Sir Samuel McCaugheyPrint Page Print this page

Plaque Inscription:04-August 2016
Plaque Inscription:04-August 2016
Photographs supplied by Chris Senti

The statue of Sir Samuel McCaughey (also known as the "Father of irrigation") commemorates his contribution to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme and to celebrate 100 years of the turning on of the water. 

Sir Samuel McCaughey was a pioneer demonstrating the viability of irrigation in the region that became the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Spending every penny he could raise, McCaughey began the mammoth task of deepening the intake of the Yanco from the Murrumbidgee. As water flooded into his creeks, he built a series of dams and wells.

With large sums of capital, McCaughey built the irrigation system on which the Government’s Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme was founded. His main canal ran 30 miles. All this time, McCaughey was campaigning vigorously for a vast network of irrigation in Australia.

In 1899, Sir Samuel built the McCaughey Mansion at his 'North Yanko' property, now part of Yanco Agricultural High School. This school has been made famous by McCaughey’s efforts in the development of agricultural life of Australia and continues to prosper.

For his charitable gifts and significant contributions to New South Wales, McCaughey was knighted in 1905.


Address:Hebden Street, McCaughey Bicentennial Park , Yanco , 2703
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.599412
Long: 146.408315
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 6th April, 2013
Front Inscription

Sir Samuel McCaughey
1835 - 1919

In April 1856 Samuel McCaughey came to Australia from his old home at Ballymena, Northern Ireland; he was 21 years of age. 
Samuel started out as a jackeroo working for his Uncles. In 1860 he bought a third share in their property COONONG and through hard work became the sole owner by 1864. In the coming years he was to purchase and own 4 million acres and 1 million sheep. 
He imported Vermont sheep in 1886, but the wrinkly Vermonts` proved unsuited for the dry seasons and by 1902 was replacing them with large scale purchases of Peppin strains. 
A Legislative Councillor since 1899, and knighted in 1905, Sir Samuel McCaughey was a foremost figure in Australian life. 
Sir Samuel was a pioneer of water conservation and irrigation. When he bought North Yanco in 1899, he constructed over 200 miles of channels, capable of irrigation 40,000 acres. This expensive experiment proved so successful that it encouraged the Government to proceed with the Barrenjack reservoir (now Burrinjuck Dam) and the northern Murrumbidgee canal system. 
The Government resumed North Yanco as part of the scheme, and formed the foundation of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation System. Turning barren wasteland into one of the most diverse and productive regions in Australia. 
In recognition of his great work, Sir Samuel was granted the use the use of 30,000 acres for his lifetime, including the site of his beautiful home. (Now Yanco Agricultural High School)
Sir Samuel McCaughey was a Philanthropist, Pastoralist and Inventor. At one time considered the wealthiest sheep and land owner in Australia.
When asked the secret of his success, Sir Samuel McCaughey replied "Improving my properties by subdividing and seeking water - in short, spending money."
When he died in 1919 he left a gigantic sum of 1.600,000 pounds to charity after providing handsomely in his lifetime for relatives. 
The name of Sir Samuel McCaughey must always figure among the greatest men Australia has not. If not actually one of the founders. 
"I conquer"
McCaughey family motto

Plaque : 
This statue of Sir Samuel McCaughey was unveiled on the 6th April 2013

Celebrating 100 years of the turning on of the water


Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au