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Wilson, Sir Samuel (1832–1895)

from Australasian Pastoralists' Review

Sir Samuel Wilson, n.d.

Sir Samuel Wilson, n.d.

State Library of Victoria, mp008276

The death is announced by cable from London on 11th inst. of Sir Samuel Wilson, of Ercildoune, Victoria, and formerly member of the House of Commons for Portsmouth. Sir Samuel was the sixth son of Mr. Samuel Wilson, farmer and landowner, of Antrim, Ireland. He was born at Ballycloughan in 1832, and educated at Ballymena, in the same county, with the intention of becoming a civil engineer. Two of his brothers, Mr. Alexander Wilson and Mr. John Wilson, had come out to Victoria early in the forties and been successful in squatting pursuits, and acting on their advice he sailed for Victoria, and landed there in May, 1852. On his arrival he joined the rush to the goldfields, but soon turned from digging to pastoral pursuits, and took the management of the Kewell station, with about 20,000 sheep, for his brothers. He then joined his brothers in the purchase of the Longerenong station at the Wimmera, from Mr. William Taylor, for £40,000. The purchase was successful, and the profits of four years paid for the station. The success was due in great measure to Mr. Samuel Wilson having turned large tracts of unwatered country into valuable grazing land by the construction of dams and water-holes. Other purchases of station property by the brothers followed, one of them being the Yanko station, in the Murrumbidgee district, where, as at Longerenong, Mr. Samuel Wilson planned engineering works for securing, storing, and distributing water, and so added immensely to the value of the property. It was decided in 1869 to dissolve the firm of Wilson Bros., and the method was adopted of each brother putting in a sealed envelope an offer to buy or sell, the tenders then to be considered. The result was that Mr. Samuel Wilson became the purchaser of the whole of the station property of the firm. The purchase was effected at a time when, owing to the great dought of 1868-9, station property was very much reduced in value. Almost directly after the purchase the drought broke up, and in three years the accruing profits paid off the liabilities Mr. Samuel Wilson had incurred by the purchase. The increase of selection induced Mr. Wilson to sell off his stations—Longerenong, Coree, and Goongumbla—and to invest in the freehold properties of Mount Bute, Marathon, and Corangamite. Being soon afterwards tempted by the offer of Ercildoune station, at Burrumbeet, near Ballarat, he bought it, and he also acquired large squatting holdings in the Darling district, New South Wales; Peak Downs, Queensland; and on the Diamantina River, Queensland. The Ercildoune station is noted for the superiority of its Merino wools, which are considered about the finest in the world. The production of that class of wool was commenced on Ercildoune by the Messrs. Learmonth, from whom Mr. Samuel Wilson purchased the station. Wool from the station at one time was sold as high as 5s. 1½d. per lb.

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'Wilson, Sir Samuel (1832–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/wilson-sir-samuel-1052/text1053, accessed 18 October 2019.

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