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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Gibson, Angus (1842–1920)

by H. J. Gibbney

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Angus Gibson (1842-1920), sugar planter and politician, was born on 25 April 1842 at Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, Scotland, eldest son of William Gibson, farmer, and his wife Mary, née Macalister. In June 1863 Angus and his father sailed for Queensland as assisted immigrants in the Cairngorm and settled on a market garden at Doughboy Creek, near Brisbane. His mother and five children followed in the Warren Hastings on 27 February 1864. The family began growing sugar on a farm called Clydesdale and the mill they established next year became the social and political centre of the district. On 3 February 1880 Gibson was elected to the new Bulimba Divisional Board. The Clydesdale farm proved too small and, after an exploratory trip through northern sugar areas by Angus in 1882-83, the family sold out, formed a partnership with Howes brothers and bought Bingera plantation near Bundaberg. Their new mill had its first crushing in 1885 and by 1889 the partnership under Gibson's management had a capital of £73,000 and held 2658 acres (1076 ha) worked by 98 Europeans, 8 Chinese and 200 Kanakas. In 1894 the firm set up a sugar settlement at Watawa and in 1904 the undertaking was floated as a company.

Although dedicated to sugar Gibson was active in many other fields. He was chairman of the Gooburrum Divisional Board in 1888 and a member of the Kolan board in 1895-1900, served on the licensing board, was active in the local Caledonian Society, and chairman of the Bundaberg Harbor Board and the Toowoomba Electric Lighting Co. As a prominent Methodist layman, he represented Bundaberg at Queensland's first Wesleyan congress in 1893 and later Queensland at national congresses. In 1899-1920 he was a nominee in the Legislative Council. His rare speeches were mostly on the sugar industry and in 1901 he was prominent in establishing a Sugar Producers and Manufacturers Union. He had married Catherine Martin on 9 November 1866. He died on 28 May 1920, survived by five daughters and three sons, one of whom succeeded him in the firm. A third generation of the family still controls Bingera.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Y. Walker, The History of Bundaberg (Bundaberg, 1890)
  • D. Dignan, The Story of Kolan (Brisb, 1964)
  • C. T. Wood, Sugar Country (Brisb, 1965)
  • 'Sugar Growers' and Manufacturers' Union: Conference in Bundaberg', Sugar Journal and Tropical Cultivator, 15 July 1901, pp 3-6
  • Australian Sugar Journal, 1909-21
  • Bundaberg Daily News and Mail, 28 May 1920.

Citation details

H. J. Gibbney, 'Gibson, Angus (1842–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 10 August 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

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