A History of Burketown and Surrounding Districts

Bob Shadforth of Riversleigh Station

R. H . (Bob) Shadforth died at Riversleigh Station 21st April 1934, aged 74.

Exit Bob Shadforth

"Gregory": Bob Shadforth, of Burketown, just on 80, is dead. He was the eldest son of F. H . Shadforth, who, with his wife and family, left Victoria in the 'seventies and travelled overland to the Gulf. He stayed awhile, and built a homestead on what is now Austral Downs (N.T.)' but, owing to doubt about the borderline between Q'land and the Territory, he surrendered the property and took up Lilydale (now Riversleigh) on the Gregory River.

Bob, the eldest of a family of 11, worked in the Gulf country all his life. He helped on the home station, took up a property of his own, married twice (each of his wives brought him children), was speared by blacks, acted as shire clerk and commission agent, and remained the same modest, carefree, happy and quiet person he always was. A broken nose and old spear wounds affected him not at all, and up to within a few years of his death he was as keen on sport as any boy - and few, if any, knew the ways of the 'gator, as well as old Bob, did.

The story of his main spear wound as he told it to me: He was managing-owner of Wollogorang, a wild and lonely spot. A gang led by a notorious buck was after Bob. It attacked the homestead at night. The verandah was enclosed with diamond-paned netting, which Bob averred, from long experience, was the best protection possible from the thrown spear. A spear glanced and hit Bob on the back. he fired both barrels and turned to go through the door. He couldn't! The spear had passed through his back and projected on either side. The pulled the spear right through - the barb wouldn't allow it to be pulled back - beat off the blacks and carried on.

The Shadforth family bred one well-known Bulletin contributor. Bob's sister married Sub-inspector Lamond, of the mounted police, and her son, H. G. Lamond, the naturalist, was the first white child born on the Riversleigh country half a century ago.

Transcribed from an unattributed article (quite possibly from the Bulletin) in the possession of Amanda Wilkinson of Burketown.