A Profile by his daughter Olive Milne McLeod.

There is no doubt that the commercial world was not ready for the genius that was Andrew Brough Milne. He was 50 years before his time and that, coupled with the tyranny of distance from capital cities of Australia, prevented the successes that were his due, from being bestowed on him during his lifetime.
When Mackay city was lit by gaslight, North Mackay was not included. He built a miniature Gas Plant, placed it under our back steps and provided our household with Gas lights and stove. He fitted a magneto to the stove, when given a twist, this lit the stove automatically.
The modest man he was, is evident in his Autobiography. So much was left unsaid. He was a consultant for all the engineering problems that beset the people of Mackay, be they canefarmers, boat owners or motor vehicle owners. Hardly a day passed in his workshop, that someone could not be found there, seeking his advice. His knowledge of all things electrical, mechanical and marine was astonishing and there was never any doubt that he would find an answer to the problems.
He then built "Osprey" a cabin cruiser of 32 ft. This was designed for cruising around the many islands of the area. He launched "Osprey" in the Pioneer River, and I was fortunate to be a passenger at the launching. It was beautiful. Slept 6 people, had a galley fitted with all stainless steel cooking implements, which he made and it behaved exactly as he had intended. (this was about 1944) He travelled around to the Mackay Harbour that afternoon and moored it at a mooring within the breakwater. That night a cyclonic storm came up and the boat broke both fore and aft steel ropes holding it to the mooring and it crashed into the breakwater and sank. This broke his heart. He had it raised, put it in the yard at Malcomson Street, and sold it "as is".

He still hadn't a suitable boat for cruising, so he bought a boat, nothing like his own designs, did a lot of work on it, called it "Kingfisher" and it suited his purposes while he concentrated on his dream boat.

"C-King" was 39ft., slept 11 had a wonderful wheel house galley and dinette, and a deep sea fishing well at the rear. By the time building was complete, he was aged 70. He had designed it for charter, and to achieve this he had to hold a Captain and Marine Engineers ticket. This he obtained by examination and as he said he was probably the only person holding both tickets. He and my Mother then chartered the ship, she was cook, but time was running out for them and after a couple of years they found the size of the ship too much to handle. He finally sold "C-King" but retained "Seaspray" and they obtained a lot of pleasure from it, until he sold it when he was about 87.

The family home in Malcomson Street is still standing (regrettably not -  it was demolished in 19??). It was sold after the death of my Mother. It is now very shabby and neglected but the posts which hold up the house are still a wonder. He obtained huge Bloodwood trees and removed them with root block intact. He then put them on a lathe and machine turned them. They were approximately 14" in diameter and as the house was raised from the ground at least 8 ft, this was an incredible effort. My sister remembers mountains of shavings in the back yard. When he installed the posts, he buried them complete with root block into the ground, set in concrete. No house ever had such a strong foundation.

He and my Mother gave us a wonderful childhood. We didn't know it was depression times. We had good food, and housing, and the beach house for all our weekends and holidays. We were very strictly brought up and taught to be responsible for our actions and behaviour. Dad used to say "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well"; that is the axiom he lived by and taught us the same way.

We are all blessed because we had the two of them as our parents.

© 2007 Olive McLeod. All rights reserved except where noted. This  material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or  distributed without the express prior written permission of the  copyright holder. For permission, contact

When Mackay Gas was phased out and electricity installed, North Mackay was included. Dad took the Gas plant down to the Eimeo beach house, and installed it there. We were the first and only people to have our own gas plant. Later on he  installed an engine and generated his own electricity at the beach house.
 Jack Davis, mentioned in his Autobiography as being a partner with him in Milrose Motories, moved to Brisbane prewar and bought a Confectionery factory. This was sadly lacking in modern machinery, which would have had to be purchased in America and England at great expense. Dad invented and made, a machine for making Plymouth Rock, one for Chocolate Easter Eggs, and another for Minties. He never patented any of these machines, having had such unsuccessful dealings with patents in the past.

One such was an Automatic Transmission patented in 1936. He copyrighted this patent in both America and England and was supposedly pipped on the post by Borg Warner. This transmission is now widely used and in his time he called it "Variable Ratio Drive". He installed it in a model "T" Ford and drove it around Mackay for a considerable time as a test.

In 1929 he and my Mother went overland to Melbourne. This was a remarkable feat considering the roads at that time could barely be called that between cities. He built a folding bed which fitted into the roof by day and let down to rest across the tops of the seats at night. Thus they had their own accommodation with the addition of a text fly attached to the car. He also built a caravan body on the back of the workshop truck, about 1932, and together they forged a trail up North - my Mother out in front finding a path through the bush and scrub, he following with the vehicle. They managed to drive about half way between Cairns and Cooktown before they could drive no further.

In 1917 before leaving for his visit to South Africa, he drove a motor car to Nebo, 60 miles west of Mackay. There were only buggy tracks, and this was considered such an achievement he was given a medal for his effort.

In 1915 he designed and built a box kite, on which he mounted a home made camera. At 1000 feet elevation, he triggered the camera to take the first aerial photos of Mackay. 

His inquiring mind was never at rest. In 1922 he experimented with talking pictures and mounted a projector onto the back of a truck and became "The Picture Show Man" for the outlying districts who did not have the benefit of a picture show.

As children we had the most wonderfully ingenious range of toys. Colin had clockwork boats, sailing boats, steam engines, even our swing mounted in the back yard was a dinghy which held six children at once. We had a mini golf course in the front lawns and a tennis court at the side of the house.

He invented a Lawn Planter (which is in my possession), and an implement for pruning high trees (now called a "Parrot Beak" and available at hardware stores). He invented and made a respirator and installed it in an Ambulance in Mackay. He also made them a Fairy Floss machine for fund raising. Everything he did was inventive and most everything he invented was copied in such a way as to break his patents. He never had the money to fight these infringements.

Boats were his other life. Fishing, the beach and boats were his recreation and he enjoyed them to the full. He had his first boat down here at Shoal Point (where I live) in partnership with another man. It was called "Whippet". It was not a sheltered bay and it continually broke its moorings and eventually was smashed up on rocks. That decided his move to Eimeo to a quiet creek outlet. He then built "Seahawk" a half cabin in-built motor of 18 ft. He found this too small for safety to get to the Barrier Reef and built "Seaspray" 26 ft. His designs were quite revolutionary with planeing hulls and sleek lines. "Seaspray" could travel at 26 mph and was the fastest boat in Mackay.
Terms of Use
Abijou Goode
JJ Davis
Milne Family
McLeod Family
Anne Milne
Young Olive
Tom & Olive
Roddy & David
Olive's mob
Contact me