Patrick Leslie was born on 25th September 1815 at Warthill, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the second son of William Leslie, 9th laird of Warthill and 8th of Folla. Patrick left London in December 1834, arriving in Sydney in May 1835.

By 1836 he was managing his uncle’s property at Collaroi in the Cassilis district of New South Wales, then rented Dunheved farm at Penrith for his own use.

When his brothers Walter and George arrived in the colony, Patrick decided to look for new land to the north outside the limits of settlement.

In 1840 he and a large party set out to look at the Clarence River District, but he decided to go on to look at the Darling Downs which had been discovered thirteen years earlier by Allan Cunningham.

Leslie took one convict, Peter Murphy, with him and traversed the southern Downs before deciding on the area that was to become Toolburra and Canning Downs as his first run. Thus is 1840 the Leslie’s became the first settlers on the Darling Downs.

Later in 1840 Patrick Leslie returned to Sydney and married Catherine Macarthur. By 1841, the Leslies had sold their right to Toolburra and moved to Canning Downs, which was managed by Patrick’s brothers George and Walter.

In 1845 Patrick bought 34 acres of land in Brisbane and built Newstead House, where he lived while pasturing his flocks on Canning Downs, now owned by his brothers. In 1847 Leslie sold Newstead House and bought Goomburra Station.

At the first land sale in Warwick 1848 Patrick Leslie bought the first allotment. Leslie actively supported the movement for separation from New South Wales and presided over the first public meeting held at Drayton to press this issue.

He represented Wide Bay, Moreton, Burnett and Maranoa in the first New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1857. After selling Goomburra to Robert Tooth, the Sydney brewer, Leslie settled in New South Wales where he remained until the late 1860’s.

He then visited New Zealand, taking up land at Waikato. He sold his holding in New Zealand in 1879 and returned to Sydney where he died on 12th August 1881.

Sources

Australian Encyclopedia Vol. 5 Sydney : Grolier Society of Australia, 1965
Australian Dictionary of biography Vol. 2 Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 1966-
LH Files – LH/Leslie Family