Donald Macdonald (Australian politician)

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Donald Macdonald
Personal details
Born (1886-08-03)3 August 1886
London England
Died 3 November 1962(1962-11-03) (aged 76)
Adelaide, South Australia
Political party Independent

Donald Peter Macdonald (3 August 1886 – 3 November 1962) was an Australian politician and clergyman. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly between 1941 and 1947 and an Independent member of parliament.

Early life[edit]

McDonald was born in London and was the son of a stockbroker. He emigrated to Sydney with his family at an early age and was educated at Newington College, and the University of Sydney. He travelled to Britain to study at the University of Glasgow where he graduated with a Master of Arts (Divinity) and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1911. He initially ministered at Minard in Argyll and Bute but returned to New South Wales and took locum appointments at Coonamble, Gilgandra and Ultimo before being given a permanent position at Scots Kirk, Mosman in 1915. The next year, Macdonald was given leave to serve as a chaplain with the First Australian Imperial Force in France, where he was awarded the ED. He had one son, Roderick, who was a war correspondent killed at the Battle of Monte Cassino and two daughters. After leaving parliament, Macdonald retired to a farm in the Mudgee area. He was awarded the MBE in 1962. He had a number of books published in 1909, 1915 and 1930.[1]

State Parliament[edit]

Macdonald had a conservative philosophy. He was a member of the United Australia Party (UAP) over many years but had become distressed by the links between big business and the party.[2] He entered parliament as the Independent UAP member for Mosman after winning the seat at the 1941 state election. Macdonald defeated the sitting UAP member General Herbert Lloyd in a campaign marked by bitter attacks against Lloyd who had accepted a position as Director-General of Recruiting without resigning from parliament.[3]

In parliament, Macdonald campaigned for the state government to take a loan of ₤ 5,000,000 to revamp the public school system. He also called for education reforms including daily prayers and a ban on caning.[4] In 1943 he led an attack in Parliament on the atheist Sydney University Professor of Philosophy, John Anderson, who had said there was no place for religion in education; both houses of Parliament condemned Anderson but the University's Senate backed him.[5]

Macdonald did not join the newly formed Democratic Party or Liberal Party but easily retained the seat in the 1944 state election. In that year he co-founded the Political Reform League with another independent James Shand, the member for Ryde. This was intended to be the basis of a new centrist party in NSW but failed to attract public support. Macdonald was defeated by the official Liberal Party candidate Pat Morton at the next election in 1947. He then retired from public life. He did not hold parliamentary or ministerial office but was said to be only the second active clergyman in the Legislative Assembly since the Rev. J D Lang.[6]


  1. ^ "Mr Donald Peter Macdonald (1886 - 1962)". Former members of the New South Wales Parliament, 1856-2006. New South Wales Parliament. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Churchmen in parliament". Sydney Morning Herald 1 April 1941 p11. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  3. ^ "State election: Bitterness at Mosman". Sydney Morning Herald 1 May 1941 p9. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  4. ^ "Education Loan". Sydney Morning Herald 24 September 1941 p11. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  5. ^ James Franklin, Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia (Macleay Press, Sydney, 2003), ch. 1.
  6. ^ Antony Green. "New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007". New South Wales Parliament. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Herbert Lloyd
Member for Mosman
1941 - 1947
Succeeded by
Pat Morton