United Kingdom & Europe

Vision Splendid – Robert Christian Ramsay, Queensland, Australia


Robert Christian Ramsay together with his brothers, owned and operated Oondooroo, purchased in 1887 and Elderslie (1895). Bob lived at and managed Oondooroo for the partnership, Ramsay Bros. A very progressive man, he was the first to introduce machine shearing to the Winton district in 1889 and he drove the first car into Winton in June 1902, a French built Gardiner-Serpollet, powered by steam. He also introduced motor cycles and built private telephone lines to all the out stations. Oondooroo had a bushfire lookout tower allowing the location of a fire to be quickly determined by conversation with the outstations. He designed, built and patented a horse-driven bushfire extinguisher.

He became involved in community life and served for fifteen years on the Divisionsl Board or Shire Council, including Seven as Chairman. He was a great supporter of horse racing in the district, Oondooroo regularly standing a fashionably bred thoroughbred stallion. Bob was reputed to have treated staff with respect and compassion such that in the 1891 strike the permanent hands stood loyal and refused to join the strike.


My grandfather, Robert Christian Ramsay (Bob) was recently (in 2014) awarded the Waltzing Matilda Centre’s Award for his contribution as an early settler and pastoralist in Queensland, Australia from 1887. The title of this award was “2014 Vision Splendid Award”.

Bob was an Englishman, born and bred, (from Howletts, Kent, England) who played an important role in the early settlement of Queensland, Australia.

My sense of humour favouring the ironical twists that can take place over the passing of time, I could not resist, (with Geof and I now coming to Britain to further the genetic development and cause of the magnificent Boer goats) drawing a somewhat remote comparison.

However long the bow we are drawing, there are indisputably a number of similarities in what we are doing to that my Grandfather did in the late 1880’s, in reverse.

We were and are both passionate in our pursuits. We had and have a ‘vision’ of where this could all lead and the opportunities that could lie ahead. We dedicated our time and our energies to pursuing that belief with no certainty of the outcome or the thorniness of the paths along the way.

We both left our comfort zones and branched out (although I definitely had the easy end of that deal. From Brisbane, Australia to Kinblethmont, Scotland in 2015 is a far cry from Kent, England to Queensland Australia in the 1880’s) Time and development have indisputably tipped the scales in our favour. Of that there can be no doubt.

However, I continue to maintain that there is a certain bravado and abandonment of purpose in the two situations.

The most obvious of these is the transfer of living things. Bob moved not only livestock from England to Australia, but also plants in the way of fruit trees, shrubs, grasses, vegetation etc. We have moved only semen and embryos of one species – the Boer goat – which goes to show how the world has changed, despite all modern conveniences and technology.

It remains to be seen where roads lead in the case of the Boer goats. The animal itself is proven, time and time again for its flexibility. We know with certainty that, given sufficient care and correct nourishment, the Boer thrives under almost all conditions.

I feel instinctively that success or failure will lie in the hands of the breeders and those in authority rather than in the capabilities of the animal itself.

Geof and I would like to offer our services at virtually any level to ensure that the future of the Boer goat industry is built on rock and not eroded by divisiveness, greed and competitiveness as it has in so many other places.

Boer goats engender passion. It’s a fact. Let’s recognise it, be forewarned and live with it.

Together, we can ensure solidarity. Divided we shame the breed.

Celia Burnett-Smith
Terraweena UK
TerraMac Australia