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John Drysdale : 25-April-2011
John Drysdale : 25-April-2011

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

Clock Tower commemorates pastoralist John Drysdale who died in 1928.

In 1910 Drysdale bought 1280 acres (518 ha) on the Burdekin River, a shrewd buy which enabled him to bargain for government concessions to build a mill for the subdivided Inkerman sugar estates. He completed the mill in 1913. On 25 September 1914 Pioneer Sugar Mills Ltd took over the Pioneer and Inkerman mills, with John as a director. Drysdale Brothers retained ownership of the surrounding tenant farms and unsold freehold land.

To ensure an increasing supply of cane he bound farmers to him by long-term agreements and high payments. To obstruct attempts to build a rival co-operative mill in the district, he gave generous and often unfettered credit to farmers who supplied him regularly. By 1920 his direct assistance to local farmers totalled some £108,000; by 1927 over £300,000 was owed to him, though it limited the company`s annual divided to 5 per cent.

Intolerant of government interference in the sugar milling business, he opposed trade union action, arbitration courts and price regulations and at first even suspected the Australian Sugar Producers` Association. A prominent member of the community, he invented the method of tapping an underground water supply from the Burdekin Delta.

Many hundreds of residents of the Lower Burdekin were present on Wednesday evening at the intersection of Queen and Young Streets, Ayr, to witness the ceremony of the unveiling of the John Drysdale memorial, and by their presence and participation in the unveiling ceremony paid a last tribute to the memory of one of the pioneers of the North of Queensland. Traffic between certain points In both Queen and Young Streets bad been suspended for the occasion. The Ayr Citizens Band was in attendance.
Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld), 18 January 1930.


Address:Queen Street, Ayr, 4807
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.576033
Long: 147.405189
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 15th January, 1930
Front Inscription


To perpetuate the memory of John Drysdale who died 12th May 1928 whose vision, public spirit and generosity during 42 years of residence in this district largely made possible its successful development.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au