Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Killen Harmonium

The Killen Harmonium
Courtesy of the Katikati Heritage Museum, Killen Collection
Made in Dublin in 1877 to an American design, this four-stop Mason & Hamlin harmonium, which still has all its keys, reeds and pedals and can still be played, was brought out to New Zealand by John and Ellen Killen a year later in 1878.   John Killen, Justice of the Peace, Councillor for Tauranga City Council and the Katikati Road Board, was an elder of the Presbyterian Church (helping to establish that denomination in Katikati), a farmer, business man, and father to four sons and two daughters.  His wife Ellen Orr Killen née Wilson was the sister of Martha Gilbert, née Wilson, one of whose sons married a Lockington.

Mason & Hamlin trade card, 19th Century
Dr Barbara Mary Smith, whose grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smith née Killen was a daughter of John and Ellen, donated the harmonium, together with a gown, clothing and various war items to Katikati Heritage Museum.

Illustrated Catalogue of the Mason & Hamlin Organ Company, 1880

Working Bee at the Katikati Cemetery on 15 April 1889, courtesy of Tauranga Memories Kete

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