Monday, 23 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Milko!

Remember that 1902 dairy cart or milk cart that I suggested you keep in the back of your head yesterday? Scroll down and have a squizz. This week I want to natter to you about the MacKenzie Family, who ran the Waverley Dairy from about 1880 to about 1920. Remember the Royal Hotel Bondi that I posted on Sunday? That was just across from where they penned their bulls. They had a herd of about 200 milkers. And bulls named Jimmy which kept winning prizes at the Royal Easter Show.

Look on the Google Map down below. The red marker is the bull pen, now charge off down the hill (its quite a rise) down down down to Marks Park, overlooking Bondi Beach and the Pacific Ocean. This is the path they took each day, after milking, down to the grazing land on the point. Much of this area was not subdivided at this stage, not about until the turn of the century did that happen. Even as late as 1908, the MacKenzies' lent the newly formed Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club a stable to hold its gear.

So, who were the MacKenzies? Alexander Kenneth came out with his parents, John Piper MacKenzie and Elizabeth (who are also buried under this memorial), in 1822 and settled in the Bathurst area. Alexander married Mary Ingram (her mother is here, too) who came out from Essex in 1851. Together they had four sons and two daughters. And set up a dairy, as one does. They had a really good contract to supply milk to the Sydney Hospital. Plus, they had all that land, some of which they acquired from a chap called Graham who had bought it in 1854 during the first carve up of the Tamarama Gully by the Fletcher family.

Now, the sad thing is that Alexander Kenneth died in 1884 when he was riding in a mail coach between Taree and Port Macquarie when the horses became upset and the coach tipped. When I first read this, I got a massive sense of deja-vu. Remember that other bloke I posted about who died when a burning log fell on his mail coach. This be a mere coincidence. Relax! He was killed instantly as was the local school teacher who left 9 children. The coach was smashed to smithereens - but the mail got through. You can get the flavour in this report from the SMH of 9th January 1884.

Mary MacKenzie lived on through the heyday of the Waverley Dairy which one of her sons managed. The family made its way into the mercantile world of a burgeoning greater Sydney. She died in 1917, which left the family free to flog off the rest of the farm lands. She breathed her last in her home, 'Boonara' in Watson Street, beside her son Frederick who lived in 'Gaerloch'. Both these gracious Scottish names grace streets in Bondi. The point on which Marks Park stands is named MacKenzie Point.


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This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

16 comments:

Julie said...

See that photo of the cows coming back for milking? Notice that they are walking along tram tracks. The Bondi Road hill was too steep for the trams, so the tramway turned off Bondi Road at Denham Street, wound down around where Fletcher Street now is, into Rowlands Ave and under Bondi Road to ease its way into Campbell Parade and along the beach front. The tramways easement was sold off to developers. This is easy enough to see using Google Satellite.

Kay L. Davies said...

Of particular interest to me are the names, Julie, because my mother was a MacKenzie. The first photo shows "Alexander Kenneth MacKenzie" and I have an old photo right here beside me of my grandfather as a baby with his two sisters and five brothers. One of the brothers is Alexander and one is Kenneth.
Ah, those Highlanders, populating the farflung outposts of Empire.
K

TheChieftess said...

Charming history lesson!!!

VioletSky said...

That seems to be quite a hike for those cows and their handlers.
You have done a lot of work putting all this into perspective for us (the research probably helped you put everything in perspective, too!)

Mark said...

Wonderful research Julie.

Sondra said...

WELL i guess that whole mail cart stuff freaked you out a bit eh? Thats really going postal!
Great story of the Dairy and family behind it! The cows are so smart they know the way without much help!!

Jim said...

Fascinating bit of history there.

Jane Bennett Artist said...

A wonderful bit of research unearthing a fascinating s!tory

The Paw Relations said...

What a fascinating post! Poor Alexander.

Herding Cats

http://seathreepeeo.blogspot.co.uk

Julie said...

Sitting through a tiresome train trip today, I thought that I need to tell you all something. The germination of this story ...

My grand-daughter loves the book 'Hairy McLarey from Donaldson's Dairy', and I got to wondering what Kiwi's meant by 'dairy', only to find that they really meant 'milk-bar'. During my squirreling around for this little nugget, I chanced upon a research article sponsored by Waverley Council in Sydney about dairies in their municipality. I thought I would do a post sometime ... when the time was right. Another blogger friend collects photos of 'Royal Hotels' so I went down to shoot that, reread the story, to find that the grave of AK MacKenzie was Waverley Cemetery Section 1, plot 125. Bingo ... the story now had legs.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I am totally in awe of your research skills Julie, such a complete picture you've given us over the last three posts in words and images, such a treat to read.

Steffe said...

You sure are a great historian Julie.

NixBlog said...

Fascinating post, Julie!

CaT said...

interesting.
i like on the stone "wife of the above". hahahaha.
thats also a nice design. with each death a block is put on top of the previous one, or didnt it work like that? if not, maybe i can patent it, it looks nice in that way... :)

Dina said...

Julie the sleuth!
I'll have to look for that kids' book for my grandkids (whose very street I see on your Bondi map!).

Joan Elizabeth said...

I find it so hard to comprehend the changes over time. I remember an older person visiting us at our apartment in Crows Nest saying that the houses to the side of us were built over a garbage tip that was there when he was a kid. I was gob smacked. I am gob smacked at this post too ... cows walking along the tram line.