Friday, 28 December 2018

Lemon House, 21 Willow Street, Tauranga

21 Willow Street, 1997
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref 00-593
The house at 21 Willow Street is one of the few in central Tauranga that is still a dwelling. It is believed to have been on the site since 1886 and is a good example of the simple square pioneer home with a rectangular hip roof. The materials are the corrugated iron and timber weatherboards of the period. Joseph Hall, police constable, is listed at this address on the Tauranga Burgess Roll of 1886/1887. This was the electoral roll for the Tauranga Borough.

George Lemon, born in Plymouth, Devon and his wife Catherine (nee Meagher/Maher) married on a ship in New York harbour in 1850 and their first son, George Henry was born in the USA. The family moved to Australia and in 1863 George enlisted in the 1st Waikato Regiment No 3 Company of the militia in Melbourne and came to New Zealand on the Golden Age to fight in the New Zealand Wars. George received the New Zealand Medal which proved he had taken part in active service and he died in Tauranga in 1899. He fought at the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864 and he also served during the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1867. George Lemon served on the Tauranga Borough Council from 1887 to 1895.

George Henry Lemon's bugle, Waikato Militia. Tauranga Heritage Collection
George Henry Lemon who was fourteen years old when he enlisted in the Militia with his father, was sworn in as a bugler. Army details record his height at the time as three feet ten inches. He married Elizabeth Mannix of Tauranga and farmed at Paengaroa for many years. Lemon Road there is named after the family. A descendant presented his bugle to the Tauranga Heritage Collection.

Cayley Gore Robinson a farmer, later a builder, from Greerton bought the house in the early 20th century and his widow Florence resided there during the twentieth century.

Archaeological Report on Tauranga CBD Phillips & Arabin; Jenni Palmer, Lists of Waikato Militia; Tauranga Memories – Kete; Lyn Harpham notes THC.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Patrick Freeburn Keenan and His Family - Book Review

Patrick Freeburn Keenan and His Family by Patricia Brooks
Edited by Sophie Levestam, Design by Donella Jones
ISBN 978-0-473-45792-1, Kale Print, Tauranga
Softcover, 84 pages

Review by Lee Switzer

The author is clear. The book is about her grandfather, whose biography is only printed here in great detail because so many family members from the past collected stories, newspaper reports and photos.

The book is filled with family photos and multiple quotes from original letters describing family members and their activities. Patrick Freeburn Keenan (1872-1955) is the grandfather of author Patricia Brooks. She is named after him, and like Patrick, nicknamed ‘Paddy.’

The book is generally well referenced. However, no source is given for this statement: “By 1915 Tauranga was the first town in the world to have electric street lights and an all-electric home.” p41.

Keenan Road, Freeburn Rd and Molloy Rise are named after families who lived in the area off  Pyes Pa Rd.

The organisational layout of the book must have been a mind swirling jigsaw of placing families, individuals and events into a coherent whole. In large part, the author has succeeded well in providing lineages backward and forward within the contexts of distant relatives, their 1800s activities in Ireland, and voyages to Australia and New Zealand.

As expected, New Zealand history is an integral part of the family history. Patrick Keenan was born to Francis and Sarah Keenan in Greenstone, New Zealand, a town  across the river from Kumara, midway between Greymouth and Hokitika.

After working in several different gold dredging operations and marrying Mary Jane Walsh  (1872-1944) in 1904, Greymouth, they moved to North Island towns. The couple and 4 childrern; Thomas, Ellen Sarah (Nell), Pat, and Alice eventually landed, fully, and finally in Tauranga, 1918. With farms in Pyes Pa, various other family members worked the land, took children to school first in Greerton and later to other schools.

The authors’ parents, Ellen Sarah Keenan (1910-1970) and Brian Patrick Molloy (1911-1979) were married in 1936. Six siblings arrived from this union: Mary Elizabeth, Margaret Winifred  Patricia Alice, Marc, Terence Michael (currently a Tauranga City Councillor) and John Joseph.

Patricia Keenan married Norman Brooks in 1961. Brooks provides details about living on the farm, Greerton School history and other aspects of Grandfather and Grandmother Keenan and Mother Molloy’s life with animals, town and country organisations, friendships, kinships.

There are many anecdotes in the book and several little-mentioned events in New Zealand history such as the Battle of Addisons Flat, 1868 one of the first riots on the West Coast, and the “Douglas Movement” referring to the Douglas Credit Party in the 1930s.

The book is loaded with individual facts, dates of birth and death, often burial locations. On a final note, near the end of the biography there is an unsuspected puzzle piece with twists to finding relatives. It has to do with DNA, a photograph, an unwed mother who gave her twins up for adoption, and who would not tell the adult women who their father was. The answer is in the book. (Hint: their new brother was very happy to discover his sisters.)

Closing the Keenan saga are numerous pages with diagrammed genealogical branches.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Armed Constabulary Roads

We take the roads we drive over every day for granted – unless they are badly congested or have a poor safety record, in which case we complain. But usually we are too busy concentrating on the roads themselves to think about their history. As we drive through Judea, Oropi, or Welcome Bay, we could spare a thought for the members of the Armed Constabulary and their Māori helpers, who built at least part of these roads in the first instance.

Armed Constabulary, 1870. Bartlett Photo (from a Copy).
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 01-128
Artillery detachment of the Armed Constabulary with two six-pounder Armstrong guns, c 1870. Captain Crapp standing on right. Other constables from left are identified by S. Crowther as Sergt Russell, Sergt Mason, Const. Campbell (Hospital Dispenser), Const. Reymer, Const. Mathias, Const. Redmond, Const. Daveron, Const. Skilton, Const. Cochrane, Const. Walker, Const. Elliott, Const. McCallum, Const. Adams, Const. Batty, Sergt Major Harper, Const. Land, Const. Ryan. Front sitting, Const. Crowther lying down, Const. Keep standing by gun wheel, Sergt Putnam and Captain Crapp in the right foreground. Two figures on extreme left in the background and the one looking over the wheel between Campbell and Reymer unidentified.
The Armed Constabulary, precursor to the modern police force, was established in 1867, as the land wars drew to a close. Staffed by men from the former militia units such as the Waikato Regiment, it was meant to keep the peace and protect the civilian population from attacks by disaffected Māori. As that threat receded, work was found for the men to do, and one of their most useful jobs was road-making. In 1869-70 they began forming the road through Judea to the Wairoa river crossing, a task that involved shifting some 5,454 cubic yards of soil. In 1875 men from the Ohinemutu constabulary post started work on the ‘back road’ from Tauranga to Rotorua, which in those days went through Oropi.

In the late 1870s or early-to-mid 1880s – there seems to be conflicting information as to when this actually occurred – the Armed Constabulary was restructured. In general, police forces took over the towns, and a ‘Field Force’ the rural areas, but the Armed Constabulary was still referred to as an active force in newspaper articles well into the 1890s. In 1880 members were engaged in building the road at Welcome Bay, in order to connect Tauranga and Te Puke. Swamps and gullies made the work arduous. It is easy to understand why earlier settlers preferred to travel by sea.

Hansen, Neil. Highways and byways of the Western Bay of Plenty. [Tauranga] : N. G. Hansen, 1999.
Rorke, Jinty. Policing two peoples : a history of police in the Bay of Plenty, 1867-1992. [Tauranga] : J. Rorke and New Zealand Police, 1993.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Tauranga Heritage Award Presented to Heather McLean

Newspaper clipping from 1982. The award was organised that year but not presented until 1983.
The first presentation was to Mr Duff Maxwell.
This year saw the return of the Society’s Tauranga Heritage Award, which was last presented in 2004. The most deserving recipient was genealogist Heather McLean. Heather was presented with an Illuminated Scroll signed by Mayor Greg Brownless and Historical Society President Julie Green. (SunLive article)

Stephanie Smith speaking at the presentation ceremony in the NZ Room, Tauranga City Libraries, 24 October 2018.
Heather McLean is seated to her left.  Image: Fiona Kean
The scroll, detailing Heather’s many achievements, was as follows:
‘In recognition of Heather’s exceptional contribution in the discovery and transmission of genealogical and historical information for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region. In particular, her knowledge of local cemeteries and her meticulous transcriptions of headstones, completed over more than forty years.
For her tireless and generous volunteer work, including:
Twenty-seven years of collecting and indexing death notices and obituaries.
One day a week at the Tauranga Family History Centre since its opening in 1993.
One day a week at the Pyes Pa Cemetery since 2012.
Many years of valued support to the library community.
WW100 Tauranga committee member since 2013. 
In acknowledgement of Heather’s investigative skills, her phenomenal memory and her willingness to assist researchers by giving both her time and financial resources.’

Friday, 7 December 2018

Agnes Faulkner

Agnes Faulkner. Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-1339
 Agnes Faulkner (nee Davies) was born in Opunake 1891 and died in Tauranga 1986, aged 95

Agnes was one of a family of 13 and it was her dream to become a teacher, but shortly after their arrival in Tauranga she began work at age 13 as a tailoress. Married in 1912 to “Barley” Faulkner she barely left her home for the next 20 years as she raised children and acted as bookkeeper and telephonist for her husband’s ferry business.

Finally in 1932, under doctors orders, she attended a Country Women’s Institute meeting and from that day her world opened up. She became involved in The St John’s movement, and during one period was giving up to nine lectures a week in first aid or home nursing. She was one of the first women to act as an ambulance attendant and eventually became the Superintendent of the Nursing Division.

Bay of Plenty Times, Image courtesy of Papers Past
From 1934 -1977 she was heavily involved in health services and served as only the 2nd woman on the hospital board. She was a prime mover in the establishment of the maternity annexe. In 1953 The Queen bestowed her with a Coronation Medal and an MBE in 1958.*

Agnes was also involved in the Road Safety Council and The Tauranga Historical Society das well as being a JP. In her latter years she continued to lecture on Maori medicines and cures and was a volunteer at The Tauranga District Museum.

* Some sources say 1950


Biographical Sketches of The Centennial Mural (Artist Elizabeth Grainger and Editor Ernest E. Bush), Feb 1982
Tauranga 1882-1982;The Centennial of Gazetting of Tauranga as a Borough (Edited by A.C. Bellamy) TCC 1982
Manuscript 43 in Vertical Files, Heritage Research Room, Tauranga Library; From interview with Agnes in 1981