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The Premier and the Pastoralist

Once upon a time in South Australia, politics had no parties and pastoral country no fences. In the mid-nineteenth century, William Morgan and Peter Waite from Bedfordshire and Fife arrived to fill the vacuum: Morgan helped provide stability for 'reproductive works' so that railways snaked across the new colony, cultural institutions took shape and the mighty Torrens was dammed; while with a shipload of high tensile wire and big dams Waite set up the arid zone for sheep. Each experienced vicissitudes. Waite's Cordillo Downs, Australia's biggest sheep station with its buttressed stone woolshed in the remotest corner of the colony, did not survive as such. For politician Sir William Morgan, mining ventures in New Caledonia brought failure and eventual bankruptcy: he died aged fifty-four leaving no money but descendants who have made their mark in many fields, especially mining. His friend and neighbour, Peter Waite, lived to a great age - and his one grandchild married Morgan's grandson. So the name of Waite has died out but lives on in his gift to South Australia and the University of Adelaide of his house and estate to found the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. The Premier and the Pastoralist tells the fascinating story of these pioneering South Australian men.
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