Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The lucky country

The Atkinsons of Greenvale, north Queensland have a classical family station operation. Five generations have been involved on Lucky Downs and the now-expanded 2000sq km aggregation, and judging by the family's record and approach to the cattle business, there'll be many more.

Story Patty Mann
Photos: Andrew Rankin

Henry and Sue Atkinson

The storm birds call long before another day starts at Lucky Downs Station, near Greenvale, North Queensland.

The air is fresh and clear after almost 50 millimetres of rain, and another season is looking good for the Atkinson family and their red Brahman cattle. Dawn breaks and Henry and Sue Atkinson sip coffee on their verandah, a quiet time before the day's activities begin.

They absorb the heady smell of jasmine and the tranquility as nature's gift for the year. They have a good year ahead, with son Tim about to marry Megan Bode.

Eldest son James, his wife, Lisa, and children, Shannon 8, Hamish 5, and Callum 2, have put the finishing touches to their new home on nearby Paddy's Dam. Daughter, Jenny, has married and moved to the coast where she and husband Arthur Hobbs and children, Chelsea and Michael, grow sugarcane and cattle.

Henry and Sue look forward to the time, not far away, when they will move closer to Townsville, and leave the running of Lucky Downs to their sons.

Sue Atkinson helps her grandson Callum with his bike.
Sue Atkinson helps her grandson Callum with his bike.

Life is bright and full of hope for the family, but not a day passes without reference to a third son, Michael, killed six years ago, aged 25.

Michael's life is remembered with as much joy as the sadness his death delivered.

He is buried among family and faithful employees in the station graveyard near the Lucky Downs homestead.

It is a place of peace and beauty with green manicured lawns, brass headstones, shady trees and surrounded by an ironwood post and rail fence that Henry has made to stand strong and proud for future generations. Story end

Full story: Issue 14, December 2000/ January 2001

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