Patrick Durack

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Patrick Durack
Patrick Durack 1880.jpg
Durack in 1880
BornMarch 1834
Died20 January 1898(1898-01-20) (aged 63)
NationalityIrish and Australian
Spouse(s)Mary Costello
ChildrenMichael Durack
Parent(s)Michael Durack & Bridget Dillon

Patrick Durack (March 1834 – 20 January 1898) was a pastoral pioneer in Western Australia.[1]

His family were struggling tenant farmers from Magherareagh near Scarriff in County Clare, Ireland, who moved from Ireland to New South Wales in 1853. Two months after arriving in New South Wales, his father, Michael was killed accidentally. He settled his mother and siblings, and moved to Victoria, returning 18 months later with £1000.[1]

On 31 July 1862 Durack married Mary Costello, only daughter of Michael Costello, a native of County Tipperary, and his wife Mary Tully, a native of County Galway. Patrick and Mary had eight children (two of whom died in infancy), including Michael Durack.

Goulburn provided insufficient outlets for Durack's energy, land hunger and organizing powers. Along with his brother Michael and brother-in-law John Costello, they set out to establish a property in South West Queensland in 1863. Drought conditions almost killed the men, but they continued around the country pegging claims to some 44,000 square kilometres (17,000 sq mi).[1] The men established both Kyabra and Thylungra Stations in 1868[2] with 100 cattle. By 1877 the Duracks had a herd of approximately 30,000 head of cattle.[3]

Durack and his brother Michael trekked across the north of the continent from Thylungra at Coopers Creek in Queensland. They left in 1879 with 7250 breeding cattle and 200 horses, heading for the Kimberley region of Western Australia near Kununurra, arriving in 1882. The 4,800-kilometre (3,000 mi) journey of cattle to stock Argyle Downs and Ivanhoe Station is the longest of its type ever recorded.[4]

In 1885, he retired to Brisbane. Later that year he purchased gold-crushing machinery from Sydney and began mining on the Kimberley goldfields. In 1889 he learned that financial disaster had overtaken his Queensland interests. He died in Fremantle on 20 January 1898.[1]

Kings in Grass Castles is a 1959 novel based on his life and times by his granddaughter Dame Mary Durack. In 1998 it was the basis of a TV mini-series of the same name.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Durack, Mary (1972). "Durack, Patrick (1834–1898)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 22 March 2008 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "Clyde finally shifts Thylungra for $10.5m". Stock and Land. Fairfax Media. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  3. ^ Rees D. Barrett (2009). Significant People in Australia's History. Macmillan Education. p. 26. ISBN 9781420266191.
  4. ^ "SMH Travel - Lake Argyle Village". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 February 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  5. ^ Kings in Grass Castles at IMDb

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