Hugh Victor (HV) McKay (1865 – 1926) manufacturer
Hugh Victor (HV) McKay, inventor and manufacturer of the Sunshine Harvester was ahead of his time in looking after the needs of his workers. He instigated a system of pensions and retirement plans, a sick-pay and accident fund, generous holiday leave, and a personal loan scheme.
It was Hugh Victor McKay, inventor and manufacturer of the Sunshine Harvester, who mass-produced the stripper-harvester. He was born on 21 August 1865 at Raywood, Victoria.
His parents, Nathaniel McKay and Mary, nee Wilson, from Monaghan, Ireland, were members of the Free Church of Scotland. McKay had little formal schooling, but his parents read the Bible, as well as sermons, the works of John Bunyan, and other edifying literature, to their large family.
All eight sons became successful businessmen and four of them were closely involved with McKay’s enterprise. His first harvester won a prize in 1884. The Sunshine Harvester factory (located in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine), was for many years the largest factory in Australia. It grew to cover 30 acres and employed 2500 workers.
Of note : John Flynn lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine, now an outer western suburb of Melbourne as a child, where he completed secondary school in 1898, and began working as a schoolteacher.
In a famous court case, McKay supported a “fair and reasonable wage”, based on the normal needs of the average employee, but he was strongly opposed to unionism (collective bargaining).
McKay was ahead of his time in looking after the needs of his workers. He instigated a system of pensions and retirement plans, a sick-pay and accident fund, generous holiday leave, and a personal loan scheme.
When he died in 1926, McKay left an estate of 1,448,146 pounds and a large Charitable Trust. The Presbyterian Moderator-General said at the funeral that McKay “was an inspiration to Australian youth, and stood for what a man can do by determination”
The HV McKay Sunshine Harvester web site: http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/sunshine/
The name Sunshine originated in the magnificent St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Sturt Street, Ballarat, in the year 1904, when a visiting American preacher The Rev. Talmage, was in attendance, and rendered as his sermon, “Sunshine; the power of Sunshine; the benefits of Sunshine”. Young Hugh Victor McKay and some other members of his family heard the sermon; their home was at Drummartin in northern Victoria, and they were in Ballarat attempting to market improvements to harvesting machine.
H V McKay laid the foundation stone for the Presbyterian Church Sunshine on 15 May 1926, six days before his death.
Of note : The De Havilland D H 50, designation VH-UER, originally belonging to QANTAS was initially chartered by John Flynn for Aerial Ambulance work. The first flight was on 17 May 1928. Soon after the aircraft was acquired by the Australian Inland Mission. The name of the aircraft, Victory was selected by John Flynn to commemorate the financial help from Hugh Victor McKay of Sunshine, Victoria. The aircraft is featured on Australia’s $20 note.
VH-UER : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/vh-uer/
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