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William Kilgour (1839–1903)

Mr. William Kilgour, manager of the Sydney branch of Dalgety and Co, Limited, died early on Saturday morning after an operation consequent upon a brief illlness. Mr Kilgour was in some respects a remarkable specimen of a business man - a type, in fact, such as could hardly be met with except in tho colonies. The high talent which he possessed was not the mere shrewdness and financial grip of the typical city man. His experience had not only given him the qualifications that come from financial operations in the city, but had added to that fine and acute knowledge a vast stock of practical information in regard to the country. While in some ways essentially civic, he was in other respects a man of the land. He was thus doubly fortified, and it will readily be seen that he was peculiarly adapted for conducting the affairs of a firm such as that of Dalgety and Co., Limited. He was practically and in a business sense a friend of the pastoralists. Many of the great sheep and cattle owners of the State will miss his sympathy and advice. At no time in his career was he he more sought than during the great drought that is now believed to have come to an end. He saw the State in its glowing times, and was a distinct force when evil times fell upon the pastoral community. In summing up his abilities the peculiar dual knowledge alluded to stands out most conspicuously. From all aspects ho was a widely respected gentleman. He kept well abreast of the times, and was in fact too modernised to be put down as a type of the old-time squatter, but he possessed all their manly independence and grit.

The late Mr Kilgour was a Londoner, and when 17 years of ago, left England in 1856 in the ship Champion of the Seas. He was not without influence on landing in Sydney, his cousin, Mr G. K. Ingelow, being manager of the Oriental Bank. Being taken into the service of the bank he remained there for some time, extending his knowledge of book-keeping to a degree that subsequently stood him in good stead. The close atmosphere of a city office did not suit him, and he determined to follow his natural bent, and go on the land. He gained his "colonial experience" in Queensland at Rawbelle, on the Burnett. When he had sufficiently mastered his work he decided to take up land for himself. He was attracted by the countrv about the Belyando, in the Northern State, and established Surbiton station, stocking it with sheep. At a later period he took up the management of Gordon Downs station, on the Peak Downs. However, the city called him back, and he returned to Sydney. Making up his mind to stay in the city for a time, matters developed in such a way that from that period, the year 1878, his career was to the end identified with Sydney. He himself became a link between the city and the pastoralists. First, he opened up a Sydney branch of the Melbourne firm of William Sloane and Co., and in course of time became a partner. The firm was floated into the Union Mortgage and Agency Company, and Mr Kilgour was its managing director until 1890, when he took up the position he held until his death. He was greatly valued by Dalgety and Co., Limited. He knew the squatters and understood their wants and their difficulties At the same time he was an administrator of marked ability. Many private as well an business friends were shocked on hearing of his death. He was 64 years of age, and ended his days at Blytheswood, Turrumurra. He had the spirit of a sportsman. It was characteristic of what may be called his bush instinct that he preferred the sport of a country racecourse to the displays of finer trained horses at city meetings. He was a close follower of cricket. His family is chiefly identified with Sydney. In 1871 he married Miss Ingelow, sister of Mr G. K. Ingelow. His wife and four children, including Miss Kilgour, survive him. His sons are Mr George I. Kilgour a solicitor of Sydney, Mr Wilfred Kilgour of Dalgety ard Co Limited, Brisbane branch, and Mr Douglas K. Kilgour, of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. About three years ago Mr Kilgour visited England. The fatal illness last week was appendicitis, which led to peritonitis. On Saturday the flags at the office of Dalgety and Co , Limited, the firm's wharf, Miller's Point, the Royal Exchange, the P. and O., Orient-Pacific, and other commercial, mercantile, wool, shipping, and business houses were at half-mast.

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Citation details

'Kilgour, William (1839–1903)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Edmonton, Middlesex, England


7 November, 1903 (aged ~ 64)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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