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MALCOLM DONALD McEACHARN of McILWRAITH MCEACHARN SHIPPING Co.

The Victorian Postcard had a printed orange READING ONE PENNY QV’ stamp with a duplex MELBOURNE/ 1A/ MR 9/ 93 with a VICTORIA obliterator. It was addressed to J. Dowling Esq, Collins St, City as well as a boxed ‘UNCLAIMED AT/ MELBOURNE. There was a black ink ms. ‘Not known/ Initials/ 9/3/93' at the top left, and a purple illegible ms. at the bottom left (Figure 1).

The reverse was printed as follows: CITY COUNCIL ELECTION. LONSDALE WARD. YOUR VOTE AND INTEREST Are respectfully solicited on behalf of Mr. M.D. MCEACHARN (Messrs. McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co, Ltd.) Your No, on the Roll is 606 POLLING DAY , MARCH 16 th, 1893. There was an illegible purple handstamp ‘( ----- ) AP 10 (93) MELBOURNE (Figure 2).

 

The State Library of Victoria has a picture of Malcolm McEacharn’s house which was named Gouthland (Goathland), which was located in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda (Figure 3).

The firm of McIlwraith Mceacharn had a large fleet of ships, and one of these, Tagliaferro, was celebrated by the issue of a stamp of Malta in 1985 (Figure 4).

 

Andrew McIlwraith came from the port of Ayr, Scotland and after making frequent visits to Australia; satisfied with Company progress, he returned to England 1885 to conduct the London end of the business. Malcolm Donald McEacharn settled in Melbourne Australia from Islay, Scotland and took many offices including parliament.
 

The firm of McIlwraith McEacharn was originally founded in London on February 1st 1875 by Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm MacEacharn when they began business as shipping and insurance agents. A year later they entered the ranks of ship owners following an agreement with the State of Queensland for the carriage of migrants from Britain to Queensland ports north of Maryborough. Their first vessels, eleven in all, were sail only, when they were also known as the 'Scottish Line'. In 1879, they chartered, the steamship Strathleven. Fitted with experimental refrigeration device aboard, she departed London and, on the return passage from Australia a shipment of 30 tons of frozen beef plus 2 tons of butter were carried. This cargo was found to be in excellent condition upon arrival on the 2nd October 1880.


With the expansion of the company's interests in Australia Malcolm McEacharn had settled in Melbourne about the time that a branch was opened and during his years in this country he took a leading part in public affairs, becoming a Commissioner of the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1893 and in the same year was returned as a member of the Melbourne City Council ultimately becoming the city's second Lord Mayor. He was also Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Consul-General for Japan. In 1900 he was knighted and in 1901 elected to represent Melbourne in the first federal parliament. Four years later Sir Malcolm returned to Scotland, and died in 1910 at the age of 58. His business partner Andrew McIlwraith outlived him by many years dying in 1932 in his 90th year. A picture of M.D. McEacharn and a painting of him by Harry Furniss were found at the National Library of Australia website (Figures 5 & 6).


Early years saw their business partnership flourish with other concerns in the Queensland Steam Ship Company that untimately merged with (and took over) the Australasian Steam Navigation Co in 1887, becoming the Australasian Steam Navigation Co., Sydney. They retained a healthy share in that entity, and they were virtually the only Australian connection left with any ownership
Latter years saw them active along most ports of call in and around Australia, surviving two world wars and stepping grand scale into purpose built passenger liners of world standard.
The innovation of 'containerisation' as cellular cargo also saw them involved before and since, and in 1964 in their business combine as Associated Steamship Pty Ltd. In 1961 saw this company buy out the Huddart Parker Line.

On 1st January 1964 Adelaide Steamship Co's interstate fleet was merged with that of McIlwraith McEacharn Ltd in a new company, Associated Steamships Ltd in which Adelaide Steamship Co held a 40%. Bulkships Ltd in which Adelaide Steamship held a 40% interest in 1965, acquired all the shares in Associated Steamship Ltd in 1968. This effectively ended McIlwraith McEacharn as a named entity completely. In 1977 Adelaide Steamship Company's interest in Bulkships was disposed of, and Adelaide Steamship Co Ltd also ceased its connection with ship owning and operating.

The vast majority of the above information was derived from a shipping website with numerous photos of the company’s shipping fleet, the site being www.flotilla-australia.com/mcmc.htm . What follows is an extracted composite of several obituaries in the Colonial Trove newspaper websites, dated 12 March 1910.

Sir Malcolm Donald McEacharn was born in London in 1852 the son of Malcolm McEacharn, a ship owner of Bridgend, Islay. Sir Malcolm arrive in Australia in 1879 and he was twice married, the first in 1878 to a daughter of James Pickering, but she died in the first year, and four years later he married Mary a daughter of John Boyd Watson, a well known Bendigo gold mine-owner. Sir Malcolm and his partner Andrew McIlwraith had trade in frozen meat and butter between Australia and Great Britain. He took a prominent part in public affairs in Melbourne, where he was vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and a Commissioner of the Harbour Trust. From 1897-1900, when he was honoured with a knighthood, he was Mayor of Melbourne, and subsequently in 1903-04 its first Lord Mayor. Some years ago he had a strenuous political fight with Dr. Maloney for the Melbourne seat in the Federal Parliament, but was defeated. Shortly afterwards he went to England, where, with the exception of several brief visits to Australia, he had since resided. He was seriously ill some time ago, but was thought to have recovered his health and the news of hid death in Cannes, France, and the news of his death came as a surprise to his friends. For the past six months he and his wife had been on a yachting cruise in the Mediterranean. The deceased died on 10 March 1910 of heart failure in his 58th year, and he left a wife, two grown up daughters and a son, Neil. In addition to his large shipping interests, he had been involved in Queensland in pastoral pursuits and sugar growing.

To my surprise, after finishing this paper I found that I had written 2 other papers, one directly related to Malcolm Donald McEacharn, at

http://www.auspostalhistory.com/articles/272.shtml

and one peripherally related to him in a paper concerning Ignacy Paderewski’s piano recital in Melbourne, at

http://www.auspostalhistory.com/articles/1000.shtml

The interesting thing about these three papers is that the overlap of biographical material is relatively limited, and all three have different pictures of Sir Malcolm Donald McEachern.

 

 

 
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