Topic: Charles Macmillan (1872-1941)
The following article on former Mayor and Member of Parliament for Tauranga, Charles Macmillan, was written by Ellen McCormack (nee Macmillan) in 2012.
Carl Edward Duncan Angus Evan Ewan Macmillan was born on 21 December 1872 at St Croix in the West Indies. He was known as Charles. His father was Donald Theodore Macmillan of Ballachulish, West Highlands, who was a Paymaster of the Royal Navy and later a Sugar Planter in the West Indies. His mother, Marie de la Barca, was the Baroness Marie Elise Barca. She happened to be in the West Indies visiting the Governor's wife who was an old school friend when she met and married Donald Macmillan from Ballachulish in Scotland. Donald was in the West Indies to administer sugar plantations for his relatives, the Cumming family.
Due to the death of his two younger brothers in St Croix, Charles and his older brother Robert were sent to their mother's family at Rendsburg, Schleswig-Holstein in Germany to be cared for and educated.
In 1878 there was an insurrection in St Croix. Marie and Donald, along with baby Evangeline, were fortunate to escape with their lives. They lost all their possession, including the family home. They then left for England, collecting Charles and Robert on the way.
In 1881 the family joined one of George Vesey Stewart's schemes to bring settlers to Te Puke. They arrived in Tauranga on the "May Queen" which was the first overseas ship to sail directly to Tauranga from England. They took up land with the other settlers in Te Puke but the following year purchased 'Castle Grace' from Fitzgibbon Louch at Kauri Point in Katikati. On 26 February 1883 Donald and Maria's daughter, Lilian Marie Elise De la Barca Macmillan (reg. 1883/2173) was born at 'Castle Grace'.
As a young man Charles was elected to the Katikati Road Board and in the early 1900s he helped promote the Katikati Co-operative Dairy Company of which he became a Director and Secretary. On 4 January 1899 (reg. 1899/509) he married Ethel Louisa Latham, daughter of John Herbert Latham (M. A. Contab) and Rosina Harriet Latham (nee Young). John Herbert Latham was a Civil Engineer and Telford Medallist. He was also the author of "Latham of Wrought Iron Ridge" which was published on 4 January 1899.
The Macmillan family settled on their farm on Macmillan Road in Katikati. Access to their property was per a swing bridge across the river. Charles and Ethel's three children were born during their stay in Katikati:
Ethel Urania Macmillan (1900-1984). Born in Auckland in 1900. She died in Tauranga in 1984, her ashes buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery.
Violet Adela Marie Macmillan (1902-1981). Born in Auckland in 1902. She died in Tauranga in 1981 and was buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery.
- Latham de la Barca Macmillan (1905-1983). Born in Waihi in 1905. He married Betty Marie Keenan in 1939. Latham died in Auckland in 1983 and was cremated at Manukau.
Latham, Ethel (Ray) and Violet Macmillan (c1906)
In 1908 the family moved to Tauranga as Charles was becoming increasingly involved in public affairs. He became Chairman of the East Coast Shipping Company, Secretary of the Bay of Plenty Jockey Club and Mayor of Tauranga from 1915 to 1917. He later served as a Borough Councillor, a County Councillor, and a member of both the Hospital and Harbour Boards as well as a Justice of the Peace.
Katikati Road Board (1910) [Charles Macmillan is in the front row second from the left].
Charles entered Parliament in 1923 as a Reform Candidate when he defeated Sir Joseph Ward in a by-election. He held the seat continuously and in 1932 was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Mines.
Charles had a genial personality and a wide circle of friends. He was a great supporter and follower of sport and had a great sense of humour. At various times he owned the Carrangbah Farm at Katikati, Yatton Rise Farm at Gate Pa and the Hermitage Farm at Papamoa.
He was the unknown benefactor to many people and organisations. Charles still holds the distinction of being the only person to be both Mayor and Member of Parliament for Tauranga.
Charles Macmillan died at his home in Tauranga on 9 January 1941. It was just two weeks after his 68th birthday.
Ethel Louisa Macmillan (nee Latham) died in Tauranga on 22 July 1942 after falling off her bicycle.
by Ellen McCormack (2012).