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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Moffatt, Thomas de Lacy (1826–1864)

by Beverley Kingston

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

Thomas de Lacy Moffatt (1826-1864), squatter and politician, was born at Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland, son of James Robert Moffatt, rector of Athlone, and his wife Elizabeth, née Kellett. Educated in Athlone, he went to Sydney in 1844 to gain experience with his uncle, Captain R. G. Moffatt, at Parramatta. In 1846 he joined the squatters moving north and took up Callandoon station on the Darling Downs; he sold the station in 1849 and settled at Drayton. At Parramatta in 1850 he married Mary Isabella, widowed daughter of Thomas Bell.

With his brother-in-law, J. P. Bell, Moffatt became a partner in Cumkillenbar run near Dalby. He also leased two other runs, Wyanga and Goondiwindi, but continued to live at Drayton until 1861 when he moved his family to Ipswich. On 9 May 1860 he had been elected for Eastern Downs in Queensland's first Legislative Assembly. On 4 August 1862 he succeeded R. R. Mackenzie as colonial treasurer. His policy in office was not specially noteworthy, although a minor crisis over the auditing procedures of his department made changes necessary. Aged 38 he died at Waterstown, Ipswich, on 2 October 1864. He was buried in Ipswich with an Anglican ceremony, survived by his wife and two sons and two daughters of their eight children.

Of Moffatt it had been said that 'whatever his principles may be … they give him little trouble'. He had won repute as the 'heaviest and best got up man in the Assembly', the 'Queensland Chesterfield' and for the kind of pragmatism which seemed to characterize the successful squatters of the 1850s in Queensland.

Select Bibliography

  • Parliamentary Debates (Queensland), 1867
  • Queensland Guardian, 25 Mar 1862
  • Brisbane Courier, 4 Oct 1864
  • Darling Downs Gazette, 6 Oct 1864
  • Queensland Times, 6 Oct 1864.

Citation details

Beverley Kingston, 'Moffatt, Thomas de Lacy (1826–1864)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 24 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

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