Born on 12
May 1854 possibly at Argyleshire, Scotland the son of Robert McBryde and
Mary née Ashbridge. At the age of eighteen, he migrated to New South
Wales and became the lessee of the Mount Poole pastoral station, then
located 150 miles north of the rich silver-lead fields of the Broken Hill
area. Having moved to Melbourne, in 1885 McBryde became an original
investor in public script of the floated “Broken Hill Proprietary Co Ltd” (B.H.P);
at the first meeting of shareholders held at 121 Collins Street, Melbourne
on 15 December 1885 he was elected a director (1885-1920), a position he
held until his death which included two terms as chairman (1895-97, 1915-17)
the later term involving the official opening of the Newcastle steelworks in
June 1915, then the largest of its kind in Australia. He also served on the
boards of a number of B.H.P related companies including “Broken Hill Block
10 Co”, “Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co Ltd”, and “Silverton Tramway Co”
which between 1888 and 1908 paid some £1 million in dividends. Along with
(Anthony Edwin) Bowes Kelly (St. Kilda Cemetery),
William Jamieson (q.v.), William Knox (Boroondara
Cemetery), W. R. Wilson and James Reid, McBryde was part of a select group of
mining magnates who between 1885 and 1914 controlled the main base-metal
mining fields; powerful, progressive and passionate, their control was
exercised towards the common good of the nation. Described as a “large man
with light eyes and a walrus moustache”, McBryde was elected to the
Legislative Council seat of North-West Province (1891-96) and South-East
Province (1901-19); for a brief period he served under
Thomas Bent (q.v.) as Minister of Public Health (1908-09) and
was “among the members of the first rank…shrewd, broad-minded, who was
always ready to give a fair deal to all classes”. Residing for many years
at Kamesburgh - North Road, Brighton, in September 1918 the
Department of Repatriation purchased the
Lloyd Tayler (q.v.) designed colonnaded mansion later funded through
the £25,000 donated by the wealthy financier W. L. Baillieu (1859-1936) and
his brothers for use as a repatriation hostel for disabled veterans.
McBryde died at his Wallace Avenue, Toorak home on 24 November 1920 from
heart disease with an estate valued at £55,494; on 2 August 1883 he married
Ellen née Menzies.
(above) Duncan McBryde
(Reproduced with kind permission of the
Victorian Parliament Library)
(above) Kamesburgh - North Road, Brighton (2001)
ADB Volume 10 1891-1939 (Lat-Ner).
The Argus 10 January 1914, 7 October 1918, 17
September 1918 & 26, 27 November 1920.
The Age 26 November 1920.
The Herald 25 November 1920.
Brighton Southern Cross 21 September 1918.
Bate, W., “A History of Brighton” (1983).
Thomson, K & Serle, G., “A Biographical
Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900” (1972).
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