Philip Charley

  • location icon Mount Gipps Broken Hill NSW 2080

Philip Charley, the young Mount Gipps jackaroo, who was the first to recognise silver chlorides from Rasp Shaft, was born in Ballarat on September 2 1863.

At the age of twelve years he became a clerk in the law office of Malleson, England and Steward of Melbourne. Office work and the climate of Melbourne did not suit Philip Charley's constitution, and his doctor advised him to leave the cold and damp city and take himself off to the dry Australian interior.

His employer, J. C. Stewart arranged with Sir James McCulloch for young Charley to work as a station hand at Mount Gipps station. At the age of fourteen Philip Charley became a roustabout on the vast sheep run in Western New South Wales.

He immediately took to the outback life and the dry air of the West Darling district cleared and strengthened his lungs. Within a couple of years he was a slim, sturdy energetic young fellow, with a cheerful outlook on life.

He became experienced in station management and sheep lore, acting as overseer and generally becoming a useful assistant to his employer, George McCulloch.

Philip Charley was nearing his 22nd birthday when the Proprietary company was floated in August 1885. His eight years of service in the outback had resulted not only in a complete restoration of his health, but the attainment of a considerable fortune.

In 1886 Philip Charley married 18 year old Clara Evans of Adelaide and embarked on a world tour. He purchased, in 1889, the historic property, Belmont Park, at North Richmond on the Hawkesbury River. There he built a luxurious 25-roomed mansion, established a stud farm and bred prize winning horses and red polled cattle. He identified himself with the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association, of which he was president for over thirty years.

It is a matter of interest that he imported the first Rolls Royce into Australia - a Silver Ghost model 1907.

Philip and Clara had five sons and three daughters; one son, also named Philip, was knighted in 1968. Philip Charley who, 60 years earlier had been ordered to live in a dry climate because of his week lungs, died in Sydney at the age of 75 years.
Excerpt from: Broken Hill 1883-1893 Discovery and Development, R.H.B. Kearns. Reprinted August, 1977, Broken Hill Historical Society.

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