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Dangar, Thomas Gordon (Tom) (1829–1890)

On Friday last, the 4th instant, Thomas Gordon Gibbons Dangar passed away, at his late residence, known as "Crownthorpe," situated at Stanmore. He died as unobtrusively as he had lived, and in his last moments was supported by his oldest political friend, Mr. D. M. Jones. His health for some time past had been weakening, but until very recently his seat in Parliament had always found him in attendance. The immediate cause of his death was a slight cold caught soon after the House assembled; but it was too plain to his friends that he was becoming enfeebled in constitution, and that his strength was rapidly failing. His public career extended over a period of twenty-five years, having been first elected for the Gwydir in January, 1865, upon which occasion he was proposed and seconded by Mr. D. M. Jones, of Walgett, and the late Mr. Patrick Quinn, of Glen Quinn, Narrabri. He represented that electorate until the present Electoral Act came into force, when he became member for the Namoi.

Mr. Dangar was a native of Sydney, having been born on the 17th of November, 1829 (and was thus in his 61st year at the time of his decease). He was educated at the Paterson and Singleton, and afterwards at Sydney College, where be gained a first prize for English composition. At the age of five years he was deprived of maternal love and training by the death of his mother, his family then being residents of Maitland. Afterwards his father removed to Scone, then known as Invermein. Following upon this a long illness interrupted his scholastic pursuits, and in 1847 young Tom commenced life before the mast upon a New England squattage, and afterwards on the Condamine. In 1849 he changed his course to the Namoi, living upon his uncle's station properties, Cubberoo, Drildool, and other runs, and, eventually, starting upon his own hands, became a large squatter, making his headquarters at Bullerawa, upon the Namoi River.

In the early sixties the career of this remarkable man was marvellous. His singular and rapid acquisition of immense squatting properties was unprecedented in the chronicles of the time. His ambition was Napoleonic, and apparently as unsubdued, as station after station was annexed, amongst the properties thus accumulated were the "Warrego horse stations" with "Bunnowanal," on the Darling; "Walcoo," on the Bogan; "Gingi," on the Barwin; "Pilliga," "Milchomi," "Tallaba," "Bullerawa," and "Cutabri," on the Namoi; "Oreel," on the Thalafa; "Belah," on the Castlereagh; "Terrenbone," on the same creek; the "Grawin" and "Wilby Wilby," on the Narren; and many other less important blocks of grazing country. Thousands of cattle and horses grazed on these large tracts of oountry, and the D4 brand was a household word over the North-Western districts, while its owner was beloved as a liberal employer, and almost worshipped as a charitable and unostentatious supporter of any object for aid or progress; a pure and unobtrusive philanthropist. He won the gratitude of those who were unable to express their feelings, because of his repugnance to such expressions; but who, when he entered public life, relieved their hearts of its pent-up emotion and enthusiastically returned him again and again to the Parliament, where he has proved himself such a consistent, steadfast, honest, and worthy a representative of a people's trust. With the representation of the Gwydir in the hands of its late member a transformation was rapidly effected. Previous to his election it was a wilderness; its only connecting link with the outer world was by a horse mail once a week to Walgett. But, as if by a magician's wand, bridges, public works, mail coaches, schools, police protection, and every department under Government found its branches established in this electorate, and the arms of civilization extended far and wide under the benign influence and devoted efforts of this deceased and lamented benefactor, whose noble motives animated him to sacrifice his own interests to enable him to advance those of the electorate he loved so well. Perhaps his two greatest triumphs were the success his untiring efforts brought about, the first being the navigation of the Darling, through his series of letters in 1858, and the completion of the north-western line as far as Narrabri in 1883. It was the dearest object of his life to have lived to have seen the line completed to Walgett, and as far as his strength and fidelity went he endeavoured to do this, knowing the work was incomplete. But the end came too soon. I have said the great pioneering work in this electorate of the old Gwydir entailed a large sacrifice upon its late representative in days gone by. It might be said it involved complete sacrifice, absolute ruin, and nothing can be more painful than the sorrowful, saddening, solitary way in which the curtain descended upon a man whose philanthropy and patriotism deserved a different ending. The deceased gentleman was married, and leaves a widow and one son. His mortal remains left Stanmore by train on Monday night, and were interred in the family vault at Scone.

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'Dangar, Thomas Gordon (Tom) (1829–1890)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/dangar-thomas-gordon-tom-3361/text24225, accessed 25 November 2017.

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