kessell in the station properties Turkey Station, which Watt (Kessell’s father in law) purchased around 1912, and Eurimbula. William died in April 1922, and Susan died 14 October 1936. Susan was the daughter of Sergeant John White, a police officer for many years and his wife, Mary Ann, nee Davis.
Jacob and Albert lived in adjoining houses which still stand in Yarroon Street and worked together to make furniture in a shed in Jacob’s back yard. Jacob died in Gladstone’s 1949 cyclone when he ventured onto the shed roof during a lull in the storm to nail down iron which had lifted. The cyclonic winds came from the other direction and he was killed when the wind pushed the iron down onto him. He and his wife, Gert (nee Buchanan), had no children. Albert and his wife, Melva Hickson, also had no children.
Some members of the Worthington family are buried in the Gladstone cemetery.
THIS STORY (and many more) can be found in my published book:
“What’s in a Name? The stories behind the street names of Gladstone, Queensland” available from me (email@example.com) COST $30.00 (plus P & P)