Life de­voted to help­ing her re­gion thrive

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Philippe Coquerand philippe.coquerand@cnbtimes.com.au

AWARDED the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia for her ser­vices to the cat­tle in­dus­try and local gov­ern­ment in Eidsvold, Dot Hamilton has achieved quite a lot in her life.

Born in Gil­gan­dra in New South Wales, Mrs Hamilton was ed­u­cated first by cor­re­spon­dence and then at­tended school.

“I went to Gil­gan­dra High School and af­ter­wards went to Os­borne Ladies’ Col­lege, Black­heath, in the Blue Moun­tains,” Mrs Hamilton said.

“My fam­ily (nee Howard) bought land in Queens­land near Moura on the Daw­son River in the 1950s and I left school and came to Queens­land to live for a short time on the fam­ily’s prop­erty.”

At first it wasn’t an easy ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The sur­round­ings of this area were far dif­fer­ent to the mid-western plains of NSW. It was hot­ter, drier and cat­tle not sheep were pas­tured,” Mrs Hamilton said.

“It was dur­ing this time I ob­tained em­ploy­ment with a com­pany called Aus­tralian Es­tates in Theodore, some miles to the north-west of the Eidsvold dis­trict.

“This lat­ter area is well known for its his­tory, be­ing set­tled by the Archer broth­ers in the mid-1840s and then be­com­ing a boom town with gold and sell­ing into the pro­duc­tion of ex­cel­lent beef cat­tle and grain.”

It was dur­ing this time that she met the love of her life, John Hamilton of Kan­doona near Cam­boon, while work­ing at Aus­tralian Es­tates.

“We got mar­ried in March of 1955 and bought our own prop­erty, Wathonga, in the Eidsvold dis­trict,”

Mrs Hamilton said.

“We had three chil­dren – Diane, Du­gald and Stu­art – and I ed­u­cated them my­self at Wathonga through cor­re­spon­dence lessons.”

Diane then at­tended Rock­hamp­ton Gram­mar, while Du­gald and Stu­art spent three years at Rock­hamp­ton Boys’ Gram­mar be­fore re­turn­ing to Wathonga to work on the prop­erty, hus­band­ing beef cat­tle.

In 1989, Mr Hamilton died sud­denly at Wathonga and it was up to Mrs Hamilton to run the prop­erty.

“It was a very dif­fi­cult time,” Mrs Hamilton said.

Two years later, she con­tested the next local gov­ern­ment elec­tion and was suc­cess­ful, be­com­ing the deputy mayor for nine years.

PHOTO: PHILIPPE COQUERAND

WHAT A LIFE: Dot Hamilton at her place in Eidsvold.

PHOTO: PHILIPPE COQUERAND

Gavin Ford, Dot Hamilton, Cr John Zahl at the Eidsvold show this year.

PHOTO: FILE

Dot Hamilton re­ceived the Cit­i­zen of the Year award in 2015.

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