• John Atherton Letters

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John Atherton Letter

An English immigrant, John Atherton gained pastoral and agricultural experience on his father’s property near Armidale, New South Wales. In 1857 Atherton, then aged 20, overlanded sheep from the New England district to Rockhampton with his brother James. Atherton remained in Central Queensland where he established a number of pastoral runs and opened up a practicable route to Mackay in 1864. In 1873 he overlanded cattle from St Lawrence to the Palmer River goldfield, a feat which he emulated two years later by overlanding stock to the Hodgkinson field. After forming Cashmere Station in the Upper Burdekin River district, Atherton made a number of exploratory journeys into the northern tablelands before permanently establishing himself at Emerald End, a pastoral property on the banks of the Barron River. In 1879 he discovered tin near Herberton and on the Wild River which led to permanent settlement on the tablelands named in his honour. The town of Mareeba was established close to Emerald End, where Atherton died in 1913.


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