Tuesday, 26 April 2016

V is for Vivian and Victoria Mill #AtoZChallenge

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.

While researching the Walker family I noticed that there were four males with the name Vivian. The first Alexander Vivian Poulson (23 Oct 1909 - 9 Dec 1911), Ronald Vivian Jackson (1929 - 2001), Douglas Ronald Vivian Price, and Vivian Harold James Harvison (1928 - 2008).

Vivian Harold James Harvison, a 3rd cousin once removed, is the only Vivian that I could find in Trove. On 19 June 1943, the Daily Mercury printed a letter and response from Vivian asking to be enrolled as a member of the "Corner". Vivian says he was 14 years old and very small at 4'9" and was working at the Marian Mill, you can read the letter below.

1943 'Letter Box', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 19 June, p. 5. , viewed 25 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170881990

The Daily Mercury on 20 July 1948 recorded that Vivian suffered an injury to his index finger, you can read the article below. Vivian was still working at the Marian Mill and was now a fireman. As noted in the above article Vivian's father was an ambulance man at the Marian Station so he would have received extra special care.

1948 'LOCAL and GENERAL', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 20 July, p. 2. , viewed 25 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article171192478
Vivian was the great-grandson of William and Mary Jane Walker. See below for the meaning of the name Vivian.

English via Old French from Latin "alive". Vivian is mainly male in English use while the female form is now more commonly rendered Vivien or Vivienne, the French form. The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG

Now for the Victoria Mill ...

The Mackay Sugar Company built the Victoria Mill on the Savannah Plains north of Eton. The name of the Company reflected the influence of the Mackay sugar experts but the name of the mill reflected the origin of most of its capital. The company was registered in Melbourne on 18 March 1881, its capital twenty shares of £500 each.

The Mill operated between 1882 and 1887 and the erection of the North Eton Mill was a prime factor in the mill closing.

Victoria Mill circa 1883. (picture courtesy of John Oxley Library, Brandon Collection no. 6298-0001-0054r. )

The former Savannah Plains are now known by locals as Victoria Plains after the former Sugar Mill.

About 1964, Ray Blackburn acquired the site of the old Victoria Mill as a new cane assignment. He used one of the old wells used to supply the Victoria Mill as his source of water. All that survives today is an old concrete block on his farm [1].

[1] Rolleston, Frank. (1987). The Defiance – The story of North Eton Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited, 1888-1987. North Eton, QLD: North Eton Co-operative Milling Association Limited.   p.3.


  1. Very cool! I can only imagine how much time finding all these cool facts takes.

    @AllysePanaro from
    The Frog Lady

    1. Thanks Allyse, yes to takes time but I am enjoying the journey.

    2. Thanks Allyse, yes to takes time but I am enjoying the journey.

  2. Yes so do I amd he was so small and young working in the mill