Eliza Forlong

Eliza Forlong (née Jack, 1784–1859), sheep classer and Scottish gentlewoman, personally selected in Saxony fine wool merinos that helped establish the Australian wool industry. Saxon merino wool fetched highest prices. She walked throughout Saxony buying sheep for her son William to bring on the Clansman in 1829 and then again for her own voyage on the Czar in 1830. Assisted by shepherds she drove her selection to Hamburg for shipment. These sheep formed the basis of the Winton stud at Campbell Town, Australia's no. 1 superfine wool stud.

Discontented with land grants at Kenilworth, Van Diemen's Land, the widowed Eliza moved to the Port Phillip District with William. After some years at Woodstock‚ Merri Creek, they settled at Seven Creeks‚ Euroa. Here she told her incredible story to the traveller William Howitt before she died there in 1859. Archival papers confirm it. (See also Sheep-farming.)

Further reading: W Howitt, Land, labour and gold, Melbourne, 1972; M Ramsay, 'Eliza Forlong and the Saxon merino industry', THRAPP 51/3, 2004.

Mary Ramsay