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Donald McLennan (1852–1917)

from Mullumbimby Star

The news of the death of the above gentleman came as a shock and a surprise to most when the word was passed round on Monday morning. The deceased had been somewhat ailing for a week or so, but nothing serious was expected or thought of. Last Sunday week he preached as usual and it was towards end of the week that he had to take to his bed. On Saturday his condition was serious and on Sunday all hope was abandoned. After the evening service on Sunday a message was received from him that he would like to see the Kirk Session and they went to the manse. The rev. gentleman was perfectly conscious and spoke and bade farewell to all of them, expressing the assurance that he would meet them all on the other side when “the morning” came. Several of them sat with him all the night and only left at daybreak when he woke out of peaceable sleep and seemed brighter. The brightness was only evanescent as he passed away about 7 a.m. The end was calm and peaceful.

The Rev. Donald McLennan was born at Beauly, in Inverness Shire, Scotland in 1852. From school there he went into mercantile life in Inverness, but wishing to become a foreign missionary, he left for London and there received training. In 1875 he left for home mission work in New Zealand and there trained for the ministry. He received his license to preach five years after from the Presbytery of Auckland and his first charge was St. Andrews, South Canterbury. Meanwhile he was called to Pleasant Point and was ordained by the Presbytery of Timaru in 1880. The following year he was married. For five years he stayed there and then went to Akaroa. There he worked hard till his health gave way and he was ordered by medical advice to come to Australia. In 1890 he came to Sydney and hence on to Bega. Berry was his next change and he remained there for 12 years. While on a visit to the Darling Downs he received a call to Allora and was there for six years when Clifton was made a separate parish and he was put in charge of it. From Clifton he came to Mullumbimby and was inducted here on the 6th January, 1914.

The deceased gentleman's work speaks for itself. At Akoroa he had a church built and opened it free of debt; at Allora and Clifton two new churches were also built; and at Mullumbimby the present manse was bought. While on the Darling Downs he received the highest honour his church could give him and he was Moderator for Queensland for a term and was also Clerk for his own Presbytery.

The funeral took place on Tuesday from the manse, and all creeds were represented to pay a tribute to the memory of the departed.

At the manse a short service was conducted by the Rev. D. McIlwrath (Moderator of the Richmond River Presbytery) and from there the mortal remains were removed to the church, followed by the following elders: — Messrs T. Gibson, J. Macgregor, D. Blanch (Session Clerk), R. Argue and R. Y. Gourlay. There was also a large attendance of the general public.

At the church the service opened with a prayer by the Rev. Mr Hulme (Ballina) and part of Psalm 90. sung. The Rev. Mr McAlpine (Alstonville) then read portions of scripture which included Psalm 47, 2nd Thessalonians, 4th chap., and Revelations chap, xxii.

After the singing of hymn, the Rev McKillop (Lismore) said that the Rev. Donald McLennan had been well known to all. His had been the life well spent and now came the rest well earned. The speaker outlined the life of the deceased and said that the departed had not been one whose aim was to fill the coffers of the church but had been out to preach Christ and to show to men the example of how a life could be well spent. That had been the ideal, to keep before the people Christ and Christ crucified. The Rev. McKillop said that he knew the deceased as a man whom God had called and who had fulfilled his calling. In Queensland when the question of religions instruction in State schools was exercising the people's minds, the Rev Mr McLennan had travelled the country and spoken in and out of season for that cause. Many were against him but his opponents could only say he was a man of God above all party strife. And as he had lived, so had he died, fully assured of the rest eternal that was promised. The deceased had shown an example to Mullumbimby and the speaker hoped the example would go to the hearts of his hearers.

After a prayer by Mr McIlwrath and the singing of a hymn, the Benediction was pronounced by the Rev. Mr Miller.

From the church to the Cemetery the cortege was an exceedingly long one, and was one of the longest ever seen in Mullumbimby. The remains were followed by the elders and the P.A.F.S. Lodge on foot and then the members of the Presbytery and Revs. Kittell (Anglican) and Walker (Methodist) and the general public. All the business places on the route were closed.

At the graveside the service was continued by the Rev. Miller and the final address by Rev. Mr McAlpine. He said he was the youngest man in the Presbytery and he remembered the hand-shake and the hand on the shoulder that Mr McLennan had given him in welcome. The speaker said he had looked on the deceased as a father and followed advice given. The speaker spoke with emotion throughout and it could be seen that his words came from the heart and not from the lips only.

The deceased leaves a widow, a son and two grandchildren.

The coffin was of cedar, with silver moundings, and was covered with beautiful wreaths from the many who had benefitted from the deceased's advice and ministrations. Many from the South Coast were there who had been married by the Rev McLennan, and some were even christened by him.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr P. McAuley, on behalf of Mrs Berry.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Donald McLennan

Additional Resources

Citation details

'McLennan, Donald (1852–1917)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Inverness-shire, Scotland


1 October, 1917 (aged ~ 65)
Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.