• donnabryan0

Maisie McKenzie was an Author

As I’ve been working my way through the National Archives of Australian Church Women (ACW), I’ve been finding more and more snippets of interest about Mrs Maisie McKenzie. You will remember that last week’s blog post told of how Maisie was instrumental in the founding of the NT Unit of ACW.

I have now discovered that Maisie also found time in her busy ministry schedule to write several books. I know this is probably not news to our Uniting Church sisters but for those of us from other denominations, we know little about the life of Maisie McKenzie (OAM).


Using the internet to search for Maisie’s books, I found no less than nine were attributed to her over at least a 35-year span beginning in 1969 until 2005, just before her ninetieth year. (Maisie passed away at 99 years of age.)


I have tried to list her books in chronological order, as follows:

  • Road to Mowanjum, 294 pages.

  • Mission to Arnhem Land, 260 pages.

  • No Town Like Alice, 144 pages.

  • Flynn's Last Camp, 70 pages.

  • Fred McKay, 200 pages.

  • Outback Achiever : Fred McKay, Successor to Flynn of the Inland, 222 pages.

  • Uniting Church in Australia : an abbreviated history of the life of Darwin Uniting Church congregation 1873–1998.

  • Holy Mackerel! : Rev. Doug and Maisie McKenzie, 20th Century Pilgrims, 152 pages.

  • Devil's Marble: John Flynn's Grave in Central Australia : The Story of John Flynn's Grave in Central Australia, and of the Devil's Marble Tombstone Guarding His Ashes, 96 pages.

Maisie also co-authored at least two other books.


Unfortunately, none of Maisie’s books are in the ACW national archives, so I’m appealing to readers of this blog who may have a copy which they would like to donate to the ACW archives to help us celebrate her life and ministry. A life and ministry that should not be forgotten by the members of ACW because of her significant contribution to our organisation.


The ACW Women at Work newsletter has a few brief accounts from Maisie, and those who visited her, of her ministry in Australia’s ‘Top End’. Here is one report from Maisie that was printed in the February 1977 issue:

'High air fares and hundreds of miles between us effectively isolate women's groups in the north of Australia. We are cut off from each other, from church work in the southern cities and progressive thinking elsewhere.

‘At the invitation of the European women's staff in five Aboriginal towns along the top of Arnhem Land, Rhonda Hendry and I (both from Darwin) flew to each centre. The theme of our discussions was the breaking down of walls that mar relationships in small communities. We tried to communicate to the women a vision of where they fit into the family of church women throughout the world. We were delighted to find that in most centres, Aboriginal women came along too, and made their own special contribution. At Goulburn Island, the Aboriginal women had an animated discussion in their own language, and came up with a list of suggestions to help the wives of emerging Aboriginal ministers and leaders to grow in faith and responsibility alongside their husbands.

‘The whole tour, financed by the women themselves (on missionary pay!) seemed to meet many needs, and the cry was "More, more, more!"'


As I continue to trawl through the ACW archives, hopefully, I will learn more about Maisie McKenzie and the part she played in the herstory of Australian Church Women.

Request:

If you have a photo of Maisie McKenzie that you have permission to use, would you permit us to post a copy on this blog and add it to our archives. Please email me at donna.bryan@aus.salvationarmy.org.au if you can help with this request.


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The Herstory Blog of Australian Church Women Inc. tells the stories of the women and activities of this Christian organisation that was founded in February 1965.

Stories that inspired and encouraged me to begin this blog and share their inspiration with you. Stories that need to be told so that the women of ACW can be honoured and celebrated for their achievements and experiences in local, national and international communities of faith. And, most importantly, stories that demonstrate being disciples of Jesus Christ firmly underpins all that Australian Church Women represents.