NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

Darlimurla Letters Book Project

An edited letter collection based on those written between Trish Macky's great grandparents, culminating in the Lusitania disaster of May 1915.

Part of the cover page of "The Darlimurla Letters"

Early in 2012 I became aware of people talking about centenary commemorations of First World War events to be held in 2015. It brought to mind a story my father told me about my great-grandparents, Joseph Cochrane Macky and Mary Birrell Macky when I was a child.

Joe and Mary were passengers on the luxury ocean liner, the Lusitania, and were among around 1200 “souls” who perished when the boat was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland on 7 May 1915. This story of my great grandparents’ demise was legendary in our family; the fact they gave their lives so others might live, heroic.

Throughout their lives Joe and Mary were prolific letter writers. Fortunately, some of these letters survive and are housed in the Auckland Public Library. Known as “The Darlimurla Letters”, the collection is named after the family’s home in Devonport, Auckland.

The painstaking task of transcribing the letters was undertaken by my Aunt, Helen Kominik, in the 1990s. More than 500,000 words! Organised into two volumes according to writer rather than chronologically, she notes in her foreword, “ I hope the sheer mass won’t be daunting.” 

With the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania approaching, I was inspired to read the transcriptions of the letters. It seemed to me there would never be a better time to edit the letters for the benefit of the family, and the wider reading public in terms of the story’s social history value.

Professional edit

The manuscript has been professionally proof edited, and designed, and is ready to go to the printers. Specifications of the book are as follows:
Trim Size: 190 x 255mm (Portrait)
Extent: 416 pages
138 images (full colour where applicable)
Stock: Internals: 128gsm Matt Art
Cover: Matt lamination + spot UV on 350gsm Art Board

To order The Darlimurla Letters email Trish Macky. $100 (+pp for overseas orders). Of 200 books <50 remain as of 17 December 2015. 

Click on the image to view full size
The Macky Family c. 1900
Joe Macky in tennis outfit c. 1875
Mary Birrell Macky's last letter from the Lusitania
Joe and Mary Macky taking a trip by sulky
This activity is being worked on from
Early in 2012
 to 
2016
Date added: 17 December 2015 | Last updated: 21 December 2015
| Contact:
Patricia (Trish) Macky
| Email: