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MacDonald, George James (1803 - 1851)

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Born: 1803  England.  Died: December 1851.
In 1828, shortly after his arrival in Australia, Macdonald was appointed Commissariat at Port Macquarie where he remained for two years, befriending the local Aborigines and gaining a reputation for successful 'Aboriginal management'.

He was appointed the first Commissioner of Crown Lands for the New England district in 1839. He founded Armidale, naming it after the castle on the island of Skye which was the seat of a distant ancestor, Alexander Macdonald, Earl of Rois and Lord of the Isles.

A writer of published poetry and an accomplished player of the flageolate, he had a reputation for being fond of Aboriginal people and was held in high regard by them in return. His physical stature was short and he was deformed by a hunched back. Macdonald became engaged to Sophia Docker of Scone in 1841 but was jilted by her shortly before the wedding. He fought a duel at Scone with Sophia's lover.

Macdonald remained in New England until 1848 when he was appointed Commissioner for Crown Lands for the Lower Darling in New South Wales. He was stationed at Euston on the Murray River. However, he sickened and became addicted to alcohol. His work suffered and he was threatened with removal from his duties. Taking leave, he set out for Melbourne with two companions but, en route, was found dead in the bush in unexplained circumstances.

[Brief Biography compiled by Robin Hammond, January/February 2004]


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Sophie Patrick
Created: 26 June 2002
Modified: 18 March 2004

Published by The Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 5 April 2004
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 23 February 2010

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