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MACLEAN, Alister Grant MC (1888-1965)

Memorial Gate, Turramurra (Courtesy Kathy Rieth).

Memorial Gate, Turramurra (Courtesy Kathy Rieth).

MACLEAN, Alister Grant MC (1888-1965)

Alister Grant Maclean was enrolled as a boarder at Geelong College in 1902. He left in 1906. His entry address at the time was ‘Kaoota’, Hunter’s Hill, Sydney and he was enrolled by Mrs M L Maclean. He was born at Maclean, NSW near the Clarence River, on 2 October 1888, the son of Mordaunt Leyburn Maclean and Letitia Mary nee Stanger-Leathes. He was a well-regarded student and won a variety of prizes during his education at the College. These included:

1902 - Essay Progress, Middle 4th Class (Special Prize presented by Dr John Marden);
1903 – Boarders’ Scripture Prize, Upper 4th Class (Presented by Rev T Quinton);
1903 - Special Prize;
1904 - 1st, History, University Form B;
1904 - 2nd, Geography, University Form B;
1904 - 1st, French, University Form B;
1905 - 2nd, Algebra, Post Matriculation Form;
1905 - 2nd, Geometry, Post Matriculation Form;
1906 - 1st, Latin, 6th Form.

Not only was Alister an excellent student, he was also a notable sportsman at the College as a member of the 1st Football Team in 1905 and 1906 and a member of the 1st Cricket Team in 1904 and its Captain in 1905 and 1906. After leaving College he studied Engineering at Sydney University. Pegasus noted in 1911 that 'A G Maclean has completed his course as a civil engineer' .

During World War I, he enlisted in the AIF on 19 August 1915 with the 9th Reinforcement Group, and embarked on HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 20 October 1915. He joined the 1st Field Company Engineers at Tel el Kebir on 1 January 1916, and then proceeded to France, where he was promoted 2nd Lieutenant on 16 August 1916, and then Lieutenant on 16 November. He took leave to England from 2 October 1917 until 17 October, and also to Nice in France from 16 February 1918 until 9 March.

He was awarded the Military Cross, gazetted on 27 November 1918. The citation read:
‘On the afternoon of 28th March 1918, near Hebuterne and Sailly-au-Bois, the two villages were reported to be strongly held by the enemy, and although sniped at from the outskirts he advanced with the greatest courage and determination, and by a thorough reconnaissance ascertained that the enemy had only a few scouts forward. He was then able to furnish information which enabled the brigade to take up a fine position, and subsequently to inflict heavy losses on the enemy.’

He suffered a gunshot wound to the right foot on 12 August 1918, he was admitted to 8th General Hospital, Rouen, and then evacuated to England on 15 August. In February 1919 he was admitted to Colchester (Influenza) Hospital. He was granted leave with pay from 13 June to 12th August 1919 under the Repatriate and Demobilisation Scheme to study Concrete Design, attending the Trussed Concreted Company, Cranley Gardens, South Kensington, London. He returned to Australia, emb on HMT Ascanius on 23 September 1919.

In 1933, Pegasus reported: 'A G Maclean fills in spare hours at Gympie, Queensland, prospecting for gold. Dairying in that district has suffered through seasonable difficulties. We wish him golden luck in his searching.'

Pegasus in December 1941 noted that 'A G Maclean has temporarily forsaken the Harbour City and is to be found c/o Hannstrup & Co, Temple Court, Collins St, Melbourne'

His name is honoured on the Geelong College Great War Memorial Tablet and on the Turramurra War Memorial. His brothers, Harold Alfred Maclean (1884-1970); Norman Arthur Maclean (1891-1933); Allan Kenneth Maclean (1893-1969); all attended Geelong College.

Sources: Pegasus December 1911 p52; Pegasus September 1932 p63; Pegasus December 1941 p72; Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p 256 (citing The Pegasus; National Archives).
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