William Wilson

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William Wilson
Wilson brown Kodak album 019 - Grandpa Wilson.png
Death: , Manly, Sydney
Parents: William Wilson snr.
Janet Wilson (née Garrick)
    ? – bef. 1871
Siblings: William Wilson
James Mitchell Wilson
Robert G. Wilson
    c. 1830 – ?
Partners: Mary Wilson (née McHarg)
    1843–1925, Scotland and Australia
Children: Andrew Oswald Wilson
    16 August 1866 – 19 June 1950
Margaret Rae Wilson
    17 July 1880 – 12 January 1959
William Garrick Wilson
    1865–1933, Sydney
Jessie Susan Wilson
    16 August 1876 – 1889
Robert 'Bob' Crichton Wilson
Agnes Hay Wilson
    17 August 1878 – 1958
James Herbert Wilson
Charles William McHarg Wilson
Mary 'Maimie' Agnes Wilson
    11 May 1868 – 6 October 1957
Permalink: archives.org.au/WW
Wikitree: Wilson-85027

William's formal education ended when he was 18. The family business had failed and it was necessary for the older boys to earn money so that the younger son James could complete his medical training at Edinburgh University. He did this, and was in turn able to educate his own sons, one of them became a leading surgeon in Sheffield, England.[1]

The Wilsons had been tenant farmers in Ayrshire for many years. They prospered, and moved to Stirling and started milling woollens. This was a good move, but in time there were too many mills for the amount of water available for the waterwheels, and their mill failed.[1]

So it was that William, with his older brother Robert who had already had some trading experience, set off for Melbourne to make their fortunes. Robert soon decided to go to America, where he later started The American Trading Company, trading between America and Australia and various places in the Pacific as well as England. William stayed in Melbourne, trading mainly with Scotland, in drygoods organised by his father. He was never a money-maker, but there is no doubt that he was a well-loved family man. He married in 1864. His wife was Mary McHarg, born in Barrhill in Scotland and had come to Australia with her parents as a child. They were married in North Melbourne.[1]

William wrote many letters to his father, one of them somehow came back to Melbourne and Rae had part of it in the 1990s, giving a very good description of Melbourne as it was them. It was probably given to one of William's sons when they visited Scotland.[1]

William and Mary had ten children including twin girls one of whom died soon after birth, the other one, Jessie died as a young girl, of consumption. The others lived well into old age.[1]

He died aged 75, on 2 May 1914 at the family house 'Sturtholm' in Manly, Sydney,[2] and was buried at Boroondara General Cemetery in Kew, Melbourne.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rae's documents/WILLIA~1.DOC
  2. "WILSON.— At "Sturtholm," Manly, Sydney, on the 2nd inst., William Wilson, late of Canterbury, Melbourne, and Perth, W.'A., aged 75 years. Burial at Boroondura Cemetery, Kew, Melbourne, on Thursday." — Family Notices (1914, May 5). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 6. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238809765