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Jockey, Norman Hugh McKinnon, 1900-1927

Updated on December 29, 2016

Young Norman

Norman McKinnon was born 20 Apr 1900 in Tumut, New South Wales, Australia. The eighth child of Hugh McKinnon (b: 21 Mar 1861 in Brungle, NSW ) and Mary Clee (b: 26 Oct 1863 in Gocup near Tumut, NSW). He was a cousin of my great grandmother, Margaret French nee McKinnon.

This is a photo of him as a child. We had a photocopy of this for a long time without knowing who it was. Thanks to Ancestry.com a distant cousin had uploaded it and named it! We were thrilled to find out it was Norman!


Norman's brothers and sisters

His siblings were:

  • Mary Florence born 12 Apr 1884 in Tumut,
  • Isabell Annie born 21 Jan 1886 in Gocup near Tumut,
  • Archibald Albert born 18 Nov 1887 in Gocup,
  • Herbert John born Abt 1890,
  • Clara Gertrude born Abt 1892,
  • Mabel Therese born 8 Aug 1894 in Tumut,
  • Maud Stella born 1897 in Tumut,
  • Mirriam Elizabeth born: 29 Apr 1904 in Tumut.

This is a photo of Mary McKinnon (nee McMillan)
This is a photo of Mary McKinnon (nee McMillan) | Source

The Mckinnon's

Hugh's parents (Norman's grandparents) were"

Ewen "Hugh" MCKINNON born approximately 1823 in Kilmnaerick, Inverness, Scotland and

Mary MCMILLAN born 18 Sep 1831 in Camdale, Fort William, Inverness-shire, Scotland.

Ewen was born in Kilmonivaig and christened on 12 Feb 1829 in the town or parish of Strath in Scotland.

His parents were Archibald MacKinnon and Mary Stewart.

Archibald and Mary were married on 26th March 1818 in the parish of Kilmonivaig, county of Inverness, Scotland.

Ewen, farm servant, of Blarour, married Mary McMillan, (approximately 1830-1910) of Fort William, daughter of Hugh (1788-1872) and Mary McMillan (born 1790) on 19 June 1850 at Cockey Ferrie.

To Australia!!

Ewen, Mary and his daughter Eliza came out to Australia on the maiden voyage of the Marco Polo. In September 1852 they arrived in Melbourne, Victoria.

800,000 Australians can trace their roots to the Marco Polo. The three masted wooden clipper ship, named after Venetian explorer Marco Polo was launched in 1851 at Saint John, New Brunswick.

Declared the "fastest ship in the world" She completed a 76-days voyage from Liverpool to Port Phillips Heads, Victoria, Australia, Captained by James Nicol Forbes. 52 passengers died during the voyage from a measles epidemic.

Clipper ship Marco Polo

After two years in Victoria, the McKinnon's made their way to New South Wales, residing as graziers at Brungle, near Tumut.

show route and directions
A markerKilmonivaig -
Parish of Kilmonivaig, Spean Bridge, Highland PH34, UK
get directions

B markerBrungle -
Brungle
get directions

Map showing the distance from Kilmonivaig Parish in Scotland to Brungle in Australia.

Hugh and Mary had a family of eight children, Eliza, was born in Scotland, Archibald was the first of the children to be born in Australia in 1855.

At the time of Hugh's death, he and Mary had five living children. Archibald, Catherine, John, Hugh and Jessie. Three daughters had predeceased him.

Hugh died aged 80 on the 17th December in 1903. His wife Mary died aged 79 on the 22nd September in 1910.

Norman McKinnon

the jockey

Norman was a hurdle jockey who raced at Randwick racecourse in Sydney, NSW. His horse was called Coster.

Norman and Coster were tragically both killed during the running of a hurdle race. He was only 27 years old.

The newspaper articles written at the time give the details about the accident.

Coster, generally reported to be a slow beginner, hit the first hurdle hard. Norman was thrown from Coster. Coster landed heavily on his back fracturing his spine. Neither moved again. An ambulance took Norman to the casualty room, where the club doctor found that Norman had broken his neck.


The Coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.

In memory

A poem, written in memory of Norman, goes like this.

He is gone from us for evermore

A jockey of some fame

he was well known by racing men

McKinnon was his name.

He'll never ride another race

His loss we all deplore

we sympathise with his kind friends

who'll see his face no more

Randwick Racecourse 1928

At 6min 24sec within this documentary

Excerpt from a 1928 documentary on Sydney's busy tramway system. Filmed as huge crowds depart Randwick Racecourse.
Intertitles: A glimpse of the Sydney Cup at Randwick Racecourse. Marshalling hundreds of cars for the return Racecourse Traffic. After the last race the rush commences. An exceptional feat in Tramway Transportation. Trams move the huge crowd at the rate of 1000 per minute.

Fort William

In the Scottish Highlands

Fort William is a rural community and is located at the foot of the highest mountain in the UK. The original Fort that was later known as Fort William was built by the English in the time of Cromwell, around 1654. The aim of the troops commanded by General Monk was to subdue the highlanders. It took the battle of Culloden, however to defeat the Jacobites and change the Scottish highlands forever.

The landscape surrounding Fort William is beautifully rugged. Lying along a fault line, the area has undergone changes over millennia. The Great Glen includes Fort William which is near the River Nevis.

In 1849 the famine in the highlands was at its worst. The potato crops failed and many people left for places like America and Australia.

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My McKinnon family line

Norman McKinnon was a nephew of Archie and Elizabeth McKinnon

Archibald McKinnon, son of Ewan and Mary, married Elizabeth Ross at Five Mile Creek, north of Gundagai, NSW on 20th April 1881 at the home of her father, Benjamin Ross. Elizabeth was under age and her father gave his consent to her marriage.

Elizabeth McKinnon (nee Ross) lived at Ben Nevis cottage, Brungle, NSW. Here is a photo of Elizabeth as an old lady. Elizabeth had vivid memories of Gundagai and its romantic past in its association with bush rangers. Captain Moonlite was a famous bush ranger of the day. Admitting himself to be: 'at war with society and the authorities'. In 1879 Andrew George Scott known as Captain Moonlite was the centre of a siege at Wantabadgery homestead.

The day before the siege he called at Elizabeth's house requesting food. Elizabeth told him " You ought to be ashamed of yourself, a young man like you out of work". (Source: Newspaper obituary Thursday Arpil 3, 1952 written by Rev J. S. Hook)

Captain Moonlite (Moonlight) has been described as a 'dashing, smart, cunning looking young man'. Captain Moonlight and his gang took hostages at Wantabadgery Station. Around 30 people were taken as hostages. The troopers were waiting backup to arrive from Gundagai. All of the hostages were released unharmed. As the gang were preparing to leave the station more troopers arrived and a shootout took place. Two of Moonlite's gang were killed. One Trooper was wounded and later died. Captain Moonlight was tried in Gundagai and was hanged two months later at Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney.

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Archibald and Elizabeth had 7 children. Margaret Mary born 25 September 1884 who married Thomas French in 1904. Norman, who died young. Sarah Isabelle born 1886. Elsie Christine born 1890. Archibald Ross born 1892. Jean Elizabeth born 1894, Marjorie Doreen born about 1900.

Photo of Sarah, Elsie and Margaret McKinnon as children. Margaret McKinnon is my great great grandmother. She died on July 1, 1967 in Tumut, NSW at age 83.

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