William Cargill (New Zealand politician)

William Walter Cargill (27 August 1784 – 6 August 1860) was the founder of the Otago settlement in New Zealand, after serving as an officer in the British Army. He was a member of parliament and Otago's first Superintendent.

William Cargill
photo of a Victorian man with a girl on his lap
1st Superintendent of Otago Province
In office
1853 – October 1859
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Dunedin Country
In office
1855 – October 1859
Personal details
William Walter Cargill

27 August 1784
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Died6 August 1860 (aged 75)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Mary Ann Yates
(m. 1813)
RelativesJohn Cargill (son)
Edward Cargill (son)
ProfessionSoldier, merchant, coloniser, politician


Early life

Cargill was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1784. His parents were James Cargill and Marrion Jamieson. His father died of alcoholism when he was 15.[1] He joined the British Army in 1802 and served with distinction in India, Spain, and France. In 1813, he married Mary Ann Yates; they had seventeen children. Of these, two of his five sons became notable in public life: John, who followed in his father's footsteps and became a politician, and Edward, a prominent businessman and politician. Family circumstances forced him to sell his commission in 1820, though he was later referred to as "Captain Cargill". After leaving the army, he became a wine merchant in Scotland.[citation needed]

On 24 November 1847, Cargill sailed for New Zealand on the ship John Wickliffe, arriving at what is now Port Chalmers, Otago on 23 March 1848.[2]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1855–1859 2nd Dunedin Country Independent

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 granted the settler population self-government, and in 1853 Cargill was elected Superintendent of the Otago Province.[citation needed] Cargill also served as a Member of Parliament for Dunedin Country. He was elected unopposed on 11 December 1855.[3] He served the multi-member electorate alongside his son John.[4] He rarely spoke in the house and found travel to parliament in Auckland difficult.[failed verification] Aged 75, he announced his resignation from public office in October 1859; he died less than a year later.[5] He was described as a "unabashed provincialist".[1]

Death and legacy

Cargill's Monument on Princes Street in Dunedin

He died of a stroke on 6 August 1860, at his home "Hillside" in Dunedin, and is buried in Dunedin Southern Cemetery with his wife and three children.[6][dead link] His daughter Isabel Cargill, travelled to Italy with Miss Ann Marie Babington and 1892 they opened Babington's English Tea Rooms on the Spanish Steps in Rome which still today belongs to her descendants. Numerous names have connections with Cargill.[citation needed] The city of Invercargill is named for him (Inver coming from the Scots Gaelic word inbhir meaning a river's mouth), as is Mount Cargill, which towers above northern Dunedin. "Cargill's Corner" is a major road intersection in South Dunedin, and one of the roads which crosses at it is Hillside Road, named for Cargill's house.[citation needed] A Tasmanian sandstone monument to Cargill, simply known as the Cargill Monument, was built in Dunedin in 1863–64.[7]

Cargill's Castle, a ruined stately home above St Clair is not named for William Cargill, but for his son Edward.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Brooking, Tom (22 June 2007). "Cargill, William 1784–1860" . Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  2. ^ "1848: The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers" . New Zealand History Online. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Election of Members for the House of Representatives" . Otago Witness (212). 15 December 1855. p. 3. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  4. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103 .
  5. ^ McLintock, Alexander Hare. "William Cargill" . Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Cemetery Details" . Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  7. ^ Hamel, Rodney (5 September 2009). "Cargill monument not set in stone" . Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 3 October 2009.

External links

Political offices
First Superintendent of Otago Province
Succeeded by
James Macandrew
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
William Cutten
Dunedin Country
Served alongside: John Cargill, John Parkin Taylor
Succeeded by
Thomas Gillies


Information as of: 25.08.2021 03:24:56 CEST

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