Stories and photographs of the McKenzie family were collected and held by Angus McKenzie Jnr’s great great great granddaughter, Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott), since the late 1950′s. They were passed down to Joan’s children Kerrie, Julie & Daryl. Kerrie’s husband, David John Christian, also collaborated with Joan, and has maintained an ever-growing family history database for many years. Our family’s stories are starting to be shared on-line by Kerrie, with help from other McKenzie family members.
The McKenzie Clan Motto – I Shine Not Burn
Our family descends from Angus McKenzie, and wife Mary McIntosh, who came with their three sons, Alexander Snr, Alexander Jnr and Neil to the Illawarra, south of Sydney. Travelling with their sons were their wives and children. It appears that Angus and Mary’s daughter Mary McKinnon also sailed on the William Nicol with her husband Donald McKinnon and their family. The McKenzies, and possibly the McKinnons, came as part of the many assisted immigrants from the Isle of Skye, Scotland in the bounty ship William Nicol in 1837. (Information on the William Nicol – source http://www.ozigen.com) – also on the Bounty Immigrant system.
There has been some confusion at times due to these two “Alexander McKenzie’s” aboard the William Nicol in 1837 – Alexander Senior and Alexander Junior. Note the Scottish had interesting & complex rules for naming of their children which can lead to a great deal of confusion. There had also been some dispute as to whether Alexander Jnr was a brother to Alexander Snr, and Neil, and whether he was a son to Angus & Mary McKenzie. However with assistance from Kirk McKenzie who located key details in an October 14 1858 obituary in the Illawarra Mercury for his ancestor Neil McKenzie, the mystery is being solved. Alexander Snr, Alexander Jnr and Neil were indeed brothers, and sons of Angus and Mary McKenzie – and they and their families had all come to Australia on the William Nicol with their parents in 1837.
In fact, at least some of this may have been known by the late Ted Finn, who was long the keeper of our McKenzie’s family histories.
In the 1988 Illawarra Family History Group’s “Illawarra Pioneers Pre 1900”, Ted had considered that Alexander McKenzie Snr was a son of Angus and Mary, but he had not claimed Alexander Jnr to be their son, nor Neil McKenzie.
Four years later in the 1992 Illawarra Family History Group’s “Illawarra Pioneers Pre 1920”, Ted had submitted that Alexander Jnr was also a son of Angus and Mary, however once again he had not included Neil as their son nor brother to Alexander Senior and Alexander Jnr. Although Neil and Christina McKenzie, were mentioned as parents of their daughter, Sarah McKenzie, who had married Julius Martin, in the Illawarra Family History Group’s “Illawarra Pioneers Pre 1920”, by a Martin descendant.
Mary McKinnon is not mentioned in the Illawarra Family History Group’s Pioneer Series. However their descendants were included in the October 1987 Family Reunion at Fairy Meadow Demonstration School – see below.
Sadly Ted Finn has passed on, and it is now known that his extensive McKenzie family history archives, collected over decades, are held by a McKenzie family member. It is hoped in time that these may be able to be catalogued, organised with some digitised to allow wider family access.
Spring Hill Connections
As noted above Alexander McKenzie Jnr and wife Ann McLean came to the Spring Hill area as did his parents Angus McKenzie & Mary (McIntosh) in 1837.
The Spring Hill area was an early land grant promised in 1824 to a George Tate (Tait), who lived on the site 1825-1832. Subsequently he sold some of the 700 acre property to Captain Waldron in 1832, who then died in controversial circumstances in 1834. The site stretched from the old Tom Thumb Lagoon over to Charcoal Creek (Unanderra) past Figtree. At least some parts of the Spring Hill area remained in the possession of the Waldron family for the following century, though much of it was leased or rented for many years. Over the years parts seem to have been sold off and by 1915 the NSW State Government resumed much of what remained for industrial development. In 1921 the Hoskins Brothers seemed to have gained access to much of what must have been the Springhill land and the A I & S Pty Ltd Steelworks commenced, followed by the Lysaght works on Springhill Road. Later in the 20th Century the BHP acquired both companies. Transfield later held some other land along Springhill Road.
And a century after Angus McKenzie and Alexander McKenzie Jnr were no longer at Spring Hill, their descendants’ family began employment within the Steel plants from the early 1950’s and which would stretch across 60 years until 2011 – Joan Adams nee Callcott (Typist in the Shipping Department), a great great great granddaughter of Angus McKenzie, followed by her husband Cyril “Ross” Adams, (a Tradesman Painter), as well as her daughter Kerrie Anne Christian, (a Metallurgist who became Steelworks site-wide Quality Manager),and Kerrie Anne’s husband David John Christian (a Computer Programmer and Metallurgist at the Steelworks). Kerrie Anne Christian expressed to an eerie feeling that she had driven through the area and worked it around it without realising the connection to her McKenzie ancestors. Similarly, Pat Giles, partner of one of Catherine Sheather Ross nee McKenzie descendant Karen also worked over much of the Spring Hill area also.
Alexander McKenzie Snr, the oldest son of Angus and Mary McKenzie, had travelled on the William Nicol with his wife Flora McKinnon, who died during their 1837 voyage. Later he remarried twice, firstly to Janet Hutchinson and then to Christina McGillivray. The Alexander Snr family appears to have been at Fairy Meadow for much of their time in the Illawarra. Click for More on Alexander Snr.
Note from Kerrie – My own family’s McKenzie line is from Alexander McKenzie Jnr, younger brother of Alexander McKenzie Snr, and his first wife Ann McKenzie (nee McLean). They were in the Spring Hill area south of Mangerton. and then possibly in several places, including the Berkeley Estate, possibly in the Fairy Meadow area, before moving north to Bulli. Their first child to be born in Australia was my great great grandmother Mary Ann in 1839, and she would marry Henry Thomas Hicks, the son of James Hicks. Ann McKenzie (McLean) died in 1846, and Alexander remarried to Elizabeth Hanks. Later he and second wife Elizabeth lived over near Crookwell before moving to Canowindra. Click for – More on Alexander Jnr.
The younger brother of the two Alexanders was Neil McKenzie, married to Christina Robertson, who also travelled to Australia on the William Nicol in 1837, with their eldest child, John. They appear to have been at Hearne (Herne/Hern/Heron) Farm in Figtree before moving to the Lake Illawarra area. Click for More on Neil.
As noted above it seems that Angus and Mary McKenzie’s daughter, Mary McKinnon nee McKenzie,my have also emigrated on the William Nicol with her husband Donald McKinnon and their family. They do not appear to have been allocated to the Illawarra when they arrived in Sydney in 1837, instead to the County of St Vincent further to the south. Click for More on Mary McKinnon.
Over the years various McKenzie descendants have visited the Isle of Skye. In September 1987 Kerrie Anne Christian (nee Adams), great great great great grand daughter of Angus and Mary McKenzie, visited the Isle of Skye with her husband, David. Kerrie found the area very bleak, wet and windy.
There seemed to be some misty days when Catherine Sheather Ross nee McKenzie’s descendant Reg Philp, and wife Kath, (a Clan McLeod descendant) visited the Isle of Skye.
And the most beautiful photos from the Isle of Skye from Mary Ann Hicks nee McKenzie’s descendants – The Callcott Girls in 2014 :