Samuel Marsden, Farsley to Australia and back again.

April 13th, 2017

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Samuel Marsden (Born Farsley 28th July 1764 – Died Sydney, Australia 12th May 1838) Samuel Marsden, Farsley and Merino wool are a fascinating story of textile history and the development of a Yorkshire industry. A memorial to Samuel Marsden is on Town Street, Farsley. It states that Samuel Marsden was born on the site of the memorial receiving his education for the Ministry at Cambridge University. Appointed Chaplain to the settlement in Sydney and left for Paramatta, New South Wales, Australia in 1793. In 1814 Samuel Marsden equipped his own ship “Active” and landed in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. He created the first missionary on this land and preached the first sermon on Christmas Day 1814.

In 1807 the Reverend Samuel Marsden brought from Australia to England the first wool for commercial use. The wool was stored in a warehouse on the site of the memorial and afterwards manufactured into cloth by Messrs W & J Thompson at Park Mills, Rawdon. The memorial goes on to state that Samuel Marsden did much to foster the growing of wool in Australia and in 1809 took back to Australia 5 Spanish Merino sheep given to him by King George III. It is said a length of the super soft cloth when manufactured was presented to King George III.

The Merino sheep flourished in the Australian climate and thus Samuel Marsden founded one of the major Australian industries. Australian Merino wool is considered one of the finest quality of wool and was the main ingredient for the Fine Worsted suit cloth produced here at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley.


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