BiographyEdward Bassingthwaighte was born 15 June 1822 in Gravesend, Kent, England, United Kingdom to Edward Bassingthwaighte (1791-1857) and Susanna Wright (1798-1874) and died 17 April 1898 in Queensland, Australia of unspecified causes. He married Eliza Scott (c1828-1917) 27 March 1848 at St Saviour's in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. Ancestors are from the United Kingdom.
Late Edward Bassingthwaighte.
Mr. A. Meston writes as follows:—The late Edward Bassingthwaighte, of Jinghi-Jinghi station, was one of the oldest squatters in Australia, and a grand specimen of the best types of men who pioneered our colonies in the early days. This veteran colonist informed me that he was born at Gravesend in June, 1822, and came to Sydney in 1834. He has, therefore, witnessed all the marvellous changes of sixty-four years, or the transition of a primeval continent inhabited by naked Stone Age aboriginals to a nineteenth century Anglo-Saxon civilisation. As a young man, he had charge of Campbell's Winglo station, near Goulburn. At that time " Big Cooper's" store on Brickfield Hill was the largest shop in Sydney. All carrier-work was done by cattle teams, in which cows and bullocks were frequently yoked together. Carriage from Cooper's store to " Arthursleigh," Ranken's place, 112 miles on the Goulburn-road, was £28 per ton. The drays carried up to 2½ tons, and occupied ten days in fine weather on the journey. The yokes were made from swamp oak, and fitted with wooden bows of young saplings rubbed with fat and bent in the fire, exactly as an aboriginal straightens his spear.
Bassingthwaighte believed he was the first man in Australia to put bells on cattle and horses. He bought them for 6s. each by weight at " Big Cooper's" store, and fastened them with dog chains and padlocks. Draught horses in those days were worth £100 each.
When Ebsworth started boiling-down at Twofold Bay, he had to send tallow to Sydney in the paunches of sheep or bullocks, and sewn up in the hides, as casks were rare and expensive articles. O'Brien had to adopt the same plan when he began boiling-down at Yass in 1843, the same year in which old Campbell erected the first Queensland boiling-down plant at Kangaroo Point.
Bassingthwaighte like all the truest and bravest men, was gentle and kind as a woman. In all his dealings wrtth the aboriginals he treated them with the moderation and magnanimity which tends to transform even the bitterest foe into a friend. In his sixty-four years of experience he and they never had even an angry word. They mutually trusted each other. Few men ever impressed me more favourably than this old squatting Nestor, this genial pioneering warrior of the olden time, now a lost connecting link between the present and the far-off, shadowy past. A man whom—
- " No factious clamours could control,
- No threatening tyrant's darkling brow
- Could swerve him from his just intent."
A young country is poorer by the death of such a citizen, and he richly deserves a generous remembrance and the sacred " meed of some melodious tear."