William James Reid died at Geelong, 3rd October, in his ninety-third year. Born 9th November, 1821. His father owned Illistron Farm, near Letterkenney, North of Ireland. Came to Melbourne by sailing ship England on 18th July, 1841, aged nineteen. Went to Geelong in August 1841, and was employed five years on Bush Station, which comprised the country between Spring Creek and the Barwon, managed by Dr. Thompson, and subsequently owned by Mr. John Armstrong. He was then six years with Messrs. Thomas and Somerville Learmonth, as overseer at Bunninyong and manager of Wycheproof Station.
In 1852 he bought Woodbourne Station, near Meredith, and lived there for twenty years. He said that during this period his greatest obstacles were scab, fluke, and "land sharks." He was one of the few men who refused to pay tribute to the latter, and though he suffered in pocket, his courageous exposure of their methods through the columns of the Geelong Advertiser in 1865 did much to break their power.
In 1872 he bought Yancannia Station (previously called Torowoto), on the Darling. At first without any fences and with sheep shepherded by black fellows, this property was worked up until it became one of the best-improved sheep stations in Western New South Wales, with a carrying capacity of 200,000 sheep, under the management of Mr. W. H. Reid. The late Mr. Thomas Shaw, of Wooriwyrite, bought a half share in 1877, and the partnership continued till 1895, when Mr. Reid sold out to Mr. Shaw. In 1881 Mr. Reid bought Clonagh Station, thirty miles north of Cloncurry, Queensland, in conjunction with his eldest son, the late Mr. J. I. Reid. They were the first to bring sheep so far north in Queensland. Clonagh is still owned by the family, and after thirty-three years still proves that sheep can be made to pay as well as cattle in the extreme north. Mr. Reid subsequently acquired Mascotte, Miller's Creek, and Iffley Stations, in New South Wales.
In 1874 he returned to Geelong and lived there till his death. Always a deeply religious man, he was closely identified with the Free Presbyterian Church. He leaves a widow (his eldest son, John Illiston Reid, predeceased him), seven sons and a daughter (Mrs. Branson) survivor, and twenty-five grandchildren.
'Reid, William James (1821–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/reid-william-james-846/text847, accessed 7 July 2015.
from Pastoral Review, 16 November 1914