Marsden, Samuel

Marsden, Samuel
b. 1764 Parsley, Yorkshire, England
d. 1838 Australia
English farmer whose breeding programme established the Australian wool industry.
Although his father was a farmer, at the age of 10 Samuel Marsden went to work as a blacksmith, and continued in that trade for ten years. He then decided to go into the Church, was educated at Hull Grammar School and Cambridge, and was ordained in 1793. He then emigrated to Australia, where he took up an appointment as Assistant Chaplain to the Colony. He was stationed at Parramatta, where he was granted 100 acres and bought a further 128 acres himself. In 1800 he became Principal Chaplain, and by 1802 he farmed the third largest farm in the colony. Initially he was able to obtain only two Marino rams and was forced to crossbreed with imported Indian stock. However, with this combination he was able to improve wool quality dramatically, and this stock provided the basis of his breeding stock. In 1807 he returned to Britain, taking 160 lb of wool with him. This was woven into 40 yards (36.5 m) of cloth in a mill near Leeds, and from this Marsden had a suit made which he wore when he visited George III. The latter was so impressed with the cloth that he presented Marsden with five Marino ewes in lamb, with which he returned to Australia. By 1811 he was sending more than 5,000 lb of wool back to the UK each year. In 1814 Marsden concentrated more on Church matters and made the first of seven missionary visits to New Zealand. He made the last of these excursions the year before his death.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Vice-President, New South Wales Agricultural Society (on its foundation) 1821.
Further Reading
Michael Ryder, 1983, Sheep and Man, Duckworth (a definitive study on sheep history that deals in detail with Marsden's developments).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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