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John Oxley Library

Gallipoli Doctor, 'Dad' Macartney

By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 7 April 2015

Dr. George William Macartney (1887-1958) served with distinction in Gallipoli and France earning the DSO and the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the time he returned on ‘ANZAC’ leave in 1918, just one month before the end of the First World War was declared.

This Rosette was found amongst family papers at the State Library of Queensland and came with a note ‘George’s.’ They were worn by soldiers who had been granted six months ‘special’ leave for having enlisted in 1914 and who were still serving in 1918.

His association with the military began in 1913 when he was commissioned as the Regimental Medical Officer for the Northern Rivers Lancers, 4 LHR.

27 year old Macartney enlisted in Brisbane in 1914 and sailed in September with the first Queensland Contingent. He was in good company with Lieut. Col. Stodart, Chaplain Green, Major Glasgow, Major George Bourne, Captain Goucher, and Captain Hore.

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Drs Macartney and Luther, Gallipoli 1915

Drs Macartney and Luther, Gallipoli 1915

Parcels from home were shared, birthdays celebrated, and efforts praised. In their midst was the eloquent Chaplain George Green, who often mentioned his friend ‘Dad’ or ‘Doc’ Macartney, the RMO assigned to the 2nd Light Horse Regiment.

Like many Gallipoli doctors, Dr. Macartney succumbed to illness and was invalided to England for treatment. When he returned to duty in Egypt two months later it was after the Evacuation of Gallipoli and he was posted to the 14th Australian Field Ambulance which proceeded to France.

Memento of journey to Egypt from England, December 1915

Memento of journey to Egypt from England, December 1915

Commemorative item, 14th Australian Field Ambulance

Commemorative item, 14th Australian Field Ambulance

The commemorative period from 2014 - 2018 has given us the opportunity to explore and rediscover collections buried deep in the repositories of the State Library of Queensland. I urge everyone to take the time to read the diaries and letters of those who served to relive and remember the sacrifices they made for those at home, and the freedom of nations such as our own.


Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland


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