Murdoch was born in Rongotea, known at the time as Campbelltown, on 20 December 1881. In November 1940 he married Jean (Georgina Gladys Skinn) in Melbourne. It would be fair to say it caused some controversy in the family.
He grew up labouring on farms and then share milking. When the family moved to "Riverlands" at Ngarua, he and his brother John and sister Kate farmed in partnership. Murdoch was keen on the latest, the fastest and the best. He was an astute businessman as well as a good farmer and the family prospered.
There was often a new
car, the latest and the best.
By 1922 he had become a member of The New Zealand Jersey Cattle Breeders Association of New Zealand. Murdoch’s animals were registered as “Riverlands”, taking the name from their first farm at Awahuri.
Murdoch was very interested in racehorses and bred quite a few, the
best one being Valroe.
Valroe won the
Some of the other horses were Cherry Roe and Riverlands Roe. Catherine was in her early nineties but full of enthusiasm about their horses. Once Murdoch disgraced the family by making a bet with a bookie! He was not allowed to race horses again for some time. To overcome this, the horses were registered in the name of Murdochs Uncle, Alex McKenzie. There was a great family dispute whenever one of them won a race. Murdoch claimed the prize money but Alex refused to surrender the stake!