Sir Fergus McMaster was a grazier, businessman and airline founder. He was born on 3 May 1879 at Morinish near Rockhampton, Queensland. He was the sixth and youngest son of Scottish parents William McMaster and his wife Jessie, née Scott. Fergus attended Morinish Provisional School in his early years, but was largely self educated. He married Edith May Scougall at Townsville in 1911. Edith died in 1913. McMaster enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1917 and served in France in 1918 as a gunner and dispatch rider.
Amongst his many achievements he was the first chairman of Qantas. After a meeting at Cloncurry with Paul McGinness, Fergus McMaster was invited to assist him and another Australian Flying Corps pilot William Hudson Fysh to secure aircraft for operation in the bush areas of Queensland. On November 16, 1920, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. (Qantas) was registered in Brisbane and McMaster became the first chairman of the airline. Without his constant efforts on behalf of Qantas, it is doubtful whether the airline would have survived.
In 1941 McMaster was knighted. A director of Tasman Empire Airways Ltd, he was also the founding director of North Australian Worsted & Woollen Mills Ltd, and the Electric Supply Co., Charters Towers. He was a foundation member in 1936 and later treasurer of the Queensland Country Party, but in 1941-43 was president of the Country-National Party. He had stood for a State seat as a Nationalist in 1923. Sir Fergus McMaster died in Brisbane on 8 August 1950 and was cremated.
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