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MacMahon, Philip John (1857–1911)

Friends of Mr. Philip MacMahon, Director of Forests, received a shock on Thursday morning when the news came through from Maryborough that he had died there. He was on a visit to the district with the object of reporting on Fraser Island, where there are large supplies of timber, and was taken suddenly ill at Pialba. Before he could be removed to a hospital at Maryborough death occurred.

Mr. MacMahon was born on December 13, 1857, in Ireland. He had a training in general gardening and arboriculture at Kew Gardens, and afterwards went out to India, where he served in the forestry department for a time. He then came to Australia. In 1899 Mr. MacMahon met a ministerial party from Queensland while in Victoria, and visited Mildura in company with the late Hon. Hume Black. He also met the late Sir Thomas McIlwraith in Melbourne, with the result that an offer was made to him to come to Queensland to organise a forestry department. On his arrival the Queensland Government was not prepared to go on with the forestry department, and Mr. MacMahon took up the position of Director of the Botanic Gardens, a position which he occupied until November 2, 1905, when he became Director of Forests, and was succeeded at the Botanic Gardens by Mr. J. Bailey. Several years ago Mr. MacMahon was married to Miss Hendy Pooley.

With a limited staff at his command Mr. MacMahon did good work in the Forestry Department, and under the policy of the Government he was about to realise his hopes for an extension of the sphere of usefulness of his department, when he was called away.

The funeral took place yesterday afternoon (our Maryborough correspondent wired last night), the remains being interred in the Croydon Cemetery. Mrs. MacMahon returned to Brisbane the same night. The suddenness of Mr. MacMahon's death created a profound feeling of sympathy throughout the district.

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'MacMahon, Philip John (1857–1911)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 October 2020.

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