William McKay

From Hotels of Ballarat
William McKay
Died March 1870
Learmonth
Occupation Farmer
Blacksmith
Publican
Storekeeper
Post master
Years active <1862
Known for Stag Hotel,
Home town Learmonth
Spouse(s) Margaret McKenzie
Children Margaret (1856)
Grace (1858)
Unnamed (1860)
William (1863)
Murdoch (1865)
Unnamed ((1867)
George(1869)

William McKay was a publican at Learmonth, VIctoria, <1862.

He was the first settler at Learmonth, and later a blacksmith and publican. His paddock, now the football oval, was used to spell Cobb & Co horses. [1]

History[edit | edit source]

He was married to Margaret McKenzie (c.1831-1904).[2] They had seven children, Margaret (1856-1861)[3], Grace (1858-1882)[4][5], unnamed female (1860)[6], William (1863)[7], Murdoch (1865-1866)[8], unnamed male (1867)[9], and George (1869)[10].

He was granted the license for the Stag Hotel in May 1859.[11]

From the Ballarat Star, 20 June 1862:

On Wednesday evening last, Mr and Mrs William McKay, of Learmonth, entertained a large party of the principal farmers resident in the neighborhood, and their families, at a select ball, given as a farewell to the Stag Hotel, from the management of which well known establishment they are now retiring. Mr McKay is well known to most of our readers as being closely identified with the rise and progress of the town of Learmonth, having been the first person to settle there, and having ever since, in the several capacities of hotelkeeper, storekeeper, and postmaster, obtained the confidence and esteem of the residents of the Lake district, who express much pleasure in now seeing him retire from the more laborious part of his business, with a substantial competence. The arrangements connected with the ball afforded great pleasure to all present. We hear that several gentlemen, and a few ladies from Ballarat, were present, some of whom intend remaining at Learmonth for the Hunt Ball on Tuesday next.[12]

McKay died in March 1870, and this obituary gives details about his role at Learmonth:

Our Learmonth correspondent writes:—It is with deep regret that I have to announce the death of Mr William McKay, postmaster of this township, who expired at his residence on Saturday evening, after a comparatively short though severe illness. In Mr McKay's death, Learmonth has lost a worthy and useful citizen, and an honest kind-hearted man. Much might be written by way of extolling the deceased’s excellent qualities, but they are sufficiently known not to need dwelling upon, save that they will be as long as his untimely death will be deplored. Mr M'Kay s residence in Learmonth dates back as far as the year 1855, when he pitched his tent on the ground now occupied by Mr Fitzgerald, of the Lady of the Lake hotel, and commenced business as a storekeeper. The township of Learmonth at that time was quite in the bush. Blocks of land had, however, been purchased, and fencing vigorously carried on, it was therefore not surprising that Mr M'Kay seeing the splendid opportunity before him, took advantage of it and made money though not without steady perseverance and sheer hard work. Business prospering, the deceased purchased a number of valuable town allotments and erected the Stag hotel and store, and at which the local post-office was first opened. The erection of other buildings soon followed, the Government renting one cottage for police barracks, the lockup being one of the exploded corrugated iron sentry boxes. Subsequently Mr M‘Kay built the substantial brick building known as “Dunrobin Store,” with post office and savings bank adjoining. Later still he erected for himself a pretty villa residence, which is certainly one of the few ornaments to the township. The present respectable aspect of Learmonth township is mainly attributable to Mr M’Kay’s enterprising spirit. Apart from his own works he undertook important contracts from the late Ballarat Road District Board and the present Ballaratshire Council, including that of the Shire-hall. He also superintended the carrying on the works of the police-court and barracks. In fact, hard work was his forte, and this he devoted himself almost to the last. Much sympathy is felt for the widow and family of the deceased at their sad and unlooked for bereavement. The funeral will take place on Tuesday, at the Learmonth Cemetery, at two o'clock.[13]

His estate was sold by auction in October 1890:

A most successful sale by auction of township and landed properties, being the estate of the late Mr W. M’Kay, took place at the Stag hotel here this afternoon. The whole of the lots realised satisfactory prices, and the sale was conducted in a very creditable manner by Mr Chas. Walker, auctioneer, of Ballarat. The hill residence was knocked down to Mr Williamson, barrister at law, for £1125, the Stag hotel to Mr Neil Grant for £1050, the hill paddock to Mr P. Ryan at £25 10s per acre; the general store and post office to Mr Thos. Harding for £500. A large number of building allotments, shops, dwellinghouses, &c , were also sold, every one of which commanded keen competition.[14]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Learmonth Heritage Walk, Learmonth & District Historical Society, 2010.
  2. 1904 'Family Notices.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 12 October, p. 1, viewed 20 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10344843
  3. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1861 Deaths, Ref. No. 4681, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  4. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1858 Births, Ref. No. 11742, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  5. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1882 Deaths, Ref. No. 810, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  6. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1860 Births, Ref. No.14231, 1860 Deaths, Ref. No. 8360, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  7. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1863 Births, Ref. No. 8695, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  8. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1865 Births, Ref. No. 9398, Deaths 1866, Ref. No. 1853, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  9. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1867 Births, Ref. No. 9011, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  10. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1869 Births, Ref. No. 23079, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  11. 1859 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 18 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66053306
  12. 1862 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 20 June, p. 2, viewed 20 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66324953
  13. 1870 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 March, p. 2. , viewed 08 Nov 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219307266
  14. 1890 'LEARMONTH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 October, p. 4. , viewed 11 Jan 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204139726

External links[edit | edit source]