Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane

Brisbane, Sir Thomas Makdougall (brĭzˈbən, –bān) [key], 1773–1860, British soldier, astronomer, and colonial administrator in Australia, b. Scotland. From 1793 to 1814 he served in the army in Flanders, in the West Indies, in Spain, and in Canada, rising to the rank of brigadier general. In 1821 he was appointed governor of New South Wales, where he encouraged agriculture, land reclamation, exploration, and, most important, immigration, thus stimulating the transformation of New South Wales from a dependent convict outpost into a free, self-supporting colony. He had poor financial sense, however, and was recalled in 1825. Brisbane had an observatory built (1822) at Paramatta, near Sydney, where work was done (1822–26) resulting in the "Brisbane Catalogue" of 7,385 stars. After his return to Scotland, he founded an observatory at Makerstoun, where valuable observations on magnetism were started (1841); these were incorporated into three volumes in the transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was made president of the society in 1833. The city of Brisbane and the Brisbane River in Australia were named for him.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies