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Malcolm MacInnes (1825–1903)

It is with regret that the death has to be announced of the Rev. Malcolm MacInnes, which took place on Thursday night at the residence of his son at the Walmer Homestead, after an illness of about two months' duration. The deceased gentleman, who had lived an upright and useful life, was born in the Isle of Skye, Scotland, in the year 1825, and was thus 78 years at the time of his death. On the 16th December, 1852, he sailed for Victoria along with his mother, brother and sister in the ill-fated ship Hercules. Fever and smallpox breaking out, there were many deaths, his mother dying at Queenstown, Cork, Ireland; and his brother (who was a young man of unusual promise) dying at Birkenhead, Liverpool. Deceased and his sister were dangerously ill, but recovered sufficiently to continue their voyage in the ship Argyle, which landed in Melbourne on 25th October, 1853. His first employment was teaching a school at Richmond in connection with the Presbyterian Church. But his desire had always been for mission work, and from the age of 16 years he had been accustomed to holding family worship and giving explanatory addresses. In April, 1855, he landed in Portland, having been appointed missionary to that place. Portland was then a thriving place and often thronged with bullock drays bringing wool from the stations, and taking stores back. He commenced holding services, preaching in Gaelic and English, and often had large congregations of Gaelic hearers. In the year 1856 he preached in Hamilton in a stable of Dr. Stevenson's, there being no church excepting a small Church of England, the Rev. Mr. M. J. King being minister. For about two years he taught a school in Portland and then commenced travelling, preaching in the south east portion of South Australia, and the Western and Wimmera districts. In those days, there was no settlement on land in small areas and Mr. MacInnes went from station to station, staying often with the squatters of those days, and at other times with their shepherds, finding both squatters and shepherds most hospitable. It is calculated that for many years he travelled 5,000 miles a year, preaching often every night. All his travelling was done on horseback or driving, and such was his aptitude for the work that he never remembered being once late. His first visit to the Wimmera was in the year 1870 when he preached in the Horsham Presbyterian Church, the Rev. J. D. Robertson then being the minister. As an exodus of people from the Western district in the Wimmera took place in the years 1873 and 1874, and many Highlanders being amongst them, Mr. MacInnes left Hamilton (where he was then residing in 1871) and with his family settled in the Warracknabeal district, travelled from there for several years over bad roads, and in all kinds of weather, preaching often in Gaelic, and immediately afterwards holding an English service. After forming congregations in the northern part of the district in connection with the Free Presbyterian Church, he settled in Charlton as minister of the Free Presbyterian Church there, and remained there for about seventeen years. On leaving there in the year 1898 for Coleraine he was presented with an address and a purse of sovereigns, all classes and creeds joining to do him honor. A similar compliment had been paid him in the year 1871 on his leaving the Western district. It was in the year 1898 while on the journey to Coleraine that Mr. MacInnes lost his partner in life, to whom he had been married in the year 1856, and whose loss he felt keenly. Since then he had been living quietly with his son at Wartook, and for the last two and a half years at Walmer. Two sons survive deceased–Mr. Allan A. MacInnes, who is managing station properties in New South Wales, and Mr. J. D. MacInnes, of Walmer Homestead, and a sister (Mrs. Mackinnon, of "Butchill," Brighton Road, St. Kilda. The deceased gentleman was, until the last few years, possessed of a remarkable physique and an exceptional memory, which continued unimpaired up to the last and he was attended by Dr. Naylor. The funeral took place on Sunday at 1 o'clock, the remains being buried in the Horsham Cemetery. The burial service was impressively read by the Rev. Thomas Gray. The mortuary arrangements were carried out by Mr. Allan.

Original publication

Citation details

'MacInnes, Malcolm (1825–1903)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Isle of Skye, Scotland


13 August, 1903 (aged ~ 78)
Horsham, Victoria, Australia

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