A Celtic Cross

circa 1800

PATRICK LESLIE, born at Warthill, Aberdeenshire, in 1815, was sent to New South Wales in 1835 to superintend the property of his uncle W.S.Davidson. A brilliant and courageous rider, Patrick became a first-class stockman, learning his bushcraft with the Macarthur family who had befriended Davidson on his arrival in Sydney in 1804 aged 19. However Patrick found keeping accounts difficult, fell out with his uncle (who had left N.S.W. 18 years previously and had little understanding of pastoral conditions) and after opening up the Darling Downs, 600 miles to the north, in a daring expedition of 1839, was almost bankrupted.

Having recovered some financial stability thanks to his brothers, Patrick established himself and his wife Kate (nee Macarthur) and son William Norman, at Newstead, Brisbane, in what was to become Queensland. He took up Goomburra station on the Downs and became a member of the Legislative Assembly, but returned to England and Scotland in 1859. Ten years later the Leslies settled in New Zealand with their son and grandchildren, but when the son died they came back to Sydney, where Patrick died in 1881.


GEORGE LESLIE, the fourth son of William Leslie, 10th laird of Warthill, Aberdeenshire, was born in 1820. The most down to earth of six brothers, George emigrated to Sydney with his brother Walter, in 1838, where his commonsense was immediately tested by the necessity of backing up Patrick Leslie's dramatic 1839 expedition to the Darling Downs. He was put in charge of huge flocks at Dunheved, Phillip Parker King's property, which had to be brought up to Canning Downs where Patrick had established his squatter's claim.

When Patrick got into grave financial difficulties it was George who helped to extract him, with the help of their eldest brother William (subsequently 11th laird of Warthill), taking over the management of Canning Downs, naming - with Patrick - the town of Warwick, and becoming in 1851 the first active member of the Legislative Council working for separation for Queensland. His health broke down and he finally returned to England in 1855, where he died, childless, in 1860. His widow Emmeline was the beautiful younger sister of Kate Macarthur, and greatly admired by the explorer Leichhardt.


WALTER LESLIE, born at Warthill, Aberdeenshire in 1818, third son of William 10th laird of Warthill, went to New South Wales with his younger brother George, in 1838, arriving in early 1839 in time to help support their brother Patrick's pioneering expedition to the Darling Downs. Walter was left alone for about 18 months on the Darling Downs, to oversee the flocks and the vast Canning Downs claim, while Patrick returned to Sydney to marry his fiancee Kate Macarthur and contend with threatened bankruptcy. Less tough than his brothers, the loneliness led to a breakdown and Walter left the Darling Downs in 1846, never to return. Although he married a Scottish childhood friend, he died childless in 1891.

Our thanks to Ms Jane de Falbe of England for contributing these stories. circa May 2003.

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