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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Cargill, Captain William

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Cargill, Captain William, the founder of the Otago settlement, New Zealand, was born in August 1784, and entered the army, becoming captain in the 74th Highlanders. The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, having had its attention directed to the openings for colonisation in the province of Otago, New Zealand, an Otago Association was formed at Glasgow in May 1845, to found a special settlement for Scotchmen. Four hundred thousand acres of land were purchased for the purpose from the New Zealand Company, and in Nov. 1847 Captain Cargill, who had been one of the main promoters of the project, sailed in the John Wickliff as the leader of the new pilgrims, pitching his tent in March 1848 on the territory acquired. From this time forth Captain Cargill was virtually ruler of the new settlement until the New Zealand Constitution Act was passed, when he was elected first Superintendent of Otago, and was re-elected in 1856. He was returned to the first House of Representatives of New Zealand as member for Dunedin in 1854. Captain Cargill died in Dunedin on August 6th, 1860, just prior to the arrival of the notification that he had been created C.B. His eldest son, Mr. Wm. Walter Cargill, was member for Berwick in the House of Commons from 1863 to 1865, and was one of the founders and a director of the Oriental Bank Corporation. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New Oriental Bank Corporation.