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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

Duncan MACPHERSON

Born 9 July 1818 at Dunachton Farm in Alvie, Inverness, Scotland [119]
Son of Aeneas MACPHERSON and Margaret MACKINTOSH [119]
In 1841 he was a farmer and was living with his mother and sisters Isabella and May on Dunachton Farm in Alvie [20]
Married Mary WILSON on 13 January 1845 in Alvie, Inverness, Scotland [33]
Arrived with his wife and son Aeneas in Port Adelaide, South Australia on the ship Isabella Watson on 15 May 1846 [119]
In 1848 they left South Australia for Western Australia on the ship Titania, with his second son being born during the voyage [119]
Departed Adelaide, South Australia on the Titania and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 17 May 1848 [160: 24-May-1848]
After arriving in Western Australia he initially worked as a Shepherd in the Avon Valley [121: page 121]
In 1849 sub-leased Thomas YULE's property The Byeen in the Newcastle-Toodyay district [121: page 121] [127: page 182]
Farmer and Grazier of The Byeen in Toodyay 1849-1867 [127: pages 86, 182]
When Toodyay Magistrate J. S. Harris toured the Victoria Plains in July 1855 he obtained his horses from Duncan [220]
Signatory to a letter of esteem to surveyor-general John Septimus ROE ahead of his departure to England in 1860 [160: 18-Jan-1860]
On 11 September 1861, along with George SLATER, he took up three pastoral leases[122]
     These were leases 2038, 2039 and 2040 and were situated in what was to became the Carnamah district [122]
     They soon after abandoned lease 2040 which contained Carnamah Spring, however retained leases 2038 and 2039 [122]
     Later obtained lease 2140 of 10,000 acres near Coorow, however sold this lease to William LONG of Coorow in 1866 [80: 1-Jan-1867]
In 1861 he contributed £500 of the bail for James EVERETT, a publican accused of horse stealing [140: 25-Oct-1861] [160: 30-Oct-1861]
Signed a petition presented to the Governor requesting that convict John MCDONALD not be hung in August 1862 [220]
Won 1st prize for Best Colonial-Bred Bulls at the Toodyay Agricultural Meeting held in Newcastle on 19 October 1865 [140: 27-Oct-1865]
Member of the Tooyday, Northam and Victoria Plains Agricultural Scoiety in 1866[140: 17-Aug-1866]
Remained farming on The Byeen in Toodyay until 1867 when he was evicted[127: pages 86, 182]
He was evicted after a disastrous drought and fire [37] and to clear a debt of £800 he owed to Habgood and Carr [127: page 182]
     In November 1867 Habgood and Carr sold everything belonging to Duncan to clear his debt [127: page 182]
     His furniture, horses, horned stock, sheep, farm implements, carts, drays, pigs, poultry, hay and grain were all sold [127: page 182]
     Left the Newcastle-Toodyay district which had been his family's home for almost 20 years [127: pages 86, 182]
In 1868 settled with his family on his pastoral leases in what was to become the Carnamah district [8: page 5] [120: 9-Jan-1930, 5-Oct-1933]
     Initially settled on the easterly side of the Yarra Yarra Lakes where he resided with his family in a three roomed stone cottage [P93]
     Another account stated they first settled where the Carnamah townsite later stood [120: 5-Oct-1933]
     Grazed and bred stock nearby along the banks of the Yarra Yarra Lakes [8: page 18]
On arrival in Carnamah their nearest neighbour would have been Frank E. NAIRN of Noolooloo Station [P1]
     Their next closest neighbours were William LONG and family at Coorow and Nathaniel COOKE and family at Arrino [127: page 182]
In 1869 established Carnamah Station near Carnamah Spring to the north east of the cottage near the Yarra Yarra Lakes [7: page 26]
     Carnamah is said to have been the name of the spring as it was known by the Aboriginal People [120: 15-Oct-1936]
     Began construction of a 234 square metre stone homestead near Carnamah Spring which was completed by 1874 [7: page 13]
     Other sources state that the homestead was not entirely completed until 1880 [119]
Carnamah Station was initially used for the breeding and grazing of horses, but not sheep due to a poisonous plant [7: page 13]
     The poisonous plant was particularly a problem on the hill east of Carnamah [P300]
     Land along the Yarra Yarra Lakes, known as Yarra Yarra Farm (or Yarie Yarie Farm) was used to graze sheep [7: page 13] [P93]
     As the poisonous plant was culled [P10] Carnamah Station was also used for the breeding and grazing of sheep and cattle [7: page 26]
     They cropped land for fodder for their livestock, and later began growing wheat which had to be carted to Perth [120: 20-Dec-1928]
     In 1869 his Carnamah Station was said to have been 80,000 acres in size [31:14-Oct-1927]
On 18 March 1873 officially obtained Pastoral Lease 9246 for land surrounding Carnamah Spring (that had been lease 2040) [122]
     At the same time also took out Pastoral Lease 9246 which included Prauaka Spring [111] [122]
Employed Aboriginal People for labour, which was possible as his homestead was a Government Ration Station [7: page 13]
     Also employed Ticket of Leave convicts for labour - between the years 1868 and 1890 he employed over 23 convicts [106]
In December 1872 applied for a Colonial Wine & Beer License to enable him to sell wine and beer from his homestead [160: 11-Dec-1872]
His homestead officially became a telegraph office on 5 June 1874, and was run by his daughters Bessie then Maggie [126]
During his Fifth Expedition in 1876 the explorer Ernest GILES visited him and his family at Carnamah Station [159]
Prior to 1879 didn't own any land in Carnamah freehold - the homestead, springs and land all being within pastoral leases [7: page 12]
     On 13 February 1879 purchased freehold 100 acres of land surrounding Carnamah Spring and his homestead [122]
     The purchased 100 acres became Victoria Location 1172 and was in his name and the name of his brother Donald [122]
In February 1879 he reported in The Inquirer & Commercial News that there was a mare that wasn't his running with his horses [160]
     The mare was aged, grey, about 14½ hands high and was branded near the shoulder what looked like an upside down M [160]
     If the mare wasn't claimed within the time allowed by law he was to sell it to defray expenses [160: 12-Feb-1879]
Nine months later, in December 1879, he put out a notice that a brown entire horse had broken into his paddock in Carnamah [160]
     The horse had a white star on its forehead, was about 15 hands high, three years old and branded qy under the saddle [160]
      He had the horse in his stable and as before if it wasn't claimed it would be sold to defray expenses [160: 17-Dec-1879]
In later 1882 obtained the government contract to deliver mail once weekly between Perth and Geraldton [80: 5-Dec-1882]
     The first part of the route was from Perth to Berkshire Valley, via Gingin, Bindoon and Walebing in a spring vehicle [80]
     The second part of the mail route was from Berkshire Valley to Geraldton via Long's Station (Coorow) on horseback [80]
     The contract was for three years at £750 per annum; Duncan may have sub-contracted the task to someone else [181: page 96] [80]
Along with his sons Lachlan and Donald he had pastoral leases in Carnamah totalling over 128,750 acres [111]
They made with pick, shovel and wheelbarrow a dam near what would later be the Prowaka railway siding in Carnamah [P300]
Donated £2 to the Building Fund for the New Presbyrterian Church in Perth in 1882 [160: 2-Aug-1882]
In February 1883 he sent a present of two turkeys to the Benedictine Monastery'sMarah property near Watheroo [143]
His wife Mary died in Carnamah on 13 June 1888 aged 69 and was buried at the Culham Cemetery in Newcastle (later Toodyay) [119]
Purchased for 200 guineas the three year old pedigree horse Young Stanley from J. GRINDELL in September 1888 [39: 25-Sep-1888]
Himself and Bishop SALVADO of the Benedictine Monastery in New Norcia appear to have been well known to each other [68]
     In 1889 he sent two letters to the Bishop about a good hygrometer that was good for testing the quality of water for livestock [68]
His brother John and John's wife were murdered at their cottage on Horthornden Farm in Newcastle in January 1889 [39: 18-Jan-1889]
In 1891 himself and his sons ran 10,000 sheep, 300 horses and 300 head of cattle; and were cropping 40 acres [39: 1-Oct-1891] [315: page 20]
     They planned to crop more after the railway went through and in 1891 earthworks for the railway were eight miles away [39] [315]
     The soil on their station was reported to have been light but had been cropped for decades and produced 30 bushels to the acre [315]
Resided in the homestead until his death, prior to which he was running Carnamah Station with his sons Donald, Alex and George [P10]
Passed away at the age of 79 years after suffering from bronchitis for four days[40]
Father of Aeneas, Lachlan, John, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Margaret, William, Donald, Alexander and George [15] [119]
     His first daughter named Elizabeth had died in infancy, and his sons Aeneas and William both predeceased him [15] [40]
Died 8 April 1898 in Carnamah; buried at the Culham Cemetery in Toodyay, Western Australia [119]
As directed in his will £1,000 was invested with interest and dividends split equally between his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret [38]
     The balance of his estate was then split equally between his sons Donald, Alexander and George [38]
     His land in Carnamah was transferred into the names of his sons Donald and George in June 1901 [8: page 8]
Following the tragic death of his son George in 1904 his son Donald became the sole freehold owner of Carnamah Station [61]


In 1879 Duncan MACPHERSON had pastoral leases in and around Carnamah totalling 82,000 acres: [111]
Lease 9247 - 10,000 acres
Lease 9248 - 20,000 acres, including the springs Carnamah and Gooragabba
Lease A2648 - 10,000 acres
Lease A2750 - 12,500 acres, bounded on the west by the Yarra Yarra Lakes
Lease A2956 - 1,000 acres
Lease A3039 - 4,000 acres
Lease A3184 - 2,000 acres, including Boojerabba
Lease A3380 - 5,000 acres
Lease A3656 - 20,000 acres, bounded on the west by the Yarra Yarra Lakes


From The West Australian newspaper, Thursday 1 October 1891:
The Midland Railway Company of Western Australia - Dr. Robertson's Report - Carnamah Station
     "Carnamah station is 16 miles north of Long's. In the intervening space there is much good land separated by narrow sand patches. Carnamah station shears 10,000 sheep, and owns 300 first class horses and 300 cattle; about 40 acres are under cultivation. The amount will be increased when the railway is opened. The earthworks are now within eight miles of this station. The soil at the station is light and although cropped for 30 years produces 16 bushels to the acre. In front the scene is unique. A great lake, 25 miles in length and 7 miles across, surrounded by dark foliage into which white glittering bays disappear, is in sight. The salt increased after west seasons, and thousands of tons can be collected. I look upon this as a future source of revenue for the railway, and the national site of pork and ham curing establishments.
     Magnificent farming land of rich chocolate soil is found to the north of Carnamah. This land is level, and is thinly covered by scrub which could be removed by heavy rollers. It has a gentle slope, and is devoid of gullies or irregularities. It is adapted for very large farms, and for the operation of steam ploughs. The cost of clearing will be trifling.  This land is worth 25s. an acre in large lots, and for farms a larger price should be obtained.
     For 35 miles north of Carnamah the land traversed by the railway is all good and of great value, and is all to the east of the line. At Greenbrook, a few miles from Yandanooka, the land consist of the same rich loam, and is covered by nutritive grasses, and is sparely timbered. This extends to the Lockyer River, a tributary of the Irwin, which passes Mingenew."


From The West Australian newspaper, Friday 15 April 1898:
Summary of News
"Mr. Duncan Macpherson, a colonist since 1848, died at Carnamah, on the Midland [railway] line, on Good Friday."


From The West Australian newspaper, Friday 15 April 1898; and The Western Mail newspaper, Friday 22 April 1898:
Mr. Duncan McPherson Dead
"The death has to be recorded of an old and respected colonist in the person of Mr. Duncan McPherson, which occurred at Carnamah on Good Friday. Mr. McPherson arrived in Western Australia from Scotland in the year 1848, when he proceeded to Newcastle, turning his attention to farming pursuits. After a sojourn of many years in that part of the colony he took up farming and grazing at Carnamah, on the Midland line, at which place he died at the age of 79 years. The deceased's wife pre-deceased him some ten years ago, and he leaves a family of five sons and two daughters. The funeral took place at the Culham Cemetery, in the Toodyay district, near Newcastle, on Wednesday the 13th. The chief mourners were Messrs. John and Donald McPherson (sons of the deceased), and William, Luke, Donald and Duncan McPherson (nephews). Among the many followers from Newcastle and surrounding districts was Mr. S. P. Phillips, of Culham, a very old and esteemed friend of the deceased. Many wreaths were sent by sympathising friends and relations. The Rev. Mr. Taylor officiated at the grave. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr, Donald J. Chipper, of Perth."


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Duncan Macpherson' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 20 October 2017 from www.carnamah.com.au  [ sources ]




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