Angus and Mary McKenzie came to live in the Illawarra in the NSW Colony, having left the Isle of Skye in Scotland in 1837. We, their descendants, are part of the Mackenzie Clan, one of the old powerful Clans of Scotland. And like many Scottish names, the spelling of their Clan name can vary – Mackenzie, MacKenzie and McKenzie – I’ve even seen McKinzie.
The MacKenzie Clan motto is: “I shine, not burn”
The fortress castle, Eilean Donan, in Ross Shire, in the Western Isles of Scotland, is one of the historic strongholds of the Mackenzie Clan. It stands at the junction of three lochs – Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh.
Eilean means Island, and a saint, St Donan, lived on the island, hence the name Eilean Donan, Island of St Donan – this was from the Seventh Century when Christianity was being introduced to the Western Isles.
Robert the Bruce is believed to have been given refuge there by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail in the 14th Century.
The MacRaes have been Constables, or Custodians, of Eilean Donan since 1509, as they were the bodyguard of the Chief of Kintail – known as the “MacKenzies Coat of Mail”. By the 17th Century they were considered one of the most powerful clans, and their chief, MacKenzie of Kintail, was raised to Lord Seaforth by James VI.
For a few hundred years Eilean Donan was in ruins, however it was finally restored, and is now considered a “must-see” for members of the Mackenzie Clan, to visit when they are in Scotland. Kerrie and David Christian visited Eilean Donan during a tour of the UK in 1987, when they travelled to see places associated with Kerrie’s Great Great Grandmother, Mary Ann McKenzie (Isle of Skye), and UK First Fleet Great Great Great Grandparents John Small (Birmingham) and Mary Parker (Duke St London).