Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Thomas de Lacy Moffatt (1826–1864)

by Beverley Kingston

This article was published:

Thomas de Lacy Moffatt (1826-1864), squatter and politician, was born at Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland, son of James Robert Moffatt, rector of Athlone, and his wife Elizabeth, née Kellett. Educated in Athlone, he went to Sydney in 1844 to gain experience with his uncle, Captain R. G. Moffatt, at Parramatta. In 1846 he joined the squatters moving north and took up Callandoon station on the Darling Downs; he sold the station in 1849 and settled at Drayton. At Parramatta in 1850 he married Mary Isabella, widowed daughter of Thomas Bell.

With his brother-in-law, J. P. Bell, Moffatt became a partner in Cumkillenbar run near Dalby. He also leased two other runs, Wyanga and Goondiwindi, but continued to live at Drayton until 1861 when he moved his family to Ipswich. On 9 May 1860 he had been elected for Eastern Downs in Queensland's first Legislative Assembly. On 4 August 1862 he succeeded R. R. Mackenzie as colonial treasurer. His policy in office was not specially noteworthy, although a minor crisis over the auditing procedures of his department made changes necessary. Aged 38 he died at Waterstown, Ipswich, on 2 October 1864. He was buried in Ipswich with an Anglican ceremony, survived by his wife and two sons and two daughters of their eight children.

Of Moffatt it had been said that 'whatever his principles may be … they give him little trouble'. He had won repute as the 'heaviest and best got up man in the Assembly', the 'Queensland Chesterfield' and for the kind of pragmatism which seemed to characterize the successful squatters of the 1850s in Queensland.

Select Bibliography

  • Parliamentary Debates (Queensland), 1867
  • Queensland Guardian, 25 Mar 1862
  • Brisbane Courier, 4 Oct 1864
  • Darling Downs Gazette, 6 Oct 1864
  • Queensland Times, 6 Oct 1864.

Citation details

Beverley Kingston, 'Moffatt, Thomas de Lacy (1826–1864)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 21 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Athlone, Westmeath, Ireland


2 October, 1864 (aged ~ 38)
Waterstown, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.