Mr. Robert Darvall Barton, a pioneer pastoralist, died on Saturday as his residence, Naweeda, The Grove, Roseville, at the age of 81 years. The late Mr. Barton was well known throughout New South Wales and Queensland, in which States he spent practically the whole of his life. He was a recognised authority on pastoral matters, in all branches of which he had practical experience. In 1917 he published a volume of reminiscences, and in it he related many experiences of the pioneering days in the west.
The late Mr. Barton was born at Boree Station, in the Molong district, and was a son of the late Captain Robert Johnstone Barton. In his book, Mr. Barton said that he was a pioneer baby of those born 200 miles west of Sydney, and he was a year or two old before the first clergyman went into that part of the country. The clergyman, who came from Mudgee, performed a number of christenings at Boree, the woolshed being used as a church, as there was no room in the house for the families attending. Mr. Barton was educated principally at the King’s School, Parramatta, and it is related that the only prize he won was the divinity prize, but he did not receive it, as it was lost in the Dunbar. In going to and from school he rode alone — a boy of 12 to 16 years of age — across the Blue Mountains four times a year. When Mr. Barton first went to the King’s School the railway had only about reached Parramatta.
Soon after leaving school the late Mr. Barton took over the management of Boree Station, on the death of his father. He made many droving trips, going on one occasion to Victoria with a mob of cattle. Boree was sold, and Mr. Barton held several positions as manager of stations. He later went to Gurley Station, under the late Mr. John Macansh, and afterwards, in partnership with Mr. W. C. a’Beckett, he took up a property near Coonamble. The present Nellgowrie Station is part of this property, and is still owned by Mr. a’Beckett.
After leaving Nellgowrie, the late Mr. Barton went with Mr. Murphy, of Calgar, to Queensland to inspect some pastoral country. He returned to New South Wales, and in 1886 purchased Burren, on the edge of the Central Division, about 50 miles from the boundary of the Western Division. At Burren the late Mr. Barton had some exciting experiences during the shearers’ strike in the early ’nineties. A few years later he purchased Biddenham, in Queensland, which he later sold, and went to Headingly, on the Barkley Tablelands, beyond Cloncurry. This property the late Mr. Barton improved and worked until about ten years ago, when he retired.
Mr. Barton is survived by a widow (who is a daughter of the late Mr. John Smith, M.L.C.), four sons, and two daughters. His sons are Dr. Darvall Barton, of Bathurst; Mr. Roger Barton, of Albibah Station, Queensland; Mr. Maurice Barton, who is on his way to England; and Dr. Allan Barton, of Singleton. His daughters are Mrs. Britten, of Macarthur House, King’s School; and Mrs. Lee, wife of Dr. Lee, of Wollongong.
[SMH 19 August 1924]