Lachlan Robertson and Christina McKinnon


Lachlan Roberston was born c 1817 in Skye

Christina was born c 1819, the daughter of Archibald McKinnon and Mary ? McInnes. Archibald's parents were Lachlan and Mary ? McKinnes.


The couple resided at Strathaird Estate in the Parish of Strathaird, County Inverness.

Lachlan and Christina Robertson emigrated to Australia from Skye in Scotland. They sailed on the Georgiana from Glasgow on the 13th of July 1852, arriving in Geelong on the 16th October 1852. This was the first ship that carried crofters from Skye to Australia and would have been a miserable experience.

Lachlan's occupation was listed as shepherd. He was 35 and Christy was 30 when they emigrated with their children John (9), Alexander (7) and Margaret (4). However shipping records are not known to be accurate on dates of birth and ages. They were listed as Presbyterian. Lachlan could read and write, Christy could read only. There was no employment arranged for them on arrival.

According to the shipping records they were very poor and badly clothed. An article about this voyage noted that the passengers were clean!

Crofters and Emigration

There were 2,605 passengers on the boat. Twenty five families came from Strathaird, at a cost of approximately fifty pounds per family. The estate owners paid at least a third of this. There is a figure of twelve pounds and eighteen shillings and nineteen cents against the Robertson names.

In the 1850s many poor "crofters" left the plots in Skye that had been home for many generations. They went of their own free will because of starvation or were forced out by the chieftans and lords. Some owners even pulled down the cottages, or burnt them, to prevent them returning. Crofters were tenants on the clan chieftan's land. In the old days they were readily available to follow the chieftan to war, but those days were finished. The chieftans had accepted that the crofters could not always pay rent, and indeed, often had to feed them. But now there did not seem a good rational reason to continue to do so. Many lords were in financial difficulties (they tried to live the good life) and many wished to run sheep instead of people. The situation was complicated by the rise in population, and the potato famine was the final blow. People were destitute, starving, and could not pay the rent. Some crofters migrated to Australia.

Crofters were considered to be rather primitive, not using knives and forks or combs, not washing and living in dark smoky huts. In one article it was noted that the first boat load of people to leave for Australia were clean!

The crofters left in misery, their hearts broken as they sailed from their home. They took earth from the family graves and even the seaweed which was used as a fertiliser with them. As they left they wailed in anguish.

Many families migrated together and once in Australia made a success of their lives. Land was available and they were skilled in farming and hard working. Some wrote back to their friends urging them to follow. It is interesting to read how my ancestors fared in this land, buying farms, breeding racehorses and involving themselves in other interesting pursuits. They were a resourceful lot and made it good.


  1. J ohn Robertson 1843-1895 age 52
  2. Alexander Robertson 1845-1893 age 48
  3. Margaret Robertson 1848-1889 age 39
  4. Angus age 28
  5. Ewan c 1853
  6. Mary 1854
  7. Christina 1871


Christina died 2nd May 1902 at Minyip from senile decay aged 82 years.

Children of Lachlan and Christina

  1. John c 1843-1895: Born c 1843, he was was 9 when he came to Australia. On his mother’s death certificate he was 52 years old when he died, which means he died 1895.
  2. Alexander c 1845-1893: Born c 1845, he was 7 when he came to Australia. He was 48 when he died according to mother’s death certificate. Therefore he died c 1893
  3. Margaret c 1848 - 1889: Born at Strathaird, Isle of Skye, she was four when she came to Australia. She married Paul McKenzie in Mortlake on 3rd March 1869. Margaret died in childbirth aged 39 in 1889 after bearing 14 children – see McKenzie Robertson page for more information.
  4. Angus: Born after 1852 and was 24 years at time of his death on mother’s death certificate before 1902. Probably died around 1877
  5. Ewan: He was 48 years on mother’s death certificate 1902 which makes his birth c 1854
  6. Mary
  7. Christina: 31 years on mother’s death certificate in 1902 which makes her birth c 1871. This seems rather late - Christy would have been around 50.