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Cumming, William (1837–1898)

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review

William Cumming, n.d.

William Cumming, n.d.

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review, 16 May 1898

There are few pastoral families whose names are better known in Victoria than that of Cumming, and amongst the members of that family none was more highly respected than Mr. William Cumming, of "Mt.Fyans," Camperdown, whose decease we regret to announce at the age of nearly 61 years. Mr. Cumming was born in Tasmania in June, 1837, and was brought over to Melbourne the following year by his father and mother, who were also accompanied by his brothers John (who was born in Scotland) and George (who, like himself, was born in Tasmania). In 1847 Mr. John Cumming bought Stony Point from Mr. Matthew Hall with 500 sheep on it for £500. When William Cumming left school he went on to the station at Stony Point, joining his brother George, and remained there until 1856, when they bought from Mr. Montgomery Mt. Fyans, which at that time embraced Mt. Violet, and was a squatting run originally taken up by Mr. Lachlan Mackinnon. The brothers gradually acquired the freehold of the property, which has been theirs ever since, the division taking place at the time of the deceased's marriage in 1860. Mr. william Cumming has always taken the greatest interest in all matters pertaining to agriculture and pasture, and particularly in sheepbreeding. He was a first-rate judge of stock, and to the last a firm supporter of the old style of Merino. The history of the Mt. Fyans flock is known to every sheepbreeder in Australia, and it is mainly to Mr. Cumming's judgment that it owes its celebrity. He was a prominent and successful exhibitor as far back as the early days of the Skipton show. When that society ceased to exist he took part in founding the Australian Sheepbreeders' Association, which owes so much to this family, and was a constant and liberal supporter of the society, of which he was president for some time. He was also a life-governor of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, and in conjunction with his brother, Mr. Thomas Cumming, of Stony Point, he bought from Mr. James Gibson the celebrated ram "Sir Thomas" for 670 guineas at auction. Going back to the early days, before shire councils were invented, the deceased was a member of the Mt. Shadwell (now Mortlake) Road Board, and continued to be a member of the Shire Council, when formed, for many years; but although taking a lively interest in all public questions, political as well as local, he never cared to come forward as a candidate for Parliament. The only squatting interest Mr. William Cumming had out of Victoria was "Gunbar," on the Lachlan, in which he was a partner with the late Thomas Armstrong and his brother, Mr. Thomas Cumming. The deceased was well known throughout the colony and highly esteemed for his straightforwardness, outspokenness, geniality, and hospitality. He lived for many years at "Woorigoleen," Toorak, but tiring of city life he built a new house at Mt. Fyans, and has resided there for the last twelve years or more. He took two trips to England—one in 1870, the year of the Skipton flood, travelling on his way back through the battlefields of Alsace and Lorraine, and another in 1882. He married Miss Burrow, daughter of the late William Burrow, mayor of Geelong, and leaves behind him five sons and two daughters. The properties he owned at the time of his death were "Mt. Fyans," consisting of about 38,000 acres, and "Stonehenge," at the foot of Mt. Elephant, about 5000 acres, which he bought from Capt. Ormond, father of the late Francis Ormond.

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'Cumming, William (1837–1898)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cumming-william-274/text275, accessed 20 June 2019.

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