Up came a squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839–1880

Author: Maggie Black
Price: $49.99
Publisher: NewSouth Publishing in association with State Library Victoria
Available to read in the Library

Niel Black, a Scot from Argyllshire, arrived in Melbourne in 1839 intending to make his fortune. Ambitious and determined, he became one of the most successful and energetic squatters in the Western District of Victoria – a livestock breeder and a Member of the Legislative Council.

Black was also a correspondent extraordinaire, and his letters to family, fellow pastoralists, colonial officials and his chief UK business partner, Thomas Steuart Gladstone (first cousin of the British prime minister), offer a unique insight into the time.

Niel Black’s letters and journals, now held in the Library's collection, are the inspiration for this revelatory book written by his great-granddaughter.

Encounters with local Aboriginal people, other settlers, Commissioners of Crown Lands and bushfires, along with droughts, family feuds, multiple trips back to Scotland to find a wife and Black’s rise to gentrified excess, are all vividly brought to life.

Buy now