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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


William Alexander MCALPINE

Born 1867 in Gisborne, Victoria, Australia [54]
Son of Alexander MCALPINE and Jane BROWN [54]
Married Charlotte Idris BOWEN in 1902 in Victoria, Australia [54]
Resided in Comet Vale, Victoria until taking up land 3,671 acres of land at Latham, 20 miles from Coorow in Western Australia [31]
     He settled on prospective farmland in Latham, Western Australia in September 1909 [152]
     The 3,671 acres consisted of Victoria Locations 4601 (540 acres), 1602 (1,780 acres) and 4351 (1,351 acres) [31: 22-Dec-1909]
Farmer of Glenview Farm in Latham 1909-1948 [19] [152]
     In the earlier years on his farm in Latham his postal address was Coorow [19] [44]
     Prior to the formation of the Perenjori-Morawa Road Board he paid rates to the Upper Irwin Road Board in Mingenew [44]
     Advertised a £3 reward for a thoroughbred Bay Mare horse of his that went missing in September 1910 [9: 9-Sep-1910]
     Grew 50 acres of wheat crop in 1910 which averaged 30 bushels an acre, and some oats which went 35 bushels an acre [152]
     The 50 acre wheat crop consisted of 30 acres of Federation wheat and 20 acres of Baroota Wonder wheat [152]
     His first season in 1910 was a first class season, however in 1911 and 1914 had nothing but feed for stock [152]
     Introduced sheep to his farm in 1912, but had trouble with dingoes who on one occasion killed 70 sheep in two nights [152]
     A State School opened in Coorow in 1912 and he enquired about lodging in Coorow for his three children who were in Victoria [215]
In 1915 he singlehandedly harvested 2,950 bags of wheat from his 440 acres of wheat crop, which averaged 20 bushels an acre [152]
     He also cut 40 acres of his crop for hay, and for other farmers cut 50 acres of crop for hay and harvested 50 acres [152]
     In 1915 they had over 20 inches of rainfall but he believed the annual average around that time to be roughly 11 inches [152]
     Up until 1915 he had the best average wheat yield in the Latham district [152]
He and Arthur TAYLOR were farming their collective 7,200 acres in Latham in partnership as "McAlpine & Taylor" in 1916 [152]
     At that time 670 of the 7,200 acres were cleared and the whole area except for 900 acres had been fenced [152]
     The fencing was jam and wodgil posts twelve feet apart with four plain wires and a barb, and 850 acres had dog proof netting [152]
     Their main water supply was a 70 foot freshwater well with a capacity of over 6,000 gallons of water a day [152]
     They also had a 45 foot deep well of stock water and three dams he'd made himself of 1,400, 600 and 400 cubic yards [152]
     Half of their land was forest country and the other half sandplain [152]
     About 3,000 acres of their land was loamy country vegetated with Salmon Gum, York Gum, Ti-Tree and Wodgil [152]
     He resided in a four roomed house made of jarrah and hessian, while TAYLOR lived on another part of the farm [152]
     In 1916 his wife and children were living in Victoria as there was no school in Latham [152]
     There was a rough bush shed covered with iron near his house and a stable on the block where TAYLOR lived [152]
     In 1916 he had eleven working horses, 15 young horses, 18 head of cattle, 128 sheep, eight breeding sows and a breeding hog [152]
     Between the two of them they had put in about £2,000 capital in addition to £1,075 borrowed from the Agricultural Bank [152]
     They owed the Industries Assistance Board (I.A.B.) about £200 in 1916 for their stores and other supplies [152]
Gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the Agricultural Industries of Western Australia in Latham on 24 November 1916 [152]
     He believed payments for land were easy enough but that they should be held over for a year or two when a bad season struck [152]
     Like others, he also believed there should be no rent on land for the first few years to enable farmers to establish themselves [152]
     He stated that he didn't know where he stood with the Industries Assistance Board as their account had been overcharged [152]
     He thought Latham was good country for sheep and hadn't encountered any poison, although some farmers had kite leaf [152]
     There had been rabbits since his arrival but their numbers were suddenly increasing and he believed they'd become a menace [152]
     Overall he thought it was "certainly" a better venture than farming in Victoria, especially on account of the cheaper cost of land [152]
     He believed, however, that it had been an uphill battle with the bad seasons and thought the district was most suited for stock [152]
     If he was able to eradicate the dingoes he planned to get 2,000 sheep, which would've been a sheep to every three or four acres [152]
     Around Latham he thought there was good country, but only a third or even a quarter out of every 10,000 acres [152]
     His main complaints were the duty on jute goods and the absence of a school and telephonic communication in Latham [152]
W8M was his registered horse and cattle firebrand in 1924 [80: 28-Oct-1925]
From 1927-28 he owned an International truck licensed with the Perenjori-Morawa Road Board with number-plate PM-237 [325]
With a plot of Bencubbin wheat he came 2nd in the Perenjori Agricultural Society's 50-acre Crop Competition in 1935 [5: 20-Dec-1935]
His wife Charlotte passed away in Melbourne at the age of 85 years in 1962 [54]

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'William Alexander McAlpine' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 17 April 2024 from [reference list]

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