Malcolm McLean
1840 - 1873


BORDER WATCH, MOUNT GAMBIER, SEPTEMBER 27, 1873

There is great reason to fear that Mr Malcolm McLean of West Ardno Station has met with an untimely end. We learn by private telegram from Casterton that he left that place on Tuesday with the view of proceeding to Spingvale Station but never reached there. Yesterday morning his horse, with saddle and bridle on, was found grazing on the banks of the Glenelg River, about seven miles from Springvale, but there was no trace of the owner. The horse appeared as if he had been swimming in the river, and it is feared that Mr McLean, in crossing, got beyond his depth, lost his seat and got drowned. There is, we regret to say, too good reason to suspect that this conjecture is correct, but in the meantime every effort is being made to discover further traces of the missing gentleman, and there is still a faint hope that the worst suspicions may not be realized.

OCTOBER 1, 1873

Mr McLean of Ardno - We regret to have to report that there is now too much reason to dread the worst relative to the fate of Mr Malcolm McLean of the West Ardno Station, there being as yet no tidings about him. We are now able to give a more correct detail of the circumstances connected with his disappearance. He left Casterton between 9.00 and 10.00 pm on Tuesday night to go to the Springbank Station, about three miles distant. He left his own horse in the stable and borrowed one from a Mr Smith. This horse we may remark, was in the habit of running on the other side of the Glenelg River, and invariably swam through whenever he had the chance. It is now evident that in the darkness this horse must have worked off the track without his rider discovering the fact, for he got into the river and got rid of him somehow. Mr McLean however scrambled out all right with the loss of his hat, for between 10.00 and 11.00 pm he called at three different houses asking his way back to Casterton, mentioning to the inmates his mishap in the river, and that he had got soaking wet.He was at each directed how to proceed, and the distance being only a few hundred yards from the township it was not supposed that the unfortunate gentleman would have any difficulty in finding his way. It would, appear however, that he must have had, and that instead of getting back to his hotel, it is probable that he got into the adjacent scrub, and there wandering until he was exhausted, lay down and perished miserably. Every effort was made to find tracks of his whereabouts, but as we have said so far without success. This untoward event has caused a very painful feeling throughout Mount Gambier, where Mr McLean was well known and much respected. What adds to the painful character of the event is the fact that it is not yet five months since Mr McLean was married to a young lady here, a niece of Mr James Umpherston.

OCTOBER 4, 1873

The late Mr McLean - News reached here by telegram on Wednesday that the body of Mr McLean had that day been found in the Glenelg River, opposite the Police paddock, Casterton. It is now supposed that the unfortunate gentleman after getting the directions to go to the hotel, to which we referred to last, mistook a light in the Survey Camp, on the opposite side of the river for the hotel light, and thus in the darkness walked into the river. Be this as it may, very general regret is felt here for Mr McLean's untimely fate, The efforts of the people of Casterton to unravel the mystery that so long hung over his dissapearance - particularly those of Mr Gardiner of Wando Vale - are highly spoken of, and it is melancholy satisfaction to his friends that they have resulted in the finding of his body. An inquest was held, but nothing of importance beyond that we have already published was brought to light, and the jury returned a verdict of -

Found 1873 Casterton, County of Follett, Glenelg Shire Malcolm McLean Squatter
Found drowned - verdict of inquest - Albert Sprigg, Coroner Casterton - 2 October 1873
Parents Donald McLean Euphemia McLean
Buried 2 October Casterton Cemetery
Minister John Peachey
Married, Mt Gambier SA, Aust 33 years, informant Ross Cameron.

Article supplied by Lyndal McLean; email - elesmac@hotmail.com.

McLean family information available from Dot Wells; email - dwells@westnet.com.au.

Dot Wells McLEAN Families - freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~dotwells/mindex.html