The Family of Malcolm McKinnon (1802 - 1852) by L.M. McKinnon
The Family of Malcolm McKinnon (1802 - 1852) by L.M. McKinnon
Leslie M. McKinnon
Leslie M. McKinnon, Probably in the early 1980's.
Leslie M. McKinnon writes
The Family of Malcolm McKinnon (1802 - 1852)
Growing population, coupled with a destroyed economy, and recurrent famines made emigration the only alternative to starvation for thousands of Gaelic speaking people in Scotland's Highland and Island regions. Thus it was that the British Government extended the Government Assisted Migrant System to enable Scots to leave their native land for the promising colonies. On March 13th. 1837 the first of the Government Assisted Migrant ships bound for Australia departed from Dundee. She was the 'John Barry', with 323 emigrants, and July she was followed by the 'William Nicoll', with a further 321 emigrants. In the three years 1837 to 1840 a total of twenty such ships sailed from Scotland with a total of some 5,263 people anxious to find a new life for their families.
Malcolm McKinnon came to Sydney on the third of these ships, the 414 ton barque 'Midlothian', under the command of Captain Morrison. On the ship there were 127 adults, with 129 children. They were attended by their own Presbyterian minister (i), Rev. William MacIntyre, who conducted public worship for the congregation in their native Gaelic language. Dr. R. Stewart, another Gaelic speaker also came as medical superintendent. During the voyage typhus and dysentery broke out, with the result 7 adults and 17 children died before they reached Sydney on December 12th. 1837. They had departed from Loch Snizort in Skye on August 8th., so the trip had lasted a long 127 days.
It was a Monday when the 'Midlothian' arrived in Sydney Town. At 6 p.m. on the following Sabbath the migrants, with other Highlanders of the town, assembled in Scots Church (ii), Church Hill to offer up prayers and Psalms of praise at the throne of the Almighty, for His guiding hand in bringing them safely to their new home. The service was conducted by Mr. MacIntyre in Gaelic (iii), and it is believed that this was the first time that the ancient language had been used for public worship in New South Wales.
The 'Midlothian' migrants claimed that they had been promised land grants in N.S.W., but authorities here had not been informed of any such promise by their masters in Britain. The Highlanders therefore memorialised the acting Governor, Colonel Kenneth Snodgrass, praying that they settled in a district where they could have a minister of their own persuasion and language. This proposal was not without opposition, as can be seen from two letters which appeared at the time in the Sydney Morning Herald (iv):-
"The public desires to know by what authority the Highland migrants, who latterly came out to New South Wales, have been treated so differently from any previous migrants? Where they have been maintained for so unusually long a period at the expense of the colonial taxpayers? Whether it is 1 that they have been supplied with working tools at public expense? Is the disposal of the Colonial Land Fund to be for ever made a job of, under every possible shape again, why are these Highland migrants allowed to settle in a body, any more than other emigrants? The colonists of N.S.W. who contributed to the Land Fund, do they pay their money for the purpose of forming a Highland settlement for sectarian purposes in some part of the interior. The pretence under which these emigrants are to be located together is that they may have their own clergyman over them... The public ought to recollect that the cost of carrying this Highland scheme has been defrayed, in a great measure, by the English Episcopalian and Irish Roman Catholic taxpaying colonists..." (Sydney Morning Herald, February 22nd., 1838).
"Clannishness...The minister who came out with them, instead of proceeding to the Hunter (River) where the greatest number of the highlanders are settled, is to remain in Sydney to perform Divine service at Scot's Chapel on Church Hill...they could receive the ordinances of their religion in the language of their forefathers, from the Rev. MacIntyre. In a late Colonist (v) it is stated that a deputation of Highlanders were sent down to the Hunter to inspect various farms and see which they would like to be settled on best...very few of these persons can speak English which is a great drawback to their usefulness as labourers...A Settler" (Sydney Morning Herald, March 5th.1838)
In his "Reminiscences of my Life & Times", the Rev. Dr. J.D. Lang, the first Presbyterian minister in N.S.W., records his account of the occasion:-
"The first of eighteen ships (vi) that carried out the four thousand Highlanders to Sydney and Melbourne, in consequence of the severe famine in the Highlands and Island of Scotland, was the 'Midlothian', which arrived in Sydney in the month of December, 1837, and of which I had succeeded in getting the Rev. William McIntyre A.M., appointed as chaplain, with the usual allowance for the passage and outfit. I had happened to reach Greenock by a steamer from England on a Sabbath morning, and found Mr. MacIntyre, with whom I was previously unacquainted, officiating for the day in a church (afterwards a Free Church) in the town. I then formed the highest opinion of Mr. McIntyre, who, I felt assured, would be one of the ablest and best ministers, as he certainly was. A single incident, however, had occurred in the case of the 'Midlothian'. Her passengers, who were all from the Isle of Skye, and had somehow supposed that the Colonial Government were bound not only to give them a free passage out, as they had actually done,but also to settle them on the land with their minister, refused to hire themselves as the various other immigrants of the period were doing to the colonial proprietors who were offering to engage them; remaining from week to week in the Immigration Barracks at the public expense. The Government had consequently to hold a meeting of the Executive Council on the subject, to which I, as the author of the movement at Home, and Mr. McIntyre, as the chaplain of the first ship, were both summoned to give evidence, as to whether the Imperial Government had given any such pledge was either asked or given; but the Government, rom a kindly feeling towards the Highlanders, agreed that any colonial proprietor should be willing to settle them in a body on his estate they would be allowed a passage at the public expense, either by land or water, to whatever part of the colony such proprietor might reside in,with rations from the Queen's stores for six months. The only proprietor, however, who offered to settle the Highlanders in a body on this estate, on terms mutually agreeable, was my brother, Mr. Andrew Lang, of Dunmore (vii), whither the Highlanders were forwarded according by steamboat, and received the rations promised; my mother, who was then alive and residing at Dunmore, showing the Highland women how to prepare the maize meal, which then formed a part of the colonial rations, but which they had never seen before".
Another account of the Highlanders move to the Hunter River district has been proved by the late Mr. Gordon Dennes, a man who was remarkably familiar with the people and their descendents:-
"Various proposals were made for the settlement of these memorialists. The first considered most eligible was that of Mr. Eales, of Hunter's River. The Skye-men decided to take no step in the dark. Two of their number were sent to the Hunter to examine the site of the proposed settlement and to report as to its suitability. The deputation found that Mr. Eales' land was subject to flooding. They then proceeded to Dunmore, Paterson River, the estate of Andrew Lang, another who had offered to locate them. The deputation recommended settling there.
"So much time had been consumed in delays that half the number of families had secured employment by this time. Twenty five families adhered to the original plan. They, with eight other families, totalling in all 162 individuals, proceeded to the Hunter River on January 23,1838, by the steamers Tamar and Sophie Jane. The names of the heads of the families who settled as tenants at Dunmore on that portion of the estate which was formerly owned by Mr. Standish Lawrence Hughes (viii) were:-
Angus Beaton; Donald Campbell; Donald Gillies; Alexander, Donald and John McAulay; Angus (2), Hector, John and Neil McDonald; John McIntosh; John McKay; Alexander and John McLeod; John, Malcolm, and Neil McKinnon (ix); Donald McMillan; Archibald McQueen; Alexander McRae; Angus, Donald and John McSwan; Donald Munro, and Donald McDonald, a bachelor.
The remaining eight families secured employment on the Hunter as follows -- William Cowan, Duncan McDonald, and Duncan McLennan, all at Hamilto (sic) Collins Sempill's; Lachlan Grant at Peter McIntyre's; Thomas Loch at J. McLaren's; Kenneth McCrimmon, blacksmith, at Messrs Hickey's; Donald McLeod, at Mr. Hardy's, Paterson River; and James Mark, at A.S. Wrightmen's, In referring to their final location 'The Sydney Gazette' published '... individuals compose the germ of this new Highland settlement, where it is probable the language of the Gael may form the medium of general communication for ages yet to come' (x).
Rev. W. McIntyre, while assistant at Scots Church, visited and preached occasionally in Gaelic on the Hunter until he accepted a call to West Maitland in October, 1840. Here he left his mark, both in the education and religious spheres. Sir Samuel Griffiths, First Chief Justice of Australia, wrote of him: 'On the whole he was a remarkable man, and his name deserves to be remembered as one of the foremost worthies of New South Wales" ('Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners' Advocate', Feb.18th.1939).
The 'Midlothian' records give the following information concerning Malcolm McKinnon and his family:-
Malcolm McKinnon, born Isle of Skye, a Carpenter, Presbyterian, very good character, certified by Donald Murray, Preacher of the Gospel - Isle of Skye'. Aged 35 years when he arrived. 'Good health' when he left for N.S.W.
Marian McKinnon, born on the Isle of Skye, the daughter of Roderick McLeod, and Ann Beaton. 'Character very good' certified by John McDonald, Minister Myngernish, Isle of Skye. 'Good health and strength', Presbyterian.
The list of the children is:-
Donald 13 years Mary 15 years
William 12 years Flora 9 years
Neil 6 years Euphemia 2 years
Roderick 4 years
(Note ship records listed the boys first)
We have no knowledge of the oldest child of this family. But since the first girl born of the parents was named 'Mary Ann Beaton McKinnon' we might assumed that the first Mary was then dead - perhaps she died on the ship 'Midlothian".
The full list of the whole family in correct order is as below:-
Malcolm's first wife was Euphemia McLeod, and she died in Skye. Their children were:-
Mary, baptised: Jan 26, 1822, Bracadale, Inverness. Parent married Feb 6th Feb 1821, Bracadale.
Donald, born 1824, died 1891, married Anne Cameron
William, born 1825, died 1886, Married Mary McLean.
Flora, born 1828, died Married McDonald and Emma Hawke.
Malcolm's second wife was Marian McLeod (Sarah on her death certificate) was said to be a cousin of Euphemia. We note that he first girl-child was named Euphemia.
Her children were:-
Roderick, born 1833, died 1914. Married Mary McDonald.
Euphemia, born 1836, died 1903. Married Angus Cameron and Thomas Waldron.
Malcolm, born 1838, died . Married Jane Horwood.
Mary Anne Beaton, born 1841, died 1934. Married William Allan.
John, born 1843, died 1914. Married Maria Janet Wilson.
Life for the large family could not have been easy in their new country. Malcolm was a carpenter by trade, and it is said that he combined this with boat building in his native Portree on Skye. But he lived as a farmer in Australia. As a tenant farmer at Dunmore it must have been a bare subsistence. Education would have been a difficulty for all of these children. On Dunmore there was a Presbyterian school and Rev. William McIntyre conducted a high school in Maitland, but there are no records to show where the McKinnon children were educated. Daughter Euphemia, who was born in Skye, married in 1869 by Rev. Alan McIntyre in Taree, she marked the marriage registry 'X'.
The oldest son, Donald became a seaman and spent some years in New Zealand waters. There are two family stories concerning his activities, one that he was engaged in the whaling industry, and the other story is that he was involved in one of the Maori was in New Zealand. From the few extant letters written during the 1850's and 60's there is no mention of those occupations, and his concern is only to purchase some farming land in New Zealand. Donald was still in that land when his father wrote him of his ill health and requested his son's immediate return to the family. This Donald did but we are not sure when. During 1852 Donald Married Anne Cameron in a Sydney Presbyterian Church (perhaps Scots in Jameson Street). The bride was a 16 year old New Zealand girl who is said to be in Sydney attending school. Donald certainly knew the girl from his own stay in New Zealand, but it is doubtful that a girl of sixteen would still be at school - there is evidence that neither Anne's mother or sister could write.
There is some doubt as to the ability of these Scottish people's ability to write. It may have been that the younger generation could not read the Gaelic of older family members, and therefore some correspondence was written by others in English. An important letter is the one written by Donald to his brother Roderick on behalf of his ill father:-
'Lorn Jany 1850
I received your letter about a week ago but got another from Mary McPherson. I am very glad you are well but I am very bad at present for 2 years back. Our wheat crop failed this last 2 years. William and Neil went to service at the beginning of the harvest and is out yet the farm was too large and we let off half. Mary McPherson is married to John McInnes and has got 3 children. Sarah McInnes married a man from New England about 3 years ago, on Christmas Day there was a man with us that came from Scotland last year has got a vessel and he said if you would come with him as mate he would give Â£1.10.0 per week. John McQueen of Sydney is dead. Hugh McLean the carpenter is going out of his senses and to put himself out of the way by drowning himself or to kill himself he was shaving himself in John Robinson's house the man went out Hugh shut the door and cut his thought (sic). John McLeod's daughter is in the family way (Isabella) by Donald McIntosh all your country men is coming on well.
Your mother is still the same way with the Bumetism. Wheat is from 5 to 6 shillings in Maitland corn from 3 to 3/6 per ...
No more at present come to see us soon if not soon it is likely you will see me alive I am very bad.
The man that stole my horses was taken to Bathurst and is in Maitland Gaol for trial.
We are all in hopes to see you soon and all your shipmates and old acquaintances is longing to see you all your schoolmates are unmarried yet John Matheron's brother Alexander got killed of a horse lately Alex Cameron went to New England shepherding.
I hope ill have no occation (sic) to write to you no more that will soon see yourself.
No more at present but my blessing be with you for ever to the last.
Written by your dear brother
Hugh McLean is not dead he was sent to hospital.'
Donald and his wife were certainly at home when their first child, Malcolm was born on February 16th, 1853 at Dunmore. The child was baptised at the Paterson Presbyterian church on March 27th by Rev. James B. Laughton. Then on May 4th 1855 another son, Hugh was born at Dunmore, and we note that the baptism was conducted at Maitland by rev. William Purves.
It is not clear what work was available for Donald in the Hunter district. According to a family tradition he spent some time in the goldfields soon after his marriage, and a piece of gold jewellery now owned by the Miles family represents his only finds. There is also firm proof that Donald at this time intended to return to New Zealand as a farmer.
News of the first in fact obviously went to the Cameron's in Auckland, and on November 11th 1853 Anne's mother and sister forwarded a letter in reply. This was written for them by Duncan (Dun) Campbell, who was known also as Malcolm McKinnon. That letter contains a high note of expectancy that the young McKinnon family would move to New Zealand. It was not however until June 5th 1858 that Donald sent money through the Taree bank manager to Mr. Duncan Campbell, Auckland. That sum was for Â£39.12.0 and in November Dun Campbell writes that a total of Â£70.0.0 had been received. He also reports 'that there is scarcely any good in the (land) market'.
By the end of 1860 Donald was most anxious about his money when he wrote to his brother-in-law, A. Alison (married to Peggy Cameron), a shipwright in Auckland. In reply dated February 4th 1861, Mr. Alison reports that Donald letter had been promptly delivered to Duncan Campbell, but that he had not heard from the man. By July there must have been other letters for in that month Donald received a letter directly from Duncan, in which he expresses concern that Donald would think he would be delaying the money. The fact was that Duncan had loaned the money to an unnamed party at interest, however that person 'in consequence of the war in New Zealand...got into difficulty' and the money was simply not available. 'You may depend on it' wrote Duncan, 'I shall use every effort to get your money for you', but goes to tell of others who had lost all in the Maori war. There was the case of Charles Cameron, Anne's brother, who two years earlier sold his NZ property for Â£2,000.0.0 moved to Twofold Bay and there 'lost all'.
About 1854 the family started moving north to the Manning River. William attended land sales held in Port Macquarie on February 1st 1854 and purchased 55 acres at Yaypo Brush (the Bight - near Wingham). He paid Â£64.8.0 for the block. In April of the same year William also purchased seven town blocks in the town of Tinonee - for these he paid various prices between Â£8.2.0 to Â£20.0.0. We have no knowledge that William ever built on any of these blocks. He sold the farm to William Bird, but by 1860 William has a business established at Redbank (Pampoolah), under the name of 'Balmoral House'. Impressive printed dockets were being used and several made out to his brother Donald are extant.
Donald and Anne, with their small children also moved to the Manning. At first they were farming on Taree Estate - either employed, or as a tenant farmer to Mr. Wynter. Then about the years 1860 to 1862 they moved to Nabiac to take up their own land, which became possible after the NSW Government passed the John Robertson Land Act of 1861. The land they selected was on the inside of a hairpin bend of the Wollamba River (Wallamba is the unofficial but popular name for the river). The name they selected for the property is 'Glen Ora', and continues in possession of a branch of the family. On the Land Department map three blocks of land were involved, one of 60 acres and two of 40 acres each.
The aged mother of the family, Marian McKinnon lived her last days with her youngest daughter, Mary Anne Beaton, who married William Allen a farmer of the Manning River. The young couple were married by the Church of England minister in Taree on September 1864, and may have been living on Oxley Island when on August 27th 1865, the mother died. She was aged 61 years and had been in the colony 27 years. When William registered her death at the Taree office he gave her name as 'Anne'. Also recorded there are the names of all her family with their ages at the time:-
Rod, 30 years
Malcolm, 27 years
John, 22 years
Euphemia, 28 years
Mary Ann Beaton, no age recorded.
A Tabulation of the Following Generation:-
Mary, Born 1822. Comment has already been made concerning this girl who may have died during the long journey to New South Wales.
Donald, born 1824, died April 21st 1891, 'after a protracted illness'; interred at Taree Estate. Donald married Anne Cameron, born 1836, and died suddenly in 1881; interred in Taree estate.
The children of Donald and Anne:-
Malcolm, born 10 p.m. Feb 16th 1853 at Dunmore; died of pneumonia aged 55 years in 1908; married Catherine Emily Brewer (1868-1942). They had ten children.
Catherine Anne (1888-1961); married Guildford Collins Reary Patterson; one child, Elizabeth Fife b 1916.
Norman (1889-1965); married Jean McLeod; two children, Marian Frances and Ann Myra.
Donald Henry (1890-1976); single.
Malcolm (1892-1975); married Elsie Blows; two children, Joan Catherine and Donald (1927-1929)
Hugh (1894-1952); married Elizabeth McMurray; four children, Frazer John (1921), Ronald Gordon (1923-1980), Murray Hugh (1928) and Jean Elizabeth (1932-1980)
Charles Cameron (1896-1980) married Florence Dorothy Maud Davis (1899); three children, Leslie Malcolm (1924), Ian Cameron (1927) and Charles Keith (1929)
Kenneth Clyde (1898-1977); married Gladys Holmes; three children, Neil, Malcolm and John.
Clare Elsie (1900); married Andrew Wardlaw, no children,
Emily (1903) single.
Alexander Neil (1907-1970) married Jean Davis; two children, Ross Alexander (1944) and Malcolm Joseph.
Hugh, born 10am May 4th 1855 at Dunmore; died 1930; interred at Nabiac. Single. During May 1874 was trained at Taree school as a teacher From June 1st 1874 to April 30th 1883 teacher at Redbank (Pampoolah) school. Commission agent in Sussex Street, Sydney. In 18991 he became NSW parliamentary member for the Hastings and Manning electorate. First President of the Manning Shire Council; held the position for three years. Shire councillor for twenty-two years.
Donald McLead [sic], born 9am April 19th 1857 at Taree Estate; died in Sydney 1922; married Sarah Jane Cox; lived in Randwick; Elder of the Presbyterian Church of NSW - Palmer Street congregation. Four children, Stanley (1990???), Douglas (1890), Leslie (1892-1916), Heather and Mavis.
Euphemia, born January 29th 1859; died December 6th 1915; interred Nabiac. Sewing teacher Redbank (Pampoolah) 8//2/1877, promoted for class 3/c to 3/b on 1/9/1878. Not in the service in 1885. Married Thomas Richard McCartney (1851) on January 10th 1883, by Rev. S.P. Stewart at Tinonee (first record in the register). Five children - Anne Cameron (1884-1955) born Tinonee; interred Nabiac; single; George Percy Eric (1885-1966), died in California; one girl child; Thomas Clyde (d 1974); Donald Raymond (b1889), died in Canada; Charles Alfred (1898-1945), single.
Charles William, born March 12th 1861; died 1940; farmed at Mooreland; married Catherine Taylor (widow of Allan McMaster), no children.
John; born April 28th 1863; died in infancy, said to be interred at 'Glen Ora' in an unmarked grave.
Maria Flora; born 10 a.m. October 23rd 1864 at 'Glen Ora'; died 1935; interred Nabiac; single
Anne; born February 12th 1867; died March 25th 1952; interred Forster; married Henry Miles (1862-1944); four children:- Annie Rose (1903), Henry (1905), Donald (1907), William Malcolm (1910).
Harriet Frances; born September 21st 1870, died August 25th 1948; interred Nabiac; single.
Mary Jane (Jean), born August 5th 1873, died July 16th 1948; interred Nabiac (beside Harriet).
Catherine Mary; born May 31st 1879, died 1962; married Eric Hugh Stuart McMaster (1881-1958); six children:- Catherine Anne (3/3/1913), Allan Stuart (21/4/1915), Elliot Eric (1917), Jean Edith (1918), Marian Maud (1919), Alison Flora (1922-1960).
William; born 1825 on Skye; died January 12th 1886; interred Wollongbar, Richmond River; married Mary McLean (1832-1901); no full list of children; John Lived in Lismore, later in Stanmore), Donald Hugh 9died 3 years, 5months 5th son), Mrs. W. Keay (or Grace Kay, wife of Dave Kay), James (died at 'Torwood' June 1st 1882 aged 8 years 8 months).
Flora; born 1828 on Skye; died 1904 at 'Glen Ora'; interred Nabiac; married James Wilks; lived for years on Oxley Island.
Neil; born 1831 on Skye; died on Richmond River; married a McDonald, and in 1874 married Emma Hawke (b. 1848); six children of the 1st wife:- Neil, Bell, Annie, Mary, Kate, Euphemia Anne (Mrs George Parker - 14 children).
Roderick; born April 1st 1833 on Skye; died August 29th 1914; married Mary McDonald (daughter of Kenneth McDonald, blacksmith) on August 12th 1856. Lived on the Manning, moving to Richmond in 1879. Farming at Portree, Bex [sic] Hill. Sic children:- Sarah (1857-1923) (mrs George Windsor); Catherine (1858-1939) (Mrs George Beattie of Tinonee); Malcolm (d. 1932 in Annandale); Roderick (186 -1936); Mary Isabella (Bella (1865-1952), single; Kenneth (1862-1944).
Euphemia; born 1835 on Skye; died 1903; interred Beechwood, near Wauchope; married Angus Cameron:- six children; Malcolm, William, Margaret, Angus, Hugh, Ewan. Aged 34 years she married Thomas Waldron at her home in Taree;- four children:- George, Roderick, James, Euphemia (Jane).
Malcolm: born 18838, 1st child of family born in NSW; died in Queensland; married Jane Horwood in Taree on August 14th 1862. Four children; Malcolm F. (1864-1962), lived on Clarence River), James (still alive about 1950 in Nambour Queensland), Sarah (1862-1934), Emily (b. 1868).
Mary Anne Beaton; born 1841; died 1934; married William Allan on September 21st 1864; four children Alexander (single), Neil Roderick (d.1937), Duncan, Jessie (1874-1944), married John Jasper Drew, a widower of Chatswood, who had five children of a previous marriage.
John; born 1843 on the Hunter; died July 7th 1914; interred Nabiac in unmarked grave; married Maria Janet Wilson; lived at Failford; six children:- Maria Janet (1864-1953), married William Gleeson of Failford; George Wilson (b. 1866) married Mary Ann Marshall, both school teachers; Sarah (b. 1869) married a Lyle; Flora Charlotte (b. 1874), married Fred Booth; Alice Kate (b. 1878), single, school teacher,; John , married Lucy McDonald, ten children.
Paper describing the immigration by Scottish people to Australia under the Government Assisted Migrant Scheme initiated by the British Government, and in particular that of the McKinnon family.
This paper was given to Stuart and Annette by Ross Cameron about 1984
There is evidence that this paper is based on well founded research, although there are some obvious errors.