Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Charles McLay |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||c. 1860(?) |
|Died: ||2 May 1918 |
|Bio Notes: ||Charles McLay was born c.1860 in St Ninians, Stirlingshire, the son of James McLay, a nail manufacturer, and Isabella Colquhoun. Nothing is known of his training. He emigrated to Australia where he found employment as a draughtsman in the Colonial Architect's Office on 21 July 1885, a post made permanent at £250 a year in October, by which month he had undertaken the design of the asylum at Toowoomba. In December the Colonial Architect John James Clark was dismissed as the work of his department had run behind schedule. In March 1886 his design for the Brisbane Customs House was accepted and, under Clark's successor George Connolly, McLay became the lead designer in the office, being appointed to the newly created post of Chief Draughtsman in July 1889. |
In 1889 McLay won the competition for the Queensland Museum in association with John Jacob Cohen, resigning from the Colonial Architect's Office in the following year to undertake the commission. The project was, however, deferred; McLay was obliged to remain in private practice, opening a branch office in Toowoomba in 1897, but he did obtain appointment as Queensland's Chief Inspector of Factories and Shops in April 1897. In 1900 McLay took leave to make a tour of the UK and of Europe. On 1 July 1906 he was appointed Director of Labour but resigned after only six months to commence private practice with his former colleague Henry Wallace Atkinson on 31 January 1907.
McLay was an accomplished classical designer, suggesting that his initial training had been in one of the best Glasgow offices. He was active in public life as President of the Brisbane School of Arts and an officer in the Queensland Naval Defence Force, from which he retired as commander in 1910. The Brisbane artist James McLay was his brother.
McLay married Eva A B Hockings on 19 December 1914 at St Phillips, Coorparoo, Brisbane. His brother-in-law, Eva's brother, was Edwin Morton Hockings who was also a well known Queensland architect practising in Rockhampton, where he designed the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, and the Rockhampton Town Hall, among many well known buildings.
McLay died on 2 May 1918 as a result of a level crossing accident in the previous year.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|St Ninians, Stirlingshire, Scotland||Private||c. 1860||Before 1885||Place of birth|
|Brisbane, Australia||Business||1885|| || |
|Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia||Business||1897|| ||Branch office|
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Edwin Evan Smith||c. 1890||1897||Assistant|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Watson, Donald and McKay, Judith||1994||Queensland Architects of the 19th Century|| ||Brisbane: Queensland Museum||p119|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Professor John Hockings, great uncle-in-law of McLay||Information sent via 'Contact' page on website|| ||Sent March 2016|