Born in Sydney in 1815, Patrick Leslie arrived at Sydney in 1835 to gain colonial experience. With a convict servant, Leslie went north in 1840 to examine the Darling Downs which had been discovered by Allan Cunningham 13 years earlier. Impressed with what he saw, he formed Toolburra Station near Warwick to become the first permanent pastoralist in Queensland. He was followed by his brothers Walter and George, the latter forming Canning Downs Station which they developed into a pastoral property of considerable importance.
In 1845 Patrick built historic Newstead House in Brisbane as a private residence, and during the following decade he emerged as a major leader in the Separation movement on the Darling Downs. Patrick Leslie also represented Moreton, Wide Bay, Burnett and Maranoa in New South Wales. Aside from his interests in politics and grazing, Patrick Leslie was also a noted breeder of bloodstock horses and has been referred as the 'father' of thoroughbred breeding in Queensland.