William Fothergill


William Fothergill was born in England and immigrated to Australia in 1882.

He later found his way out west, working on properties and eventually becoming a shearer. He was shearing when the Shearers Strike of 1891 started; he joined the executive committee and became one of the leaders of the Strike.

He was described as being a man of moderate measures but ended up involved in the Clermont Riots. For this, he was jailed and sent to the notorious St Helena Island. 

After his term in jail, he returned to Barcaldine, married and became a storekeeper and baker. He settled into life in Barcaldine and became a very important community leader. He was a member of (and in some cases founding member) the Masonic Lodge, the St George Society, the Progress Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Methodist Church, P A & H Society and was the first male member of the Hospital Committee.

He was a strong community minded person who gave baked goods to the Hospital and vagrants. He was also a keen gardener with a reputation for growing prize-winning flowers. 

He spent 10 years as a Council representative and often put forward projects which helped the needy or poor. In 1919 he became Shire Chairman, but in 1920 after a bout of influenza (which raged through the town after the war) from which his health never recovered properly, he resigned.

William Fothergill died the following year in December (1921) and was buried in the Barcaldine Cemetery. There is a descendant of the Tree of Knowledge planted at the site of his grave.