George McCulloch

  • location icon Mount Gipps Broken Hill NSW 2808

George McCulloch, who masterminded the syndicate, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 22, 1848; he was educated at Glasgow Primary and High Schools, then at Andersonian University. Before coming to Australia he had some experience in sheep and cattle farming in South America.

Around the year 1875, McCulloch took over the management of Mount Gibbs sheep station from his cousin William Shand Findlay. One of the part owners of the property was George McCullock's uncle, Sir James McCulloch, then Premier of Victoria.

The station covered an area of 1400 square miles and McCulloch, a tough, hard-swearing Scot, carried out a ceaseless battle against drought, dust and dingoes. He conserved the land by subdividing it into paddocks, and was responsible for shifting the original homestead to a more favorable site, beside a creek adjacent to the road leading to Packsaddle, Milparinka,Tibooburra and southern Queensland.

When Charles Rasp informed McCulloch in September, 1883, that he had pegged out a mineral lease in the sheep run, McCulloch made the momentous decision to form a syndicate, peg out a further six leases and commence prospecting operations.

Until the Broken Hill Propriety Company was floated, George McCulloch was the dominate figure in the enterprise, and became a member of the of the first board of directors of the company.

Although he lost a celebrated game of 'euchre' and sold a one fourteenth share to Cox for 120 pounds McCulloch shrewdly purchased a one fourteenth share from another syndicate member for 90 pounds.

McCulloch, as with Rasp and young Philip Charley, held a one seventh share in the venture at the time that the Proprietary company was formed.

McCulloch later married the widow of one of his former employees, and returned to Scotland, settling at 184 Queen's Gate, London, where he lived the life of a gentleman of leisure and patron of the arts. He represented the Proprietary company in London, and was also the chairman of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company's London board.

A little known gesture of appreciation shown to Broken Hill by McCulloch was the gift in 1904 to the newly formed Broken Hill Art Gallery of three oild paintings and 28 black and white reproductions. McCullock also donated to the hospital the cost of furnishings for its new building.

Rasp and McCulloch are the only members of the syndicate of seven whose names have been given to the streets in Broken Hill.

George McCulloch died at his home in London on 12 December 1907, at the age of 59 years, after a long illness.

Excerpt from: Broken Hill 1883-1893 Discovery and Development, R.H.B. Kearns. Reprinted August, 1977, Broken Hill Historical Society.

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