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Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut. 13404 26yrs 19 Sep 1916 19 Jun 1919 4

Lieutenant Pilot Angus 'Roy' Macdonald (1890 - 1972)


Family background

Angus 'Roy' Macdonald was born in Brisbane on 15 June 1890, the only son of John Macdonald (1859 – 1927) and Mary Grace née McGregor (1864 – 1941).

Mr John Macdonald, the son of a Presbyterian minister in Victoria and a prominent commercial identity and citizen of Queensland, had come to Brisbane in 1888 as local manager of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, remaining in that position until 1910 when he accepted management in Brisbane of the wool broking firm John Bridge & Co Ltd.  

Roy's father entered into business on his own account as a pastoralists’ agent and two years later Mr Macdonald was offered the position of inspector with Messrs W. Houghton and Co Ltd, a post he held until his death in 1927.  He took a keen interest in the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, being a member of the council of the association from 1898 until the time of his death and its chairman from 1901 until 1920.  In honour of the work he had done for the association the John Macdonald grandstand was erected at the Exhibition Grounds in 1926.  Mr Macdonald was also a member of the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and the Queensland Taxpayers’ Association.

When the War Council was established in Queensland Mr Macdonald was elected chairman, and occupied the position until the council was taken over by the Repatriation Department.  Mr Macdonald showed a keen interest in sport and was an enthusiastic golfer, having been a member of the Brisbane Golf Club, Yeerongpilly from its inception.  During his early days in Melbourne he played Australian Rules football and in 1885 captained the Melbourne Football Club.  His funeral service was held in Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane where he had been a communicant member.

Mrs Mary Macdonald was an energetic worker for patriotic funds during her lifetime. She died in 1941.  Mr and Mrs Macdonald had two daughters, the elder married Maldwyn Davies and the younger Walter Scipio Mactaggart and one son, Angus Roy Macdonald whose name is shown on an honour board in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel as ‘Lieut. Roy Macdonald’.

Early life

Angus Roy Macdonald attended Brisbane Grammar School from February 1904 to October 1906 and represented Queensland in lacrosse.  Qualified as an accountant, he was employed as a clerk while still residing with his parents at their family home Worrough at 47 Moray Street, New Farm.


At the age of 26, he enlisted in Brisbane in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 19 September 1916.  He nominated his mother, Mrs Mary Grace Macdonald of New Farm as next-of-kin and gave his religious denomination as Presbyterian.  Given serial number 13404, he was allotted to 11th Transport Battalion as a driver.  Private Macdonald embarked in Melbourne per HMAT1 Persic on 3 March 1917, bound for Devonport, England.

Service and training

After training at the Army Service Corps Training Depot, Private Macdonald spent a short time in France in December but soon returned to England where he was transferred to the Army Flying Corps (AFC), joining No 2 School of Military Aeronautics at Oxford.  On completing a series of courses, promotional appointments followed: Cadet on 21 May 1918; Flying Officer (Pilot) on 25 May 1918; Lieutenant (Flying Officer Pilot) on 25 August 1918 in No 3 Squadron AFC based in France.

At this stage of the war No 3 Squadron was joining the final allied offensive around Amiens, flying support operations until the armistice in November.  Shortly before the end of the war, the squadron began converting to Bristol F.2 Fighter aircraft.  Lieutenant Macdonald’s appointment was terminated on 19 June 1919 and he returned to Australia on SS Kaisar-I-Hind in September.

Post war

Roy Macdonald took up fruit farming after the war on a property called Glenbar near Flaxton on the Blackall Range.  While there he worked hard in the community to promote the district and its produce. The children of local fruit growers competed annually in a fruit packing competition for which the John Macdonald Shield, named after his father, was presented. Roy Macdonald was the president of the Flaxton Farmers’, Fruit Growers’ and Progress Association, an active organisation of 25 residents with sub-committees reporting to its well attended monthly meetings.

Writing to the editor of the Brisbane Courier on behalf of his association, Roy Macdonald described his progressive town and district:

“Flaxton is situated on the Range half way between Montville and Mapleton, and is if anything, slightly higher than either of these centres.  The soil is of a rich volcanic nature and was originally covered by very heavy vine scrub. On the plateau it is admirably suited for the production of high class citrus fruits and pineapples while on the eastern slopes a magnificent class of banana is grown.  A drive through Flaxton when roads are reasonably good is a delightful experience and tourists are generally charmed with the extensive panorama which meets the eye.  On the eastern side there is a magnificent view of the valleys of the Maroochy River and Petrie’s and Painter’s Creeks.  The districts of Woombye and Nambour are easily discernible and the vivid green of the dairy farms, sugar and banana plantations interspersed by patches of darker scrub and forest together with a hundred miles or so of coastline and sea, make a view worth travelling a long way to see.  On the other hand citrus orchards and pineapple plantations showing health and vigour together with neatly designed residences combine an air of prosperity seldom met with in a country district...”2


Roy Macdonald opened the bowling for his Flaxton cricket team on one occasion and with the first ball sent the opening batsman back to the pavilion.  The next batsman survived one ball but was out to Macdonald’s third delivery.  The next to the crease lost his wicket and the next, Macdonald performing the hat trick. The sensational bowling was not yet ended, as he captured the fifth wicket in his seventh ball.

“It was indeed a shock to see the better half of the Mapleton team disposed of in the first over of the match,” said the reporter.  

Presentation of war medals

In November 1922 His Excellency the Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan, visited Mapleton to present general service and victory medals to returned soldiers.  It was Roy Macdonald’s privilege to receive his British War Medal and Victory Medal in the Mapleton Hall in these circumstances.

Marriage and career

Roy Macdonald married Mary (May) Elizabeth Mahon at St Agatha’s Church, Clayfield on Saturday 28 July 1923.  The bride’s mother, Mrs Mahon of Oriel Road Clayfield attended, her father, former principal of Gatton Agricultural College, having died in 1911. The couple lived at first at Flaxton but later moved to Stewart Street, Clayfield.  Roy Macdonald’s occupation was recorded as secretary.

Roy worked in the Mines Department and later on the staff of the Brisbane branch of wool and produce broking firm, John Bridge & Co Ltd.  During World War 2, he served in the Army Citizen Military Forces. Roy and May Macdonald’s only child was Elizabeth (Betty), born on 17 August 1927.  She later married David M. Crawford at Bryn Mawre, Pennsylvania, and lived in New York, and later Athens.


Angus Roy Macdonald died in Brisbane in 1972.  Mrs May Macdonald died in 1983.

1. His Majesty’s Australian Transport 
2. Letter to the Editor, Brisbane Courier, 16 March 1922, page 10

• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1, World War 2 and images
• Australian War Memorial, unit histories and Embarkation Rolls
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1913 – 1968
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Queensland
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria
• Ancestry on line
• Brisbane Grammar School, Archives, The Golden Book
• Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Archives, Annual Report - Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 1921, page 36
The Queenslander, 30 December 1911, page 38; 28 July 1927, page 8
Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, 20 January 1922, page 7
Brisbane Courier, 16 March 1922, page 10; 28 July 1923, page 6; 8 August 1923, page 15
• Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, 17 March 1922, page 6; 24 Nov 1922, page 7
The Telegraph, Brisbane, 22 July 1927, page 2
• The Telegraph, Brisbane, 21 November 1941, page 7; 3 January 1947, page 4; 9 July 1949, page 9
• Truth, Brisbane, 23 March 1947, page 40

Written by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane.  May 2017 ©



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