Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 2:48pm

This decorative engraved brass locket is double-hinged to create a secure pocket-book flap around a hand-coloured photograph of a shy young man. The young man is Kenneth McKenzie (c1835-1922), the youngest of six children of Thomas and Mary McKenzie, Scottish emigrants to the Shoalhaven district on the south coast of New South Wales. In the early 1860s Kenneth worked as a mining clerk on the goldfields at Mitchell’s Creek near Bathurst in the central west of New South Wales and this locket probably relates to a friendship formed by Kenneth at that time. A lacy Valentine’s Day card was sent to him at Mitchell’s Creek in February 1863 and survives among his papers at Meroogal, the Nowra house he designed for his widowed sister Jessie Catherine Thorburn in 1886. Perhaps the locket was intended as a gift for this unknown admirer? Kenneth returned to the McKenzie family farm at Cambewarra around 1871. When he was in his fifties he proposed marriage twice but was turned down on both occasions and remained a bachelor for the rest of his life, active in community organisations and a keen bushman and amateur woodworker.

Photograph: Jenni Carter, 2010
Locket, late 19th Century Photograph, late 19th Century Locket, late 19th Century Locket, late 19th Century Locket, late 19th Century