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Samuel McCaughey: Father of irrigationSamuel McCaughey: Father of irrigation

Today, with large parts of the nation still in the grip of a major drought, there is much talk of "watering Australia". The concept and many contemporary proposals associated with this theme are not new. More than a century ago an Irishman, Samuel McCaughey, began changing the face of western NSW and south-west Queensland by putting into practice watering schemes that continue to well serve the properties he once owned, and many others.

By John Dunn

avid Boyd is in his office in the heart of Sydney's central business district, but his thoughts are elsewhere - far away at "Toorale", in north-west New South Wales, one of his firm's 16 Australian rural properties. As chairman and CEO of Clyde Agriculture Limited, the Australian arm of the UK-based Swire Group, David Boyd is well aware of Toorale's historic connections. Toorale was once owned by Sir Samuel McCaughey, one of this country's most famous landowners and the father of our irrigation system. McCaughey contributed hugely to Australia's rural progress at a time when a young and developing country needed such foresight, as David Boyd enthusiastically acknowledges when he describes him as " Australia's greatest pastoralist because he was so innovative, so keen to improve on what nature had provided."Story end

Full story Issue 30 Aug/Sept 2003

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