Walter Trueman PAGET
Abt. 1854 (Hagley, Worcestershire, England)
Died: 23 December 1930 (Mooloolah, Queensland) aged 76 years
Buried: Mooloolah Cemetery, Queensland, Australia.
Parents: Arthur PAGET and Esther GRAY
Marriage: (1) 9 August 1884 , Mary Jane DOWNING.
(2) April 1889, Alice Elizabeth Ruth HADEN
Religion: Church of England
Trueman PAGET was the youngest of three brothers to arrive in Australia, The
eldest John arrived in Mackay in 1871; Walter then aged 18 years in 1872 and
Arthur in 1874. They were the sons of Arthur Paget of Hazley, Worcester,
three brothers took up land in the area known as “Nindaroo”. They
started as small crop farmers growing vegetables; tobacco and maintaining a
small dairy herd and beef herd and supplementing their income by tree felling
mainly Cedar in the scrub forests of Nindaroo.
Paget drowned in the Pioneer River in 1876 and the remaining brothers
concentrated their assets to obtain capital and built a sugar mill in 1883. The
mill commenced crushing in August 1883 and had a capacity of 700 tons. The mill
developed a good reputation for making good quality yellow sugars and was said
to have made the best Demerara crystals in Queensland.
after installing a new plant at the mill in November 1887, one of the boilers
exploded killing two Kanaka workers, Tavee and Dowla and severely scalding
another. He received criticism at the time for not allowing the press to have
the details of the accident.
was regarded as a fair and compassionate boss and on one occasion took a number
of his “boys” to an opera performance in town where it was said they behaved
better than the white boys.
1894 the mill and plantation employed 55 whites and 160 islanders. Most of the
Nindaroo plantation was on hill scrubs not the best land for cultivating sugar
married Mary Jane Downing on 9 August 1884 however was widowed when she died 4
months later. He later remarried in April 1889 and had four children, two sons
and two daughters.
Nindaroo Mill crushed its last crop in 1900 and the Paget’s bank took
possession of the mill.
local Queensland member of the Legislative Assembly for Mackay, J.V. Chataway
died on 12th April 1901. After
being approached by a number of prominent citizens Walter Paget showed his
interest of running for the seat. He
had been a councillor with the Pioneer Divisional Board from 1883 to 1890 and
served as Chairman from 1890 to 1895 and in 1901. He had also been on the
Harbour Board, Bridges Board and the Hospitals Board. Running against Simon Tait
the Labor party candidate, he won the by-election comfortably and entered
Parliament on 11 May 1901 as the junior member for Mackay. The senior member was
David Hay Dalrymple. At that time Mackay had two members of the parliament.
1908 Paget became Minister for Railways and Agriculture.
He held the Agriculture portfolio until 1911 but retained the Railways
portfolio till he retired from Parliament in 1915.
his term as Minister for Railways, Walter Paget had the honour of turning the
first sod for the opening of the North Coast Railway, the section opened being
that from Mackay to Sarina. He turned the sod at the intersection of Paradise
and Archibald Streets in July 1911. The
siding was named Paget Junction after him. He was credited with opening more
track than any other Queensland Minister for Railways since 1859 to 1915. The
railway to Netherdale was completed as well during this period. The line to
Netherdale was closed in 1990.
his retirement from political life, he later moved to Mooloolah on the Sunshine
coast where he engaged in fruit growing and dairying. He died on 23 December
1930 after apparently suffering a stroke and suffering wounds from falling on a
knife. He was aged 76 years.
It is fitting that the man who was in charge of most of the construction of the Railway in the Mackay district now has the Mackay Railway station in the locality named in his honour.
Kerr, John. (1980). Pioneer Pageant. Mackay, QLD: Pioneer Shire Council.
The Daily Mercury, December 26, 1930.
Queensland Pioneers Index, 1829-1889
Queensland Federation Index 1890-1914.
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