Tag Archives: Napier

Bridget (Power) O’Rourke ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Oh my word, it has been a long while since I’ve posted.  I have been busy with IHGS assignments, lots of family history research, and correspondence with distant cousins – hence this blog has been somewhat neglected.

Thanks to a fellow IHGS student, I now have a copy of my great great grandmother’s obituary from the New Zealand Tablet, and as I’ve lately been in contact with a few O’Rourke cousins, I thought it timely to share.

Obituary, Bridget O'Rourke, New Zealand Tablet, 30 Jul 1914

Obituary, Bridget O’Rourke, New Zealand Tablet, 30 Jul 1914

OBITUARY

MRS O’ROURKE, NAPIER

Death has laid its hand very heavily upon Mr
B. O’Rourke, sen., and his family during the last few
days (says the Hawke’s Bay Herald of July 20).  Fol-
lowing the death of the youngest son, Mr. James
O’Rourke, on Friday morning, Mrs O’Rourke, sen.,
passed away on Saturday morning.  The news caused
a profound shock to the community, and feelings of
widespread sympathy for the bereaved family.  The
deceased lady was an old colonist, having arrived in
New Zealand in the early ‘sixties, partaking of the ups
and downs of goldfields life at Charleston, on the West
Coast, where Mr. O’Rourke took a prominent part in
the pioneering work of those stirring times, eventually
coming to Napier, where the family have been well
and popularly connected with its business life since
1875.  Mrs. O’Rourke’s health had been failing for
some time, but her end was doubtless accelerated by
the shock of the death of her son James.  On Sunday the
remains of mother and son were laid to rest in the
Napier Cemetery, the cortege being one of the largest
seen in the city for many years.  A service was first
held at St. Patrick’s Church, and the final rites were
performed by the Rev. Fathers O’Sullivan and O’Con-
nor, the scene at the graveside, when the coffins con-
taining the remains of mother and son were lowered
into the one grave beside that of a son and brother,
who had died only a comparatively short time pre-
viously, being most impressive.  The members of the
H. A. C. B. Society, of which the late Mr. James
O’Rourke was a member, attended in full strength, and
acted as pall-bearers. – R.I.P.

Bridget O’Rourke died on 18 July 1914 in Napier, New Zealand, and is buried at the Old Napier Cemetery in the O’Rourke family plot.  Her cause of death was given as “Pneumonia, Syncope”.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Alexander Wright ~ Sunday’s Obituary (and a mystery)

How apt that today I am posting my great grandfather’s obituary – on the 55th anniversary of his death.1

Obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, 01 Aug 1956

Obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, 01 Aug 1956

OBITUARY

MR. A. WRIGHT

A prominent figure in musical and friendly-society circles for many years, Mr Alexander Wright died yesterday at Gisborne and is to be interred at the Taruheru cemetery tomorrow, following a service to be held in Cochrane’s private chapel at 2.30pm.

Mr Wright was born in London and came to New Zealand as a boy, residing first in Christchurch and later coming to Gisborne, where he commenced his working life.  He volunteered for overseas service soon after the outbreak of the First World War and suffered wounds on Gallipoli which resulted in his being invalided back to New Zealand.

Mr Wright took up employment with Ormonds Motors after regaining his health and in 1917 married Miss Elsie Nunns at Gisborne.  He then transferred to Napier and in a residence of about nine years there, became a prominent figure in the entertainment world.2

I wonder if there was more to the obituary? It doesn’t sound like it’s quite finished – unless it was published in a Napier publication, and so only included information pertinent to that locality?

The obituary answers a few questions we had about Alex, though it raises several more!

How did he get to New Zealand “as a boy”? He’s definitely in England in 1901 (with his mother Mary Jane in Deptford), and I have a postcard addressed to him when he was in the Irish Fusiliers based at Aldershot – the postmark looks as though it is dated April 20, 1911.3 (I’m no expert – but it looks similar to those I found online).  If I’m correct about the date, Alex was still in England at 20 years of age.

Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia
Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

Postmark up close:

Postmark detail

Postmark detail

On the front of the postcard is a photograph of the sender, his sister Lavinia Wright:

Postcard sent to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

Postcard sent to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

I found a possible reference to him in the 1911 census4, with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusliers and correct age and birthplace, but he’s listed as “Alexander Patrick John Wright”, so I’m not entirely convinced this is our Alex. The middle names look as though they’ve been added afterwards, perhaps (and there are another couple of instances of this on the same page).

1911 England census (Alton, Hampshire) - detail (image copyright findmypast.co.uk)

1911 England census (Alton, Hampshire) - detail (image copyright findmypast.co.uk)

I also discovered an A. Wright on several ship crew lists5:

  • S.S. Themistocles, sailed from London  arriving 27 Oct 1912 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 20, Asst Cook
  • Rangatira, sailed from London arriving 20 Mar 1913 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 22, General Seaman
  • Ballarat, sailed from London arriving 11 Aug 1915 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 23, Asst Cook

They could all be the same person, or maybe no. 2 is our Alex?  He was definitely in New Zealand by 1914, when he enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Online Cemetery Record Search”,  entry for Alexander Wright, burial 02 Aug 1956; database, Gisborne District Council (http://www.gdc.govt.nz/online-cemetery-record-search/ : accessed 21 Oct 2010); MI:  “NZEF, Great War Veteran 10/800 L/Cpl A WRIGHT, Wellington Regt, died 31 July 1956 aged 65″.
  2. “OBITUARY”, obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, dated 01 Aug 1956; photocopy, original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], grandson of deceased.
  3. Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, sent by Lavinia (Wright) Luxton, dated 20 Apr 1911(?); digital image, original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], granddaughter of A. Wright.
  4. 1911 England census, Hampshire, Alton, St Lucia 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, Institution; entry for Alexander Patrick John Wright; digital image, FindMyPast (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 19 Jun 2011)
  5. Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922 [database on-line]; Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 19 Jun 2011)

Peter Gaffaney & Margaret O’Rourke ~ Wedding Wednesday

Peter Gaffaney and Margaret O'Rourke, Napier, NZ 1909

Brigid O'Rourke, Peter Gaffaney, Margaret O'Rourke and James Gaffaney, Napier, NZ 1909

I just adore this photograph!  Isn’t it marvellous?  The gloves!  Those hats!  My great grandfather Peter looks quite the dapper lad, and my great grandmother Margaret so much the lady.

Margaret is the daughter of Bartholomew O’Rourke, yer man from Ballymacdonnell, and Bridget Power.  She was born Margaret Mary/Monica O’Rourke on 7 September, 1885 in Napier, New Zealand, the fifth daughter and tenth child of Bartholomew and Bridget.1

Peter is the son of Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan.  He was born Peter Dominic Gaffaney on 14 July, 1879 in Temuka, New Zealand, the fourth son and ninth child of Michael and Margaret.2

Peter and Margaret were married in St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Napier, New Zealand on 9 November, 1909.3

Gaffney-O'Rourke, wedding notice, 9 Nov 1909 (publication unknown)

Gaffney-O'Rourke, wedding notice, 9 Nov 1909 (publication unknown)

GAFFNEY – O’ROURKE

St. Patrick’s Church was the scene of an exceedingly pretty wedding this morning when Mr P. D. Gaffney, of Canterbury, was united in the bonds of matrimony to Miss Margaret Monica O’Rourke, youngest daughter of Mr B. O’Rourke, of the well-known Napier carrying firm. Pontifical high mass was celebrated by the Rev. Father O’Connor, in the absence of the Rev. Father Goggan. Mr James Gaffney, brother of the bridegroom, was best man and Miss B. O’Rourke, sister of the bride, was bridesmaid.

The bride, who was given away by her father, looked charming in a princess gown of ivory chiffon taffeta, yoke of tucked net and trimmed with silk guipure. She wore a large cream picture hat of crinoline straw, with soft tulle ruchings finished at the side with soft flowing plumes. The bridesmaid, Miss B. O’Rourke, wore a pale blue ninon de soie, with yoke and sleeves of ecru net threaded with pale blue bebe ribbon. She wore a large Tuscan straw hat trimmed with cream tulle and embroidery. Miss K. O’Rourke was attired in a gown of cornflower blue eolienne over silk with a yoke of ecru net and beautiful Oriental embroidery. Mrs O’Rourke, mother of the bride, was attired in a gown of black silk, while Mrs McCallum, sister of the bridegroom, was dressed in a brown tailor costume with toque to match.

The bride’s present to the bridegroom was a pair of gold sleeve links, while that of the bridegroom to the bride was a handsome ruby and diamond ring. To the bridesmaid he gave a handsome cameo ring set in pearls.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the guests were entertained by the bride’s parents in St. Patrick’s Hall. Mr and Mrs Gaffney left by the 2.15 p.m. train to spend their honeymoon in the Lakes district of the South Island. The bride wore a navy blue tailor-made travelling dress with hat…

  1. New Zealand, birth certificate for Margaret Mary O’Rourke; 07 Sep 1885, Napier; citing 1885/18916, Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  2. Baptismal certificate for Peter Dominic Gaffaney; 16 Aug 1879, Temuka, New Zealand; copy privately held by [NAME, ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE].
  3. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Peter Dominic Gaffaney and Margaret Monica O’Rourke; 09 Nov 1909, Napier; citing 1909/7835, Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

Wedding Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Tombstone Tuesday

O'Rourke family burial plot, Napier Hill, Napier

O'Rourke family burial plot, Napier Hill, Napier

Sacred to the memory
of
Patrick James O’Rourke
died 13th Aug 1908
also
Mary Josephine O’Rourke
died 11th Feb 1882
James Thomas Power O’Rourke
died 12th July 1914
Bridget Power O’Rourke
died 18 July 1914
Bartholomew O’Rourke Senr
died 13th Nov 1920
aged 79yrs 10mths
Brigid Power O’Rourke
died 15 May 1964
Sweet Jesus have mercy on their souls
RIP1

My great great grandfather Bartholomew O’Rourke is buried in Old Napier Cemetery, Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand in a family plot, along with sons Patrick James O’Rourke and James Thomas Power O’Rourke, daughters Mary Josephine O’Rourke and Brigid Power O’Rourke, and wife Bridget Power O’Rourke.

Many thanks to the kind Trade Me genealogy forum member who located and photographed the gravestone for me.

  1. Old Napier Cemetery (Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand), Bartholomew O’Rourke & family gravestone, Section T Headstone Ref 1207; photograph supplied by [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], January 2011.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Bartholomew O'Rourke obituary 1923

Bartholomew O’Rourke obituary, 6 Dec 1923 (publication unknown)

1

OBITUARY

Mr BARTHOLOMEW O’ROURKE

There passed away on the 13th inst., at his home in Napier, in his 80th year, Mr. Bartholomew O’Rourke (writes a correspondent). He was born in the parish of Currens, Co. Kerry, Ireland. When 23 years of age he left the Old Country on board the Blue Jacket. After an uneventful passage of three months he arrived at Lyttleton in 1866. In company with many other adventurous spirits he travelled westwards in search of gold and tried his luck at Hokitika; thence to Charleston where he was married by Monsignor Walshe. Eventually settling down in Napier, he established himself and built up an extensive carrying business. Throughout his long life he was distinguished by his intense faith. No member of St. Patrick’s Church was more assiduous in attending late or early, and none more unbending than he in the rigorous and absolute fulfilment of all the duties of a devout Catholic. In 1877 he followed out the instructions of the late Rev. Father Hennebery; and although he never took the pledge as being derogatory to his character as a man and his independence as a Christian, he became an absolute abstainer. The Rosary beads given him by that extraordinary missioner he cherished till the end. The Rosary he recited every night without fail for 46 years. According to instructions these beads were removed from his hands in death and hung round his neck. Nor was his love for Ireland less remarkable. Her history he knew well; all her efforts for freedom, every fight against oppression only fostered the fond hope he cherished of final and absolute triumph. Thus after a long life of fidelity to God and native land, feelings inherited by all his children, he passed away surrounded by nearly all his surviving sons and daughters, whilst the priest imparted the last blessing, and the good Sisters of the Missions recited the prayers for the dying. The numerous assemblage at the last sad rites bore testimony to the esteem of the public. The Rev. Father Tymons read the absolution, assisted in the sanctuary by the Rev. Fathers J. Goggan (Hastings) J. Schaeffer (Greenmeadows), Heffernan and Clancy. Messrs. T. Barry, J. Leany E. O’Brien, W. Ryan, J. Pearcy, P. Griffin (members of H.A.C.B. Society) acted as pallbearers – R.I.P.

Bartholomew O’Rourke is my great great grandfather, and I am descended from his daughter Margaret.

I think this clipping was a marvellous find, stashed away amongst my father’s family papers. I can’t be certain which newspaper it was published in, but from the style and language, I’m fairly sure it was the New Zealand Tablet, a monthly Catholic newspaper. I hope to check up on this next month.

  1. “Obituary”, 6 Dec 1923 clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.


Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.