Browse Entries

Biographical entry McFarlane, Samuel (1837 - 1911)

18 February 1837
Johnstone, near Glasgow, United Kingdom
27 January 1911
Southport, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Collector and Missionary
Alternative Names
  • MacFarlane, Samuel


Samuel McFarlane was a missionary with the London Missionary Society who spent ten years in the Loyalty Island before being withdrawn in 1869 because of diplomatic difficulties between France and Britain. He visited Australia 1867-1868 as a mission delegate. Between 1874 and 1886 he was with the New Guinea mission. Based at Cape York and later Murray Island in the Torres Strait, McFarlane made numerous visit to New Guinea, establishing 12 mission stations, and becoming adept in several indigenous languages. He made a number of explorations in New Guinea, sometimes in company with Luigi D'Albertis, Andrew Goldie, James Chalmers and Carl Hartmann. McFarlane was a prolific collector of ethnographic and natural history specimens from Torres Strait and New Guinea. Many of these specimens were sold and are now in European museums. Many of his botanical specimens he sent to Ferdinand von Mueller in Melbourne.



Life event - Ordained with the London Missionary Society
1859 - 1869
Career position - Missionary in the Loyalty Islands
1874 - 1886
Career position - Missionary with New Guinea Mission
Award - Honorary doctorate, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Life event - Retired from the New Guinea Mission
1887 - 1894
Career position - Officer with the London Missionary Society
Life event - Retired

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Philip, Jude, 'KRAR: nineteenth century turtle-shell masks from Mabuyag collected by Samuel McFarlane', Memoirs of the Queensland Museum: Culture, vol. 8, no. 1, 2015, pp. 99-125. Details

Helen Cohn