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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

Sundial erected as a tribute to Mrs Mackay who was President of the Red Cross until her death in 1930. The sundial was held in storage for 26 years before being restored and reinstalled at its original site on the 19th April 2016. 

Mary Henderson Mackay was the wife of journalist and historian, George Mackay, and the daughter of Rev. Dr James Nish, first Presbyterian Minister of Bendigo. She died in 1930.

A sundial which is been erected by Bendigo Red Cross Society on the lawn in front of the soldiers' memorial hall in Pall Mall in memory of the late Mrs. G. Mackay, who was president of the society from its inception up to the time of her death, was unveiled on Wednesday afternoon by Mrs. R. A. Rankin, the president. Speakers referred to the outstanding services rendered to the Red Cross and other patriotic movements by the late Mrs. Mackay.
Age (Melbourne), 11 December 1930. 

A historic sundial with a riddle on top has been returned home after a 26-year absence in which it was twice lost and once broken. 

The Mackay Sundial was reinstalled beside the Soldier’s Memorial Hall in Pall Mall, near where it was first erected in 1930. Both great and great-great-grandchildren of the woman whom the sundial commemorates – former Red Cross Society president Mary Henderson Mackay – attended the unveiling. 

“It's taken 18 months to get this thing restored after it we found it – which was tragic, as it was broken – out in a council depot,” Mrs Mackay’s great-grandson, business identity Richard Guy said. 

During that time City of Greater Bendigo heritage officer Danielle Orr led efforts to piece together the forgotten history of the sundial.  The sundial was first lost when bushes grew over it in the first half of the 20th century. It was rediscovered in 1990 and taken to the Red Cross headquarters, then in View Street. When La Trobe University bought the building and the Visual Arts Centre they assumed ownership of the sundial, which they sent to the city’s Adam Street depot for safekeeping – and promptly forgot about.  At some point during its 26 years in storage the Mackay Sundial was hit by a lorry, breaking its marble column in two. But both the city and the university atoned for the years of neglect in a year-and-a-half journey of rediscovering the story behind the monument and restoring it to its original condition.  

Head of the La Trobe University Bendigo campus Robert Stephenson said the sundial was a tribute to a generation of “tenacious women” whose place in history was often overlooked.  

“Mrs Mackay lost both her sons in World War I and for a lot of people that would be plenty of reason just to quietly grieve and feel sorry for themselves,” Mr Stephenson said. “But like so many of that generation she took it stoically and went on and thought about what she could do to make things better for other people.

“We talk so much about the losses in Australia but we often don’t talk about the women… and I think memorializing people like [Mrs Mackay] is a really important part of our history.” 

The role of women in building post-war Bendigo is not the only subject on which the monument reflects. 

Though it was unveiled in a patch of shade, Dr Orr said it could be used to tell the time – when the sun was in the right place.  "There wasn’t anywhere in the park where we could get complete sun, so we found the place in the park which we thought was most reflective, where you can read the riddle and ponder the nature of time,” she said.
Bendigo Advertiser, April 19 2016.  




Address:Pall Mall, Beside Soldiers Memorial Hall, Bendigo, 3550
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.758795
Long: 144.279089
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 10th December, 1930
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Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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