A detailed account of the life of Edward Hector MacKay 2nd.
The photograph on the left was taken on the day of his Marriage to Mary Roscoe and on the right much later in their lives. Please click on the images to view an enlargement.
Edward Hector MacKay 2nd was the eldest son of Edward Hector MacKay 1st and Rebecca Forsdyke and was born in the barracks at Colchester in Essex, on 17th December 1864, where his Father was stationed. Although at birth he was registered with the MacKay spelling of his surname, as an adult, records show that he mainly used the McKay spelling.
The first record for him is the 1871 Census which shows him living with his Parents and siblings in Alma Road, East Retford, Northamptonshire as a 6 year old Scholar and where his Father worked as a Railway Guard following his discharge from the Army. His next and final appearance on a Census in the UK is the one for 1881 in Walton le Soken in Essex when he was recorded as an 'Apprentice at the Foundry' at the age of 16 years. His Father had clearly been instrumental in gaining the Apprenticeship for his son as he was then employed as a 'Store-keeper at the Foundry'. He had started the Apprenticeship at the age of 12 in the nearby town of Walton-on-the-Naze with the manufacturers of the famous 'Big Ben' bell, J. Warner and Sons.
Before completing his Apprenticeship, he decided to follow in his Father's foot-steps and join the Army, only to find that he was forced to fulfil the apprenticeship agreement at the foundry. Having done so, he then decided at the age of 21 to emigrate to Australia, however we have no idea as to what prompted him to make this decision. He departed on the S.S. Roma, (see image in 'Gallery'), and arrived at Brisbane in Australia on the 19th May 1886 where he worked with engineering firms for 2 years. In February 1888, he commenced work as a Turner with the engineering firm of Burns and Twigg Limited in Rockhampton, Queensland, a job that he held continuously for 62 years. About 2 years after his arrival he married Mary Roscoe in the Baptist Church in Denison Street, Rockhampton on the 24th December 1889 and it was there that the couple settled and raised their family of 8 children. Annie Rebecca born in 1892, Edward John in 1895, Florence Helen in 1897, Doris May in 1900, Thomas Roscoe in 1905, Evelyn Ruth in 1907, Donald Hector in 1909 and William George in 1911.
I have found references to him on the Electoral Registers for the years 1903, 1905, 1908, 1913, 1919, 1925, 1930, 1936 and 1937. Up to 1919, the family lived at No. 409 Campbell Street, Rockhampton, following which they moved the short distance to No. 413 Campbell Street presumably requiring more room as the family grew.
Edward Hector became a non-conformist lay-preacher and conducted religious and educational classes for the Chinese in Rockhampton and the Pacific Islanders at Farnborough and at the Sandhills. The 'Islander Groups', as they were apparently known locally, much revered him for his work amongst them. They were groups of labourers brought in from Pacific Islands during the 19th and 20th Centuries to work on the sugar-cane and tropical fruit plantations. Some were legal workers whilst others were illegal. The most imfamous group were the Kanakas who were 'on contract' for a specified period. Many did not or could not return home and ended up forming their own settlements or ghettoes in larger towns. Many had a religious upbringing due to the work of Missionaries in the 19th Century. Edward Hector befriended these groups around Rockhampton, cycling out to their settlements to conduct services. He was well respected by the people and recognised in the community for his work amongst them. During my research, I found a web-site that listed all of the people called before the Queensland Government Committees during the period 1902 to 1920. Edward Hector is listed in connection with his work with the 'Pacific Islanders', but unfortunately, no information was available in regard to the Committee findings.
An Internet search for 'Burns and Twigg Limited' showed that they were now part of Queensland Windows in Rockhampton, so I e-mailed them on the off-chance that they still retained some employment records for Edward Hector. I received a reply to say that they had found records showing that Edward Hector had purchased 12 Shares in the company in 1911 and they kindly e-mailed copies of the documents to me. They consisted of 8 pages which included the original Share Certificate, the Transfer Certificate to his wife Mary following his death and the subsequent transfer to their daughter, Evelyn Ruth McKay in 1945.
After an illness of nearly 6 months, Edward Hector passed away in Rockhampton on 31st March 1940 at the age of 75 years. An Obituary was published in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on Tuesday 2nd April 1940 which recorded some of the above information. The last 2 paragraphs read as follows:
"Standing 6ft 4ins in height and passessed of a well-groomed white beard, Mr McKay was a conspicuous and popular personage in the foundry at Burns and Twigg".
"The deceased is survived by his wife, four sons, Edward and Donald (Rockhampton), Thomas (Cairns) and William (Balcardine), and his three daughters, Mrs D. Moodie (Murgon), Mrs G. W. Fletcher and Miss Evelyn (Rockhampton). There are seventeen grand children".
The files below show the original Share Certificate from Burns and Twigg, the newspaper clipping and transcript of his Obituary and the Funeral and Death Notices from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin for Edward Hector and his Wife Mary.