In 1852, grandchildren of James and Janet MacKay of Rossal (Rogart,
Sutherland, Scotland), left their homes in Pictou County
to emigrate to Australia aboard the barque Aurora. They included:
Angus MacKay and wife Janet Murray, their 3 month old son
Angus Campbell and wife Jane MacKay, their infant daughter
Simon Fraser of Hopewell area of Pictou County
was also on the Aurora, then only 20 years of age. His grandson was a
recent Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser.
When the ship stopped at Cape of Good Hope, the passengers mailed letters
back home to Pictou County. Typhoid fever
came on the ship at the Cape of Good Hope, in the interchange with local
people and loading of new supplies for the remainder of the voyage. Jane
MacKay Campbell nursed the passengers faithfully. Only one life was lost
during the voyage, and they arrived safely in Melbourne in March 1853.
Before the end of April, Jane and her (then) 10 1/2 month old nephew feel
victims to the dread disease, and died. Their tombstones, in the Old
Pioneer Cemetery in Melbourne, show "Native of Pictou" in the
It was the time of the gold rush in Australia, which drew many emigrants
to the developing colony. After five years, Angus Campbell met and
married Bertha Bailey; in 1990, their great-grandson returned to Nova
Scotia to visit cousins, the graves of his ancestors and the areas where
they once lived.
Angus MacKay worked in building roads, bridges and railway lines in
Australia and New Zealand. He finally settled with his family in
Dannevirke, New Zealand, where he became the
first mayor of the newly founded town. A plague in memory of
Angus and Janet MacKay remains in the
Presbyterian Church near his home; his picture appears in the historical
accounts of that church. Letters he wrote to his family in Nova Scotia
still survive, and include newspaper clippings of an article featuring
We are still searching for any descendants of their only daughter, who
married Samuel E. Luxford and moved with him to Awapuni, now a suburb of
Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Janet MacKay, B.R.E., B.Sc.
Principal, MacKay Research Associates: Research Specialties:
Nova Scotia History
Scottish Heritage in Nova Scotia
Genealogy of Nova Scotia Scots
Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada)
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