Murdoch McLEAN
arrow arrow arrow arrow
Kenneth McLEAN
Margaret ROSS
(Cir 1796-1870)
Janet (Jessie) McKENZIE
Thomas Rofs McLEAN
(Cir 1829-1882)
Mary (Margaret) GORDON

Murdoch McLEAN


Family Links

Emily Frances ORTON

Murdoch McLEAN

  • Born: 5 Apr 1876, Townsville, Queensland
  • Marriage: Emily Frances ORTON on 16 Jun 1897 in Saint James Cathedral, Townsville, Queensland 18
  • Died: Jun 1961, Melbourne, Victoria at age 85 41

bullet  Events

• Claire Smallwood had noted in her Birthday Book the 6th April as the birthday of "Grandad McLean", although the 'official' records of the day have Murdoch's birthday stated as the 5th of April, 1876. For those interested, the reference number to Baby Murdoch is 76/004686 1875 - 1879 Births.

Little rocking ducks which Murdoch made much later in his lifetime can be seen here in the background - while Murdoch's grandchildren, Charles on the left, Merle, and David driving the miniature car, play in their yard at 90 Wilmington Street, Ayr.

• This article from the Townsville Evening Star, in December 1896, details the sad passing of Harry Cox, which events could have involved Murdoch.

Much regret was felt in town, and particularly in the Hermit Park district, yesteday when it became known that Harry Cox, a well-known lorryman, had met his death by drowning during the morning. It seems that Cox left the stables about 8 o'clock in the morning with 2 horses for the purpose of swimming them in the creek, about 300 yards distant. Being somewhat longer than ususal in returning, Messres W Thew and M McLean went in the direction of the creek to ascertain what was detaining Cox. On arrival at the spot they found his clothes lying on the bank, while one of the horeses was standing in about 2ft of water a little distance off. Constable Donohue was communicated with, and on his arrival a search was instituted. After diving for some time a son of Mr T. McCormack discovered the body of the unfortunate man in some 10ft of water. With the assistance of McLean, young McCormack brought the body to the bank, when it was found that life was extinct. It is assumed that Cox had been riding one horse and leading the other, and that he had been pulled off by the horse which was being led, and being unable to swim lost his life. Deceased, who was about 29 years of age, wasa partner in the firm of Messrs J Day and Co. Lorrymen. Quiet, sober and industrious, he was well liked. He was a member of the Rechabite Lodge, the bretheren of which turned out some sixty strong and marched to his funeral. We understand that it was the intention of the deceased to marry a Hermit Park lady this week.

• We believe this unidentified family photograph is likely to be of a young Murdoch McLean. It could have been taken on his twenty-first birthday, do you think? This would have been in April 1897.

• When Em and Murdy got married, he had told her that he liked mutton. So being a good little new wife, she gave him mutton - she gave it to him boiled, she gave it to him roasted, she gave it to him fried, she gave it to him every way she could think of.

One night he sat down to dinner, and he looked down and saw mutton on his plate again.

He was a real dour Scot. And he said “What's the matter, Em? Aren't all the bloody sheep dead yet?”

• Prior to his marriage to Emily Frances on 16th June 1897, Murdoch was living at Hermit Park . This is the house at 57 Aherne Street, which all the grandchildren remember as "Grandma and Grandad's house".

• The back yard of Murdoch's house featured a tank stand, as every back yard did in those days, and of course, the ubiquitous Hills Hoist.

• Murdoch and Emily were married at St James' Cathedral, perched high on a hill in Townsville.

St James' Cathedral, the first purpose built Anglican Cathedral in Queensland, is designed in the Gothic style. It is a brick building with an imposing entrance archway beside which is a bell tower. The usual Gothic features of pointed arch windows and buttresses are found. Particular features of the building include the statue of St James the Great near the entrance, the copper sheathed great west doors, the rood, the font, numbers of stained glass windows, bas-relief wood carvings and the pipe organ.

The organ was built in 1884 by the English firm of Brindley and Foster of Sheffield and was donated to the old St James' Church by Miss ME Holland.

In 1892 the organ was moved into the completed first section of the Cathedral. It was enlarged in 1903. Originally behind the console, the organ was moved to the loft in 1958 when it was rebuilt by a Mr Ferguson.

• The first St James' Church in Townsville, a weatherboard structure, was built in 1871.

During the next decade plans got underway to build a grand Cathedral; Arthur Blacket of Sydney drew up the design. Work began in 1887 and the first stage was completed and dedicated in 1892. Blacket's concept for the building, however, had to be modified over the years due to the difficulties imposed by the North Queensland location of the project. In 1903 Cyclone Leonta partly destroyed the building and considerable repair work had to be undertaken. By the end of World War II the building was still short of completion. In the 1950s work on completing the Cathedral at last got steadily underway, the architect now being Louis Williams of Melbourne.

St James' Cathedral was consecrated in 1978.

• Being in the heart of the Diocese of North Queensland, St James' Cathedral is of great spiritual and cultural significance to Anglicans throughout North Queensland. It was the first purpose built Anglican Cathedral in Queensland. The first stage of the building was opened in 1892; consecration of the completed building took place in 1978. Additionally, the 1884 Brindley and Foster pipe organ, located in the Cathedral since 1892, has significance as it is one of only seven such organs imported into Australia. St James' Cathedral has a high degree of streetscape significance.

• Murdoch married Emily Frances Orton on 16th June 1897.

• Emily was under twenty-one years of age. Therefore, the following Consent was added to their marriage documents:

The consent of John Graham Macdonald R.G. (the parents of the bride being both deceased) was given to the marriage of Murdoch McLean with Emily Frances Orton the said Emily Frances Orton being under the age of twenty-one years.

Joseph Pike
Minister or Registrar.

• Murdoch and Emily had four children - Myrtle Ivy, Gladys Clare, Gertrude Laurie and Rees Orton.

Their first-born, a daughter, little Myrtle Ivy, was born in about April, 1898. She lived to be only six and a half years old.

Myrtle Ivy she caught one of the fatal fevers of those days, and died on Saturday 1st October 1904.

Myrtle contracted what in those days was termed "Lockjaw", nowadays called Tetanus.

Murdoch and Emily's two daughters Gladys and Gertrude, are seen here. Gladys is admiring Getrude's first born child, Arthur, who is held by Gert.

How different things may have been had their older sister survived to adulthood.

• Murdoch was a labourer at the time of the birth of his third child, Gertrude Laurie, on 11 January 1903. Little Gertrude is seen here, as Little Red Riding Hood, in about 1908, do you think?

• In 1913, Murdoch resided at Ahearn Street, Townsville.

• In 1913, Murdoch was a Lorryman.

• At Christmas, as a special treat for the grandchildren, Murdoch used to stuff sixpences and threepences into his black cashmere socks, and surprise the children with the loot.

Murdoch is seen here in the back yard of his house at 57 Ahearne Street, Hermit Park, Townsville. One of Murdoch's grandsons, Charles, had written on the back of this photograph "Grandad".

Frances Smallwood recalls that Murdoch had ingrowing eyelashes. An interesting condition!

• Syd and Gladys had an elegant portrait taken on the occasion of their wedding.

Murdoch can be seen, standing on the left hand side of this photograph. The lady on the left is unknown, the bride is Murdoch's second daughter, Gladys, and with his third daughter Gertrude, and son-in-law Charles Smallwood on the right.

This photograph has the mark of "Federal, Townsville" photographers on its reverse.

• In 1897, Murdoch's occupation was "Labourer". By the time of his daughter Gertrude Laurie's marriage, 26 July 1923, twenty-six years later, Murdoch's employment was "Foreman".

Murdoch and his wife, Emily, lived in Townsville, and Murdoch worked as a supervisor on the wharves and docks. He always kept a large Alsation dog at home, as some angry workers, who did not get the jobs they believed he should allocate to them, may have sought revenge on his household.

Murdoch and Emily were to grow to adore dogs, and always had them in their home.

• Murdoch made many toys for his beloved grandchildren over the years. This photograph, taken around 1927, shows Murdoch and Emily with their first grandchild, Arthur, and a toy riding sheep that Murdoch made for him. It was to become a favourite, as the family has several photographs of Arthur enjoying the company of that sheep.

• Murdoch's love of dogs even followed him when he lived with his daughter, Gladys. He is seen here with two Cocker Spaniels.

• There was an air raid shelter in the back yard of 57 Ahearne Street, Hermit Park.

Here we see an unknown person descending into it, ready for action in, could it be, a pith helmet?

• As Murdoch began to age, he moved to Melbourne, and lived with his daughter, Gladys. He is seen here relaxing in his bedroom at that house, 50 Combemere Street, Essendon. .

• Murdoch's rocking chair was used for generations. Here we see his grandchildren, David being driven around by Charles in a dinky car, and in the background can be seen the still-used, still-treasured, swan rocking chair.


Murdoch married Emily Frances ORTON, daughter of Thomas (Butcher) ORTON and Clara MINISTER, on 16 Jun 1897 in Saint James Cathedral, Townsville, Queensland.18 (Emily Frances ORTON was born on 31 Mar 1877 in 3 Upper Church Street, Ashby de la Zouch 35 and died in 1939-1940 in Melbourne, Victoria 36.)

Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 30 Apr 2006 with Legacy 6.0 from Millennia