McKenzie Family Remember Times Living At Robertstown

Robertstown 100th Brings Back Memories Of Long Trips To School For These Young Boys.

Don & Barry McKenzie were really happy to attend the Robertstown Primary School 100th, to meet up with everyone, to hear some stories and tell some of their own. This is a short story about their experiences going to school.

Homeland Scotland
Lets start at the beginning, from their Scotish roots to how the family came to ended up in this remote location on the other side of the World, to a place near ‘Worlds End’ and then finish off with where the boys are now.

The boys father was Roderick McKenzie (Mack) and he was born in Doune Perthshire Scotland in 1921. He first worked at Clydeside Ship building yards and in 1940’s he went onto join the UK Merchant Navy as a Stoker during WWII.

(Right) Roderick (Mack) McKenzie approximately 1940
(Right) Roderick (Mack) McKenzie approximately 1940

During that period Mack married and they had a son, Roddy in 1944. That marriage failed and due to circumstances Dad won legal custody of his son. This was a very unusual result for the era. Roddy was then cared for and raised by his grandmother (Mack’s Mum).

Escape To Australia
In 1948 while berthed at Station Pier Port Melbourne Mack jumped ship saluted his Captain goodbye from the Wharf and legged it to Spencer Street Railway Station.

Mack caught a train to as far as he could get which happened to be Mildura. He worked as a roustabout on a Thomas Elder Barr Smith Cattle Station. That’s where some cheeky drovers took him home for dinner… their sister Sally served that dinner…. The rest is history.

Australian Family
Donald McKenzie was born on Kangaroo Island in 1954 and the family lived in an Ex Serviceman settlement in ‘Parndana’. 1956 was a big year for the family as they moved to the Mainland and Barry McKenzie was born in Naracoorte.

Beyond Worlds End
Only two years later in 1958 the family moved again, this time to Mount Mary #2 Pumping Station on the Morgan Whyalla Pipeline when their Dad, Mack took on the Superintendent position with the Engineering and Water Supply (E&WS).

Off To School
That station was 35 miles (56 km) from Robertstown Primary School. So in 1960 when Don was six years old it was decided that he would be boarded out to another E&WS family who lived across the street from the school next door to the Eberhards. Unfortunately Don can no longer remember the name of the family he boarded with as he was so young (does anyone remember?).

In 1961 Mack got a transfer along the line to the Geranium Plains Pumping Station #3 which was only 8 miles (12.9km) from Robertstown.

Geranium Plain Pumping Station - State Library B 47008
Geranium Plain Pumping Station – State Library B 47008
(Don said the family used live in the house right in the centre of the photo, and the boys used to swim in the water tower in the foreground)
L-R Don & Barry Mckenzie at Number 3 Pumping Station
L-R Don & Barry Mckenzie at Number 3 Pumping Station

Don tells of his father’s involvement in the community,
“During this time Dad became Secretary of the Bowling Club in 1965 and President of the RSL.”

Mr R McKenzie - Secretary Robertstown Bowling Club on 15th Nov 1965
Mr R McKenzie – Secretary Robertstown Bowling Club on 15th Nov 1965 (from book “Emaus to Worlds End”

Big Brother
Don remembers his big brother,
“Due to immigration restrictions Mack had to wait until Roddy back in Scotland turned 21 before he could emigrate to join us all in Australia, that occurred Roddy finally arrived in 1966. That totally changed the dynamic of our family. It was instant party all round always; from then
on. For Robby, Coming from Glasgow to Worlds End was a huge change.

Long Days To School
Don explained how he and then later brother Barry went to school,
“The Saches Blue Kombi Bus ran right past our pumping station gate and the following year Barry joined me on the School Run. Due to Duplication upgrades of the Morgan Whyalla Pipeline in the following years … the town grew to double its size with Construction Crew / Management & Families filling the school with 114 students.

Robertstown State School 1965 Don
Robertstown State School 1965 Don (from book “Emaus to Worlds End”)

Robertstown State School 1965 Mr Broadbent (teacher).
L-R Back: D mcKenzie, P Lock, M Schuppan, B Heinrich, R Eberhard, D Eberhard, P Heinrich
Middle: Geisler, L Mosey, R Schmidt, K Mosey, , D Redemski, I Mattner, M Liebeknecht
Front: M Ross, P Kotz, W Ross, B Schmidt, C Liebeknecht, C Pfitzner, M Howard, M Bartel.

Robertstown State School 1965 Barry
Robertstown State School 1965 Barry (from book “Emaus to Worlds End”)

Robertstown State School 1965.
Back: V Mosey (Teacher), B McKenzie, K Redemski, M Heinrich, G Ross, G Kotz, M Quinn, G Redemski
Middle: P Schmeiss, N Schmidt, A Eberhard, A Bischard, B Armstrong, Forrest
Front: C White, R Linert, A Mosey, K Schmidt, K Launer, S Lienert, L Redemski, V Voigt, V Sachse.

Don continued,
“In 1967 I started at Eudunda Area School (EAS), so that meant a daily routine of 3 mile (4.8km) push bike ride at 6 am over to the Stan & Nelly Noske Farm where the East Robertstown Bus was housed. That bus dropped Secondary students off at the Robertstown Butchers veranda.

“There a group of us waited for the big yellow Departmental Bus to carry us to Eudunda. Arriving there by 9 am. This was a three hours transit to School.

“At the end of the school day we then departing just after 3 pm to arrive back at Geranium Plains by making it a six hour total commute every school day for four years for both Barry and I.

“At Home we still had to do our chores, have dinner and then sit down for homework until midnight or 1am… And bang! Up and out at 6 to do it all again.”

Life After School
Roddy was accepted into the E&WS in Adelaide as a Draftsman and came home to Robertstown
every week end – always with presents for all of us. He went on to work on the Snowy Hydro project in Cooma – where he raised his own family until his death in 2006.

Don explained about leaving school,
“I left Robertstown in February 1971 to join the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) where I was posted into HQSC Victoria Barracks Melbourne. I still live in Melbourne with my family.

Dad (Mack) passed away in the Eudunda Hospital in 1973 at just 52 years old.

Mum (Sally) In 1974 Mum Sally & Brother Barry had to vacate #3 Pump Station on Geranium Plains and they moved to Adelaide. Sally has since passed away in 2004.

Barry took up an Apprenticeship with the E&WS at Kent Town training facility and became a qualified Fitter and Turner, and still lives in Adelaide.

Eternally Robertstown

Roderick & Selina McKenzie Gravestone in Robertstown Zion Cemetery
Roderick (Mack) & Selina (Sally) McKenzie Gravestone in Robertstown Zion Cemetery

Thanks so much to Don McKenzie for this great story about their family life in the district. The boys love to return to Robertstown and Eudunda as often as they can to ‘Country’.

Would you like to tell your Family story
of local involvement?

Friends Of The Gallery Celebrate Successful Year For Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery

Five Life Memberships Awarded

Recognition of the early and long service by Blat Goulder, Yvonne Schulz, Marcus Reseigh, Elaine Leditschke and Dot Bonner came in the form of awards for Life Membership to these five individuals who were the pioneers of the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery. Their work and dedication has helped the gallery get to the positive position it is today.

Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery New Life Members Awarded for 2023
Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery New Life Members Awarded for 2023

Committee Celebrate 25th Year at the ‘Friends of the Gallery’

Holding true to the tradition for the event, Eudunda’s Citizen of the Year, Deb Koodrin this years award winner cut the 25th Birthday Cake.

Deb Koodrin cuts the 25th Cake
Deb Koodrin cuts the 25th Cake

Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery Committee Chairperson, Dot Bonner told the gathering of some 50 Friends of The Gallery about all the exciting and successful things that had happened during the previous year, and of the items in progress and planned for the coming year.

Friends of the Gallery Morning Tea - listen to Dot about a great year
Friends of the Gallery Morning Tea – listen to Dot about a great year

Alison Schutz was awarded a special Honary Membership to Friends of the Gallery for her great help with Grant writing by Dot Bonner. Many thanks to Alison.

Alison Schutz & Dot Bonner
Left: Alison Schutz Awarded Honary Member for her help with Grants by Dot Bonner
(Ed – Sorry Photo is blurry)

Janet and Sue Scafe gave the gathering a very interesting story about early publicans to the Eudunda Hotel. The little know story was of ‘Otto and Margaret Radestock Forgotten Puclicans of the Eudunda Hotel’.

Historians Janet & Sue Scarfe Presention on Otto and Margaret Radestock - Eudunda Hotel
Historians Janet & Sue Scarfe Presention on Otto and Margaret Radestock – Eudunda Hotel

What a facisnating insight into the personal lives of some of our early pioneers, their successes and struggles. A fantastic presentation!

The morning was finished off with some delicious sandwiches, cakes and sweets catered for by the dedicated ladies of the Heritage Committee.

The ‘Friends Of The Gallery’ is one way people can be involved in the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery if they can’t be a committee member or volunteer of the gallery.
Your Membership will support the gallery committee in their effortst to maintain and advance the gallery, and other benefits and you will also recieve the informative ‘Gustav Newsletter’ which has stories and also event notifications. A yearly membership only costs $15.00 – which we think is great value.

Want to find out more? Call in to the Gallery during open times, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am to 2pm, or contact us from the website or

We Would Like Historic Stories and Photos Of This District

This present time of uncertainty, where seemingly everything is on pause, provides the opportunity to self-reflect.

Story-telling is just one way that we can continue to connect and learn during this time.

We would love to receive stories and photos from you for the purpose of featuring on our Facebook Page. The potential to create a treasure-trove of stories and personal histories is enormous.

What the photo or story pertains to is up to you. It could be a photo of old farm machinery, the story of a drought, flood or other historic event, or an image of a memento or piece of technology that is no longer in use. The list could go on.

There are only two constraints: the photo, story or memento should have a link to Eudunda or any of the outlying districts, and a sufficient explanation of what a photo, or memento is.

Send your photos and/or stories via Facebook Messenger
to Social Media Editor on the Web Form.

If you have any questions, please feel free to use these channels of communication too.

Get creative, and we look forward to seeing what incredible stories come out of the woodwork!

#welovehistory #sharinghistory #historyisimportant

Emmaus Cemetry Request For Family Support

Local identity Margaret Doecke appeals for relatives of those interned in Emmaus Cemetery to help.

The Emmaus Cemetery dates back to 1872 and is still in use today.

There are many old and uncared for graves.  I have appointed myself a “Friend of the Emmaus Cemetery” and together with the members of the Property/ Maintenance Committee of the St.John’s congregation have devised a plan to upgrade the Cemetery.

Emmaus Cemetery 2016 at beginning of project
Emmaus Cemetery 2016 at beginning of project, Photo by Margaret Doecke

Work has been carried out with grant funding and volunteer effort, and will continue.

This is as far as the committee can go, so now I appeal to the Families of loved ones buried there to contact me re upgrading the graves.

Some of the old names are.. Ziersch, Koster, Sieber, Michalk, Heppner, Fechner, Appelt, Eckermann, Duldig, Kleinig, Hassold, Mader, Handke, Post, Schultz, Pfeiffer, Lindner, Schutz and the list goes on……

If you know if you, or someone you know are 3rd, 4th or 5th generation descendants of these family names and wish to help by renovating these old graves, please contact me as below. This is your family History.


Emmaus Cemetery at 2016 at beginning of project
Emmaus Cemetery at 2016 at beginning of project, Photo by Margaret Doecke