He was educated at Leeds Grammar School before migrating to Australia in 1884, where he became a public servant and journalist.
He served on the Toowong Shire Council. In 1898 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland as the Labor member for Burnett. He was defeated in 1899.
He was returned to the Assembly as the member for Ipswich in the 1904 state election, defeating sitting member Thomas Bridson Cribb.
He represented Ipswich until 1912. In 1913 he was elected to the Australian Senate as a Labor Senator for Queensland, remaining in the Senate until his defeat in 1919, taking effect in 1920.
Maughan died on 10 April 1933 and was Cremated at Rookwood Cemetery.
He was a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and an Australian Senator.