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Dangar, William John (1829–1890)

from Australian Town and Country Journal

The death of Mr. William J. Dangar, which occurred on Sunday last at Neotsfield, near Singleton, removes a prominent figure from the squatting history of the colony. Born in Cornwall (England) in 1829, Mr. Dangar arrived in the colony in 1830 with his parents, who went first to Port Stephens. In 1832 the family removed to Neotsfield, where the deceased gentleman has resided ever since, with the exception of business journeys to the many stations belonging, in the first instance, to his father, and three pleasure trips to England. He was, consequently, one of the oldest residents in the Singleton district, where the family has for many years been held in the highest esteem. After leaving school, Mr. Dangar did some hard work on the various stations belonging to his father, where he imbibed a strong predilection for stock of all kinds, and, with the true instincts of a successful breeder, devoted his attention to the better classes of animals. During the last thirty years he was a very large importer of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, dogs, and fowls, and was the largest breeder of Suffolk horses in Australia. For a considerable period in his earlier life he was president of the Northern Agricultural Society, and was also a large and most successful exhibitor. Of late years the Neotsfield estate, which proved too rich for cattle and sheep, was almost entirely devoted to the breeding of first-class horses, and for some years past no less than 350 mares have been bred from annually, very few of their progeny remaining unsold. Amongst his breeding stud may be mentioned the well-known names of Sussex (who was a sensational performer), Venetia, Victorine, Her Ladyship, and Lady Spec. Although occasionally entering a horse on the turf, he much preferred being a breeder, and many winners have been turned out from the Neotsfield paddocks through the famous horse Hawthornden. Mr. Dangar was a schoolmate and lifelong friend of the late Hon. James White; and it is somewhat remarkable that both gentlemen became wealthy, while neither was blessed with any family to inherit his wealth. He was also a cousin of the late Mr. T. G. G. Dangar, M.L.A.

The name of Dangar being almost a household word throughout the northern portions of the colony, a short recapitulation of the early history of the family will doubtless prove interesting. Mr. Henry Dangar, the father of the deceased gentleman, was a surveyor; and in the practice of his profession soon appreciated the richness of the New England district, of which he may fairly be considered one of the pioneers. In the early days a veritable race occurred between this gentleman and a Mr. "Jacky" Dow to New England. Mr. Dangar took the route via the "Moon Bog," while Mr. Dow proceeded by the Hanging Rock near Inglebar. Mr. Dangar arrived at what is now known as Neotsfield, and lighted a fire; and on the arrival of Mr. Dow he found that his opponent had done all which in those days was necessary to insure possession. Having gained this advantage, Mr. Dangar the elder was enabled to practically pick the eyes out of the district, and as a result the family in course of time became possessed of the following magnificent properties: Neotsfield, near Singleton; Goswick, near Armidale; Jarrewick, on the Bundarra; Paradise Creek and Myall Creek, both near Inverell; besides which they owned numbers of stations in Queensland. In regard to the Myall Creek Station, this became notorious for the murder of blacks by the servants of Messrs. Dangar and Scott, who were prosecuted by Mr. Plunkett, then Solicitor-General, and hanged in Sydney in 1827. The family settled almost contemporaneously with the well-known Mr. Correy, whose name is associated with Correy's Nightcap and Correy's Camping Ground, both spots being well-known to New Englanders. The remains of the deceased gentleman were placed in the family vault in All Saints' Church, Singleton, on the afternoon of August 5.

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'Dangar, William John (1829–1890)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/dangar-william-john-3362/text36290, accessed 22 April 2019.

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