Edward Cunningham MACKEY
(1892-1955)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
Kathleen Gertrude HOSKINS

Edward Cunningham MACKEY 1

  • Born: 1 Oct 1892, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Marriage: Kathleen Gertrude HOSKINS on 2 May 1923 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Died: 10 Sep 1955, Coolac, New South Wales, Australia, aged 62

bullet   Another name for Edward was Ted.

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bullet  General Notes:

Edward Cunningham MACKEY (1891 - 1955) was an engineering officer in the R.A.N. He had earned his B.Eng. degree in 1915 from the University of Sydney, and on joining the R.A.N. was assigned to H..M.A.S. Australia, and in that ship saw service in World War I. After his marriage, he was released by the Navy on condition that he remained on the reserve list. He joined the family enterprises, and his first job was to oversee the construction of Kembla Building, the office block in Sydney. He next went to Lithgow (1925 - 1928) where he presided over some of the winding-down operations there. In 1928, he was appointed Works Superintendent of Southern Portland Cement, with the management of the Berrima cement works, the quarry at Marulan, together with the colliery at Medway. By 1935 he had joined the staff at Port Kembla, with an executive engineering position. When World War II started, he was called up by the R.AX, and was responsible for the supervision of naval dockyards and ship repairs. In 1942 he was made General Manager of the Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Victoria, with the rank of Engineer Captain. In 1945 he resumed duty as an Executive Officer at Port Kembla and Berrima, from which he retired in 1949, following which he and Kath acquired a grazing property on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River near Jugiong. Their family consisted of three daughters and one son.

Career Summary: R.A.N. Eng.Sub.- Lt. H.M.A.S."Australia" 1915 (served in W.W.I.); Built Kembla Building (for C.H.Hoskins Co.) 1922-24; Asst. Mgr. Lithgow Works 1925-28; Works Supt. Southern Portland Cement, Berrima, 1928-35; Chief Engr., Aust. Iron & Steel, Port Kembla 1935-39; in W.W.II., supervised naval dockyards, various shipbuilding and repairs, including Gen. Mgr. Williamstown Dockyrd 1942-45; Exec. Officer, A.I.S. & S.P.C. 1945-49; Grazier "Cooininee", Coolac, 1949-55.


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Edward married Kathleen Gertrude HOSKINS, daughter of Charles Henry HOSKINS and Emily Matilda Colley WALLIS, on 2 May 1923 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. (Kathleen Gertrude HOSKINS was born on 14 Dec 1899 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and died on 17 Jul 1950 in Coolac, New South Wales, Australia,.)


bullet  Marriage Notes:

MACKEY FAMILY HISTORY
(from 'Hoskins History' compiled by Donald G Hoskins, 1988 and updated in 1998)

The Mackey family forebears came from the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, and moved to Northern Ireland in the early 1600's under a settlement scheme known as the "Ulster Plantation". They took up farming land on the River Foyle near Londonderry and named it Molenan. A branch of the family still owns and farms that land today.

The 1830's and 1840's in Ireland were times of famine and hardship, and consequently many Irish emigrated to other countries. David Mackey, the eldest son of his family, was one of these. In 1841, at the age of seventeen, he completed his indentures as a builder, and sailed to Sydney in the New York packet as an immigrant without contribution in search of work and easier times.

He discovered work was hard to find in New South Wales. In 1839 the state had experienced its worst drought on record, when even the Murrumbidgee River ran dry. A severe economic depression followed in 1842-3 including some bank collapses. David walked many miles in search of work which he found mainly in the country. Sometimes he worked but received no pay. Finally he returned to Sydney and found work as a builder. In 1846 he married Elizabeth Cunningham, a Northern Ireland girl from County Down. They had six sons and one daughter, of whom one son and the daughter died in infancy.

David became a successful building contractor with his headquarters in Riley Street, Surry Hills. Here all the joinery and cabinet-making was made, along with other items needed in the business. When his youngest son Edward (senior) was old enough he joined the building company which then became David Mackey and Son. His other sons followed trades associated with either building or coach-making. Robert became an architect, David Junior ran a coach-building business, also at the Riley Street premises, and James had a shop in Crown Street where he made saddles and harness, and did the leather work and, trimming for the carriages. The coach-building was very successful having the contracts for all the Postal Department vehicles as well as maintaining the carriages for Government House. The firm also built and equipped an ambulance for the Australian Army Medical Corps, which John's son Sid drove in Flanders during World War 1. The coach-building business carried on for two generations, progressing to motor vehicles as horse-drawn vehicles were phased out, and was finally closed in 1969.

When David's father, Robert Mackey died in Ireland, the family wrote and suggested that David return to take up his inheritance at Molenan, but he decided that his future lay in Australia and the farm was passed on to his brother James whose descendants are still there.

After David died in 1900 the building business was carried on by Edward (senior) until his retirement. In 1887 Edward married Sarah Arundel, and they had six children. They built a large home, Laurelbank, at Marrickville when it was still an outer suburb surrounded by farming land. Their second son, Edward (Ted) grew up there and was educated at Marrickville and then at Sydney Boys' High, where he not only did well academically but also excelled at football and was awarded a medal for his prowess at cricket.

The young Mackeys were friends of the Polsons and the Hoskins. The Polsons were first cousins of the Hoskins, their mother Florence being the elder sister of Emily Hoskins (they are the two little girls whose picture faces page 107 in The Hoskins Saga). Ted's sister Hilda married Les Poison. Later in life Florence Poison was crippled with arthritis and Hilda and Les took her into their home, to which they added a room for this purpose, and cared for her until she died in her nineties.

Ted Mackey and Les Poison entered the Engineering faculty at the University of Sydney and both graduated in 1915. They were both later to work with the Hoskins companies and were amongst the first graduate engineers to do so. However, in 1915, with the nation at war, they decided their first priority was to serve in the armed forces. Les was commissioned in the Army, leaving Australia before his graduation ceremony, so was amongst the first to be awarded his degree In Absentia. He fought in France and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery at Pozieres in 1916. His health suffered in later years from the effects of mustard gas and shell-shock. After the war, Les worked with the Hoskins company, first at ' Wattle Street, later at Alexandria, but for most of his life at Wollongong, until his retirement at the age of sixty.

Ted was commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy. He served in HMAS Australia during WW1, and remained in the permanent Navy after the war. He became a very successful engineering officer, taught for some time at Jervis Bay Naval College, and was selected to travel to England for an advanced course in naval gunnery.

At this point he became engaged to Kathleen Hoskins, youngest child of Charles and Emily. When his prospective father-in-law stipulated that he must leave the Navy if he wanted to marry his daughter, there was quite a to-do. The Naval authorities were most reluctant to accept his resignation because of his ability and the time and expense they had already invested in his training. They agreed to his resignation only on the condition that he be placed on the Emergency List, which meant he could be recalled immediately if war broke out. Thus, although Charles Hoskins had offered Ted Mackey a job with his company if he left the Navy, he had to accept the possibility of the Navy's prior call on Ted's services at some time in the future.

Ted's first job was supervising the erection of Kembla Building in Margaret Street, Sydney for the C H Hoskins Company. He did not really enjoy that job; he was not trained or experienced in the work, and his subordinates took delight in reminding him of how he obtained his position.

In 1925, after the completion of Kembla Building, Ted and Kath with their eldest daughter Beth, moved from Roseville to Lithgow where they lived at Windarra. Here Ted managed the steelworks, after Cecil and Sid had moved away to organise the building of the Port Kembla steelworks. It is a matter of record that the years 1926 and 1927 showed the highest production figures of iron and steel for the Lithgow works since its inception. The works were progressively closed down from 1928.

In 1928 Hoskins Iron & Steel Company entered into a new venture by buying an interest in a cement works at Berrima, near Moss Vale on the Main Southern Railway. Prior to this, they had leased an immense deposit of high grade limestone at Marulan, only 45 km by rail south-west of Moss Vale. Although the limestone leases were acquired to form the main supply to the new Port Kembla blast furnace, the cement works was an additional source of profit for the limestone.

Ted was appointed Works Superintendent of what was known as Southern Portland Cement Ltd. This was another job in which he had no previous experience. However, as part of the Hoskins management team which was always full of enthusiasm and enterprise, he accepted and mastered the challenge with success. In 1928 the family moved to Moss Vale where they called their home Molenan after the Mackey home in Ireland. They remained there until 1935 by which time the family had grown to one son and three daughters.

Australian Iron & Steel Ltd had been formed in 1928 by combining the assets of Hoskins Iron & Steel with assets and funds of three other major companies. That arrangement helped to complete the construction of the Port Kembla steelworks and carried them through to the 1930's. In 1935, Ted was appointed to an executive position with AIS, and with his family, he moved to Wollongong. Very soon thereafter, a merger between AIS and BHP occurred, with consequent down-grading of managerial positions, Ted becoming Supervising Engineer. The Mackey family lived for two years at 32 Church Street, on Smith's Hill in Wollongong, and then moved to the historic Bustle Cottage at 24 Church Street, built for Charles Throsby Smith about 1880.

With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Ted was recalled to the RAN. Initially based in Sydney, he supervised shipbuilding including mine-sweepers and corvettes, and modifying ships for troop-carrying (including the Queen Mary), armaments for other merchant vessels, and fitting of de-gaussing equipment to counteract magnetic mines. As the threat of Japanese invasion increased, Ted took up similar duties as Principal Naval Overseer in Queensland, based in Brisbane. Later he was moved to Melbourne to take charge of the Williamstown Naval Dockyard, again being involved in shipbuilding, major re-fits, and repairs.

In 1945 Ted was demobilised, with the rank of Engineer Captain. He felt obliged to return to his career at the steelworks, but found that he did not settle into the rather impersonal methods of the larger organisation into which it had grown. By 1949 he had decided to resign, and bought a grazing property, which he named Cooininee, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River near Coolac. Sadly, Kath died quite shortly thereafter, at the early age of fifty. Aided by his son Bruce, Ted continued to enjoy life on the property, until his untimely death in 1955 at the age of 63.

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Sources


1 Sally Hoskins, http://www.hoskins.id.au/nextgen/index.php.


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