Daniel McGOWAN #N77946

Daniel McGowan

Indigenous Australian, Daniel McGOWAN

Daniel (Dan) McGowan, was born at Thallon, Qld in 1895 to James McGowan, a white man and Eliza Weatherall, an Aboriginal woman, who lived as his wife for more than 30 years.

Dan McGowan was a skilled horsebreaker, and was employed at Mungindi, on the border of NSW and Qld when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF.

It is not clear why he travelled to Nyngan in NSW to enlist in May 1917 but there is no doubt that the result would have been the same, had he had enlisted in Queensland.

McGowan was medically examined at the camp established at the Sydney Show Grounds, after which it was noted – the three smallest fingers of his left hand had partially contracted, a result of being accidentally burnt when he was a child.

Several doctors who formed the ‘Medical Board’ to review his application concurred that the condition of his hand made him permanently unfit for Military Service.

Less than a week after enlisting Dan McGowan was ‘discharged, medically unfit, not due to misconduct’. Unable to serve for his country he returned to his extended family in Mungindi and regained work on a number of properties in the area.

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Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland