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William McIlrath (1876–1955)

William McIlrath, n.d.

William McIlrath, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 16 July 1955

Mr. William Mcllrath, who was known to Hereford stud cattle breeders throughout the world as the founder and owner of the Windsor Hereford Stud, Myall Creek, Delungra, N.S.W., died in Sydney last month at the age of 79. He was also interested in other pastoral properties and was highly respected in business circles throughout the Commonwealth as chairman of directors of William Mcllrath Ltd., possibly the largest personal firm of provedores and grocers in Australia.

The late William Mcllrath was born in County Down, Ireland, and came to Australia in 1890. With his eldest brother Hugh, and another brother, the late Sir Martin Mcllrath, he founded in Sydney the firm which eventually was to bear his name. The brothers also acquired a number of pastoral holdings, but Mr. William Mcllrath's particular interest was Myall Creek, where nearly 23 years ago he established the Windsor Hereford Stud. The foundation sire was Windsor Matchless (imp.), bred in the Royal stud in England, and it was for this reason that the Australian Hereford Society granted him authority to name his stud "Windsor."

Mr. Mcllrath won more major awards at Sydney Royal Shows than any other stud beef cattle breeder in Australia, his outstanding winners and sires including such well known names as Windsor Puritan, David, Illustrious Liberator, Lancaster, Royal Robin, Pathfinder, Byron, March On, Talisman, Consul, and Trumpeter. Two sires used early in the stud which left their mark were Free Town Eclipse (imp.) and Paunton Layman (imp.). Mr. Mcllrath rarely brought back a champion a second time to Sydney, nor did he believe in showing aged bulls, which makes his long list of successes all the more notable. When he was 16 months old Windsor Puritan was runner up at Sydney to the great Golf Hill Vulcan, and subsequently Puritan won the championship outright. On another occasion Windsor Illustrious was senior champion at Sydney, the same year that Windsor Liberator won the junior championship. Liberator was purchased by Herbert Field Pty. Ltd. for the firm's Red Hill stud, at Adjungbilly, N.S.W., at the then Australasian record price of 3100 gns.

The Windsor Hereford stud is to be carried on along the same lines which the late Mr. Mcllrath so successfully followed since its foundation.

Mr. Mcllrath made many substantial grants to science, medicine, and charity. Recently he gave £50,000 to set up a C.S.I.R.O. fellowship, the first William Mcllrath Fellow being Dr. M. C. Franklin, the well-known authority on animal nutrition. He also donated freely to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and was a member of the board of that institution for many years. He was also a member of the Australian and New South Wales Clubs in Sydney, together with the Avondale Golf Club and the Warrawee Bowling Club, and of counterparts of such clubs in the country. His private annual dinner to Hereford breeders at the New South Wales Club at Easter was one of the most enjoyable and notable of the numerous functions held during the Sydney Royal Show.

Mr. Mcllrath is survived by his widow, and a daughter, who is the wife of Dr. Winston Smith, of Pymble, Sydney.

Original publication

Citation details

'McIlrath, William (1876–1955)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

William McIlrath, n.d.

William McIlrath, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 16 July 1955

Life Summary [details]


Banbridge, Down, Ireland


20 June, 1955 (aged ~ 79)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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