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Origin of the 'Sunshine' Brandname

Rev Dr de Witt Talmage

Image: Rev Dr de Witt Talmage

Source: Museum Victoria

According to company legend, H.V. McKay had the original idea for the "Sunshine" brandname after attending an inspirational lecture by the visiting American evangelist Reverend Talmage. [1]

Dr Thomas de Witt Talmage (1832-1902), was a prominent American preacher, spiritualist and social reformer of the late 19th century and a renowned pulpit orator. Born at Bound Brook, New Jersey on 7th January 1832, of British and Dutch settler ancestry, Talamge studied theology at the Reformed Theological Dutch Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, being conferred a Doctor of Divinity in 1856. From 1869 to 1894, he was pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, preaching to a congregation of thousands each week at the giant Brooklyn Tabernacle. He served as editor of several leading Christian periodicals and for 29 years his sermons were published weekly in some 3,000 journals and newspapers, reaching an estimated audience of 30 million.[2,3]

In 1894, Rev Talmage visited Australia and New Zealand as part of a world tour and on the evening of Wednesday 22nd August, presented a lecture at the Alfred Hall, Ballarat, where H.V. McKay was most likely part of the audience. No record of the content for Talmage's Ballarat address has been found as yet, but several days before, he had delivered a lecture at the Melbourne Town Hall entitled "The Bright Side of Things", during which he explained to the audience that "My religion is sunshine, and the difference between earth and Heaven is that the sunshine on earth sometimes gets clouded over." [1,4,5]

When H.V. McKay created a residential estate to house his workers adjacent to his Sunshine Harvester Works at Sunshine, one of the streets was named Talmage Street in honour of the person who had inspired the "Sunshine" brandname that McKay took around the world. H.V. McKay had a smart Edwardian villa called "The Gables" built for himself on Talmage Street, where he lived until 1922 when he purchased the property Rupertswood, at Sunbury.

Related Narratives:
McKay's Brandnames
Sunshine Stripper Harvester
H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection
The Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia
Hugh V. McKay, Agricultural Implement & Machinery Manufacturer, Ballarat & Sunshine, Victoria
H.V. McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd, Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria
Massey-Ferguson (Aust.) Ltd, Agricultural & Construction Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria

References:
1. F.J. Kendall, H.V. McKay Pioneer Industrialist, Monograph No.2, Council of the Science Museum of Victoria, 21 Nov 1979.
2. The Argus, 14 Apr 1902, p.5, 'Dr. Talmage Dead'.
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_De_Witt_Talmage, accessed 05/10/2011.
4. South Australian Register, 24 Aug 1894, p.5, 'Colonial Telegrams'; The Argus, 20 Aug 1894, pp.5-6, 'Dr. Talmage in Melbourne'.
5. The Argus, 17 Aug 1894, p.7, 'Dr. Talmage's Lectures'.

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