Andrew McGill was not only a pioneer of the Macquarie River district, he helped develop the Australian Illawarra Shorthorn breed of cattle, for which the region is nationally known.
Born in 1795, McGill was a native of Kintyre, in Argyle, Scotland, and for some years after his marriage to wife Jean he carried on extensive farming operations and was known as a trader between his own district and Liverpool.
A lawsuit, which he ultimately won, left him in reduced circumstances and caused him in 1838 to emigrate to Australia, "this being more suited to his altered fortune", the Mercury said.
He settled on the south side of Macquarie River, near Albion Park, where, with the exception of a short time spent in Kiama, he lived until his death.
"He was the pioneer of this locality, being the first to undertake the clearing of the dense cabbage tree bush which abounded in the vicinity, and which was then almost regarded as a superhuman task."
He was followed in his endeavours by the late Ebenezer Russell, Mr CM McKenzie and Mr A Fraser.
"Together these hardy Scotchmen, with the perseverance which characterizes the sons of the 'land of the mountains and the flood', soon made 'the wilderness to blossom as the rose'."
McGill was well known as a cattle breeder and his cattle were "eagerly sought after, and highly prized in those who take an interest in this, one of the chief sources of colonial wealth".
A zealous member of the Presbyterian Church, he was the first to set about building a place of public worship in the neighbourhood.
At a banquet and testimonial held in his honour at the Albion Park Hotel in June 1874, tributes were paid.
Mr W Crawford said the great service rendered by McGill to the stock owners of the district had led to improvement of cattle stock, as was evidenced by the large number of prizes awarded to him.
It seems McGill spoke largely in his mother tongue, Gaelic, and being unable to thank his friends in English, his son James read a reply on his behalf.
In part this read: "I congratulate you on being the residents of a district not only pre-eminently pastoral, but also teeming with all the material resources which conduce to the prosperity and happiness of mankind."
After suffering a cold which spread to his chest, McGill died on September 13, 1876, aged 81.
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