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Australian Wool and Capt. John Macarthur

    Naturevolume 134pages692693 (1934) | Download Citation



    IN the course of his Australian tour, the Duke of Gloucester visited the Ercildoune shearing sheds, where he sheared a sheep which is reported to be a direct descendant of the original merinos introduced into New South Wales by Capt. John Macarthur (Times, Oct. 30). Capt. Macarthur was born at Plymouth in 1767, and was educated at a local school. Becoming a lieutenant in the 102nd Foot, or New South Wales corps, raised for service in the colony, he retired with a captaincy in 1804. Mac arthur possessed an extensive grant of land at Paramatta, and as one aspect of his agricultural pursuits, engaged in improving the breed of sheep in the colony; the “Dictionary of National Biography” says of him that he “practically created the trade in Australian wool”. Sir Joseph Banks, then president of the Royal Society, was also interested in the intro duction of breeds of sheep into Australia, and received fleeces from Macarthur which were reported upon by H. Laycock. Banks, in fact, had many dealings with Capt. Macarthur concerning sheep and wool and also grants of land, some leading to acrimonious letters and mutual distrust. These may well be viewed by posterity with lenient tolerance, as being perhaps inevitable on both sides with the masterful types of men who were then involved in discussions affecting methods of colonisation. Macarthur died in 1834.

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