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Donald Munro & Catherine MacGillivray

Donald Munro & Catherine MacGillivray arrived in Port Melbourne on board the “Hercules” on August 3rd 1853. With them were their five children, Donald MacGillivray aged 10, Allan 8, Mary 4, another Donald 1 and Alexander infant.

A Mr Marr of Timboon employed them as shepherd & hut keeper. Family folklore has it that they travelled to Timboon by bullock wagon where they were able to acclimatise themselves to life in Australia, so different from whence they had come.

They lived & worked there for a few years and then moved to Mortlake Victoria where they had acquired a property of their own. Sadly, after only 12 years in Australia, Donald died of pneumonia before their twelfth child was born. By this time their eldest child Donald MacGillivray Munro was 23, Allan 21 and Mary 16. The family farmed there for a few years and then moved on up to Laen in the Wimmera. From there, Catherine and the 4 youngest sons and 3 daughters moved to NSW. In the next 10 to 15 years they were mostly all married.

My Grandmother Mary married Hugh MacDonald in 1872 and they had twelve children – 6 boys & 6 girls. The eldest was my father, Norman, born in 1873. Mary’s Brother Allan married Margaret MacBeth & also had 12 children, 9 boys and 3 girls. They nearly all stayed in Victoria as did the eldest Donald and Margaret, who married Simon MacDonald. The second Donald did not marry, nor did Flora, the youngest daughter.

EDITOR : This is a brief history of one of our Skye Munro families as told by one of our members, Lily Sims.

Of the rest of the family, Catherine & Christine married and stayed in NSW; Alexander, his wife Jessie MacRae & children moved to Bunbury, WA and they had 7 children. Lachlan married Elizabeth Cameron and also moved to Bunbury; Duncan married Margaret Caldow and moved to Perth WA. Recently I had a photo & newspaper cutting sent to me from WA of “Mopsy” Isabel Munro who celebrated her 100th birthday in April 2003.

Catherine (MacGillivray) Munro died at Tenterfield in 1917 aged 93. When my daughter and I visited Skye in 1900, we took photos of the croft that they had left in 1852. She must have been a dear hardy soul to have experienced and lived through so many sad experiences in her life from her infant days on. A story told to me by my grandmother (who lived to be four months short of 100) was that in the early days they had frequent visits from the aborigines with whom they were on good terms. One mother brought in her young baby and laid it in the crib near great grandmother’s baby and stood back, clapped her hands and laughed.

My great grandmother had nine grandsons and daughters serving overseas – in Gallipoli, Egypt & France during WW1. Three paid the Supreme Sacrifice. My father, Norman aged 42 sailed away in May 1915 leaving my mother with three young children aged from two to six. Fortunately he returned in 1919 but suffered from the effect of the gas in later life.

Of our grandparents fifty grandchildren, forty of us were reared on Mallee farms in Victoria and have taken our place in the world in many different walks of life.

© Lily Sims

Catherine McGillivray. Born 1823/26 on the Isle of Skye