Michael Durack

Michael Patrick Durack, (22 July 1865 – 3 September 1950) was a pastoralist and Western Australian pioneer, known as "M.P." or to the family as "Miguel". He was the son of Patrick Durack[1] and Mary Costello, both Irish-Australians.

Michael Durack
Born22 July 1865
Died3 September 1950(1950-09-03) (aged 85)
EducationSt Patrick's College, Goulburn
OccupationPolitician, Western Australian pioneer
Spouse(s)Bessie Ida Muriel Johnstone
ChildrenKim Durack, David Durack, Reginald Durack, William Durack, Mary Durack, Elizabeth Durack
Parent(s)Patrick Durack & Mary Costello

Durack was educated at St Patrick's College, Goulburn along with his brother, John Wallace. In 1882-83, his family went on an expedition to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. On his 21st birthday, he made the first sale of Kimberley cattle to a Halls Creek butcher for £1200 in raw gold.[1]

In 1894, a new shipping trade was established by Francis Connor and Denis Doherty from Wyndham to Perth. The Durack family became one of the main suppliers in this market, and eventually merged with their shipping agents to form Connor, Doherty & Durack Ltd, which controlled nearly 6,000 square miles of property on the Western Australia-Northern Territory border. His firm was a major influence on the Kimberley pastoral industry for the next fifty years.[1]

He negotiated a shipment of 3612 cattle to Natal in 1902, which was long hailed a record overseas consignment of live cattle.[1]

In 1917, he entered the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the Nationalist Party member for the Kimberley. He became discontented with the Mitchell government, and in 1920 joined the Country Party, subsequently retiring from politics in 1924.[1]

In 1921 M.P. Durack assisted the scientific party, which had arrived at Wyndham, Western Australia, for determinations of the north Western Australia border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory.[2]

Circa 1939, the Connor, Doherty & Durack tract became the subject of the Kimberley Plan to resettle Jewish refugees from Europe. The proposal was vetoed by the Australian government in 1944.

He died on 3 September 1950 and was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.[1]

See also


  1. Australian dictionary of biography online
  2. "1921 WA-NT Border Determinations". Kununurra Historical Society Inc. (KHS), Kununurra, Western Australia. 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  • "1921 WA-NT Border Determinations". Kununurra Historical Society Inc. (KHS), Kununurra, Western Australia. 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2012. - This description of the 1921 Kimberley WA/NT border determinations mixes a news article with diary entries from M.P. Durack and photographs from the KHS Hambidge Collection.
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