Although Donald Macmillan built a reputation as a seafarer, the uniform he is wearing is that of the Edinburgh Artillery and the sword bears the inscription ‘From the officers and company of the Artillery of Edinburgh for his services’. It is thought he served with this unit as a young man. He managed family sugar estates on St Croix in the Caribbean Virgin Islands. There he married Elise De La Barca, of Italian and Danish blood, a friend of the wife of the Governor. A rebellion on the island led to their return to England.
The family: Donald, Elise, Charles (b1872), Robert(b1871) and Evangelina (b1879), was photographed before they came to New Zealand in 1881. A second daughter, Lilian, was born in 1883, after their arrival. They travelled on the May Queen which made a non-stop voyage to Tauranga with settlers for George Vesey Stewart’s Te Puke settlement. Captain Macmillan, disappointed that he could not see the ocean from Te Puke, moved to Katikati and purchased Castle Grace, on Kauri Point from Fitzgibbon Louch. It had a lofty tower as a second storey from whence he could see the ocean over the Matakana Island sand hills and watch vessels come up the harbour to Katikati.