Lady Shirley McCamley, 74, pictured last year, died on Sunday in a plane crash.
Lady Shirley McCamley, 74, pictured last year, died on Sunday in a plane crash. Chris Ison

Town mourns loss of Lady Shirley

LADY Shirley McCamley was a shining light of strength for a family who has contributed a great deal to the Central Queensland cattle industry.

It emerged yesterday that the matriarch of a fourth-generation of cattle producers was tragically killed in Sunday’s light wing aircraft crash.

Lady Shirley, 74, was a passenger flying with her 19-year-old grandson Max at Tartrus Station, the family’s property at Marlborough, 100km north-west of Rockhampton, when they crashed at 2.45pm.

She died instantly.

Max had to be flown by the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service to Rockhampton Hospital to be treated for injuries.

Lady Shirley (nee Tindale) was the wife of beef baron Sir Graham McCamley, 78.

She was born in Clermont and her family moved to Rockhampton when she was 10.

She married Sir Graham in October 1956 and they had three children – Jennifer, Russell and Jacqui – seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Yesterday a family member said the McCamley family was devastated by the sudden death of Lady Shirley.

“She was a common source of strength and compassion,” he said.

“The family are still in shock and coming to terms with their loss.”

A close family friend said Lady Shirley valued the simple things in life and encouraged patience and tolerance.

“Lady Shirley McCamley was loved and admired by all who had the good fortune to meet and befriend her,” she said.

“All who knew her admired her dignity, integrity and compassion. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and valued friend.”

Lady Shirley’s death also shocked the cattle industry yesterday.

AgForce Queensland general president John Cotter said Sir Graham and Lady Shirley were leaders in the industry.

“They were fearless in the industry and she was an equal partner in that,” Mr Cotter said.

“I did not know her personally but knew the family by reputation.”

Mr Cotter said the McCamleys were pioneers in using aircraft in the cattle industry.

He said flying was the McCamley way.

Sunday’s crash was not the first aviation-related accident to occur at Tartrus Station, a 70,000 acre property.

On October 2, 2007, Sir Graham was pulled from a crashed helicopter just moments before it burst into flames.

He suffered spinal and internal injuries from the crash, but has since recovered.

Daughter Jennifer also suffered minor injuries during an ultralight aircraft crash on May 2, 1997.

Tartrus Station was home to Sir Graham and Lady Shirley since their marriage, and they jointly developed it from a block of undeveloped scrub to the signature property it is today.

The 19-year-old pilot was still recovering in hospital yesterday.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are investigating the crash.

Police are also preparing a report for the coroner.


If you would like to pay tribute to Lady Shirley, call Melinda on 4930 4274.

CQ crash history


Jan 18 2010: A helicopter pilot walks away from a crash-landing after a rotor blade malfunction near Westwood, about 45 kilometres west of Rockhampton. The man was mustering cattle at a low altitude shortly before the crash at the Evergreen Road property about 8.20am.


July 19, 2009: Karlis Gugis, en-route to Rockhampton from Casterton, crash-lands his plane into a field in Victoria. He is uninjured.


October 4, 2007: Marlborough beef baron Sir Graham McCamley is pulled from his crashed helicopter just moments before it bursts into flames near cattle yards at Tartrus Station. Sir Graham, 75, is airlifted to Rockhampton Hospital and is later taken to a Brisbane hospital for treatment for spinal and minor internal injuries.


March 4, 2007: Rockhampton pilot Richard McDonald is injured when his crop duster crashs 20km southwest of Clairview.


October 31, 2006: Pilot Brendon Rassie, 47, and passengers Luke Straatmans, 22, and Keith Suter, 33, die when a twin-engine Piper Navajo ploughs into a hill on a cattle property near Raglan.


November 27, 2005: Bluff father and son aviators, Greg and Darren McGrath, die when their light aircraft crashes to the ground just 800 metres from a QRI Christmas party.


December 26, 2005: Pilot of 13 years, Graham Toftis taking his sister-in-law for a scenic flight when the plane engine fails and they crash at Five Rocks Beach.


October 17, 2003: The Mackay-based Central Queensland rescue helicopter (a single-engine Bell 407) crashes into the ocean 3km south-east of Cape Hillsborough enroute to a rescue. The pilot, crewman and paramedic are killed.


April 17, 2001: The Capricorn Rescue helicopter crashes at Swain Reefs while trying to rescue sailors from a stricken Malaysian fishing vessel.


March 7, 2001: The pilot of a crop-duster is uninjured after he crashes into a cotton field 10km west of Emerald.


January 29, 2001: The pilot of a crop-dusting helicopter dies when he crashes at Courtney’s Gap, 10km south-west of Mackay.


February 26, 2001: Cattle tycoon Charles Lund suffers spinal and ankle injuries in a crash at Laglan Station near Clermont.


January 8, 2001: The pilot of an ultra light aircraft walks away from a crash 25km south of Keppel Sands.


July 24, 2000: Five people die when the Capricorn Rescue helicopter crashes at Kenella Park near Marlborough.


June 12, 2000: The pilot of an ultra light plane at the Old Station Air Show at Raglan sufferes minor injuries in a crash.


May 9, 2000: Two men escaped injury when their ultra light aircraft crashes near Longreach.


September 20, 1999: Six people survive a twin engine plane crash at Quail Island near Stanage Bay, 190km north of Rockhampton.


July 20, 1999: One person is injured in a helicopter crash at Melrose Station near Wondai.


October 27, 1998: Rockhampton rugby union star Scott Barton is lucky to escape injury in a helicopter crash near Alpha.


October 11, 1998: Prominent cattleman Thomas Kendall dies when his gyrocopter crashes near Longreach.


April 20, 1998: A Bell 45 helicopter crashes near Seaforth after hitting power lines.


March 24, 1998: No one is injured when a Bell 45 helicopter crashes 14km west of Mackay.


March 12, 1998: One Nation party candidate Lynette Pamela Johnson, 51, and her cousin Graham Keith Froftick, 52, die in a light aircraft crash near Miriam Vale.


November 23, 1997: A plane crashes in a cotton field 4km from Theodore.


May 18, 1997: Two men die in a light aircraft crash near Emerald.


March 17, 1997: A 53-year-old man sufferes serious injuries after an ultra light crashes on a property south of Dingo.


February 26, 1997: A man dies when a helicopter crashes into Gladstone Harbour soon after take-off.

Emmaus score double in junior futsal schools comp

premium_icon Emmaus score double in junior futsal schools comp

Teams go through unbeaten to claim Junior A and B titles

Investors cautioned against buying Great Keppel Island

premium_icon Investors cautioned against buying Great Keppel Island

Business partner aware island developments are not easy

MISSING: Police search for teenage boy who never came home

MISSING: Police search for teenage boy who never came home

JAMES Michael Horvath was last seen at Saunders St on Saturday

Local Partners