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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Rev. James Middleton MACDONALD

Born 7 February 1857 in Emerald Hill, Victoria, Australia [15] [366]
Son of Rev. Donald MACDONALD and Isabella Grant MIDDLETON [15] [293: 20-Jan-1915]
Obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne in 1877 and a Master of Arts from the University of Sydney in 1879 [365]
Master at the Ipswich Grammar School in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia in the early 1880s [367: 23-Feb-1916]
He migrated to England and was ordained as an Anglican clergyman in Salisbury in 1885 [365]
Married Elizabeth GOODWIN on 1 July 1884 at the Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, Worcestershire, England [33]
Chaplain at the University of Oxford in England 1887-1890, during which time he completed a Master of Arts at Oxford [365]
Chaplain in India from 1890 to 1915 [365]
     During this period he also conducted chaplaincies in other counties, such as for the English community in Sienna, Italy in 1909 [365]
     In 1911 he was Senior King's Chaplain in Dacca, Bengal, Northern India (now Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh) [39: 2-Sep-1911]
He travelled to Western Australia in 1911 to inspect land along the Midland Railway with a view of shifting 18 months later [39: 2-Sep-1911]
     He'd read in London's The Times of "an attractive scheme for men with means or pensions who desired to settle on the land" [39]
     The Midland Railway Company were to clear and prepare the land for cultivation with repayments spread over 20 years [39]
     During his visit he made arrangements to take up a 400 acre block about a mile from Coorow [39]
Signed the contract to purchase 800 acres of farmland in Coorow from the Midland Railway Company on 28 April 1913 [27]
     The 800 acres were two Ready-Made Farms and consisted of Lots M960 and M962 of Victoria Location 2023 [27]
     Payable over 20 years, the farm cost £3,400 (£4/5/- an acre), came with a house and was partly cleared and fenced [27]
Granted power of attorney to neighbouring farmer Philip FARLEY, who managed his farm 1913-1915 [39: 3-Nov-1915] [120: 8-May-1914]
     270 acres of wheat crop were grown on his Coorow farm in 1913, which yielded between 20 and 27 bushels per acre [120: 8-May-1911]
     The unoccupied house on his farm was offered by Philip FARLEY to house the Coorow State School in September 1914 [215]
     The Education Department didn't take up the offer as the Coorow State School had temporarily closed due to a lack of students [215]
Both of his children died during the First World War while aboard separate ships torpedoed by German submarines [334: 22-Feb-1916]
     His son Roy was serving with the Royal Navy and went down with the H.M.S. Hawke on the North Sea in October 1914 [334]
     His daughter Enid, on her way to India to be married, was on the mail steamer Persia when it was torpedoed in December 1915 [334]
He arrived in Western Australia to manage his farm in Coorow towards the latter part of 1915 [39: 3-Nov-1915]
     On 3 November 1915 in Coorow, he revoked by mutual consent the power of attorney he had granted Philip FARLEY [39: 3-Nov-1915]
     He attended and chaired a meeting of Ready-Made Farm settlers, which was held in Winchester in November 1915 [34]
     In Midland Railway Company correspondence it was remarked "Macdonald is a man without the slightest knowledge of farming" [34]
     He later advised the company: "It will seem incredible to you that I have left our splendid farm; but it is a fact." [34]
     After an estimated two months in Coorow he left in mid December 1915 to shift to Smithton, Tasmania [34]
     Before leaving he appointed and gave power of attorney to Robert W. OWEN-DAINTREY as manager of his farm [34]
     In 1916 he was receiving support for his farm from the Industries Assistance Board (I.A.B.) [34]
     230 acres of crop were grown on his Coorow farm in 1916 and 200 acres of wheat in 1917 [10: 19-Jun-1917] [34]
Vicar in Smithton, Tasmania, Australia in 1916 and 1917 [334: 22-Feb-1916] [361: 26-Jan-1917]
Vicar in Ringarooma, Tasmania, Australia in 1917 and 1918 [361: 26-Jan-1917] [362: 14-May-1918]
Travelling Secretary of the Bishop's Home Mission Society in South Australia in early 1919 [334: 13-Mar-1919]
Vicar in the Melbourne suburb of Cranbourne in 1919 and 1920 [50] [363: 5-Aug-1920]
He was appointed Vicar of the McLeod Military Sanatorium in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg in July 1920 [363: 22-Jul-1920]
Father of Roy and Enid [334: 22-Feb-1916]
Died 24 October 1920 at 2 Moorhouse Street in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern [293: 16-Oct-1920]
The Midland Railway Company rescinded the sale on his Coorow farm on 21 June 1922 and eight days later sold it to BOTHE Bros [27]

From Melbourne's The Argus newspaper, Saturday 16 October 1920:
"MACDONALD - On the 14th October, at the residence of his sister, 2 Moorhouse street, Malvern, the Rev. James Middleton Macdonald, late Vicar of Cranbourne, formerly chaplain to the Government of India, third son of the late Rev. Dr. Macdonald, of South Melbourne."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'James Middleton Macdonald' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 25 May 2020 from [sources]

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