Her expertise was in sheep

The monument to the life of Eliza Forlonge in the Victorian town of Euroa, is in the shape of a bale of wool. This is in respect to the Scottish woman who helped introduce Saxony merino sheep to Victoria.


The memorial shaped as a bale of hay for Eliza Forlonge.

Born to Alexander Jack and his wife Jean, nee Mackinnon in 1784, Eliza married John Forlonge in Glasgow. They had six children but unfortunately four of them succumbed to tuberculosis. Involved in sheep, the family went to Saxony in Germany after hearing that fine wool from merinos was bringing the highest prices.

The family delved into the processes of sheep rearing and wool preparation where their expertise was enhanced by the use of an instrument to measure wool.

From there Eliza became an expert in buying up sheep throughout Germany and shipping them back to Britain. She then chose the sheep to be sent to Australia with her son William in 1829. By 1831 the rest of the family joined William in Van Diemen's Land in Kenilworth.

After a trip back to Britain, the family suffered tragedy when John died in 1834. Keen on continuing in the sheep trade Eliza went back to Van Diemen's land to find William was preparing to move to the Port Phillip district so they sold up Kenilworth. Eliza made further voyages to Scotland (in 1840 and 1844) and assisted bounty emigrants.

By 1853 Eliza, with William and his family, moved to Euroa in Victoria, settling at Seven Creeks Station. Eliza worked at running the homestead for William and his wife.

Golfing was another passion of Eliza's and after she died, in recognition of Eliza's contribution to the Australian wool industry and her golfing prowess in Scotland, an annual golf event, The Eliza Forlonge Memorial Golf Challenge, is held in December each year at the Euroa and Strathbogie Golf Clubs.


Memorial to Eliza Forlonge and her pioneering activities with sheep. By Peter Corlett.

Although Eliza's pioneering and managerial skills were outstanding, it was her ability to select sheep that was special and this is what she is remembered for. She died on 5 August 1859 and as well as the bale of wool memorial near her grave, other memorials include a sundial at the new Kenilworth house and a mural by Tom Thompson at TAFE Sydney Institute, Ultimo.


References

  • Mary S. Ramsay, 'Forlong, Eliza (1784–1859)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/forlong-eliza-12921/text23345, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 24 February 2022.

  • 'Eliza Forlong', Wikipedia, accessed 24th February, 2022, Eliza Forlonge - Wikipedia

  • 'Eliza Forlonge', Monument Australia, accessed 24th February, 2022, Eliza Forlonge | Monument Australia


231 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All