Australian Dictionary of Biography

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John Deuchar (1822–1872)

by A. A. Morrison

This article was published:

John Deuchar (1822-1872), pioneer and stock breeder, was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, son of John Deuchar, farmer, and his wife Margaret, née Rattary. He migrated to New South Wales in 1840, gained pastoral experience in the Hunter River district, and about 1842 drove sheep from Maitland to the Darling Downs for the Aberdeen Co., later the North British Australian Co. From 1844 he was cattle overseer for Patrick Leslie at Goomburra. After two years, with support from Walter Grey of Ipswich, he bought Canal Creek well stocked with Talgai merinos. In 1848 Deuchar sold Canal Creek, and succeeded Fred Bracker as manager of Rosenthal for the Aberdeen Co.; he also became travelling superintendent of the company's properties. On Rosenthal Deuchar had the first two thoroughbred merino rams on the Darling Downs, Camden Billy, already there when he took over the property, and German Billy, which he brought with him from Canal Creek. A fine merino stud was developed from a blend of Negretti and Rambouillet strains.

Deuchar also began breeding cattle, especially Shorthorns, and brought to Rosenthal Lord Raglan, the first imported Shorthorn bull to reach the Downs, and well-bred cattle from the Australian Agricultural Co.'s properties farther south. A lover of good horseflesh and specially dependent on it for his inspections, he also developed a racing stud. His stallion, Grey Arab, bought from one of the Aberdeen Co.'s properties, sired many fine horses, some of which Deuchar rode successfully at race meetings both on the flat and over the fences. He also introduced Omar Pasha, one of the first Clydesdale stallions on the Downs. In 1855 he went into partnership with Charles H. Marshall on Glengallan, also near Warwick, where he continued his work in stock breeding. His overseer, William Anderson, had been at school with him and had come to the colony on the same ship. Deuchar insisted on building up his own teams of employees; on taking over both Rosenthal and Glengallan he had dispersed the families on the properties and replaced them with other employees already known to him. Most of those displaced moved to Warwick and many became well-known pioneers of that town.

On 4 May 1857 at Paddington, Sydney, Deuchar married Eliza Charlotte, sixteen-year-old sister of Dr Lee of Warwick. In 1858-60 with his wife and infant daughter he visited Scotland. On his return he continued his developmental work at Glengallan and in 1867 built at a cost of £12,000 an impressive two-storied homestead with white stone quarried on the property. Although still standing (1968) the house is no longer in use. In 1870 he dissolved partnership with Marshall and retired to Mile End in Warwick, where he died aged 50 on 11 September 1872, survived by his wife, two daughters and six sons.

Select Bibliography

  • T. Hall, The Early History of Warwick District (Toowoomba, 1923)
  • D. Gunn, Links with the Past (Brisb, 1937)
  • Brisbane Courier, 16 Sept 1872
  • Leslie letters (State Library of Queensland).

Additional Resources

Citation details

A. A. Morrison, 'Deuchar, John (1822–1872)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 17 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


11 September, 1872 (aged ~ 50)
Warwick, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death


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