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Sir John McWhae (1858–1927)

John McWhae, n.d.

John McWhae, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 15 October 1927

A wide circle of friends were grieved to read of the sudden death of Sir John McWhae, of Ellingerrin, Doroq, Vic., which occurred at Yokohama, Japan, on 17th September. Accompanied by Lady McWhae and a son and daughter, Sir John left Melbourne early in August on an extended trip to "The East.'' Though it was known that his health had not been satisfactory for some time, the news of his death came as a shock. His kindly nature had endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and his demise creates a gap in the life of his native State.

Sir John McWhae was born at Ballarat, Vic., in 1858, and after being educated at Ballarat Grammar School and Dumfries Academy, Scotland, entered the Union Bank of Australia as a clerk. From the bank he graduated to the Stock Exchange and became a member, first of the Ballarat, and subsequently of the Melbourne, Exchanges. He was connected with the Melbourne Stock Exchange for over thirty years, and for six years was its chairman.

His active participation in political affairs commenced about 1909, when he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council as a representative of the Melbourne Province. He held Cabinet rank in the Bowser and first Lawson administrations. Early in 1922 he resigned from the Legislative Council to accept the position of Agent-General for Victoria in London, a post he filled with conspicuous success until September 1924. His knowledge of financial, commercial and pastoral and agricultural affairs enabled him to work effectively for his State and the Commonwealth. During his term of office he was particularly happy in encouraging the migration of British settlers to Australia. While in London he received the honour of knighthood for his services to the State.

Sir John McWhae's pastoral interests have extended over three States. Many years ago he, in conjunction with Mr. Aikman, of Melbourne, owned Teryawynia, on the Darling, in New South Wales. Sir John sold his interest there some time back. Then in 1914, just prior to the outbreak of the war, he became associated with Mr. H. A. C. Webb in the purchase of Comongin Station, Quilpie, Queensland, and a few years later the partners bought Beechal, an adjoining run. His Victorian properties were Burn Brae, Penshurst, and Ellingerrin, Doroq, the latter being bought in 1918. Having wide vision and sufficient capital, Sir John was able to improve his holdings. Both at Ellingerrin and Burn Brae he went in extensively for top dressing pastures and the creation of fodder reserves in the form of chaffed silage. His experiences in hand-feeding lambing ewes on silage were described in our June issue.

Lady McWhae, two sons—Mr. K. McWhae, of Talisker, Merino, Vic., and Mr. H. McWhae—and two daughters survive. One son, Lieut. J. W. McWhae, was killed in action at Ypres in 1917.

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Citation details

'McWhae, Sir John (1858–1927)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

John McWhae, n.d.

John McWhae, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 15 October 1927

Life Summary [details]


22 June, 1858
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


17 September, 1927 (aged 69)
Yokohama, Japan

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.