Blackwood, John Hutchison (1827-1908)

Born Kirkoswald, Ayrshire, Scotland. An ancestor was a Privy Councillor to Mary, Queen of Scots. Arrived Melbourne, 21st August, 1852.

Firm of McMeckan, Blackwood & Co. (founded 1853) conducted an agency for the steamship “Havilah” in Melbourne—Adelaide trade. Built own steamship “Omeo” (1858) which brought the cable for Cape Otway — Tasmania connection on maiden voyage from England. The same year opened up a regular Wellington (N.Z.) — Melbourne run. Developed a regular cargo-passenger service between Melbourne and Darwin (1870). “Omeo” carried men and equipment for cable to Java.

Blackwood also led an active public life. President Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner of Harbour Trust, M.L.A. for West Melbourne, 1S64-1867. Active in Formation of Colonial Wool Merchants Association of London (1870) which strove hard, but in vain, for adoption of decimal currency and metric system of weights.

Bought “Booabula” station in the Riverina, N.S.W., and retired from city life.

His merinos took prizes in Melbourne and N.S.W., 1889-1909.

Died at “Booalbula” 23rd January, 1908.(1)

Blackwood Street North Melbourne was named in his honor.


(1) State Library of Victoria photographic archive – Albion.

(2) Northern Advertiser Thursday, May 7, 1970. Blanchard collection, “What’s in a Name” at North Melbourne Library.

(3) The Australasian, Feb 1st 1908, page 37.

(4) Sands and Kenny directory, McMeckan, Blackwood shipping 1857.