The Dangars of Neotsfield 1890
By Ian Ibbett
Featured Image: Henry Dangar of Neotsfield
In my very modest if not moderate attempt to record the early history of thoroughbred breeding in the Upper Hunter Valley I paid little more than lip service to the Dangar Family of ‘Neotsfield’, Whttingham, Singleton. I probably attributed more cachet to the Hon James White of the legendary White Family of ‘Belltrees’. The scions of the Thompson family of Widden were also high on my radar as were the Moses Brothers of Arrowfield.
The legend of Peter Pan still resonates with all those who love thoroughbred racing and its history. Very recently I met Bill Dangar of Armidale when actually visiting a school in Tanzania. He was able to tell me a lot about this direct ancestor Rodney Dangar of ‘Baroona’ where Peter Pan is buried. I also had the opportunity to visit ‘Baroona’ which as I write (23/02/2020) is again on the market.In my myopic purview from Scone this is the deep south!
Once again Ian Ibbett has documented the whole story in minute detail as only he can. I will not attempt to plunder his elevated literary chateau but purloin the content as follows.
Few families have played a more significant role on the Australian Turf than the Dangars of the Hunter Valley in N.S.W. The patriarch of the clan, Henry Dangar, first arrived in the colony of New South Wales from Cornwall as a confident 24-year-old in April 1821 aboard the Jessie, having been supported in his intent to settle here by his influential patron, the first Earl of St Germans. Shortly after his arrival, Dangar presented his impressive credentials to the Surveyor-General John Oxley, and upon Oxley’s recommendation found himself appointed as an Assistant Government Surveyor in July of the same year. After an initial experience surveying Crown land in the Camden district, Henry Dangar was directed to the Hunter River where he surveyed and laid out the future town of Newcastle before making an entire survey of the Hunter Valley, and later, a route over the mountains to the fertile Liverpool Plains.