Collingwood Notables Database
Scottish-born Daniel McKenzie was the incumbent of St George’s Presbyterian Church in Wellington Street Collingwood for 26 years and resided with his wife Helen and family at The Manse in Gold Street Clifton Hill. On first arriving in Australia he took up the ministry at the United Presbyterian Church in Geelong in 1868; during this time the United Presbyterian Church became incorporated with the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. He then went to Footscray in 1872, until in 1878 the congregation of St George’s requested him as their preferred minister.
The establishment of St George’s Church had been driven by Scottish people who had migrated to Collingwood. Three notable names are the Roxburghshire families Dean, Robson, and Turnbull, who were very active in the establishment and ongoing development of the parish, remained long-term residents of the district, and whose modest 1850s bluestone houses in Oxford Street are rare surviving examples from this early period of settlement. The first church was a timber construction which was used from 1859 until 1862, when the bluestone church which would come under McKenzie’s charge was built on the corner of Wellington Street and Otter Street, where it remains today.
In 1877 the congregation had begun a fund-raising campaign to build a manse. The site was Gold Street, on the corner of Page Street, and opposite the Darling Gardens. Mackenzie had taken up residence by November 1879. The house was generously-sized, standing in its own garden, and was frequently the setting for marriage ceremonies.
St George’s was a busy and demanding parish, and Daniel was also active as a long-time committee member of the Melbourne City Mission. In addition, he performed duties at a senior level in the Presbyterian Church. He was the chairman of the Scots Church sessions in the difficult period during the 1880s when Charles Strong was in disagreement with Church authorities, leading to the founding of the Australian Church at the end of 1885; he was later appointed Moderator of the General Assembly. In this role as leader of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria he petitioned the Victorian Parliament asking the House not to pass the Divorce Bill of 1889.
Enjoyable pastimes were not neglected: Daniel found time not only to take a trip to the old country, but to present a series of entertaining lectures on the topic, as reported in the Collingwood Observer:
Two distinguished “bog-trotters” who have given their experiences of foreign travel to the world met on Tuesday night, one of them being chairman at a talk given by the other, said lecture being the conclusion of the Rev. D. McKenzie’s trip to the old world, the chairman being the Hon G D Langridge, Chief Secretary. The proceedings were particularly interesting and enjoyable, the literary pabulum being padded with a deal of humor. The lecturer gave his experience of a Sunday in Paris, [Langridge] of a Sunday in Glasgow, and the contrast was somewhat singular.
Collingwood Observer 15 January 1891
Helen died in 1892. Mckenzie re-married in 1903. His second wife, Elizabeth, was a true old colonist, having been born in Melbourne in 1837. First married in 1856 to Robert Caldwell, with whom she had 13 children, she was widowed in 1887. Her youngest child Violet, born in 1880, remained living with her mother and in 1907 her marriage ceremony would be performed by her step-father at the Brighton Presbyterian Church.
In 1904 McKenzie reluctantly resigned as minister in charge of St George’s; he stated that such a populous district needed a younger man. In May 1905 the Reverend Thomas Brown took over as minister and moved into the manse. McKenzie moved to Brighton where he was to die in 1919, pre-deceased by his wife. He had spent 57 years as an ordained minister, of which 51 had been in Victoria, and 26 years at St George’s. He is memorialised in a stained glass window in the north wall of the church.
St George's Church c. 1886
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|Helen Johnston, c. 1830-7 November 1892||11 June 1864, Scotland||James McDougall, 26 July 1866-1922, Daniel Hugh, 1869-1957|
|Elizabeth Caldwell, nee Cooper, c. 1847-30 January 1916||2 July 1903, Brighton||Stepdaughter Violet Greta Caldwell 1880 - 28 Sep 1963|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|197 Gold Street||Clifton Hill||Demolished|
|Work Street||Work City||Status of Building|
|Wellington Street, cnr Otter Street||Collingwood||Extant|
|St George's Presbyterian, Collingwood|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|6 November 1919||Brighton||MGC|
The Collingwood Slope Walk.pdf; Geelong Advertiser; The Argus; Illustrated Australian News; The Age; Mercury and Weekly Courier; Bendigo Advertiser; Leader; The Australasian; Weekly Times; Table Talk; The Mercury (Hobart); Champion; Cummings, Bitter roots, sweet fruit; MMBW Detail Plan 1216; MMBW Detail Plan 1196.