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William Andrew Lang (1869–1940)

William Lang, by Harold Abbott, 1935

William Lang, by Harold Abbott, 1935

image supplied by family

 The Sydney Morning Herald last week reported the death of the son of a pioneer of this district in the following, terms:— "The death occurred recently of Mr. William Andrew Lang, pastoralist, of Carlaminda, Cooma. Mr. Lang had bred stud Shorthorn cattle for more than 40 years".

Born in Melbourne, he was the eldest son of Mr. William Lang, of Selkirk, Scotland, one of the pioneers of the pastoral industry in Victoria and Riverina. He was educated in England. He was called to the Bar, but soon after returned to Australia and, after spending several years on the goldfields in Western Australia and inspecting pastoral properties in New Zealand, he settled at Carlaminda in 1898.

Mr. Lang was patron of the Cooma branch of the Returned Soldiers' League and a supporter of the Red Cross Society and the Pastoral and Agricultural Association. For many years he was a member of the Graziers' Association, the Royal Agricultural Society, and the Australian Jockey Club.

He is survived by Mrs Lang, two sons (John and Patrick), and a daughter (Mrs. Gordon Spencer).

William Lang, the father of the subject of the above notice, was one of the early settlers in this district, and held Wargarn up to the time of his death in 1876, when that property was sold to W. and J. Robertson. He was one of the three Lang Brothers, Dr. Thomas, Gideon Scott and William, who played a big part in the early days of the district. The three brothers held the Wirkenbirgal blocks – A and B which comprised Wargam, and it is thought that they first took them up. After 1962 Wargam was held by William Lang alone.

The firm of Lang Brothers bought Mungadal from John Tooth in 1848, and Pevensey from the same holder soon after. The Langs also took up Willurah (except for that part taken up by Charles Huon) and owned Elwah before G. Fairbairn having bought it from an earlier settler, probably William Guise, who took it up. They also bought Wangonilla (Booabula) from W. A. Brodribb, in November, 1861. In the sixties, William Lang and Matthew Palmer owned Canoon. Lang dropping out in 1871 or 1872 but Palmer remained until 1881 when he sold to Austin and Millear. About 1861 Pevensey was sold to Godfrey and Chambers, and at that, time Gideon Lang, was at Mundagel, William at Wargam, and Dr. Thomas at Booabula. Palmer was then manager of their Murrumbidgee frontage country, and was at Eli Elwah. The Langs then held land from the Billabong to the Murrumbidgee.

At the dissolution of partnership about 1862, William retained Wargam, Dr. Thomas and Gideon with Mungadal and Wangonilla (Booabula) as a base, pioneered out well beyond the Lachlan, taking up Yallock and Tiarri (north of Trida), to succumb in the great drought in 1866 with others of the old pioneers.

The three Lang brothers were the sons of Andrew Lang, the head of an old established South of Scotland law firm. William and Thomas arrived in Australia in 1838 and Gideon in 1841. Thomas and William held a sheep station on the Saltwater River. Gideon joined in partnership with them, and also tried, unsuccessfully, to establish a deep-sea fishing company. After taking up country at Buninyong and Glenelg, where they were troubled with blacks a good deal, they came with cattle and afterwards sheep to their Murrumbidgee country. In 1856 Gideon was returned a member of the first elective Assembly of New South Wales, and took an active part in the establishment of the Commercial Bank of Victoria. He was chairman of the first agitation to get Riverina separated from New South Wales, the editor of the Deniliquin 'Pastoralists Review' being the secretary.

Dr. Thomas Lang practised his profession for a time at Booligal, but his principal interests were in his pastoral holdings. It is recorded that on one occasion, when he stayed at Nap Nap with George Hobler, whose son was ill, he had to send to his station for medicine. The journey of  120 miles in all, was accomplished by a horseman in 16 hours. It is doubtful that he was the first medical man to practice in the district, as a Dr. Grayling came up from Adelaide in 1847, but if he actually commenced to practice, here is uncertain.

Original publication

Citation details

'Lang, William Andrew (1869–1940)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

William Lang, by Harold Abbott, 1935

William Lang, by Harold Abbott, 1935

image supplied by family

Life Summary [details]


23 November, 1869
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


13 May, 1940 (aged 70)
Cooma, New South Wales, Australia

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