The Mayne Family

Anyone who has roots in Brissie could probably ask ten different people what they know about the Mayne family and they’d get ten different answers. They’ve been called the Mad Maynes and the Murderous Maynes – but are they really as black as they’re painted? Does the family who helped establish most of Brisbane have literal skeletons in their closet?

This week your girls jump into the time machine for one last whirl as they try to tackle a question that has haunted Brisbane for over a hundred years – was Patrick Mayne really a murderer? Or was he just a weird rich guy?

Patrick Mayne was a rich businessman and city alderman in Brisbane in the mid nineteenth century. On his deathbed, he allegedly confessed to murdering a man named Robert Cox twenty years prior, stealing a sum of £300 and using the money to purchase a butcher’s shop on Queen Street. From this shop, Mayne amassed a great fortune, high status in society, and a reputation that has followed him throughout the centuries. Did Patrick Mayne really kill Robert Cox? Or was it a game of Chinese whispers, a bit of good old-fashioned Aussie tall poppy syndrome? This week we’re talking about a murder, but we are also talking about how rumours get started, and how they can have an impact hundreds of years later.


Our mayne source (see what we did there) this week was The Mayne Inheritance by Rosamund Siemon, available here


Our other sources this week include this fantastic article which debunked a fair amount of what Siemon wrote in The Mayne Inheritance, available here


If you wanna learn more about Mayne the man, go here


For another interesting debunking of some Mayne myths and legends, this two-parter on Haunts of Brisbane is a cracker