Sir William MacGregor (1846-1919)

Sir William MacGregor (1846-1919)
Sir William MacGregor, Aberdeen
University Review, 1919. MS 3753/3/1

William MacGregor was born in Hillockhead in the parish of Towie, Aberdeenshire. MacGregor had a poor upbringing, but excelled at Aberdeen Grammar School and then at the University of Aberdeen where he graduated with an MB in 1872 and an MD in 1874. While MacGregor was completing his medical degrees, he began his career in the Colonial Service. He was appointed Assistant Medical Officer of the Seychelles in 1873. Soon after, he held posts in Mauritius (1874), Fiji (1874), British New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea; 1888), Lagos (1898) and Newfoundland (1904). In addition to colonial administration, MacGregor undertook expeditions and was awarded the founders medal of the Royal Geographical Society for exploration in New Guinea in 1896. He also received the GCMG award in 1907 for discoveries of anthropological, geographical and meteorological interest in Labrador. When MacGregor was appointed governor of Queensland, he developed education programs and agricultural systems and was the first chancellor of the University of Queensland. After four decades as a colonial administrator, he retired to live in Chapel-on-Leader, Berwickshire. He later served as a voluntary advisor for the Pacific region during WWI.

Detail of Mace Club. ABDUA:942

Carved head, Canoe ornament.

MacGregor bequeathed over 1,200 ethnographic objects to Marischal Museum, collected during his extensive career abroad.

Extract from newspaper cutting featured in
'Sir William MacGregor of New Guinea'.
MS 3051/3/2/107

Special Collections Centre holds archival materials in the form of MacGregor’s own papers, correspondence and appreciations for MacGregor’s achievements by colleagues.


For more information on the University museum and archival collections please search the online catalogue