Friday, 28 September 2012

Rev.Leslie S.Macdougall 1877-1949

I, Joy Olney, a grandaughter of Leslie Stuart Macdougall became interested in Leslie's diaries as a means to gain further insights into the Macdougall family.  Grandpa wrote a diary every day from 1895 at age 17 until October 1948 at age 71. Leslie passed away on 8 February 1949.

Initially the information helped me identify family photographs, names and dates, but, it soon became a passion.  I have visited Tasmania four times since commencing this journey of discovery, in the years 2005 - 2010, seeking out places of interest, also homes and churches that Grandpa wrote about.  Then there were the Victorian appointments to visit.

Leslie Macdougall was born in Hobart on 4 March 1877 but grew up in Launceston. His hobbies included photography, music, reading and studying.

Leslie Macdougall 4 March 1884 - age 7 years
Leslie Macdougall 4 March 1884 - age 7 years

His parents were William Arthur and Sarah Ann Macdougall.  Leslie was the eldest of six children - Leslie Stuart, Hugh Campbell, Ruby Fredrica, twins Olive May Oban & Ila Aisbett, and Gwenneth Lenore Macdougall.

Macdougall family at home on King Island 9 September 1909

1897 - 1899 Leslie tutored the 4 sons of Mr.Louis Shoobridge in Bushy Park, Tasmania. 1900 he was a Home Missionary at Oatlands, Tasmania, and in 1901 he was invited to be the Classical Master at Leslie House School in Hobart. 

Leslie presented himself as a candidate for the Methodist ministry at Queen's College, Melbourne in 1902, serving in Victoria and Tasmania. He was ordained in 1910.  Leslie attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1918, Master of Arts degree with first class honours in English Literature in 1919, and graduated with a degree in Divinity in 1924. 

Rev L.S.Macdougall 20 April 1918

Leslie married Beatrice Helen Louise Wells on 9 September 1912 in Hobart.
Together they had three daughters - Winsome Lorne, Dorothy Glaed and Margaret Elizabeth Patricia.

Leslie Macdougall and Beatrice Wells married 9 September 1912

Macdougall family 15 January 1923
Macdougall family 19 January 1928

A conspicious quality of character was his sincerity of spirit, his complete honesty and his enduring loyalty to the friend or causes in which he believed.  He was not given to disquise his opinions, but was prepared to declare them when required with frankness and sincerity.  A man of great scolarship yet remained a student all his life. He was a mighty man of God and preached powerful sermons. He had a great love for the evangelical truths of the gospel which was abundantly evident in his Greek translations of the New Testament. His mental and spititual abilities made his ministry fruitful and his special talents were exercised in tutorial and literary work. His gifts for turorial work were availed of at the Methodist Theological Institution and on his retirement from circuit work he took classes at Brighton Grammar School and Haileybury College.

During World War 11 Leslie was appointed as the Methodist Representative for Australasia for the appointment of Protestant Naval Chaplains in collaboration with the Australian Navy.

Outstanding among his qualities was his courage, his brave heart and heroic spirit.  When his right arm was affected a few years before his death he knew how serious were the probable issues.  He had to undergo months of deep therapy treatment and wear his arm in a sling.  Later, complete amputation of the arm was performed, followed by a brief period of relief from pain.  But the pain soon returned, necessitating further treatment in hospital. During a long and painful experience he was cheerful and hopeful.  There was never a whimper.  No one ever heard him complain.  When any reference was made to this he invariably laughed it off as of no consequence.  Truely, his heart was undaunted, it was not pagan stoicism or natural fortitude.  His trust was in God.  He knew in whom he believed. Such was Leslie Macdougall under stress of sore affliction, and when face to face with the last enemy, and heart and flesh failed, he found God was the strength of his heart and his portion forever.

Leslie died a very valient soldier of Christ and passed from the scene of his earthly conflicts to receive the crown which awaits those who are faithful unto death on 8 February 1949.

Rev.Leslie S.Macdougall 1937

I have now read through all the diaries, and compiled a summary of the diaries year by year to enable the reader to have a better idea of location and activities associated with the life of Leslie Stuart Macdougall and his family from 1895 - 1948.

In the early years there was a variety of papers used to make up the diaries and Leslie bound his diaries himself until 1916.

Letters received were rewritten and letters sent were copied in his print style (1895 - 1904).
Cash reconcilliations for family finances were recorded each month in most diaries, also family photos, charts and newspaper clippings.

I have had some of the diaries rebound and they are stored in their own cabinet.
They are a priceless treasure.

Diary cabinet after rebinding some of the diaries

Diary cabinet before scanning and rebinding

1934 - 1942 diaries tied together with string

1934 - 1942 diaries after rebinding

The task of scanning every page of the 53 diaries has been enormous.  There are over 15,000 pages and it has taken more than 650 hours to achieve just that task, to say nothing of the time to read the diaries to compile the summary of each year (48 pages). I have come to understand why I go about some things in an untiring, painstaking and methodical manner - just like my Grandpa!

Leslie Macdougall's Register of every Baptism, and his Register of every Preaching Appointment from 1895 - 1948 have also been scanned.  Unfortunately he did not keep a register of all the marriages and funerals, but you can read about them in the diaries!

Example of Baptism Register 1910.  Leslie baptised 797 infants.

Example of Preaching Appointments in Ballarat in 1926

I have compiled a presentation of Rev Leslie S. Macdougall's diaries which includes every diary from 1895 - 1948 (over 15000 pages), cash reconciliations of family finances, family photographs (23 pages), family trees with photos (6 pages), baptismal register (54 pages), preaching appointments (220 pages) and love letters (81 pages) and a summary of each diary year by year (48 pages).

"The Epilogue" written by Allan Petfield (3 pages) and the "Biography of Leslie Macdougall" written by Winsome Petfield (5 pages) also give further insights into this remarkable man.

Leslie's wife, Beatrice Macdougall wrote a diary from 1953 - 1978.  These have also been scanned (1200 pages).  A summary of each year (19 pages) and family photographs (28 pages) make interesting reading.

I will endevour to get this information out to archival groups and historical societies as time permits.

This 10GB presentation is far too big for a blog.  I hope you will take a look at my blogs on Rev.L.S.Macdougall and his wife Beatrice. I do have the presentation on a 16GB USB. You can contact me at for your very own record of this piece of history.

I trust you enjoy reading the blogs as much as I have enjoyed this "labour of love" in memory of Leslie Stuart Macdougall.

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