A member of a pioneering
pastoralist family in New South Wales and later Queensland, Macansh was born
at Kinross - Raymond Terrace, New South Wales on 19 September 1859
the son of John Macansh (1820-96), pastoralist and politician and Sarah
née Windeyer; his father
arrived in Sydney in June 1838 and two years later took up
sheep farming on the Hunter River in New South Wales and later in the
Darling Downs district near Warwick, Queensland. Educated at Newcastle
Grammar School and Sydney Grammar School after matriculating at Sydney
University he spent a term at Trinity College, Melbourne University before
gaining his degrees at Edinburgh University, Scotland (L.F.P.S.,
1885; M.B., Ch.M., 1886; L.R.C.P (Edin); L.R.C.S (Edin);
L.R.F.P.S (Glas)). After fulfilling a term as House Physician at the
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary under Professor John Wyllie and Rotunda Hospital,
Dublin, Macansh then returned to Australia in 1887 where until his death, he
ran a medical practice on Church Street, Brighton.
A man of “broad outlook and
wide experience, kindly, sympathetic and lovable”, in
local affairs, he served on the Council (1892-94, Mayor 1893-94) as a member
of the ‘faction’ that enabled
(Sir) Thomas Bent
(q.v.) to yield control; he was later appointed Municipal Health Officer
(1895-1912) when he was succeeded by
Dr. William McCelland
(q.v.). He was later involved in transport duty to and from Egypt for
twelve months during World War I, but indifferent health compelled him to
relinquish military duties; it was said he “was proud that he had 32
relations fighting during the war”. Residing at Goombah - Church
Street, Middle Brighton, Macansh died on 15 May 1921 from a stroke; his
grave was dug the “same depth as son [John d 1913] was buried”. A staunch
Liberal and firm believer in Federation, the local Brighton Southern
Cross newspaper was eloquent in its praise: “there passed from our midst
an honourable, generous, and courteous Scottish-Australian Christian
gentleman…a man of benevolent and happy disposition and kindly manner. He
was a staunch friend, generous in mind and heart, one who looked for the
good in each, and to whom the most trivial confidence was sacred…respected
and beloved by all employed by him, it has been said by one who has spent
more than 25 years in his service, that he never spoke one cross word to her
in all that time”. On 16 December 1890 at Toorak, Melbourne he married Ada
née Lloyd (d 1936); they had two children. Though he choose a career
in the medical profession The Pastoral Review noted that Macansh was
always heavily involved with the vast family holdings.
Brighton Southern Cross 21 May 1921.
The Queenslander 28 May 1921.
The Argus 16 May 1921.
The Age 16 May 1921.
The Medical Journal of Australia July-Dec
The Pastoral Review 16 June 1921.
Smith, J. (ed), “Cyclopedia of Victoria”
Mowle, P., “A Genealogical History of Pioneer
Families of Australia” (1978).
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