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Macartney, Henry Dundas (1880–1932)

by Donald H. Johnson

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Henry Dundas Keith Macartney (1880-1932), by unknown photographer

Henry Dundas Keith Macartney (1880-1932), by unknown photographer

Australian War Memorial, H19208

Henry Dundas Keith Macartney (1880-1932), regular soldier, was born on 1 February 1880 at Waverley station, Broadsound, Queensland, eighth child of Irish-born John Arthur Macartney and his English wife Annie Flora, née Wallace-Dunlop. His father, who held extensive grazing and pastoral properties throughout Queensland, had taken up Waverley in 1857. His grandfather was the Most Rev. Dean Macartney of Melbourne; one of Henry's cousins was (Sir) Edward Macartney. Educated at Geelong Church of England Grammar School, Henry served for six years in the Victorian Cadet Corps.

On 9 March 1900 he joined the Queensland Defence Force and was commissioned lieutenant in the militia field artillery. On 20 June 1901 he was appointed lieutenant in 'A' Battery, the permanent component of the Queensland Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery, Commonwealth Military Forces. In 1902 he was attached to 'A' Field Battery, New South Wales, and during this appointment was aide-de-camp to the general officer commanding, Major General G. A. French. Next year Macartney obtained a first-class certificate in the short gunnery course, Sydney, and in 1906 was transferred to Victoria as a company officer in the R.A.A.

In 1908-10 he was on exchange duty in Britain, and on returning to Australia in 1911 was promoted captain and appointed instructor of artillery in Victoria. In December he was attached to the instructional staff of the newly founded Royal Military College, Duntroon, where he remained until 1916, from 1914 in the rank of major. At St Peter's Anglican Church, Mornington, Victoria, he married Alexandrina Vans Zichy-Woinarski on 18 December 1912; they had no children.

In January 1916 Macartney was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force as a major attached to No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and embarked for overseas service. In June he was transferred to the 2nd Divisional Artillery, where he initially commanded the 15th Field Battery which served in July-August on the Somme in France and at Ypres, Belgium, in September. On 2 October he was promoted temporary lieutenant-colonel in command of the 7th Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Division. A fellow officer in the 7th F.A.B. later praised 'his ability to rapidly and accurately size up any situation, his shrewd common-sense, his boundless energy, [and] his adherence to the highest standards of conduct'. With the 7th F.A.B. he saw action at Armentières, Messines and Passchendaele. On 17 January 1918 he was appointed general staff officer, grade 2, Headquarters, Australian Corps, and on 8 October he became commander of the 3rd Army Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery. In January-March 1919 he was temporary commander Royal Artillery, 3rd Division, with the temporary rank of colonel. He embarked for Australia on 13 April. For his war service he was appointed C.M.G., awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and mentioned in dispatches four times.

After demobilization Macartney was appointed director of drill at the Royal Military College and in October 1920, after temporary command of the 3rd Battery, A.F.A., he was appointed to the Staff Corps. In 1921 he commanded XVIII Brigade, A.F.A., and in August 1922 transferred to the unattached list; five years later he was placed on the reserve of officers. He retired to Rimbanda, his property near Kentucky, New South Wales, and was a grazier until his death following a car accident at Cleveland, Queensland, on 24 October 1932. He was buried in Toowong cemetery, Brisbane, and was survived by his wife. Tributes following his death, both from his superior officers and those who served under him, made special reference to his kindly and considerate nature, as well as to his professional competence.

Select Bibliography

  • Reveille (Sydney), Dec 1932, Feb 1933
  • Queenslander, 27 Oct 1932
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Oct 1932
  • Age (Melbourne), 9 Nov 1932
  • H. D. K. Macartney file (war records section, Australian War Memorial).

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Donald H. Johnson, 'Macartney, Henry Dundas (1880–1932)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/macartney-henry-dundas-7291/text12645, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 13 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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