Category Archives: New Zealand

The Arrival of my Ancestors ~ Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. It commemorates the date the Treaty of Waitangi was formally agreed between the Māori tribes of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Queen of England way back in 1840. For all the Treaty’s faults, it helped pave the way for my ancestors to emigrate and settle in New Zealand. So, I thought I’d list when each of my immigrant family members arrived and their ships, where known.

Sketches on Board an Emigrant Ship ~ The Illustrated New Zealand Herald, 9 April, 1875

Sketches on Board an Emigrant Ship ~ The Illustrated New Zealand Herald, 9 April, 1875

Arrived 8 August 1857 ~ Dinapore

George Tunnecliff(e) from Staffordshire and Elizabeth Barber from Sussex, my 3 x great grandparents, travelled on the Dinapore which left London on 13 April 1857.1 Did they know each other before they sailed, or did they meet on the ship? Also on the ship were Elizabeth’s employers from London, the Yates family. Did they pay for her ticket, and was she expected to work for them on arrival in New Zealand? In any case, George and Elizabeth married in Auckland, three days after arriving.

Arrived 12 September 1859 ~ Cresswell

Michael Gaff(a)ney, my 2 x great grandfather born in Derbyshire of Irish parents, took advantage of the assisted immigration scheme and departed London aboard the Cresswell on 27 May 1859, arriving in Lyttleton on 12 September 1859.2

Arrived around 1861 ~ ship unknown

Michael McGonnell from Co Down arrived in New Zealand around 1861, according to his death certificate. It’s unclear how he travelled to New Zealand. He had joined the Royal Navy in 1858, and did a runner from HMS Foxhound in June 1861. He later married George and Elizabeth Tunnecliffe’s daughter, Louisa.

Arrived 16 December 1862 ~ Echunga

Margaret Brosnahan, my 2 x great grandmother, and her brother John, from Co Kerry, sailed from Gravesend on 10 September 1862 as full-paying passengers on the Echunga, and landed at Timaru on 16 December 1862.3 Apparently Margaret was the first girl down the gangplank, and Michael Gaffaney took one look at her and vowed to marry her. They married a year later.

Arrived 16 February 1864 ~ Mermaid

Martin Burke and his wife Ann (Philp), my 2 x great grandparents, sailed on the Mermaid from London as assisted immigrants along with their five month old daughter, Mary.4 Martin was born in Co Mayo and had emigrated to Perth, Scotland with his family around 1850. Ann was originally from Fife, Scotland.

Arrived 18 November 1864 ~ Alfred

Edward Horne and his wife Elizabeth (Rose), my 3 x great grandparents, left Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 September 1864 aboard the Alfred, along with their six month old daughter, Annie.5 Edward was originally from Warwickshire, while Elizabeth was born in Cape Town. They were assisted immigrants, taking advantage of the Waikato Immigration Scheme.

Arrived around 1866 ~ Blue Jacket?

My 2 x great grandfather, Bartholomew O’Rourke from Co Kerry, sailed on the Blue Jacket and arrived in the West Coast goldfields around 1866, according to his obituary, although I can find no corresponding passenger list to confirm this. He may have travelled via the Australian goldfields.

Arrived around 1867 ~ ship unknown

Bridget Power from Co Tipperary arrived on the West Coast goldfields sometime around 1867. In 1869 she married Bartholomew O’Rourke.

Arrived 21 Jan 1875 ~ Avalanche

Henry Florey from Kent, my 3 x great grandfather, sailed from Gravesend on 22 October 1874 aboard the Avalanche, along with his wife Elizabeth (Byford), their son Forrest, and Henry’s son from a previous relationship, Henry John Forrest.6 Henry junior married Annie Horne in 1885.

Arrived around 1876 ~ Fernglen?

John Burton and his wife Bridget (O’Mahoney) were from Co Tipperary and Co Limerick respectively. According to family lore, they sailed with their two young children aboard the Fernglen and arrived in New Zealand around 1876. Their names don’t appear on any passenger listings or newspaper reports found so far, though the listings for the 1876 sailing may be incomplete.7

Arrived after 27 June 1902 ~ Delphic

My great grandmother Elsie Nunns from West Yorkshire travelled with her parents Sam and Alice (Cockerham) aboard the Delphic, which departed London on 8 May 1902, arriving in Wellington on 27 June. They continued on to Dunedin, disembarking at Port Chalmers.8

Arrived around 1911-14 ~ ship unknown

My great grandfather Alexander Wright arrived in New Zealand sometime between 1911 (when he deserted from the British Army) and 1914 (when he volunteered for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force). Originally from south east London, he married Elsie Nunns in 1917 after being invalided back to New Zealand during World War I.

Do you know when your ancestors arrived?

  1. “Dinapore”, transcription; YesterYears Passenger Lists, ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribed by 0032006 from The New Zealander, 4 Jul 1857 and The New Zealander, 8 Aug 1857.
  2. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 February 2015), Michl Gaffeney, 12 Sep 1859; citing Cresswell, Ship, Arrival Port Lyttelton, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004411505.
  3. “The ‘Echunga’ Arrives”, transcription; South Canterbury NZ GenWeb ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribe from the “Lyttelton Times” December 24, 1862.
  4. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 February 2015), Martin Burke, 16 Feb 1864; citing Mermaid, Ship, Arrival Port Canterbury, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004411751.
  5. “Alfred”, transcription; Our Stuff ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribed by Denise & Peter, citing Archives New Zealand Micro 5019.
  6. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 February 2015), Henry R Florey, 21 Jan 1875; citing Avalanche, Ship, Arrival Port Taranaki, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004412892.
  7. “Fernglen”, New Zealand Bound ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015).
  8. “The Delphic’s Passengers”, digital image; Papers Past ( : accessed 5 Feb 2015); citing The Press, volume LIX, issue 11299, 14 Jun 1902, p9.

Montage of sketches depicting life on board an emigrant ship. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0661-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Edward George Tunnecliff ~ an ANZAC all the same

Edward Tunnecliff (my first cousin thrice removed) was born in New Plymouth on 9th May 1886, the eldest son of George Tunnecliff (Jnr) and Alice Kine. He was living in Dover Road, Okato, with his brother Leonard, and farming land in Tataraimaka, when he was conscripted into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Reserve in 1916. This First Division was made up of men between the ages of 20 and 45, who were British subjects, and either unmarried, or with no dependent children.

On his attestation on 18th September 1916, Edward was 30 years and 3 months old, 5 feet 7 1/2 inches in height, and weighing 158 pounds. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair mixed with grey. He was passed as fit, and a note made that his teeth “requires attention”.

He was posted to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, B Company, for training at Trentham Military Camp. Within 26 days he was dead.

Overlooking the "Reinforcement" Military Camp at Trentham, in 1915

Overlooking the “Reinforcement” Military Camp at Trentham, 1915. Ref: 1/2-035323-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Trentham Camp, near Wellington, was built to house and train two thousand soldiers for World War 1. Eventual numbers reached more than 7000, and the damp, crowded accommodation saw a growing number of soliders struck down with respiratory ailments. The first few cases of measles in November 1914, escalated into an epidemic, with the camp registering over a thousand cases by the middle of 1915.

Wellington Hospital filled up with infected soldiers, and a nearby old fever hospital was taken over. Soon, this too was overflowing, and some kind of accommodation was required for those soldiers not quite sick enough for hospital, but still requiring a period of isolation before rejoining their unit. A residential home close to Trentham was offered by its owner Mr C.J. Izard for accommodating up to 25 soldiers1. After a storm demolished one of the camp’s “measles marquees”, Messrs Levin and Co. offered a large three-storied store at Kaiwarra, free of charge to the Health Department, for hospital purposes2.

Provision has been made at Kaiwarra for the recreation of the convalescents, and, as announced elsewhere, a billiard table has already been given them, but people anxious to make the isolation of the soldiers less tedious can yet find scope for their generosity. All kinds of games, such as deck-quoits, also books and magazines, will be received with gratitude.
Evening Post, 17 Jun 1915, “MEASLES EPIDEMIC”3

The general public rallied to help support the sick soldiers. Around the country, the newspapers were filled with articles and letters to the editors decrying the appalling conditions at Trentham.

World War I soldiers outside tents at Trentham Miltary camp, Upper Hutt, Wellington

World War I soldiers outside tents at Trentham Miltary camp, Upper Hutt, Wellington, 1914. Ref: 1/1-017536-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


Sir, – I feel it is my duty to let the people of Auckland know the condition of the soliders at Trentham as regards medical situation. The outside public know nothing of how the medical portion of this camp is mismanaged and neglected. There are at the present time over 600 cases in the hospital at Wellington, mostly measles or serious chest and lung complaints. The accommodation there is shockingly inadequate. Measles are sweeping through these long huts with great rapidity. The following is the monotonous routine:- A man feels ill and his chest is one mass of measles. The orderly corporal takes him, together with 10 to 12 others, down to the medical tent at 8.15am. Outside this small marquee the whole of the sick men from all the camp must wait. No matter what the weather is, no matter how ill they are, there they must stand, in mud often over their boot-tops, until their turn comes to see the doctor. I have myself seen men waiting thus in pouring rain for two whole hours. Worse than this, I have seen them faint with sheer exhaustion at such a trying ordeal. The invariable remedy, no matter what the complaint, is two pills, plus “excused from duties for the rest of the day,” or in the case of measles they are hurriedly rushed off to a hospital in Wellington. There they remain for three or four days until the infectious stage is over, and back to camp they are bundled again, weak and ill – to hang about on “light duties for a week.”
Yesterday (Friday, June 26) 650 men “reported sick” and some of them had to stand outside in the rain from 8.15am until after 11am. On Wednesday there was no doctor in attendance at all, and after a two hours’ wait the unfortunate men were forced to return. Three men died of measles last week, and there will be many more ere the winters is out unless the medical side of so large a camp is properly managed. In every tent and hut sick men are lying – some in high fevers, and all with wet coats and clothes hanging around, and some with wet clothes actually on their sick bodies. They report sick and are sent back again. The hospitals in Wellington are taxed to the utmost, and can take no more. The people of New Zealand, as long ago as last February, subscribed a more than generous amount for a permanent base hospital here in camp. Although the matter is of much urgency, and all these months have gone by, we are absolutely without a hospital except two ordinary sized marquees, holding not more than 20 beds. The public will be told that their hospital is “in course of erection.” It is, and in another two or, perhaps, three years it will be ready. Meanwhile we are pegging along in the utmost discomfiture, and God help the unfortunate who get ill! The camp authorities certainly will not.
New Zealand Herald, 29 June 1915 “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR”4

Eventually, after a visit to the camp from Prime Minister William Massey, the decision was made to relocate the majority of the soldiers in July 1915, and additional training camps were established at Waikanae and Palmerston North. Around 1300 soldiers stayed at Trentham.

The Report of the Trentham Camp Commission5 tabled in the House of Representatives on 27th August 1915, found that several causes had contributed to the spread of sickness:

  • aggregation of so many men in a confined space, first in tents and then in larger groups in huts, often in wet clothes
  • bringing into an already infected camp of large numbers of fresh troops
  • wetness of the ground because of inefficient surface drainage
  • no provision for drying clothes and boots
  • deficiencies in the hutment design, and their overcrowding
  • unnecessary exposure during sick parades, causing fatigue
  • inadequate provision for dealing with a rapidly increasing number of sick
  • the specially infectious character of the diseases
  • lack of sanitation

Due care and efficient measures were not always taken to prevent or minimise sickness or mortality, and there was no efficient system for the treatment of the sick, and no hospital accommmodation at the camp.

Testimony was given “as to the uncomplaining patience with which the sick men and the men generally faced the conditions arising not only from their ailments but from the inclement weather and the discomforts that ensued“.6

Later newspaper reports expounded the new measures that were being implemented, including the provision of a permanent camp hospital, to ensure the health of soldiers at Trentham. Unfortunately, cases of measles continued to appear, though the peak of the epidemic had passed. The following year, Edward Tunnecliff began his training at Trentham on 19th September. Just eight days later, he was admitted to the camp hospital, where he died on 14th October at 11pm. The cause of death was measles.

I’m not sure what would be worse for a parent – knowing your child had died needlessly in a local military hospital, and having to bury him less than a month after he’d left home; or knowing he’d died violently, in a battle on foreign soil, with possibly no known grave.

Edward takes his place on the New Zealand Honour Roll, along with 504 others who died while in training. He is buried at Te Henui cemetery, New Plymouth, alongside his parents.

Grave of Private Edward George Tunnecliff (1886-1916), Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, NZ

Grave of Private Edward George Tunnecliff (1886-1916), Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, NZ (Image: NZ War Graves Project)7


At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

This post is my contribution to the 2014 Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.

  1. Evening Post, vol LXXXIX, issue 135, 9 June 1915, page 8; digitised version, PapersPast ( : accessed 22 April 2014).
  2. Evening Post, vol LXXXIX, issue 140, 15 June 1915, page 8; digitised version, PapersPast ( : accessed 22 April 2014).
  3. Evening Post, vol LXXXIX, issue 142, 17 Jun 1915, page 8; digitised version, PapersPast ( : accessed 22 April 2014).
  4. “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR”, New Zealand Herald, volume LII, issue 15956, 29 June 1915page 10; digitised version, PapersPast ( : accessed 22 April 2014).
  5. “TRENTHAM CAMP COMMISSION’S REPORT”, Dominion, vol 8, issue 2552, 28 August 1915, page 6; digitised version, PapersPast ( : accessed 22 April 2014).
  6. Ibid.
  7. New Zealand War Graves Project, in association with, digital image, ( : accessed 24 April 2014).


Archives NZ. “TUNNECLIFF, Edward George – WW1 33480 – Army : Military Personnel File”; digitised file, Archway ( : accessed 05 Nov 2010).

Kohn, George Childs. “New Zealand measles epidemics, 1915–1916 and 1938.” Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence, Third Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. (
ItemID=WE53&iPin=ENPP469&SingleRecord=True : accessed 21 April 2014). Zealand Army WWI Reserve Rolls, 1916-1917 [database on-line] ( : accessed 22 April 2014); New Zealand Expeditionary Force Reserve – 1916-1919. Microfiche 1-23. New Zealand Army WWI Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 [database on-line] ( : accessed 22 April 2014); The Great War 1914-1918, New Zealand Expeditionary Force Roll of Honour. Microfiche, 3 rolls.

George & Elizabeth Tunnecliff, Grave 56 ~ Tombstone Tuesday

I was recently contacted by John Pickering, graveyard manager of St Mary’s Cathedral in New Plymouth (Taranaki, New Zealand). He is spearheading a project to repair all the old gravestones in the churchyard, and is trying to contact descendants of those buried, to help fund the repairs. Council funds are being applied for where there are no known descendants.

My great great great grandparents George Tunnecliff(e) and his wife Elizabeth Barber are buried in Grave 56 in the churchyard, and their gravestone is one of a number that require some TLC.

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Tunnecliff(e), St Mary's, New Plymouth, NZ

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Tunnecliff, St Mary’s churchyard, New Plymouth, NZ (Image: John Pickering)

The inscription on the headstone reads:

In loving memory of George Tunnecliff died 13 February 1912 aged 80 years also Elizabeth Tunnecliff died 24 February 1916 aged 86 . At rest.

John has written to a couple of descendants so far and outlined the work that is needed to repair the grave, and the costs involved. The concrete top is broken and the north side wall has fallen away, and the headstone itself requires a professional clean and application of lichen inhibitor. Because the churchyard has been designated a Category 1 historical site, only registered memorial masons can carry out the repairs.

The Dean of the Cathedral comments:
We believe that the churchyard should be a place of pride for the city and a fitting memorial to those buried there. Our plan is to restore every headstone, whilst being true to its age and style. There is much research that a well-kept and loved churchyard is far less subject to vandalism. In recent years we have seen no vandalism whatsoever, and we aim for that to continue.

All told, the concrete repair work and the headstone cleaning for George & Elizabeth’s grave will amount to around $600. Descendants are being asked to contribute towards the cost, and obviously the more of us that can chip in, the better!

So, are you connected to the family? Would you like to help?

There are several ways to donate a few dollars, but to make it easier, I’ve set up a GiveALittle fundraising page and donations go straight to the The Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary for the restoration of Grave 56.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to share more about George and Elizabeth, their lives in England and New Zealand, as well as their children and grandchildren.

Further reading: Isobel Ewing, New Plymouth Graves Need Work, Taranaki Daily News online, 20 May 2013.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

In celebration of Marriage ~ Wedding Wednesday

A post to commemorate the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill in New Zealand today, which ensures that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose (and in doing so, will create some interesting scenarios for us family historians!).

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900.  This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret's parents, Michael and Margaret.

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900. This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret’s parents, Michael and Margaret, in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ.  (Larger version 1.4Mb)

Wedding Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

St Mark’s church, Remuera, Auckland, NZ ~ Wordless Wednesday

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Arohanui, Christchurch

On February 22nd 2011 at 12.51pm (NZDT), an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit Christchurch, New Zealand, causing the deaths of 185 people.

These postcards are from the album of my grandmother, Agnes Majella (Burke) Gaffaney, who was born, raised and buried in Christchurch.

Roman Catholic Cathedral, Christchurch, NZ 7582

Roman Catholic Cathedral, Christchurch, NZ 7582

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, NZ 7869

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, NZ 7869

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Aerial View, Christchurch, NZ 7125 "National Publicity Studios Photo"

Aerial View, Christchurch, NZ 7125 "National Publicity Studios Photo"


St Patrick’s church, Waimate, South Canterbury, NZ

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick’s church in Waimate was opened on October 24th, 1909, replacing the original church that had been built in 1876 of local heart timber.  It was renovated in 1954. ( The original church was moved to Washdyke in 1934, where it remains today.)1

  1. Waimate District Council, “Waimate Churches“, ( : accessed 19 Feb 2012).

A Temuka wedding ~ 1896

As it’s St Valentine’s Day, we’re off to 1896 Temuka, South Canterbury, for a wedding – the nuptials of Mr Patrick Dennis Hoare and Miss Mary Brosnahan.

Wedding at Temuka, New Zealand Tablet, 15 May 1896, p 29

Wedding at Temuka, New Zealand Tablet, 15 May 1896, p 29


(From an occasional Correspondent.)

Temuka, May 2, 1896.
One of the nicest weddings that has been celebrated in Temuka for many years took place in St. Joseph’s Church on Tuesday last, when Mr P. D. Hoare, eldest son of Mr Denis Hoare, of Kerrytown, was united in holy matrimony by the Rev Theophilus Le Menant des Chesnais, S.M., to Miss Mary Brosnahan, second daughter of Mr John Brosnahan, of Levels Plains. The wedding procession arrived at the church at 9 o’clock and, after the marriage ceremony, assisted at the nuptial Mass, Miss Nellie Fitzgerald (Timaru) rendering “Mendelsshon’s Wedding March” on the organ. The bride, who wore an elegant dress of creme silk mixture, trimmed with Brussels lace and ribbons, and a wreath and veil, was given away by her eldest brother, Mr P. Brosnahan, and was attended by Miss Nellie Brosnahan, as chief bridesmaid, who was assisted by Misses Bridget and Katie Brosnahan, the bridesmaid wearing a cream serge dress trimmed with ribbon and hat to match and the assistants were attired in pure white dresses and hats to match. Mr Richard Hoare was best man. The bride’s travelling dress was one of navy serge, trimmed with silk, and tats to match. On going from the Church to the carriage rice fell in abundance on the happy pair. After a drive round, the guests assembled at Mr John Brosnahan’s for the wedding breakfast, about 150 being present, and in the evening about 200; these came from all parts of the district. After full justice had been done to the abundance of good things which bad been provided, Mr J. M. Twomey proposed the health of “The bride and bridegroom,” which he did in most felicitous terms, wishing the newly married couple success and happiness. Mr Glasson, of Timaru proposed the health of “Mr and Mrs Brosnahan,” and his neat speech was brimming with mirth. Mr Brosnahan responded, and thanked those present for their attendance, extending to all a hearty welcome. I might remark that the kindness of the good old couple fully justifies the proverbial Irish hospitality. After the banquet Mr Botterfield photographed the party. During the afternoon the time was spent in all kinds of amusement, and in the evening, after supper, the grand march, headed by the bride and bridegroom, took place at 8 o’clock, and the large assembly indulged in tripping the light fantastic toe for some hours, interspersed with songs and recitations. The presents were very numerous and very nice. The happy couple left for Amberley, their future home, the following day by the express train.1

I love that expression “tripped the light fantastic toe”!  A quick internet search reveals it was originally coined by John Milton, in his poem L’Allegro, written in 1645.  The Times was using the phrase in that form in  1803.2

After that slight diversion, back to the task at hand. The article seems to be clearly referring to my John Brosnahan and family, with the names of his daughters mentioned being the same as given in his will. Information I noted here:

  • a son, “the eldest brother” P. Brosnahan, who was not mentioned in John’s will
  • Mary is John’s second daughter
  • Nellie, Bridget and Katie (Catherine?) have not yet married

I love the description of the party afterwards – gives a wonderful sense of the convivial atmosphere.

Anyway, time to get searching for Mary’s sisters’ marriages on NZ’s Births, Deaths & Marriages Online, using the spousal surnames discovered in her father’s Will, and these are the most likely ones I found:

  • 1898 – Margaret Elizabeth Brosnahan m. Frank Louis Adams3
  • 1905 – Ellen [Nellie] Brosnahan m. James Moore4
  • 1908 – Kitty [Catherine] Brosnahan m. Richard Connell5
  • 1911 – Bridget Brosnahan m. James Thomson6

Could the brother “P. Brosnahan” be Patrick? On John and Hanorah’s gravestone is an inscription for a Leo Brosnahan, “son of Patrick and Nora”.

Looking for possible marriages for Mary’s brothers, this is what I came up with:

  • 1898 – Patrick Brosnahan m. Hanoria Toohey7
  • 1907 – Thomas William Brosnahan m. Esther Byrne8
  • 1915 – Thomas William Brosnahan m. Catherine Rebecca O’Neill9

There is a death in the index for an Esther Brosnahan in 191010, which would tie in with Thomas William remarrying.  I couldn’t find a likely marriage for Matthew.

Looking back at John and Hanorah’s gravestone again, there is an inscription for a John Joseph, who died in 1900 at the age of 15. On Papers Past, I found a death notice which confirmed that he was John’s son (and his youngest)11:

Death notice of John Joseph Brosnahan, The Star, 03 Mar 1900, p5

Death notice of John Joseph Brosnahan, The Star, 03 Mar 1900, p5

At the very bottom of the gravestone is an inscription to Annie Kleim. She proved to be a bit of a mystery for a while – I could find no record of an Ann(ie) Brosnahan marrying a Kleim.

However, I did (eventually!) find a record of an Annie Orton marrying a Fritz Kliem in 191012, and then a record of an Annie Brosnahan marrying a Bruce Orton in 189813 (they actually appear twice in the index). There was a death entry in the index for a Bruce Orton in 190614, but his age was given as 7 years. Upon checking the Timaru District Council cemetery database, I found a record for a 29 year old Bruce Orton who was buried on December 11th, 1906 in Pleasant Point cemetery.15

So, could this Annie be another child of John and Hanorah’s?

This is how John’s family is shaping up so far:

  • John Brosnahan m. Hanorah O’Driscoll
    • Patrick m. Hanoria Toohey
    • Thomas William m. (1) Esther Byrne, (2) Catherine Rebecca O’Neill
    • Matthew
    • John Joseph d. 1900
    • Annie m. (1) Bruce Orton, (2) Fritz Kleim
    • Mary m. Patrick Dennis Hoare
    • Margaret m. Frank Louis Adams
    • Ellen m. James Moore
    • Catherine m. Richard Connell
    • Bridget, m. James Thomson

So far, I have come up with ten probable children for John – nearly, but not quite, the twelve as mentioned in his Cyclopedia entry!

  1. “A Weddign in Temuka”, New Zealand Tablet, Vol XXIV Issue 3, 15 May 1896, p 29; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand ( : accessed 23 Apr 2011)
  2. Martin, Gary. “Trip the light fantastic”, The Phrase Finder ( : accessed 14 Feb 2012).
  3. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Frank Louis Adams and Margaret Elizabeth Brosnahan, 1898/5006, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  4. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of James Moore and Ellen Brosnahan, 1905/2373, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  5. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Richard Connell and Kitty Brosnahan, 1908/3495, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  6. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of James Thomson and Bridget Brosnahan, 1911/3995, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  7. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Patrick Brosnahan and Hanoria Toohey, 1898/1849, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  8. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Thomas William Brosnahan and Esther Byrne, 1907/5988, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  9. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Thomas William Brosnahan and Catherine Rebecca O’Neill, 1915/43, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  10. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Death Search”, database entry for Esther Brosnahan, 1910/5717, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  11. “Deaths”, Star, Issue 6734, 03 Mar 1900, p 5; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand ( : accessed 16 Jul 2011)
  12. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Fritz Kliem and Annie Orton, 1910/5520, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  13. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entries for marriage of Bruce Orton and Annie Brosnahan, 1898/1888 and 1898/2713, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  14. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Death Search”, database entry for death of Bruce Orton, 190/7649, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  15. Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council ( : accessed 2011), database entry for Bruce Orton, (ref 3122, row 6, plot 126, Pleasant Point, buried 26 Aug 1926)


The Cyclopedia of New Zealand ~ Follow Friday

A great resource from the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre – a searchable full-text edition of all six volumes of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand was published in six volumes between 1897 and 1908 by the Cyclopedia Company Ltd. Each volume deals with a region of New Zealand and includes information on local towns and districts, government departments, individuals, businesses, clubs and societies. Biographical entries frequently include the subject’s date and place of birth, the name of the ship by which immigrants arrived, spouse’s name, and the number and gender of children born to a couple. (NZETC website)

Members of the public paid to have an entry in the publication, so there is a bias towards those who could afford to do so. Few women, Māori or non-Europeans are included in the biographical section. However, it does give a wonderful snapshot of the towns and settlements in late 19th and early 20th century New Zealand, with the added bonus of maybe a snippet or two on your early settler ancestors.

Here is the entry for my great great grandfather, Michael Gaff(a)ney:

Gaffney, Michael, Farmer, “Belper Farm,” Arowhenua. Mr. Gaffney was born in 1836 at Belper, Derbyshire, England, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1858 by the ship “Cresswell,” landing in Lyttelton. He went to Timaru and was employed by Messrs. Rhodes Bros, for many years, principally at bush work and fencing. He was the first to take a waggon team to the Mackenzie country, and was engaged in the carrying business for some years. In 1861, he was the first who took up land on the Levels estate. The farm on which he resides comprises 548 acres, and he has another property of 252 acres at Washdyke, and a considerable amount of township property. In addition to wheat-growing, he fattens sheep for freezing, and disposes of a considerable number annually. Mr. Gaffney has been a member of the South Canterbury Hunt Club for many years and takes a general interest in sport. He was married in Christchurch to Miss Maggie Brosnahan, and has twelve children.1

Some of the biographical entries also included photos – perhaps you had to pay more for that?

This is just a little from the section on Temuka:

Temuka is on the main south line of railway, eighty-nine miles from Christchurch, and eleven miles to the north of Timaru. The surrounding district is rich agricultural country; towards the sea the land is particularly fertile, and was originally a wild swamp, but it now yields crops which average sixty bushels of wheat and from seventy to eighty bushels of oats to the acre. With a few exceptions, the holdings are comparatively large, and the whole district is dotted with fine plantations, which afford shelter to the stock and homesteads and lend a sylvan grace to the landscape. The district is well watered, as the Opihi and Temuka rivers are about half a mile from the town, the Orari three miles, and the Rangitata about ten. These rivers are known to all anglers as being stocked with trout, which, in respect to size and delicacy, equal the best in New Zealand. Temuka is, therefore, in high favour with anglers, some of whom come from Australia, and even England, every fishing season. In itself Temuka is a pleasant country town, with broad clean streets, and fresh water running in the side channels. It is well supplied with schools, churches, hotels, and livery stables. Many of the buildings are in brick, and the shops are supplied with articles equal to those to be seen in the larger centres of population. There are two doctors, two chemists, and one dentist in the town, which has a well kept park and domain, with a bicycle track, and tennis, cricket and football grounds. The post and telegraph office and the courthouse are built in brick. A large amount of business is transacted at the local railway station and the goods sheds. At the census taken on the 31st of March, 1901, Temuka had a population of 1,465; 767 males, and 698 females.2

According to the 2006 Census, Temuka now has a population of 4044: 1950 males, and 2091 females.2

Follow Friday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Gaffney, Michael”, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], (The Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903); digitised publication by New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (
  2. “[Temuka]”,  The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], (The Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903); digitised publication by New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (
  3. “QuickStats about Temuka”, 2006 Census Data, Statistics New Zealand, ( : accessed 10 Feb 2012).

Excerpts from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

St Bede’s College Sports, 1928

My grandfather Dominic Gaffaney was a boarder at St Bede’s College, Christchurch, NZ for two years – from 1927 to 1928.  The college is the oldest Roman Catholic Boys’ College in the South Island, founded by Marist priests in 1911, and the only Catholic day and boarding college for boys in the South Island.1

Also attending St Bede’s at the time was his cousin Jim Brosnahan, and his first cousin George Gaffaney.  I love to imagine a bit of family rivalry going on between the three of them, especially when it came to sporting endeavours.

The annual sports of St. Bede’s College, held at the sports grounds, produced the usual keen competition and healthy rivalry, and although there were no outstanding performances the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable.

The senior championship was won by J. Brosnahan, a very promising distance runner and field athlete, G. Gaffaney and D. Gaffaney sharing second place.2

The following events where Dominic was placed:

220yds. Grand Handicap, Open (record, 22 2/5 sec., T.H.Lee, 1924) – First heat: J. Phelan (9yds.) 1, D Gaffaney (scr) 2, Time, 25 sec. Second heat: G. Gaffaney (1yd.) 1, G. Josephs (9yds.) 2, Time, 26 sec. Final: Phelan 1, G. Joseph 2, G. Gaffaney 3. Time, 25 sec.

440yds. Grand Handicap (record 58 4/5 sec. T.H.Lee, 1924) – A. Devonport (10yds.) 1, W. Doyle (20yds.) 2, D. Gaffaney (scr.) 3, Devonport ran splendidly to win very easily. Time 56 4/5 sec.

Mile Senior Championship (record, L. Carmody, 5 min. 1 sec., 1927) – J. Brosnahan 1, D. Gaffaney 2, F. McHugh 3. Time, 5 min. 10 sec.

880yds. Senior Championship (record, 2 min. 13 4/5 sec., J. Payne 1923) – J. Brosnahan 1, D. Gaffaney 2, J. McHugh 3. Time, 2 min, 26 4/5 sec.

440yds. Senior Championship – D. Gaffaney 1, J. Brosnahan 2, G. Gaffaney 3. Time, 59 1/5 sec.
Long Jump, Senior Championship (record, 18ft. 6 ½ in., J. Hendren, 1927) – G. Gaffaney 1, J. Brosnahan 2, D. Gaffaney 3. Distance, 16ft. 2 ½ in.

220yds. Senior Championship (record, 22 3/5 sec., T. H. Lee, 1924) – D. Gaffaney 1, G. Gaffaney 2, F. Foster 3. Time, 25 1/5 sec.

100yds. Senior Championship (record, 10 sec., T. H. Lee, 1924) – G. Gaffaney 1, D. Gaffaney 2, F. Foster 3. Time, 12 2/5 sec.3

In the 1928 rugby season, all three boys made it into the First XV – with George as captain.4

1928 First XV, St Bede's College, Christchurch, NZ

1928 First XV, St Bede's College, Christchurch, NZ

Standing: D. Gaffaney, G. Joseph, K. McMenamin, O. Scully, M. O’Reilly, E. Duncan
Sitting: J. Blackmore, J. Ryan, J. Brosnahan, G. Gaffaney (Capt.), M. Gonley, F. Foster, W. Thiele
In front: G. Duggan, O. O’Sullivan
Absent: W. Quirk (Vice-Capt.), J. Egden, W. Grennell, V. Coughlan, V. Cahill, P. Loughnan.

(St Bede’s is celebrating their centennial this year, postponed from last year due to the earthquakes in Christchurch.)

  1. Wikipedia, “St Bede’s College, Christchurch”, article;,_Christchurch : accessed 07 July 2011.
  2. The Bedean, St Bede’s College (Christchurch: 1928), p 56.
  3. The Bedean, (1928), p 57
  4. The Bedean, (1928)