Elizabeth Macarthur - Role in Founding Australian Wool Industry

Role in Founding Australian Wool Industry

Between 1801 and 1805, John was living in England, first avoiding an arrest warrant for his role in the Rum rebellion of January 1808, and then because he refused to accept the terms for his return to New South Wales which were that he promise to be of good behaviour, etc. During this period, Elizabeth oversaw the family estates at Parramatta, Camden, Seven Hills and Pennant Hills. This included the management of household and business accounts, the employment of convict labour, the supervision of wool washing, baling and transport and the selection of rams and breeding to improve the flock. While John expressed his gratitude and admiration in her ability to cope, her irregular and inadequate correspondence was of constant concern. Nonetheless, her contribution was essential to the success of the enterprise and establishing New South Wales as a reliable supplier of quality wool. In England, John used his flair to promote the Australian wool industry while Elizabeth used her organisational ability and application to produce the wool.

The Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute is named in her honour. It is the largest Centre of Excellence operated by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, employing 200 scientists and located at Camden Park.

Elizabeth Macarthur is commemorated on the 1995 Australian five dollar note which was struck for inclusion in a special Masterpieces in Silver collector proof set entitled Colonial Australia.

One of Elizabeth's accounting books refers to a Machiping having made a linen press and other sundry items. He was paid 8 pounds in 1824. The desk is believed to survive in Milton House museum, in Milton NSW. Mak Sai Ying is believed to be the first Chinese man to live in Australia.

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