PIONEER: The descendants of William Spreadborough attended family re-union at the weekend.
PIONEER: The descendants of William Spreadborough attended family re-union at the weekend.

Settler who started Warwick Show lives on in family's memory

WHEN British pioneer William Spreadborough sowed the seed for St Mark's Church and the annual Warwick Show, he left legacy that dozens of his descendants continue to admire more than a century after his death.

Coming from all corners of the Australian continent, more than 90 Spreadborough relatives have commemorated history in the town where their ancestor is laid to rest.

Living descendant, Lyn Greacen said Warwick was a special place for descendants of William Spreadborough whose contributions to the region are still being enjoyed today.

Born in Surrey and shipped to work as a gardener at the historic Talgai station, Willaim was at the heart of Warwick's settler beginnings.

With 12 children and a brilliant mind for agriculture, the early pioneer helped establish the Eastern Downs Horticultural and Agricultural Society and organised the first event to showcase produce from the Southern Downs in 1868.

Living descendant, Lyn Greacen said the show was held in an auction mart on Palmerin St that was "profusely decorated with flags, evergreens and bushes".

Mrs Greacan, who has devoted years to researching the Spreadborough history, said William was a renowned horticulturalist who bred crops to suit the conditions of the Southern Downs in its settler years.


"I really think he was a man before his time. He was very enterprising," she said.

"They didn't understand the climate or soil and they were experimenting with different types of stone fruit trees in his orchard and wine grapes in his vineyard.

"He was always trying to find cures to different diseases."

Working as a rector's warden in the early 1850s, William helped build St Mark's church which still stands today.

Gathering at Kings Theatre, the Spreadborough family exchanged stories and learnt about their shared history on Saturday afternoon.

Lexene Spreadborough said it was a special time for the family.

"It is important to be here in Warwick," she said.

"I think people are interested in where they came from and their family history."