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Mackie family (Augustine Mackie, 1879-1965)
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The Rev. Augustine Clark Mackie (1879-1965) and his brother Hugh (1882-1971) emigrated from England to Vernon, B.C. in October 1913 with the intention of establishing an independent school for boys. Vernon had been recommended to them by a nephew, Gordon Mackie, who recognized that a private school, conducted along the lines of an English public school, would be well supported by the British immigrants who had settled in the Okanagan Valley. A.C. Mackie, generally known as Austen, opened the Vernon Preparatory School (VPS) in January 1914. Hugh Mackie, who had practiced as a solicitor in Wales before emigrating to Canada, decided to move to Calgary, where he opened a law office; however, he returned to Vernon a few years later, to join his brother and the VPS teaching staff. The Mackie's operated the school until 1945, during which time VPS acquired the reputation as being one of the leading boarding schools in Western Canada. The school continued under different management until 1972.
Austen Mackie - classicist, pedagogue, and divine - was the kind of gentleman euphemistically known as a "muscular Christian." While devoted to contemporary ideals of "godliness and good-learning," he was also an ardent sportsman who delighted in hunting, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Shooting and freshwater fishing were among his keenest pleasures. He was perhaps best known, however, for stalking rattlesnakes. He became an expert in the haunts and habits of the reptiles which infested the semi-arid hills near VPS, and he devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to killing them.
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Revised Khughes 2023-04-11
Biographical sketch from finding aid for MS-2304.