Kenneth McKenzie and Jessie (Janet) McPherson


Kenneth McKenzie was born 1808, the son of John, a crofter, agricultural labourer and farmer in Skye, and Margaret MacGillivray. His known siblings are list below.

Jessie McPherson was born circa 1808, the daughter of Paul McPherson.


Kenneth and Janet married at Broadford, Skye in Scotland on the 29th November 1832. The family lived on Lord MacDonald's Estate in Breakish, Strathaird Parish, County Inverness, but were dispossed in May. Below is a picture of the updated McKenzie house and another that was rented by an in-law at Breakish, Skye.


The McKenzies set out for Australia on the Hercules on 26th December 1852. They were a poor family and badly clothed, according to the ship records. They were sponsored from the Highland and Island Emigration Society emigrants and the passage cost £22-15-4

The ship however only got as far as Cork, Ireland. An article in The Cork Examiner March 4th 1853 informs that by March the 4th, the ship had entered the harbour at Queenstown, with many people suffering from fever and smallpox. The fever was probably Yellow Fever. There was an epidemic in 1853, mostly in America where thousands died, but there were some outbreaks in Europe (the disease came via ships from Havana).

It was proposed that fever sufferers were to be moved to a Bulk close by the Hercules, small pox victims were to be moved to Haulbowline Island, and those recovering or unnafected were to be found accommodation in fever sheds in Monkstown, or moved to the military hospital in Queenstown. Sentries would ensure there was no communication with Queenstown inhabitants. Effects were to be burned or fumigated at Rat island. This was met with strong opposition from Queenstown inhabitants, who had experienced negative effects before with other ships. Apparently the ship turned back.

The family later sailed on the 21st June 1853 from Liverpool aboard the The British ship “Charles”. This ship's Port of register was Liverpool, England, it was 1074 tons and was carrying coals from Liverpool to Australia. It had a crew of forty-two under the command of its master, James Campbell.

Both were aged 42 years when they arrived at Hobsons Bay, Victoria on the 3rd October 1853. With them were their family: John, a labourer aged 19, Catherine 17, John 11, Paul 9 and Marion 3. They were Presbyterian.

Kenneth went to work for Mr Chirnside of the Geelong district, and for 12 months he received £130 without rations. John also worked on the Chirnside's Werribee Estate until about five years later when he went to work for his father who had taken up land at the You Yangs.

The family settled at Mortlake in the county of Hampden. Mortlake was named after a place in Surry and was probably given by Thomas Anderson, an overseer 1838 - 1840, or surveyors Tyers and Townsend.

Once in Australia the a was dropped out of Mackenzie.

Siblings of Kenneth McKenzie

  1. Ann 1800 - 1856, died at Breaksih, Skye, twin to (Rory) Roderick
  2. Roderick (Rory) 1800 - 1862, died at Breaksih, Skye, twin to Ann
  3. Kenneth born 1808 (our Kenneth who married Jessie)
  4. Margaret born 1811, married Martin Robertson and migrated to Australia 1852 aboard the Georgiana
  5. Donald born 1813 and married Christy. At the age of 38 he migrated to Australia with his wife Christy (35) and children Mary (13), Donald (10), Mary (8) and Ann (5). They sailed on the Hercules, arriving in Australia in August 1852. They had been disposessed of their croft on Lord MacDonald's estage in May. Donald had been employed at the fishing for a few months. They were a poor family. The passage cost £17-2-10.

Children of Kenneth and Jessie

  1. John 1835-1929 age aprox 94
  2. Catherine 1837
  3. Jocky John 1841-1902 age aprox 61
  4. Paul 1843-1914 age aprox 71
  5. Marion 1847-1926 age aprox 79

See more on the McKenzie Children


Kenneth died at Mortlake 18th March 1897 aged 88.

Janet died 22nd May 1897 age 92. There seems to be some discrepancies re ages and dates. They are both buried at Mortlake.