Andrew Goldie (1840 – 1891) Pacific explorer and collector.

On the 5th of May 1840, Andrew Goldie, Millport’s Pacific explorer, was born at the Kelburn Estate, Largs, the first-born child of David Goldie and Agnes Clark. At the time of Andrew’s birth, his father was the Head Gardener at the Kelburne Estate, which belonged to the Earl of Glasgow.  

By 1851 the Goldies had moved the Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae which was also part of the Earl of Glasgow’s estate. By the time of the 1861 census, Andrew was in Fife, listed as living in Gardener’s Bothie, Caputh, near Dunkeld. 

Goldie took his first trip to the other side of the world, to Auckland, in 1863 on the clipper ship, the Queen of Beauty. His notes from his journal tell of life on board ship, telling stories of stowaways, death, disease, relationships and more. Goldie stayed in New Zealand for some time. 

He arranged a deal in March 1875 with Benjamin Samuel Williams of Upper Holloway Nursery in London to go plant collecting and so, on the toss of a coin, his adventures in Papua New Guinea began, where he discovered, amongst other things, the Goldie River, Goldie’s Bird of Paradise and various plants. It can be seen from his writing that he took great joy in each new experience, whether that was travels, unfamiliar people and their customs, new territories or simply how to take a bath on a ship. His writings, discoveries and collections have made an impact on the history of New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand as well as on the history of North Ayrshire. 

Some objects that Goldie brought home to his family members are on permanent display at the Museum of the Cumbraes, which also holds a handwritten memoir of Goldie’s travels in New Guinea and other papers relating to his life. 

Although Goldie is not well known in Britain, he is considered noteworthy in Australia and New Zealand. Recently, National Museums Scotland staff have been investigating Goldie’s place in the history of Pacific collections, so we may hear more soon about how the Cumbrae collection fits in with other collections around Scotland. Goldie’s later life was plagued with fever and ill health, and he set up a trading store in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. 

He returned to Millport and died in 1891. His death is recorded on the family’s gravestone in Kirkton Graveyard.