Scotland's History: Sir Thomas M Brisbane

Sir Thomas Mackdougall Brisbane, baronet, was the colonial governor of New South Wales between 1821 and 1825. Born in Largs, Ayrshire, in Scotland, on 23 July 1773, he enlisted in the military in 1789. Following a successful career, on the advice of the Duke of Wellington he was appointed governor of New South Wales on 1 December 1821. He tried to improve the serious problems of convict resettlement and immigration, and to encourage cultivation of crops and rearing of animals on the land.

In 1823 a river was discovered by John Oxley, an explorer and surveyor of Australia. He named the river after Brisbane; this is now the site of the city of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Two of Brisbane’s children were born whilst he was in Australia: Eleanor and Thomas, to whom he gave the middle names Australia and Australius respectively. Brisbane ended his term as Governor in 1825 and returned to Largs, where he focused on his philanthropic works and astronomy. He died on 27 January 1860 at Brisbane House, in the same room where he had been born 87 years earlier, and was buried on 3 February in the churchyard at Largs.

His will survives and can be found on the ScotlandsPeople website.

The death entry of Sir Thomas M Brisbane

The death entry of Sir Thomas M Brisbane

National Records of Scotland, Statutory Register of Deaths, 1860, 602/3

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