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William David McKenzie died in Invercargill in 1980 at the age of 75. He was well known in rugby, racing, coalmining and the hotel industry. Scrubby McKenzie was born near Nightcaps in the scrubby area - hence his name "Scrubby McKenzie".
Mr McKenzie's father, died when he was only 15 in his coal mine at Nightcaps. At the beginning of the World War II he and Mr Alex McKenzie opened the first open cast mine in Ohai.
1946 saw Scrubby move to Otautau where he was manager of the Railway Hotel for two years.
1950 moved to Bluff and bought the lease on The Eagle Hotel, he rebuilt this and called it The New Eagle Hotel.
His love though was racing and especially the breeding side and it was while he was in Otautau that he started a long life friendship with Alex Chisholm of the Glentrium Stud, Otautau.
He bought his first horse from Alex, Incitatus . The best horse he had was probably the War Game mare, Warfare, who turned into one of Southland's best sprinters.
He bred a Fountain head chestnut for his son Allan and Coorabin won the Invercargill Gold Cup.
Captained the Western Senior rugby team, and later coached and selected Western teams.
1944 he operated a small grocery store on the North Road not far from Tappers.
He was survived by his children, Norma Fisher (Otautau), Allan (Gore), Edna Maxwell (Timaru), Billy Millar (Invercargill) and Margaret Bullman (Invercargill).
Scrubby McKenzie was a great citizen and very well loved by the community. John Sinclair from Nightcaps wrote that Scrubby's maternal father, William Reed had one of the small coal mines in Morely Village, Nightcaps which was on the corner of Benson Road and Sinclair Avenue.
He was a great school mate of Nellie Boyer, Etta Greer, Amy Thomson, Mabel Mears, Frank Capitaneas, Tom Wells, Norman Croad. This was the year of 1918 and also the year of the great influenza in which Mr and Mrs Croad died, leaving four of a family.
Scubber was the elder brother of Allan, the armless painter, singer and musician who is mentioned in "Pasutre, Coal Seam and Settlement".
He lived a full live and loved his music and was a member of the local brass band, playing the trombone. He was also a great actor and was seen in many plays around the District.
Reference: The Southland Times July 1980
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