1927 John Mackie’s Wedding


Like many Blantyre people in 1926, local man Mr John Mackie had his eye on job prospects abroad. The call of countries like America, Australia and New Zealand offered attractive prospects by comparison to a hard life in Lanarkshire’s mines.

Trouble was, John was in love with his sweetheart, Miss May Dickson of 80 Orbiston Street, a Motherwell girl and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her. A compromise was reached where John would follow his head and go to New Zealand, secure a job and then call upon May to come out to New Zealand and join him, ideally as his wife.

Still unmarried John set off on the long voyage in 1926 to Wellington, New Zealand and found a secure job, saving enough for the passage of his girlfriend, May.

So it came to be in January 1927, May Dickson arrived in New Zealand, after several weeks sailing to see the boyfriend she hadn’t seen for a year. Six hours later, she was married to him!

On stepping off the liner May Dickson was welcomed lovingly by her John, but also several of his New Zealand friends, and there on the pier, was introduced to her two prospective bridesmaids, whom she had never even seen before! Within six hours of her arrival Mr John Mackie and May Dickson were husband and wife with the wedding taking place at the Baptist Manse, Petone Wellington.


Pictured is the “Mataroa” arriving in New Zealand in 1927 and perhaps those very people in this story are those standing there on the pier!

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

On social media:

Betty Hepburn Wellington Harbour, New Zealand .
Andrew Phillips Betty Hepburn I have a funny feeling this is the same ship that Sarah Phillips grandparents, dad and uncle sailed to NZ on.
Betty Hepburn Wow ,,, Really ,,, i’ll look it up ?
Andrew Phillips In fact having found a photo of the painting we have of it, I am now certain that it is.
Marian Maguire A great story.
Jean McIntosh Definitely a great story xxx
Brian Murning Quality m8
Bobby Mackie Maybe a distant relative??
The Blantyre Project need to find more of these people stories.

Leave a Reply