Mackay Family Collection


8 July 2019 - 20 January 2020

The Mackay Family collection consists of a range of objects relating to Scottish pioneer Colin Campbell Mackay, his family in Scotland, and his wife Elizabeth Mackay and their family. It includes items brought from Scotland by Colin Campbell Mackay, including such traditional Scots items as a sporran and dirk that belonged to his father; firearms; photographs and other documents; an embroidered sampler; and exercise and textbooks used by the Campbell children.

Scottish settler Colin Campbell Mackay, who emigrated from Scotland to Queensland in 1847, is credited with being one of the party that discovered the Fitzroy River. The son of a military family, with his father a Colonel in the Black Watch regiment and uncles who had participated in key battles in the Crimean War, such as Alma and Inkerman, Colin Campbell Mackay began farming at Morinish, naming his house there 'Bighouse', after the family home in Scotland, and grew citrus and other fruit, and experimented with cotton growing. He continued this activity for 50 years until his death on 16 May 1924 at the age of 93 years and 9 months. His obituary in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin concluded:

Bighouse was a place of marked hospitality and welcome for visitors, and the deceased gentleman was well-known as a complete host of the well-known Scottish temperament. And so passes a stalwart representative of the Scottish race, a noted colonist, and a successful contender against the high barriers of vicissitude that was the pioneer's lot in the early days. The deepest sympathy in their bereavement will be felt for his widow, four daughters, and three sons who survive him.

His wife Elizabeth Mackay survived less than 10 months after her husband's death, passing away on 9 March 1924 at the age of 72 years. The Mackay Family Collection was originally displayed in the CC Mackay Memorial Hall at the John Knox Church at Wandal. The Church had been the chief beneficiary of the wills of the three elderly Mackay daughters, with the hall as the most visible evidence of these legacies. The Mackay Family Collection moved to Rockhampton Art Gallery in 2004.

Price: FREE
Where: Rockhampton Art Gallery
Parking: Victoria Parade or Bolsover Car Park behind the Gallery

Text courtesy Roslyn Russell, Rockhampton Art Gallery Significance Assessment of the Collection for the Community Heritage Grants Scheme, 24 April 2017, p. 19.