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5 corrections, most recently by loxt10 - Show corrections

DEATH OF MR .A. B. MURRAY

       

AN OLD COLONIST.

Mr. Alexander Borthwick Murray died   at his residence, Magill, on Tuesday morn- ing at the age of 87 years.  

Mr. Murray was born at Langshall     Burn, in the parish of Eskdale Moor,   Dumfriesshire, Scotland, on February 14, 1816. In his early youth he became, asso-

ciated with sheep breeding and rearing.   When 17 years old he went to the High- lands of Scotland, where he was engaged, in  

acclimatising the Cheviot sheep in the - mountainous regions of Inverness and Ross shire. In this way he obtained considerable knowledge of wool-growing, and was better fitted by experience than most of the early

colonists for taking up pastoral pursuits in   Australia. In May, 1839, when he was 23 years of age, Mr. Murray left his native shores in the Lady Lillford, and arrived at   Holdfast Bay on September 27, 1839. The

province was at this time entering   upon its first land boom. Public

works were being constructed on a larger scale, and the Governor (Colonel

Gawler) had established a system of   special surveys, under which purchasers of land could eventually acquire the freehhold of 4,000 acres. Land speculation according-

ly became general, and very considerable areas were taken up in 1839 and 1840. Be- fore leaving Scotland Mr. Murray had pro-

mised a distant relative, Sir James Malcolm,   to manage for 12 months some property the latter had acquired at Barossa, and thither Mr. Murray went to fulfil his engagement.

He culled the sheep, cleared them of scab,   which was endangering the whole flock, and   got them into such fine order that they took a prize at the first pastoral show in South Australia. This exhibition was held at the Horseshoe (Noarlunga), under the auspices

of the South Australian Company, and Mr.

Murray, who personally brought the sheep from Barossa, won honors against all the animals shown on that occasion.    

In 1842 Mr. Murray was married at Syd- ney to Miss Scott. On his return to South Australia he decided to engage in agricul-

ture, which, to correct the re- action caused by the bursting Coal the boom in 1841, was vigorously

advocated by Governor Grey, who succeed- ed Colonel Gawler. Mr. Murray possessed property on the Barossa special survey,

where he was an original selector and part   owner, and he returned there to cultivate the soil. His first efforts were not very, remunerative, for although the yield was

good the ruling prices for wheat were ab- surdly low. Money was scarce in the province, and the wheat returns increased so rapidly that there was a consequent fall

in price. Mr. Murray's crop was   infested with "smut," which so in-

jured it that he could only obtain from 1/6 to 2/ per bushel. The   buyer of Mr. Murray's wheat was Dr.Kent, who founded Kent Town, and erected a mill near the old Kent Town brewery. What with the trouble of breaking the soil and carting the produce to Adelaide in, bullock drays, Mr. Murray did not get very enthusiastic over wheat-growing, and he again turned his energies towards sheep

breeding. In partnership with his sister-

in-law (afterwards Mrs. P. M. Murray),   he purchased some ewes and a ram from the flock of the late Mr. Duncan McFarlane, of Mount Barker. This ram, it may be men-

tioned was the sire of the late Mr. John   Murray's ram "Champion," known in the family as "Prizey." These sheep formed the nucleus of the celebrated Murray flocks.

Mr. John Murray, who landed here  

on September 5, 1841, purchased part   of his brother's land at Barossa.

He and his brother each took a   fourth and Miss Scott a half of the progeny, and they started on a long and successful career as sheep-breeders. From year to year the partners improved the

breed of their flocks, and took prizes at

numerous shows. For twenty years past

the late Mr. Murrav owned a cattle station near Warrina. After paying the late Mr. Richard Holland, of Turretfield, £25,000 for Bookpurnong, a large station on the Mur- ray, Mr. Murray was compelled to give up the property owing to the rabbit pest. At one time he also possessed a station at Myrtle Springs now held by Mr. Leonard Brown, inconnection with Leigh's Creek   but this, too, had to be relinquished. Ex- perience led Mr. Murray to decide that the northern country is most dangerous to touch.  

For 15 years Mr. Murray was a director

of Elder's Wool and Produce Company.   (afterwards Elder, Smith, & Co.). He re tired from the directorate in March, 1898. As far back as 1866 he was President of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural So-

ciety. In 1844 he was a member of the, District Road Commission, which pre-

pared the way for district councils. Mr. Murray was actively concerned in the for- mation of the District Council of Tung-

killo, and of this board he was chairman   during his residence in the district. In May, 1862, five years after the inaugura- tion of responsible government Mr. Murray was elected a member of the House of Assembly for the district of Gum- eracha at a by-election caused by the retirement of the late Mr. Alexander Hay. At the general elections of 1863 and 1865, Mr. Murray was again returned for the   same district. In March, 1869, he entered the Legislative Council, and retained his seat till February, 1877. Three-years-and-a half elapsed, and then in July, 1880, Mr. Murray was again returned under the origi- nal electoral roll, when the whole province voted as one constituency. In April, 1888, Mr. Murray retired from Parliamentary life, having rendered useful service for 28 years in matters connected with the develop- ment of the country and the land laws. Though he did not speak often in Parlia- ment, Mr. Murray's opinions carried a great deal of weight with both Houses, and on one occasion he was instrumental in de- feating the Government when it brought in a Bill to put the south-eastern district in quarantine because of the fluke disease in sheep.

For many years prior to his death     Mr. Murray had lived in retirement. He was twice married, his second wife, who survives him, being a sister of the late Mr.Geo. Tinline, one time manager of the Bank of South Australia. There were three children of the first marriage, two sons and a daughter, who is now Mrs. Galt.   The children of the second marriage were   Miss Murray, Mrs. F. H. Downer, Mr. G. J. R. Murray, and Mr. Malcolm Murray, who died, leaving a widow and three chil- dren.    

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