The McLaren v. Wuth action, the fifth to be heard in the Western District Court, Dalby, provides a rare glimpse into the 33 year old Donald McLaran’s life in the early and mid-1860’s. It raises more questions than it answers.
1866 Newpaper report McLaran v. Wruth
Note yet another variation to the spelling of Donald's surname - "M'Claren". In the court records (above) it was spelt "McLaren".
Between 1860 and 1880, Donald McLaran undertook various litigations in the Dalby court and this action was probably his first. The courthouse was only recently established in 1866.
In 1864 Queensland experienced an economic depression, rescued only by the discovery of gold in Gympie in October 1867. Donald sold his block of residential land in Bunya St in 1864 and the article says he was absent from Dalby between 1864 and 1866. Clues to his whereabouts in this period are yet to be discovered.
He stated he was living near Greenbank and claimed to be a sheep farmer. It is unlikely he was residing with his father Malcolm, his step-mother Jane and half-brother Alexander on Myall Creek, it is more likely that "near Greenbank" was offered as his nominal address.
The Ross and McLaran families were intertwined over many generations. Robert Ross 1828 - 1907 was a son of one of the very first settlers in the Dalby area, and an alderman on the Dalby Council in 1863. He was the administrator of Greenbank and like Donald, a race horse owner. Descendants of the Ross family owned property at St Ruth and married into the Brown family. A "Mrs Ross" was the nurse at the birth of Malcolm Lewis McLaran in 1886.
Dr Ernest M Wuth was a pioneer German doctor who received solid support from his Dalby patients when his qualifications to practise were questioned by the state authorities in 1863. Dr Wuth wrote to the newpapers:
I think it a great injustice when old practitioners, who have done services to the country, and who are duly qualified, should be deprived of the privileges which even a simple surgeon of any college of Great Britain is entitled to. Apologising for trespassing so much on your valuable space.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
E. M. WUTH, M.D.
Dalby, May 14, 1866.
It appears that in 1863 Dr. Wuth had been refused qualification by the Queensland Board, because, although he could produce a well-authenticated diploma from a medical college in Germany, he could not produce a trumpery certificate. He could only obtain that certificate by applying for it personally in Germany. In 1874 he was appointed medical officer at Mitchell.
The court costs for the plaintiff were £7/6/-, a considerable portion of the money owed by Dr Wuth.