This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974
Sir Evan Mackenzie (1816-1883), soldier and pastoralist, was born on 5 August 1816 at Portobello, Edinburgh, son of Colin Mackenzie and his wife Isabella, née Cameron. Educated mainly in Europe he learnt to speak French, German and some Greek. On 17 April 1837 he volunteered as a cadet in the 1st Kaiser Ferdinand Hussar Regiment of the Austrian army. He served on garrison duty at Ujécs in Hungary, was promoted second lieutenant on 1 April 1838 and resigned on 31 April 1840.
In September Mackenzie sailed with his brother Colin for Sydney and in 1841 took up a station at Kilcoy, near Brisbane. He was appointed a justice of the peace, built the first house in Ipswich and in 1843 bought land at Kangaroo Point where he started a boiling-down works and established a village. He was prominent in various public meetings of squatters and a friend of Ludwig Leichhardt. On 1 August (with Catholic rites) and 1 September (with Presbyterian forms) 1845 he married Sarah Anna Philomena, daughter of James Parks of Londonderry.
Mackenzie's father was created baronet in 1836 and when he died in 1845 Evan succeeded to the title. He retired to Scotland in April 1846. He became a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty County but continued to travel. He spent some time in America and was not resident at his home, Belmaduthy House, when the 1881 census was taken. He died in London on 12 December 1883, survived by four daughters. His only son Colin Charles (b.1848) predeceased him and the title became extinct.
After Mackenzie left Queensland stories of a mass poisoning of Aboriginals by arsenic on Kilcoy during his tenure started to circulate. Though never confirmed, the rumours were mentioned in a select committee in 1861 and repeated by W. Coote in 1867. They became part of the Australian legend.
H. J. Gibbney, 'Mackenzie, Sir Evan (1816–1883)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mackenzie-sir-evan-4108/text6567, accessed 8 December 2013.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974