Walter Frank Mackie

Sep 5, 2014 by

Walter Frank Mackie

One hundred years ago today, young Walter Mackie walked onto the Lang Lang football field ready to face the visiting Koo Wee Rup team.

Walter Frank Mackie had been born in 1886 to parents James and Ann Mackie at Newstead. In1908 at just 22 years of age he married 19 year old Jane McCaw Rodda from Yandoit and in that same year Walter Frank Mackie junior was born. Two years later Cecil Frank arrived in 1910, in 1912 Ivy May arrived and 1914 saw the arrival of their last child Raymond John. The first three children’s births were registered at Newstead; Raymond’s birth was registered at Castlemaine. Perhaps Jane had gone home to family for the baby’s birth; Walter had remained at French Island.

Walter and Jane were living on French Island where Walter was working as a staff member at the French Island afforestation camp, perhaps better known as the McLeod Prison Farm, when Raymond was born. Walter had recently joined the Lang Lang Football Club. He was described as a “popular player who in a game played nothing but the ball”. In the first quarter Walter played at half forward, apparently very effectively. Walter was roving in the second quarter but half way through the quarter he seemed to stop following the ball and he stood for a moment before falling to the ground. It was an exciting game, his team mates thought he was just winded and left him to the care of the spectators who carried him from the field. When the gravity of Walter’s situation was realised the game was stopped immediately and although everything possible was said to have been done Walter died and was taken from the ground with his horrified team mates following slowly behind.

A report of the match in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal on 10 September described Walter as “a great favourite with his club mates and the general public for his manly qualities and fair play”. It went on to say that Walter was well known in Frankston and Hastings where Walter’s brother Len lived. Walter had been warned three years earlier that his heart was weak and could not stand the strain or excitement of the game.
Walter had died from heart failure while Jane was in Castlemaine Hospital with baby Raymond who was only a few days old. We’re not sure if Jane attended Walter’s funeral on the Tuesday after his death, the newspapers don’t tell us, the Lang Lang Guardian tells us that the team placed a beautiful wreath on the grave and instigated a fund to assist Walter’s family. By the 10th September the club had collected £20, and businesses in Lang Lang owed money by Walter and Jane had wiped the slates clean.

Lang Lang GuardianThe football association pledged the money normally given to the premier team to the fund and agreed to charge an extra shilling for admission to the finals matches, all of which would be donated to the fund. The Lang Lang Footballers’ Benefit Ball was held in the Lang Lang Hall on Friday 18 September and the gentlemen paid 5 shillings to attend, the ladies were asked to “provide” – the ad doesn’t say what exactly but we’re thinking it was supper! The Lang Lang Guardian of 30 September tells us that the ball raised the satisfactory amount of £8.8.0

Jane married Samuel Brain and had another child, Norman Roy. Jane and Samuel lived in Castlemaine, Jane died there in 1945 at the age of 56. Samuel had died fifteen years earlier in 1930. Walter is buried in an unmarked grave at Lang Lang Cemetery.

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Jul 28, 2012 by

I got up this morning and looked out the window to a day that looked a little damp but was still filled with the promise of completing those jobs, of getting things done. But then I found Historypin and now I can’t even remember what those inconsequential plans were for today!

Do you ever find something really good and wonder if you’re the only person who didn’t know about it? That’s how I feel right now. I’m thinking to myself, if this thing is so good, how come I haven’t come across it before now? So, honestly, I’ve decided that as we’re now into our second day of National Family History Week, it’s my solemn duty to fully investigate this potential new avenue for family historians and post about it so that others may find it too. Well, that’s my excuse for not getting anything else done this morning and I’m sticking to it!

So what is Historypin exactly? Well, it’s an interactive map of the world that people and organisations are pinning pictures and audio and video files to. You can search for a particular place or you can browse, and that’s probably where you’ll get into trouble. I started looking at a picture of people dressed in fancy dress in 1908 in a  Koo Wee Rup farmyard, hopped over to Berwick and looked at the last plane to leave Casey Airfield in 1994, detoured to St. Arnaud c1895 to two men digging a dam with a woman watching in the background. After I while I ended up at Clifton’s Shop c1890s in High Street, West Bromich, took a quick trip to see the John Heath monument in St Giles’ Church in Durham and headed for Main Street, Cowie (near Bannockburn) in the early 1900s.

And I’ve got to tell the truth and say that that’s not all, as a song once said “I’ve been everywhere man” and I’m exhausted!

This short video from Youtube explains it (sort of) in 90 seconds. Click on the arrow to make it play.

More is written about Historypin on the Bright Ideas blog, their guide to Historypin is well worth a look.

But, you will just have to be brave and jump right in – Historypin – if we don’t hear from you in a couple of days we’ll send out a search party.

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AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 11 May 1886

May 11, 2012 by

Arose at 6.30. There was a grand Ball continuing until the early hour of morning. Having arrived at Port Adelaide we disembarked. Our friends Messrs Leonard & Bailey were waiting our arrival so we had no trouble.  We went to the Cafe booked beds for a few nights. Had a splendid meal for 6p a head afterwards a short stroll into the town. Feeling fatigued we returned to the Cafe and partook of a luxury of a soft bed. Next morning after breakfast I got a daily paper and having examined the advertisements immediately claimed a ‘Billet’ .

So I must then conclude the story of my voyage and trust to remain yours ever.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia May 17th 1886 – AB Steele

*And so our story ends, the entry for the 11th May is the last in the journal. The journal is concluded and signed 17th May. There is no information on how AB Steele got to Melbourne by the 17th May, perhaps because there is no more paper left in the journal! Or perhaps, there was much to do and little time to write about it. Either way, we hope that you have enjoyed the journey 126 years on with us.

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AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 10 May 1886

May 10, 2012 by

Arose at 7 am. The sailors have been busy getting up some of the luggage which they have separated for each Port which will give the passengers but little trouble on disembarking. We expect to arrive at Adelaide tomorrow.

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AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 8 May 1886

May 8, 2012 by

Arose at 7 am. We passed our Sister Ship “Heria” who signalled to us as we passed. Saw the Australian Coast about 9.30 which was a very welcome sight. We have three days sailing before reaching Adelaide.

Distance 290 miles.

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AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 7 May 1886

May 7, 2012 by

Had a dance on deck this evening.

Distance 281 miles.

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