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Murray, William Albert (Willie) (1862–1901)

With regret we announce the death of Mr. WIlliam Arthur Murray, of Cappeedee. To the many friends of the deceased gentleman the news will come as a shock. Only a few weeks ago he spent six days in the city, and was then in good health and in excellent spirits. There was then little, if any, signs of the illness which overtook him shortly after his return to Cappeedee, his home. He had been back a fortnight when certain symptoms appeared, but they were not then regarded as serious. It was an old internal trouble which often passed off almost as quickly as it appeared. Late Friday, however, the symptoms became sufficietly alarming to warrant the calling in of a medical gentleman, and Dr. John Sangster, of the Burra, was summoned to Cappeedee. He saw that the case required close attention, and Mr. Murray, at his suggestion, was removed to the Burra Hospital. Mr. Alick J. Murray was summoned, and he went to the Burra on Saturday morning, and remained with his brother to the end. Details of the case were sent to Dr. Melville Jay, Mr. Murray's medical adviser, and on Monday the illness had become so serious thal Dr. Jay was asked to go to the Burra. He reached there by the Broken Hill express, and found the patient in an alarming condition. The only chance, and that a slender one, of saving Mr. Murray's life was an operation. This was performed during the evening by Dr. Jay, who remained with the patient until 2 o'clock on Tuesday morning. The painful symptoms which had marked the illness ceased, and when at 6 o'clock on Tuesday morning the doctor left the hospital the patient was easy, but there seemed little hope of his recovery. He went on favorably until midday, when serious symptoms again set in, and at 4 o'clock he died. The cause of death was acute intestinal obstruction. Mr. John Murray, of Rhine Park, reached the Burra before the end came, and Mrs. Willie Crozier, of Moorna, his sister, was also at his bedside.

Mr. William Albert Murray was the youngest of the four sons - he was about 38 years of age - of the late Mr. John Murray, of Mount Crawford, the founder of the celebrated merino stud flocks known from one end of the continent to the other. The deceased's personal qualities endeared him to all who knew him. He was a singularly retiring man, slow to made friends, but there was no affectation about him, and few men could count more real friends than Willie Murray. Cut off in the midst of a useful career, the news of his untimely death will bring sorrow not alone to his many relatives, but also to his large circle of friends. He played polo, but his great object in life was sheepbreeding, and few men could speak with deeper knowledge of the subject. Educated at St. Peter's College he spent his holidays at his home at Mount Crawford, where his late father early inculcated the lessons in sheepbreeding which became of such value to him in after life. Sixty years ago the late Mr. John Murray founded the Mount Crawford stud of merinoes, and his sons as they grew up were all established on pastoral properties, the eldest brother, Mr. John Murray, going to Rhine Park, Mr. T. Hope Murray to Mount Beevor, Mr. W. A. Murray to Cappeedee, while on the death of his father Mr. Alick J. Murray continued the work at Mount Crawford. In 1886, a year after the death of their father, the four sons purchased from the executors' of the estate the whole flock, and divided it into four equal parts, so that each should have one-fourth of equal merit. Buyers of the Murray sheep know that an interchange of high-class stud sheep was often made by the four brothers, who, while doing this, still strictly adhered to the one blood foundation of the Mount Crawford stud. These interchanges spoke volumes for the kindly feelings which animated the brothers, and the zest with which they prosecuted sheep breeding, and the desire they showed for improving the flocks of the State.

Cappeedee, the home of the late Mr. W. A. Murray, situated 120 miles due north of Adelaide, consists of 10,000 acres, subdivided into 45 paddocks. In his time it has all been practically refenced. No words of praise are needed here in reference to the Cappeedee sheep, bred by Mr. Murray. They have told their own story in the show pens of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society. The sideboard of the Cappeedee homestead is covered with cups and medals won by the sheep of the estate. But the record of his successes as a sheep breeder is as nothing to the personal record which the deceased leaves behind him. With him his word was his bond. An unassuming man, he was trusted by all who had transactions with him, and many thousands of pounds worth of sheep he sold, the buyers leaving the selection to him. For years he was a member of the Adelaide Polo Club, and was one of the foremost players in the States. He took a pride in his ponies, and for a long time he played with the old Burra Club. Quite lately he had been considering the question of playing with the Mount Crawford team. The journey to the city at the end of each week took up so much time that he last season ceased to take an active part in the games at the foot of Montefiore Hill. Mr. Herbert Barnet recently left the colony to take up a pastoral property in New South Wales in conjunction with Mr. R. T. Melrose, and the vacancy created in the Mount Crawford Club Mr. Murray was asked to fill. He was a member of the Adelaide Club and of the Royal Agricultural Society, of which his brother, Mr. John Murray, is president. Some time ago, with the latter, he proceeded to Melbourne to judge strong wools, a compliment which indicated his sound knowledge of the subject.

Our Hallett correspondent telegraphed on Tuesday:-"The news of the death of Mr. W. A. Murray, of Cappeedee, at the Burra Hospital to-day, after less than a week's illness, cast a gloom over the district. Mr. Murray was universally respected for his unswerving integrity in business and geniality, and the greatest regret is expressed at his decease. Flags were half masted in the township as a mark of respect."

Our Burra correspondent telegraphed: "Much regret is felt at the death of Mr. William A. Murray, of Cappeedee, at the Burra Hospital this afternoon, after a short illness."

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'Murray, William Albert (Willie) (1862–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/murray-william-albert-willie-1235/text1225, accessed 25 April 2019.

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