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Harold McLean (1828–1889)

A very much respected public officer, Mr. Harold McLean, Comptroller of Prisons has passed over to the majority. He died on Wednesday last, after a painful illness. About a month ago, he obtained, owing to illness, leave, and it was the general opinion then that he would never return to his office. He was the son of a well-known early resident, of the colony, Captain McLean, and was born on the 14th May, 1828, being thus 61 years of age. His career in the Civil Service was lengthy and creditable one, he having served in various capacities for 41 years, and having been always looked upon as an officer of superior intelligence and reliability. His reports on various public matters which he was called upon to enquire into were considered especially valuable, and his services in this capacity were frequently availed of by Ministers. He entered the service in 1846 as a probationary clerk in the Colonial Secretary's Department, receiving a salary of 5s per day. In 1852 he was appointed Assistant-Commissioner for goldfields, which office he occupied until 1858, when he became Commissioner in charge of the Western goldfields. In 1864 he was made Sheriff of the colony, and in 1874 he was appointed Comptroller-General of Prisons and Reformatories, which position he held until his death. As a gold-fields Commissioner, Mr. McLean was best known in the Western District. When he resided in the camp at Sofala, the present Judge Innes was clerk of Petty Sessions there, and he subsequently was appointed to Bathurst, acting as Chief Commissioner for the west. Among his subordinates were the late Mr. Grenfell, who was shot at Narrowmine; Captain Browne, whose Kangaroo dogs and famous pronunciamento 'I am the law' are yet remembered by old Lachlanites; the late Mr. J. G. King, who 20 years ago, was Police Magistrate at the now forgotten but then famous Cannonbar; Mr. Whittingdale Johnson, now Stipendary Magistrate in Sydney. Mr. McLean was very popular with the miners. His decisions were always received with respect, because even those who suffered by them were ready to admit that the Chief Commissioner was the most impartial of men, who only sought to do justice, and would not, on any consideration, swerve from the direct line of duty.

Original publication

Citation details

'McLean, Harold (1828–1889)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • MacLean, Harold

14 May, 1828
Lakefield, Inverness-shire, Scotland


November, 1889 (aged 61)
Potts Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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