Henry Stuart Russell was born March 1818 at Halliford, Middlesex, England, the son of an East India Company Officer. At the age of 22 he migrated to Australia and stayed with his cousin Arthur Hodgson on his New England station.

After Hodgson and Gilbert Elliott established Eton Vale on the Darling Downs in 1840, Russell became their guest. He and his brother Sydenham took up Cecil Plains Station on the Darling Downs the next year and occupied it till 1849.

Cecil Plains Station stretched for about 30 miles on either side of the Condamine River, the property having been named after their mother. Henry Stuart Russell took part in a couple of exploring expeditions looking for another property.

His party discovered and named the Boyne River which was later proved to be the head of the Burnett River.

Russell then took up Burrandowan Station which he later sold in 1847. During 1843 the brothers built a comfortable cottage at Cecil Plains & were visited there by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844. Leichhardt also went that way again on his last ill-fated expedition.

H. S. Russell entered into a partnership with James Taylor who occupied Cecil Plains, & it was not long after this that Russell left Cecil Plains and settled in Brisbane. He undertook a trip to England to visit his family, returning in 1851.

In 1853 he was elected to the Legislative Council of New South Wales. He resigned in 1855 and again travelled to England when he supported moves to separate the Moreton Bay District from New South Wales. In 1859 Russell’s interest in Cecil Plains Station was sold to James Taylor, & he returned to Sydney where eventually he suffered serious financial reverses.

In 1888 he again sailed for England, where he died on 5 March, 1889. Russell was twice married and had a family of 5 sons and 1 daughter. Russell is best remembered for his “The Genesis of Queensland” published in 1888.

Although sometimes inaccurate in details, it is a valuable and lively record of the early settlement of Queensland and the growth of the pastoral industry.

Sources

LH Files – LH/Russell, Henry Stuart
Bedwell Kempton – “Gaining Knowledge” 1968
Wales, Murdoch – “Russell of Cecil plains” n.d.
Fletcher, Enid – “Three pioneers of the black soil plains of the Darling Downs” n.d.