Dan Mactaggart (1853–1924)

Mactaggart’s founder was Dan Mactaggart. He was born in Scotland in 1853. In 1869 at just 16 years of age, he sailed from Scotland to Australia on the ‘Ramsey‘, to join his uncle John Daniel Mactaggart, on the 16,000-acre ‘Kilkivan Station” that his uncle had selected and established west of Gympie.

John Daniel Mactaggart died in January 1871. Dan went on to become a partner in ‘Glenbar Station‘, in the South Burnett. ‘Glenbar’ suffered heavy losses in the droughts of 1877 and 1878 and was sold after Dan’s partner David Kelly* died suddenly. Dan Mactaggart then moved to Maryborough where he opened Mactaggarts stock and station agency business in 1882. * The history of Maryborough and Wide Bay and Burnett Districts by George E. Loyau (1897)

Dan was then joined by his brother, John Mactaggart, in the business and they traded as Mactaggart Bros. Ltd. When Maryborough was linked by rail to Brisbane, Daniel Mactaggart and his brother opened a branch of Mactaggart Brothers Limited in the capital where the firm prospered.

Photograph of a 17 year old Dan taken in 1870, a year after arriving in Australia.

(State Library of NSW; a4220089) 1870


Dan Mactaggart married Florence Rosalie Thorburn in the early 1880’s in Maryborough, she was from Victoria. They went on to have 6 children, 2 boys, and 4 girls.

The family moved from Maryborough to a home in Markwell Street, Ascot in Brisbane in 1892.

The eldest and their first son Walter Scipio was born in Maryborough on 5 October 1886. He was appointed a Director when the family business became a public company in the early twenties. He became widely known in Queensland, especially in the livestock selling industry.

Then there where 4 girls, Jeannie, Florence, Marjorie and Dora.

Lastly, in 1897 their second son Dan Eric Mactaggart was born. He would go on to become the head of Mactaggart’s after it was changed to a cooperative, until his untimely and early death in 1956.

Both sons, Walter and Dan fought in World War 1 and both suffered the harmful effects of gassing in the trenches in France.

Mrs Florence Mactaggart was a home and garden lover, the cares of her family of four daughters and two sons were her principal interest though she was a keen supporter of the Presbyterian Church. Through her husband, she became closely identified with the pastoral interests of the State.


Dan Mactaggart was a rower of considerable ability. His obituary describes him as a “famous amateur oarsman” and one of Queensland’s best strokes.

Photograph of Dan Mactaggart (Stroke) and his Maryborough crew from 1887.

(Maryborough History via pinterest)


Dan Mactaggart was chairman of the Brisbane Wool-selling Brokers’ Association for 11 years, and chairman of the Queensland branch of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia during the appraisement period.

The wool store that now bears the Mactaggarts Company name was built in 1926 for then-owners New Zealand Loan & Mercantile Agencies Company. The Wool Store was ideally situated to take advantage of the Bulimba railhead that existed then, and also the Teneriffe Wharves. It is the only remaining wool store with a river frontage and was converted to apartments in 1995.

Photograph taken from the Vernon Terrace side of the building in 1990, prior to the urban renewal project that has revitalised Teneriffe.


On the 29th of January 1924, at 71 years of age Dan Mactaggart, still serving as the governing director of Mactaggart Bros. Ltd., passed away in Brisbane.

* Last updated 20/12/2021

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Sources: Your Brisbane Past & Present, Obituaries Australia, St Andrews Uniting Church Heritage Project

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