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Black, Niel (1804–1880)

This gentleman died, aged 76 years, at Mount Noorat, on Saturday last, after a severe illness. From Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates, we learn that the Hon. Niel (Neil) Black was born at Cowal, Argyleshire, and when 33 years of ago emigrated to Australia, when three gentlemen, among whom was Mr. W. E. Gladstone, the present Premier of England, entrusted him with the management of joint funds, some £8000, together with the selection of the territory, for the purposes of a station. In 1839 he arrived at Adelaide in the Ariadne, but finding that the price of land in South Australia was, through the operations of the brokers, exceedingly dear, he visited Victoria, then Port Phillip. Here he found the terms upon which land could be acquired were equally unreasonable, and he proceeded to New South Wales, but the country not commending itself to his liking, he returned to Port Phillip and established a station near Glenormiston. The venture was very successful, and, procuring an additional £4000 from his partners, he purchased the sister station from the late Mr. Claude Farie, and that also proved to be a highly advantageous speculation. In 1843 he visited Scotland, obtained a renewal of the partnership for five years, and also interviewed the late Earl of Derby, and urged the claims of the squatters to leases. He returned in 1845 and afterwards took up additional land at Warreyena, on the South Australian border, and subsequently revisited Scotland. While there he married Miss Grace Greenshiels Leadbetter, and returned with her to Victoria after an absence of two years. Shortly afterwards he was elected to a seat in the Legislative Council for the Western Province, which he retained till his death. The partnership with the English gentlemen was dissolved in 1868. As one stroke of good fortune with which the deceased gentleman was favoured, it may be mentioned that in the early days of the goldfields he sold 3000 head of cattle for £13 each, which had cost him the insignificant outlay of 11s 6d per head. The herd of Mount Noorat always enjoyed the very highest reputation, especial care being bestowed upon its breeding.

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'Black, Niel (1804–1880)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/black-niel-3003/text25296, accessed 17 November 2018.

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