John Mackay (Australian pioneer)

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John Mackay
Captain John Mackay.jpg
Born26 March 1839
Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Died11 March 1914
South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
OccupationExplorer, Sailor, Harbourmaster
Grave of John Mackay

John Mackay (26 March 1839 in Inverness, Scotland – 11 March 1914) was an explorer, sailor and harbourmaster, best known for founding the city of Mackay in Australia. He was associated with Henry Ling Roth.

Mackay led an exploration party who was the first Europeans to cross the Clarke Range west of Mackay.[1] He also participated in blackbirding, the practise of coercing and kidnapping South Sea Islanders as slave labourers.[2]

Mackay died in 1914 at St Helen's Hospital, South Brisbane and was buried in Balmoral Cemetery.[3]


The city of Mackay is named after him.[4]


  1. ^ Shilton, Peter (2005). Natural areas of Queensland. Mount Gravatt, Queensland: Goldpress. p. 103. ISBN 0-9758275-0-2.
  2. ^ "'Blackbirding' shame yet to be acknowledged in Australia". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 3 June 2013. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ Mackay Captain John — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Mackay (entry 20426)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 May 2014.