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Maclean was originally know simply as Logan Bridge, because it had been a crossing place for some time and a simple low level bridge was built here in 1860. It is possible that earlier bridges were built at this location also. A township was surveyed here in 1863, with one acre allotments on either side of the river. Pat McGoldrick chose his allotment on the north bank of the new town prior to the formal registering of the land, and began to erect a building on site which was to become the Union Hotel. Barney McCabe apparently had a hotel on the south bank at that time also. The township was not named after Peter Maclean, who was later the local MLA. This has been an incorrect assumption locally. He was living in Scotland at that time. He came to Queensland selected land at Oxley Creek in 1865, and later moved to the Albert River to a dairying property he named Belivah. He was however, the MLA for the Logan Electorate from 1876 when the high level bridge was built. The bridge was named after him, hence the confusion regarding the town name. The town is most likely named after the former Chief Draftsman and Surveyor of New South Wales between 1856 and 1861, Alexander McLean.
James Wearing came to Queensland in 1873, and obtained work in Markwell’s Cryna estate south of Beaudesert, before selecting land at North Maclean in 1874. He built the St Aldwyn’s homestead. Son Joseph worked with his father, and then began acquiring land around his father’s estate. Both men engaged in grazing and dairying. Joseph Wearing was a member of the Stockleigh and Maclean school committees and a member of the Yeerongpilly Divisional Board. St Aldwyn’s was the locality of one of the early rafting grounds for the local timber-getters.
Joseph’s sister Elizabeth married neighbouring farmer Christopher Thompson junior. His father had come to the Logan district in the 1860s and was involved in the cotton industry while he saved money to allow his wife and children to join him. Christopher junior was educated at the Stockleigh School, and engaged in timber-getting with a bullock team. Following an accident, he then increased the holdings of his property around his homestead Dungappin, and concentrated on dairying and grazing. The house was located in the centre of Sharon Drive, which is accessed via St Aldwyn Road at North Maclean.
Other land holders in North Maclean included James Scott and his friend William Stalker. Both were watchmakers originally from Scotland. As watchmaking was not profitable at the time Scott worked as a ganger on the roads. His property was known as Ratha and it was the Receiving Office for the mail from 1901 till 1917. Stalker worked a variety of jobs including coachman for Governor Bowen. He is best known for the award winning ginger beer he brewed with a friend. Dark and Stalker’s ginger beer won prizes at the Paris Exhibition, and prizes at the Brisbane and Sydney exhibitions between 1879 and 1880. He apparently made a fortune from ginger beer.
Other significant settlers in the Maclean district included stonemasons W. Clarkson and W. Warbuton who both worked on the Brisbane Treasury Building and the GPO.
A new high level bridge was built at Maclean during World War II. It opened in April 1940 and was strategically important to the district allowing the American and Australian servicemen to cross the river en route to Camp Cable and Canungra training areas. The old high level timber bridge washed away during the big flood of 1947.