Does Huddersfield have a namesake in some far-flung corner of the globe?
That is the #AskExaminer poser for this week after the question received the most online votes.
After some online research, it appears that ‘Huddersfields’ are a bit thin on the ground – though there are thought to be two Down Under.
Roger Gill, of the Huddersfield and District Family History Society, first came across a mention of a Huddersfield in a copy of a New Atlas of the World and Pictorial Gazetteer in the late 1940s.
Many years later he looked it up again, but it had disappeared from atlases.
He tracked it down on Google Earth but the images of ‘Huddersfield, Queensland’ revealed very little other than that it’s about 7km along the Yorkshire Nelia Road from its junction with Julia Creek-Kynuna Road, near Julia Creek, an outback settlement.
It is not clear how the other Huddersfield it got its name but Roger discovered that a Huddersfield (West Yorkshire)-born family named Sutcliffe emigrated to Australia in 1914 and were later registered as living in ‘Huddersfield, Nelia’.
The Sutcliffes were Harry and Martha and children Doris and Annie. Martha was mentioned on the electoral roll as late as 1949.
Roger then got in touch with a man called Chris ‘Scub’ Evans whose grandfather had purchased ‘Huddersfield’, Queensland in 1953. It was described as a ‘family property’ and a large tract of land for sheep rearing.
Chris recalled: “When grandfather purchased Huddersfield in 1953 the region was seen as an opportunity to expand cheaply into the wool industry.
“Thus most of the open country was stocked with sheep and there were numerous properties supporting young families.
“Julia Creek along with Cloncurry and Richmond were regarded as the most northerly wool growing regions of Australia.”
He added: “Huddersfield was established with an area of about 27,000 acres, primarily as a sheep property aimed at running 8,000-10,000 sheep. Due to a large area of unfenced stock route, the usable area was over 34,000 acres, still small in comparison to many other properties at that time.”
There is also thought to be a second location called Huddersfield in Australia, but there are no further details.
It’s not known who named these places and why but it is known that West Yorkshire residents were early settlers in Australia.
In The Australian People, author James Jupp writes: “One of the first significant migrations to Australia was from Yorkshire to Western Australia. The North can claim to have brought Australia such mixed benefits as fish and chips and rugby league...originating in Huddersfield in 1895.”
- Do you know of any other Huddersfields? Email firstname.lastname@example.org