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John Alexander Sloane (1877–1956)

John Alexander Sloane, principal founder of John A. Sloane and Co. Pty. Ltd., of Neyliona Station, Jerilderie, and Five Plains, Mulwala, N.S.W., and one of Australia's most noted Corriedale sheepbreeders, died at his home at Collaroy, N.S.W., on 23rd January, aged 78 years.

Mr. Sloane was born at East Melbourne on 27th November 1877, being the youngest son of Alexander Sloane, one of the pioneers of Riverina who arrived in Melbourne in the ship Victory in 1849. Alexander Sloane joined Dalgety and Co. and when Melbourne was largely deserted in the early '50's for the goldfields, he became their first gold buyer. About 1856 he took up pastoral pursuits at Mortlake, Victoria, and in 1862 purchased Savernake Station, near Mulwala, then Mulwala Station, on the Murray, in 1864. His first home at Mulwala Station was largely destroyed by the flood of 1869 and was immediately replaced by the homestead which is still owned and occupied by the family today.

John Alexander Sloane was educated at Brighton Grammar School, where he excelled at sport. He joined his father and brothers at Mulwala Station and was later admitted to partnership in the pastoral firm of Alexander Sloane and Sons. When this partnership was dissolved in 1910 he was in partnership with his brother, Hugh G. G. Sloane, at Kilnyana, Mulwala, for two years.

In 1912 his nephew, Alex. J. Sloane, acquired Wood Park, Jerilderie, from the late Mr. H. J. Corbett, together with Mr. Corbett's flock of Corriedale sheep, which he had been line breeding then for 30 years. John A. Sloane purchased a large part of Mr. Corbett's flock and the development and perfection of the Corriedale breed became his life's work. He was one of the founders of the Australian Corriedale Sheepbreeders' Association (now Australian Corriedale Association) and worked strenuously in the interests of the breed.

In 1919, with the late Mr. Harold Hay, who died in December last, he formed the pastoral firm of John A. Sloane and Co. Pty. Ltd. and purchased Neyliona, Jerilderie, N.S.W., later leasing Fernbank (adjoining) and Five Plains, near Mulwala, and on these three properties his Corriedale stud became the largest in Australia.

Mr. Sloane was an early pioneer of irrigation in southern Riverina. In the droughts of 1908 and 1914 he pumped water by steam pumps from the Murray into a lagoon and thence by large pipes to suitable country where large quantities of fodder crops were produced for stock feed and ensilage. He was a master hand at supplementary feeding of stock in dry periods, being a great believer in starting feeding early and building up the ration as droughts extended. During the droughts encountered in his lifetime the properties under his management experienced few losses and little reduction in wool clips and lambings.

He was a man of diverse interests and very early became interested in wheat growing. He was a pioneer of the fallow system of farming in his district and was among the first to appreciate the value of conserving the moisture in the soil. His wheat farm, Flinty Range, Mulwala, was renowned for its crops, he also ran a dairy herd on an adjoining farm for a number of years and installed milking machines nearly 40 years ago.

Just as he had learnt the art of sheepbreeding from his eldest brother, James Sloane, he learnt to shoot from another brother, William, a famous Bisley marksman, and he became one of the noted gun shots of the Murray Valley. He was also an excellent golfer and won the Riverina championship on several occasions.

In 1936 he handed over the management of his company to his sons and to his partner, the late Mr. Harold Hay, and retired to live at Stewart Island, New Zealand, which he had got to know well after visits for many years. He returned to Australia during the war to assist in management while members of his family were overseas, and lived for the last few years at Collaroy.

Mr. Sloane was a man who strived earnestly to make a success of all he set his hand to and was esteemed for his wide knowledge and fairness in all his dealings. He was twice married and is survived by his wife, four sons, and two daughters.

Original publication

Citation details

'Sloane, John Alexander (1877–1956)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

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