John Mackenzie (McKenzie) was born in Rogart, son of Donald Mackenzie and Elizabeth Murray. John was said to be a gamekeeper. John married Elizabeth Clark in Clyne on 28 May 1851 (SCR). Elizabeth was born at Sciberscross, Clyne, daughter of William Clark and Elizabeth Brown.
John and Elizabeth left on 14th July 1855 for Australia. They sailed to Australia aboard the ship ‘Balmaguith’ out of Portsmouth, England. According to ship records John gave his profession as shepherd, that he could read and write and that he was sponsored by Sir James McBain for whom he was to manage properties in Australia. With John and Elizabeth went their two year old son Hugh. During the journey to Australia their second child Janet was born on board. Also travelling with them were two sisters of John.
When Sir James McBain lost the lease of the lands on Wyuma Station, Victoria, in the early 1870s John with his eldest son Hugh selected 320 acres each where the town of St. Germains is today.
During his life at Wyuma, John was very involved in civic matters, being a magistrate, a member of the road board and having a seat on the Commission of peace. He was also a guardian under the Aboriginal Board. He was known to the local Aborigines as ‘Cash John’ due to his position on the board and his duties of distributing material and essentials to them.
John died suddenly in 1885. Elizabeth outlived him by several years. She spent many years in Geelong, Victoria, before she died in 1912 at the age of 90. They are buried in Echucha cemetery.
Their eldest son HUGH MACKENZIE born 13th December 1853 Rogart [died 4th August 1942] – “Hugh arrived in South Australia in 1855 when his father was appointed manager of Glencoe station in the Mount Gambier district; the family moved to (Sir) James MacBain's Wyuna station, near Kyabram, Victoria, in 1865. Educated at the Murchison local school and Scotch College, Melbourne, Hugh was an overseer at Wyuna from 1869 until the early 1870s. In 1877, with Laurence Kickham, he opened a profitable general store at Undera, south-east of Echuca. In 1878 Hugh married Margaret Jane Mitchell and they had six children. Following his marriage Hugh opened a livery stable at Echuca with his brother-in-law Edward Mitchell, but he soon joined J. M. Chanter in a stock and station agency. The Murray River Stock Station & Agency Co., formed by a merger in 1889, was forced into liquidation in 1892, but Mackenzie, undaunted, immediately joined the Echuca auctioneer, Thomas Copp, to form the Echuca stock and station agency, Mackenzie & Co. He, and later his sons, managed the business until its acquisition by Young husband Ltd in 1939. Hugh’s political life began in 1882 when he joined the Echuca Borough Council; he served fourteen years as councillor, with two terms as mayor (1883-84, 1903-04).
In 1904 he won the Legislative Assembly seat of Rodney as a Liberal and represented the electorate (usually polling about 70 per cent of the Echuca vote) until his defeat by the Victorian Farmers' Union candidate John Allan in 1917. He was president of the Board of Lands and Works and commissioner of crown lands and survey in the Murray and the Watt governments (1909-13) and minister of railways and of water supply and vice-president of the Board of Lands and Works in 1915-17 under Peacock. McKenzie was important in developing closer settlement policy. In May 1910 he headed an overseas mission in an attempt to attract 6000 settlers skilled in irrigation. Ironically, his defeat in November 1917 was largely caused by his steadfast support for the controversial clause 69 of the Closer Settlement Act (1912) which made title to the land conditional upon residence. In Echuca, however, it was widely considered that he had revealed 'true greatness' by sacrificing 'place and position for a principle'. Hugh's involvement in community affairs included membership of the Farmers & Citizens Trustee Co., Bendigo, the Echuca Agricultural Society, the board of management of the Echuca Presbyterian Church and the technical college council. A justice of the peace, he founded the Echuca branch of the Australian Natives' Association in 1886 and was a captain in the Echuca volunteer militia. He also served terms as president of the Echuca Gentlemen's Club, Fathers' Association and Hospital Board and as chief of the Caledonian Society. A tall, distinguished-looking man, Mackenzie was noted for his 'kindly, sympathetic and understanding nature'. When he died at Echuca on 4 August 1942 the town hall flag was flown at half mast while the town mourned the passing of its 'Grand Old Man'. Survived by three sons and a daughter, he was buried in Echuca cemetery”.
Winifred York, Cairns, Australia.