MCCORMACK’S BAY – William McCormack (1822 – 1868)

As the ‘Charlotte Jane’ sailed into Lyttelton Harbour that fine morning of the 16th December 1850, William and Jane McCormack were ready to leave their steerage voyage behind them and make a go at a new life in a new land.

There is very little about the pair, I don’t know if they were married or were brother and sister. Jane was older than William by 10 years which makes me think marriage is out. Jane was 37 years old in 1850 so perhaps was she a spinster whose younger sibling sailed with her as a companion, both wanting a new beginning? Maybe, they weren’t related at all. Nevertheless Jane passed away just 3 years later and unfortunately there are no details about how or why.

William McCormack, like most settlers, took up his land orders with the Land Office. He purchased 25 acres near Moa Point Cave on Sumner Road (now Main Road, Redcliffs) and another 25 acres further west on Sumner Road which is now the beginning of Ferry Road. As he was a labourer by trade, I’m sure he took on his land with great enthusiasm.

Tragically late 1868, William was thrown from his horse and hit a tree and died. There is no date and further details but advertisements about his estate in Sumner appear throughout January 1869 in The Press.

William is remembered today in the naming of McCormack’s Bay (pictured), McCormack’s Reserve, McCormack’s Road and of course McCormack’s Causeway (pictured). This somehow makes up for the short adventures of the McCormack Family.

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