The Darlimurla letters: researcher documents voices from the past

When the passenger liner Lusitania was controversially torpedoed with great loss of life during World War 1, the impact was a wide one.

On the international stage, the sinking is credited as one of the reasons why the United States entered the war.

On a smaller stage many families lost relatives. One such is the Macky family of the Waikato.

Joseph Cochrane Macky, and his wife Mary Birrell were on board on that fateful day. There are many first-hand accounts of Joseph and Mary helping others to safety before, having left their escape to the last, the couple drowned.

School of Media Arts Master’s research student Trish Macky, is the great-granddaughter of Joseph Macky, and as part of her post-graduate study, she has written a book documenting the correspondence between Joseph and his son Thomas Macky.

Macky admits  she faced multiple challenges along the way. The major concern was that the letters are now kept at Auckland Public Library as part of the Sir George Grey special collection.

Her aunt Helen was the caretaker of these letters, after the passing of Thomas Macky. After Helen transcribed the letters, she handed them to the library, and this caused a major hurdle for Trish Macky, as she had to have  every page scanned.

Another difficulty that Trish faced when restoring and collating the letters was that they had been transcribed according to the author, and not according to the order they had originally been sent in, and it made following them very difficult.