first born child & eldest daughter Jane McLachlan was baptized on the 18th
November 1850 in West Maitland NSW while her parents were at the Scottish
settlement of Williams River. Her parents were Daniel McLachlan
(1825-1882) & Jane McPherson (1827-1871), both from Scotland. Jane
McLachlan gained the name of "Jane" in honour of her maternal family
history, her own mother, her maternal grandmother & her maternal great
grandmother and so on.
Jane McLachlan McDonald & dau Jean McDonald
Blackwell - circa 1910
When Jane was a wee toddler, who still needed at times to
be carried by one of her parents, her parents & she travelled by wagonette
or something similar into the Bathurst area where the family settled on
the farming property of "Sorn Bank".
Soon Jane McLachlan was beginning her "apprenticeship"
to her mother in the awareness, observation, imitation, understanding &
finally expertise in the multi-faceted role of mother's household help &
nursery maid/governess. She was to help first with her eldest brother,
Daniel born 1852. When the sixth child & fifth daughter, Barbara, was
born in 1860, Jane McLachlan gained the job of lifelong carer of this
little lassie, as Barbara was an invalid all her life.
On the date of the family tragedy that occurred on the 12th
September in 1871, Jane McLachlan assumed the major duties of the
McLachlan household & children. The intensely strong bond that had been
forged between the mother & daughter held Jane to that responsibility. As
well as that Jane then became the right hand person to her father in
matters relating to the inn.
Family of Andrew McDonald & wife Iris &
daughters Jane & Evelyn
On the 6th January 1875, Jane McLachlan married Andrew
McDonald, a gold miner of Mitchell's Creek, at the manse of the old St
Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Bathurst with Reverend A. Constable
Geikie D.D. (later L.L.D.) officiating. Immediately they set off for the
gold fields of Trunkey Creek near Blayney further west in New South Wales.
Andrew McDonald was the son of Alexander McDonald &
Elizabeth McKinnon. He had at least two brothers, Robert & Alexander
McDonald. Robert died in 1874; & Andrew was noted as the undertaker.
Similarly he had been involved in 1871, with the burial of Jane's mother
at Meadow Flat cemetery. He seems to have been a very caring empathetic
In 1875, the goldfields at Trunkey Creek were "booming".
Thus, after their marriage, the couple travelled with Alexander
McDonald, Andrew's brother, & Alexander's wife & family to the mines of
Trunkey Creek. Barbara McLachlan, Jane's invalid sister & special
responsibility, was with them also.
While in Trunkey Creek, the eldest child, a son, Robert
McDonald was born 1875. This son received the name of "Robert " in
honour of Andrew's brother who had passed away in 1874 at Mitchell's
Creek. In all probability, the name of :"Robert" was impressed in the
McKinnon-McDonald ancestry of Jane McLachlan's husband, Andrew McDonald.
At Trunkey Creek, however, two sad events occurred. They
were the deaths of Jane's sister, Barbara McLachlan, only fifteen years
old, in 1876, & the young couple's second child in 1877. These two
persons are probably buried out in the bushland near the miners' cottages
of that pioneering Day.
Thankfully, brightness glowed again at Trunkey Creek in
1878, when the couple's first & one & only daughter, was born. The
little girl was given the name of "Jean" another form of "Jane". Thus
this name was of the greatest symbolism in the maternal ancestry of the
mother, Jane McLachlan. Her mother was Jane McPherson, her maternal
grandmother, was Jean Wagstaff & one of her maternal great grandmothers
was Jean Brown, & so on.
The little girl, Jean McDonald, was to grow to be even
more of a strong & capable "right hand" to her own mother than Jane
McLachlan had been to her mother, Jane McPherson. This was to happen due
to the fact that Jean McDonald was to be the "one & only" daughter of the
McLachlan-McDonald household. Also it is able to be imagined that she was
very special in the eyes especially of her own father, Andrew McDonald
being as she was his --- "one & only" daughter
About the year 1879, the little family parted company with
the Alexander McDonald family & journeyed to the central coast area of
Port Stephens near Newcastle, where the coal mines were "booming". Here
Andrew McDonald was involved in mining the coal of the area.
While at Port Stephens, the next child, Duncan Alexander
McDonald was probably born as his name appears in the registration of Port
Stephens in 1880. The second son received the first name of "Duncan" in
honour of Jane's maternal grandfather & many of the name "Duncan
McPherson" before that. "Alexander" was in honour of his paternal
grandfather & of the multitude of "Alexander McDonald" previously.
The McLachlan-McDonald family was in the Port Stephens area
for about ten years. By the year 1889, they were at Coopernook, near
Taree, NSW, where Andrew McDonald was the bridgekeeper at the Manning
River, the contract for which was probably facilitated by part of Jane's
portion from her father's estate. Certainly it is known that Andrew
McDonald, on his wife's behalf, went on the errand to the Molong area to
collect Jane's financial portion of the Daniel McLachlan - "Avondale"
It was at Coopernook, in the year, 1889, that the couple's
third son & last child was born. He was called Andrew McDonald, in honour
of his father; & it may be anticipated very many of that name combination,
Jane McLachlan continued some of the aspirations of her
father. Particularly was she a great believer in the importance of
education, to such a degree that Andrew, Jane's last child, was to become
a respected -- "Inspector of Schools" with the NSW Department of
Education during the early decades of the twentieth century; & especially
after World War One.
Jane nee McLachlan McDonald also considered that the
Presbyterian Protestant form of the Christian religion pointing back to
the Scottish Covenanting Movement was the superior form of Christianity
--- "salt of the earth" ... variety. As time went by this zealousness has
been being gradually "watered down" in this increasingly secular society
of late twentieth century & early twenty first century Australia.
Not only was Andrew McDonald, Jane's youngest son, a
significant person in the NSW Dept of Education, but so also was Jane's
second son, Duncan Alexander McDonald. Duncan taught in several of the
rural NSW schools of the Day.
Sons of Jane McLachlan McDonald - Robert eld &
In his last working years, when he was living at
Strathfield a suburb of Sydney, on the south side of the Harbour, Duncan
McDonald was involved with proceedings of the Far West Holiday Education
venue, at Manly NSW. (This was & is for children to have a beneficial
vacation while being involved with their general school learning
education.) These children principally come to the centre from homes
situated in the difficult dry dusty & often inhospitable "far west" area
of the state of New South Wales.
These two sons, Duncan Alexander McDonald & Andrew McDonald
were most worthwhile persons of the then fledgling NSW Department of
Education. The eldest son, Robert, became a successful hotel keeper,
widely recognized for his geniality & capability.
Robert McDonald "ran" hotels in far south western
locations such as Jerilderie; but also Robertson in the Kangaroo Valley
of the Southern Highlands. There was a very strong brotherhood bond
between Robert & his youngest brother, Andrew McDonald that continued
throughout their lives.
The only daughter, Jean, was a most attractive, slim &
most dignified young lady, whom her mother had brought up as a lady of
virtuous character, & married a very successful & most generous &
humanitarian gentleman, by name, Dick (Richard Edward) Blackwell. Jean
was to be her mother's most caring, efficient & ever-obedient
"servant" as her mother grew older .
Nevertheless, it was her sons, & especially Duncan
McDonald, that Jane nee McLachlan McDonald, seemed to prefer. Such were
the ways of the times... male children represented success & status in
Jane's daughter, Jean McDonald, had married Dick Blackwell
in 1899. The marriage was registered at Marrickville, a suburb of Sydney.
Their three children, Richard Keith, Jean Evelyn (known as Evelyn) & Colin
Bruce Blackwell were born in 1901, 1906 & 1912 respectively, all in the
area of Sydney NSW.
Jane's eldest son, Robert McDonald, had married Minnie
Brown in 1901, at Haymarket, an inner suburb of Sydney. Their first
daughter, Minnie Doris (known as Dorothy & often abbreviated to "Dot"),
was born in 1902, in Sydney.
Their twin daughters, Flora Jean & Rose Kathleen in 1905,
were born in the south western rural town, Murrumburrah. A son, Roy,
was born to the couple in 1907 but he died almost immediately. Sadly
also, the twin daughters, Flora & Rose, each died of tuberculosis, in
1914 & 1919 respectively. Minnie nee Brown McDonald died of tuberculosis,
in 1909, at Goulburn, a south west rural town of NSW.
Robert married for the second time, to Hilda Drayton in
1911. The marriage was registered at Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney.
There was to be no offspring from this union.
The second son, Duncan Alexander McDonald, had married
Deborah Eliza Collett, at the southern rural town of Queanbeyan, New
South Wales, in 1905. The meeting of Duncan & Deborah had happened while
Duncan was a teacher in the Queanbeyan district. They had four
daughters, Dorothy R. J. , Thelma E.P., Muriel L.M. & Joyce N. M.
McDonald, also one son, Kevin Alexander McDonald. These were all born
prior to the demise of Jane nee McLachlan McDonald in 1933.
Although Jane's third son, Andrew, would marry in 1936, &
have two bonny daughters, this did not occur until some years after
His wife- to- be would be Iris May Gunning. Their daughters
would be called Janet Oldham McDonald born 1936 & Evelyn Manning
McDonald, born 1939.
After the death of her husband, in 1910 at Coopernook near
Taree NSW, Jane nee McLachlan McDonald took turns at living with her
daughter, Jean nee McDonald Blackwell, in the Sydney area; or her eldest
son, Robert McDonald, firstly in country areas such as - Jerilderie, in
the south west rural region; & Robertson in the Southern Highlands area
of New South Wales.
In 1916 Jane's son, Andrew McDonald, enlisted with the
Australian Imperial Force during World War One. Jane nee McLachlan
McDonald, Andrew's mother, was mentioned on his military papers as his
"next-of-kin". Andrew McDonald served in France as a gunner. He arrived
back in Australia safely in the year, 1919.
In the later years of her life, Jane nee McLachlan
McDonald, was living in the harbour suburbs of Sydney such as Manly. Her
daughter, Jean Blackwell, her husband & family, as well as Robert
McDonald, his wife & daughter, Dot, were also in this vicinity.
Because Jane was living with one or other of these
families, she was able to sustain a strong sisterly association with
several of her siblings particularly Elizabeth nee McLachlan Gant.
During these years of her life, especially during the time after 1923,
when Elizabeth had gone to live with her eldest daughter, Agnes nee Gant
Davis, at Willoughby, Jane & Elizabeth were able to meet.
At these meetings the McLachlan sisters were able to
discuss the issues of the day including the life events of their families
as well as these of their extended families. Amongst the news that Jane
was able to impart were the marriages of four of her grandchildren.
Firstly there ws the marriage of Richard Keith Blackwell to
Pearl Iolanthe Bowering in 1922. The couple had two sons, Richard in 1924
& Neil in 1926. Some time after, Richard separated from his wife, Pearl,
later marrying Jean Florence Popple.
Youngest son of Jane McLachlan McDonald -
Andrew - off to WW1 - 1917
Three of Jane's granddaughters were to marry prior to her
demise. The first of the granddaughters to marry was the eldest offspring
of Duncan & Deborah McDonald, that is - Dorothy R. J. McDonald. She
married Peter Wills at Cowra NSW in 1924.
It was Robert McDonald's daughter, who was the second
granddaughter to marry. Minnie Doris (known as Dorothy May) McDonald
married David Kevan at Jerilderie NSW in 1926. Dot had a baby daughter,
Ann, in 1930. Some time later, however, Dot & David separated. Dot took
her little daughter, Ann, & went to live with her father, Robert
McDonald, (by this time a respected, retired gentleman) & his wife, in
Manly, a harbour side suburb of
Duncan's second daughter, Thelma E.P. McDonald, married
Cecil Brackenreg in 1930. This marriage was registered at Burwood, a
suburb of Sydney. Thelma & Cecil Brackenreg had a son, James, but the
couple separated soon after the birth of James. Some time later, Thelma
married John Christie, who was to give his surname to Thelma's son
Jane nee McLachlan McDonald lived a very long, healthy &
constructive life, dying in the St Ronan's Private Hospital in the suburb
of Manly, NSW, on the 2nd September, 1933. Jane was last seen by the
registered medical attendant, R.B. Minnett, on the 1st September, 1933,
when she was in a coma following a bout of pneumonia.
On the 4th September, 1933, Jane nee McLachlan McDonald was
cremated at the Rookwood cemetery after a ceremony conducted by A.M.
Stevenson, according to the rites of the Presbyterian religion. The
registration of her death was done on the 4th September 1933, by her
youngest son, Andrew McDonald. At that time, Andrew's work base was at
the Public School of Pallamallawa, near the Queensland & New South Wales
With Jane's passing there were remaining only three of the
offspring of Daniel McLachlan & Jane McPherson. They were the three
youngest - Duncan McPherson McLachlan, John Angus McLachlan & the youngest
sister as well as sibling, Agnes nee McLachlan George.
Researched, compiled & written by -
for the "McLachlan of Avondale" Descendants' Reunion,
held @ Bathurst NSW Australia, on Saturday 17 May 2003