Sir Arthur Fadden…
The Hinchinbrook Shire has an extremely rich history so I’ve decided to dig a little deeper and extend my knowledge on our little slice of paradise!
Sir Arthur William Fadden was an accountant and prime minister. He was born on 13 April 1894 at Ingham, Queensland, eldest of ten children of Irish-born parents Richard John Fadden, police constable, and his wife Annie, née Moorhead. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Richard had served in the Royal Irish Lancers before emigrating to Australia; he joined the Queensland Police Force and, about 1900, took charge of the station at Walkerston, near Mackay. Educated at the local state school, at 15 Artie began work as billy-boy to a gang of cane-cutters and soon became office-boy at the Pleystowe mill.
As a young man he participated enthusiastically in social and sporting activities. He excelled at cricket, Rugby Union football, boxing and foot-racing, and performed in amateur theatricals as an original member of the Walkerston ‘Nigger Minstrel Troupe’. Exhibiting a flair for figures, in April 1913 he was employed as a clerk with the Mackay Town Council. Three years later he discovered defalcations in the books kept by the town clerk; the man was dismissed and Fadden appointed in his place. He married a milliner Ilma Nita Thornber on 27 December 1916 with Presbyterian forms at her mother’s Mackay home; they were to have four children.
On 20 January 1918 a cyclone hit Mackay, wrecking the town, killing more than twenty people and cutting off help from outside. Fadden and his family narrowly escaped being drowned. As a member of the cyclone relief committee, he worked tirelessly and effectively to find shelter for the homeless, and to distribute food, clothing and building materials. Having qualified in accountancy through a correspondence course, he resigned his local-government post in September and set up as a public accountant at Townsville. He became a member (1921) and fellow (1928) of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants (Australian Society of Accountants). His business prospered and he was to establish the firms Fadden, Sutton & Co., Townsville, and A. W. Fadden & O’Shea, Brisbane.
So – it’s not mind blowingly exciting or anything, but it’s good to know where we are from. A bit of knowledge never hurt anyone…