Elrose notches up 100 years of Wells family ownership

Bales of Elrose wool loaded and ready for driving out to market last century.
Bales of Elrose wool loaded and ready for driving out to market last century.

One hundred years of a single family’s ownership is a good innings in anybody’s book, and it’s what the Wells family has just notched up at Boulia.

Over 100 family, friends and past staff kicked their heels up last weekend to celebrate the Wells family’s centenary at Elrose Station.

The property, 20,000 acres situated 20km north east of Boulia, is named after the wife and daughter of William ‘Doc’ Wells, Ella and Cora Rose McGlinchey.

Doc and his good friend, Bill Brisbin, arrived in Barcaldine on the train in 1908 and hung around the town for a week until they ran out of money.

After a 95 mile walk to Mt Cornish, north of Aramac, Doc took a job on the property for five years, before putting together a hawking outfit and travelling further west.

When he arrived in Boulia, one of the large stations, Warenda, 200 miles by 50 miles in size, was being broken up, and he was lucky enough to draw the country that became Elrose.

For several years Doc worked on Fortwilliam Station under Percy Morris to gather enough money to fence and dig wells, buy some sheep and shift the family onto the property.

Doc and Ella had three children, Tup, Bub and Stella. 

Bub married Brian McGlinchey of neighbouring Macsland Station, while Stella married Jim Whitbread of Charters Towers and Tup married Mary McDonald, who was stationed at the Boulia hospital as a nurse in the war years.

Tup expanded Elrose to 60,000 acres, which in those days was a comfortable living area. 

He and his wife Mary had three children, Rosemary, Adrian and Chris who, like their parents, knew the hardship of poor electricity, massive droughts and schooling children remotely.

Eventually they passed the aggregation to Adrian and retired to Townsville.

Wells and Son were constant sellers of 1000 bales of wool with Primaries in the Brisbane wool sales.

The family properties have expanded to six and with the retirement of Adrian and Vicki, their three children – Grant Wells, Renee Campbell and Megan Girdler – are now running a successful 10,000 certified USDA organic Charolais herd.

Renee said over 100 people helped celebrate on the property, some travelling on from Winton’s Way out West Festival and setting up their vans days before the official celebrations.

Festivities included sightseeing tours to Boulia, which many hadn’t visited for years, property tours, speeches and a big barbecue.

This story Wells celebrate a century at Boulia first appeared on Queensland Country Life.