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Malcolm Abbott FERGUSON

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Sgt 23y4m 17 Jun 1915 13 Apr 1919 3

Sergeant Malcolm Abbott Ferguson (1892 - 1967)

Ferguson Brothers Booklet 

The Ferguson Family and Abbotsford

James Ferguson of Brisbane and Eliza Jane née Abbott (known as Jeannie), fifth daughter of Thomas Abbott of Dungog, New South Wales were married at Crescent Lodge, Rockhampton on 3 October 1876.  The Minister of the Rockhampton Presbyterian Church, Rev. Alexander Hay officiated.  Mr James Ferguson was the senior partner in the firm Watson Ferguson and Company, booksellers, stationers and printers.

The Ferguson family home was Abbotsford at Enoggera, a magnificent colonial home with wide verandahs on all sides. It was situated on a large property or “paddock” used for the Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Sabbath School annual picnic for many years.  The cover photograph could well be such an occasion.  In 1924 the land was subdivided and a portion of the house was moved to Gizeh Street.  It is now called Hoya.  Portion of the larger paddock is now called Ferguson Park, near Gaythorne Railway Station.

Nine children were born to Mr and Mrs Ferguson.  Three sons died in infancy.  Of the other five sons, four enlisted for service abroad in the Great War.  Eric Abbott Ferguson, the eldest, remained at home and continued his father’s business. The only girl in the family was the youngest child, Jean Abbott Ferguson (1895 – 1967) who later married Captain Robert Henry Cottam (1882 – 1945).

Two of the four soldier sons, Hector and Douglas, paid the supreme sacrifice. Norman and Malcolm returned to Australia.  After the death of their father Mr James Ferguson in 1926, a monument was placed in the graveyard of St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Grovely, in memory of Mr and Mrs Ferguson, their three infant sons and their two sons who did not return.  Stories have been written about each of the Ferguson brothers who served in the Great War 1914-1919.  This is Malcolm's story. 

Early life

Malcolm Ferguson was the eighth and youngest son of James and Jeannie Ferguson (née Abbott). He was born at Enoggera, Brisbane on 7 March 1892.  Malcolm Abbott Ferguson attended Brisbane Grammar School in 1908 and became a wool classer.  

Enlistment and service

At the age of 23, he enlisted for overseas service on 17 June 1915.  Bombardier Ferguson embarked from Sydney on board HMAT Persic on 18 November 1915, with 13th Battery, 5th Field Artillery Brigade. He was promoted to Corporal in January 1916 and Sergeant from August 1917

He served in Egypt, France and Belgium and was engaged in trench warfare at Armentières, Somme, Pozières, Mouquet Farm, Hamel, First German Retreat from Bapaume, Bullecourt and Passchendaele.

These were terrible battlegrounds. Conditions cannot be described or imagined or understood. Nearly 7000 young Australians died at Pozières.  In addition, almost 17,000 were wounded at Pozières.  Thousands of soldiers suffered from ‘shell shock’, the condition associated with the rise of industrialised warfare.  

Return home

Sergeant Mal Ferguson fought on bravely admist these dangers but he was wounded in action in June 1918, suffering burns and gas poisoning. He was admitted to Southwark Military Hospital in June 1918 following severe gas poisoning and there followed a period of convalescence.  He returned to Australia acting as sergeant major aboard the transport Miltiades from London on 8 February 1919 and was discharged on 13 April 1919.

Post war

The war was full of sadness for Malcolm Ferguson.  He would have learned while thousands were being killed and wounded around him on the Western Front, of his own brother Hector’s death in Belgium and that his mother had died in Enoggera, both in October 1917.  In August 1918 he attended his brother Doug’s military funeral in England.

At the time of his father’s death in 1926, Malcolm Ferguson was living at Montville.  Afterwards he lived in Sydney.  In 1952 and 1959, his address was in Bronte Road, Waverley and in January 1960 he moved to Bondi Junction. There he died on 16 September 1967. 

Select Bibliography

The Queenslander, 1 May 1926, page 9
The Brisbane Courier, 7 October 1876; 20 February 1914
Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, 30 April 1926
• Australian War Memorial Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church Brisbane Annual Reports 1901 – 1925 
The Golden Book, Archives, Brisbane Grammar School
The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 17 February 1949
Western Star, Roma, 18 February 1949
• National Archives of Australia, Military records World War 1
• Scott Bennett, Pozières The Anzac Story, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2011
• Images courtesy of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Compiled by N. E. Adsett, Brisbane.  October 2014 © Revised 2019 ©. Corrections and additions by Miriam King, 17 March 2022 ©



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