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Arthur McConochie (1865–1956)

Arthur McConochie, n.d.

Arthur McConochie, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 15 September 1956

The death of Mr. Arthur McConochie, of Wellington, N.S.W., on 2nd July 1956 removed one of the outstanding members of a pastoral family which originally emigrated to Australia in 1841. After landing at Port Phillip the father, a ship owner who had suffered heavy financial losses in Glasgow, and his two sons (William and John) established themselves in Portland. William was then 23 and John 18.

William obtained employment as a clerk with the Hentys of Portland, but John preferred the land for his vocation in life and went to work at The Grange with the famous Forlonges family. Soon afterwards William, also realising the possibilities of the pastoral industry, joined his brother on the land, and an old and well-to-do friend of the boys' father, Andrew Jamieson, undertook to advance to the young McConochies enough money to enable them to purchase a station. In this project they lost no time, William setting out in one direction and John in another, and after careful deliberation they purchased an area of about 6000 acres close to the present town of Coleraine, now one of the main centres of the rich Western District of Victoria. This property was then part of the Konongwootong run, which had originally been taken up in 1840 by Whyte Brothers.

After overcoming many setbacks the McConochie family prospered at Konongwootong Creek. Their first operations centred round the breeding of cattle, but in this they were disappointed and eventually their success was founded on sheep, to which they completely turned over the property. Subsequently, Wando Vale, Spring Vale, and Smoky River also came under the control of the young McConochies, but later the brothers induced two married sisters and their husbands, the Robertsons and the Lyons, to settle in the Coleraine district, the Robertsons then becoming the owners of Wando Vale and the Lyons settling at Balmoral. John McConochie then purchased Coomburah Station in southern Queensland, just across the New South Wales border near Goodooga. This property, which is still held by the family, was stocked from Konongwootong Creek, which was subsequently sold in 1891 to Mrs. Stanley.

Arthur McConochie (son of John, who died in 1898) was born at Coleraine on 23rd November 1865. In 1882 he left the district to take charge of Coomburah Station, which at that period contained 337 square miles and ran in the vicinity of 60,000 sheep. He was soon to meet adversity in its severest form, however, losing all but 5000 sheep in a severe drought. But this only spurred him on to establish permanent water supplies, in his search for which one of the first artesian bores in the area was established.

In 1906 the family acquired Merringa Station, in the Goodooga district, and in 1910 also purchased Gnomery Station, in the same area. This latter station was held by the firm of W. and A. McConochie until just after the death of Arthur, when it was sold in order to conclude the W. and A. McConochie partnership.

Apart from being interested in Lachlan Downs Station with his brother-in-law, Mr. W. J. Bossley, Arthur McConochie purchased in 1921 Glen Mitchell Station, near Wellington, and in 1925 the adjoining station of Brookfield. The latter was sold in 1930, but in 1953 there was added a further area to Glen Mitchell known locally as Mitchell Park. Both these properties were acquired by the Glen Mitchell Pastoral Co. Ltd. in 1955.

Due to advancing age and failing eyesight the late Mr. Arthur McConochie retired from active pastoral pursuits in 1952, and from that time resided privately in Wellington. However, he never lost his keen interest in pastoral matters generally.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. S. M. McConochie, his son, Ronald McConochie, and his daughter Olive (Mrs. G. Croudace), who are carrying on the family tradition as pastoralists.

Original publication

Citation details

'McConochie, Arthur (1865–1956)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mcconochie-arthur-684/text685, accessed 20 May 2024.

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Arthur McConochie, n.d.

Arthur McConochie, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 15 September 1956