Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings

19th century pastoral life on the Darling Downs comes alive in this intimate exhibition of treasures at SLQ.  Explore the prized possessions as well as photo albums, planting journals, and other records of farm life of the Europeans who settled in the Darling Downs from 1839. Popularly known as the ‘shepherd kings’ and ‘grass dukes’, they lived up to their image as antipodean aristocrats, erecting fine homesteads, grand stables and woolsheds and transforming the landscape with exotic plants and formal gardens. Properties featured include Canning Downs, Glengallan, Maryvale, Westbrook, Yandilla and Talgai stations.

The exhibition welcomes home to Queensland the Archive of Sir Arthur Hodgson, a prominent colonial politician and original owner of Eton Vale station. This unique collection, consisting of manuscripts, photographs, artworks and medals dating from the 1860s, has, until recently, been held in a private collection in England. Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings provides an insight into the lives of the early ‘squatters’ who grew in pastoral and political power.