The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Joseph Cochrane Macky (Mary Birrell)

Mrs. Joseph Cochrane Macky (Mary Birrell)

Mary Macky, 56, was a British subject from Devonport, New Zealand (a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand) traveling second cabin aboard Lusitania with her husband, Joseph. Both Mary and Joseph were lost in the Lusitania sinking. Mary is reported to have given up her seat in a lifeboat to a younger woman and went down with the ship with her husband. Born Mary Birrell, she was from Victoria, Australia and educated at the late Mr. Budd's school in Melbourne. She subsequently kept in touch with many of her former schoolmates. Mary Macky became First Lady of Devonport when her husband was elected mayor in 1896. Her husband would serve for four terms and retire in 1900. Mary and Joseph last visited Australia in 1914. Writing to a friend in Sydney just before sailing from Auckland, Mary wrote said that she and Joseph were going to England, via New York, with their son Jack, who wished to enlist with an English regiment. Their son is not listed on the passenger manifest. Mary and Joseph Macky were lost in the Lusitania sinking on 7 May 1915. According to the Ashburton Guardian of 24 August 1915, Page 3, the couple is said to have met their ends with calm heroism. When a seat in a lifeboat was offered to Mary, she declined and insisted that a younger woman passenger take it. Mary was quoted as saying, "I am getting old and would rather stay with my husband. You are younger and have life before you." Joseph and Mary were last seen standing on deck together, calmly awaiting the end. The younger woman who took the seat in the lifeboat later advertised in the papers to obtain the address of Joseph and Mary's son Jack Macky to tell him the story of his parents' death. According to the 11 May 1915 Otago Daily Times, the Mackys were traveling with a S. Hanna, the son of Auckland solicitor (lawyer) Andrew Hanna, was also on board Lusitania and survived. No such name appears on the Lusitania passenger list. Neither Joseph nor Mary's bodies were either recovered or identified. A bronze plaque to Joseph and Mary Macky is on one wall of the Auckland Unitarian church, and a manse was given to the church in their memory.

See also

Elbert and Alice Hubbard, who also refused to be parted as the Lusitania went down Winifred Neatby, who was persuaded by an older woman to save herself.
References: Archer, John. “The Ballad of James Cook, by Willow Macky, 1960.” New Zealand Folk Song. Web. Accessed 16 May 2013. <>. “Lusitania Story: How an Auckland Couple Died.” Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXV, Issue 8225, 24 August 1915, Page 3. PapersPast. Web. Accessed 16 May 2013. <——-10–1—-0WILLIAM+EDWARD+KNOWLES–>. “Lusitania Torpedoed.” Bay Of Plenty Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 6379, 8 May 1915, Page 5. PapersPast. Web. Accessed 16 May 2013. <>. “The Lusitania.” Otago Daily Times. Putanga 16381. 12 Haratua 1915, page 5. PapersPast. Web. Accessed 16 May 2013. <——-10-ODT-1—-0bodley–>. "Lusitania Passengers." The Sydney Morning Herald. Wednesday, 12 May 1915, page 11. Trove. Web. Accessed 23 May 2013. <>.

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