January newsletter - Dunedin Family History Group



January newsletter - Dunedin Family History Group
Issue 9
September 2008
MISSION STATEMENT: The Dunedin Family History Group’s purpose is to
promote interest in the field of family history through educational programs, to
collect and disseminate genealogical knowledge and information, and to
provide support and guidance to those trying to research all aspects of their
family history.
Wednesday 10 September 2008
Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Hillside Road, South Dunedin
Time: Meeting begins at 7.30 pm but the hall will be open from 7 pm
Cost: $2 door charge (bring along some extra change as we will also
be having a raffle to raise funds for the group).
An in-depth look at census, census indexes and an explanation of
why your ancestor wasn’t at home when the census enumerator
We will also be looking at all of the census indexes available in
hardcopy, on CD and on the Internet. This talk will look at English,
Scottish, Irish, Canadian and American census and census
substitutes for Australia and New Zealand.
Wednesday 8 October 2008
Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Hillside Road, South Dunedin
Time: Meeting begins at 7.30 pm but the hall will be open from 7 pm
Cost: $2 door charge (bring along some extra change as we will also
be having a raffle to raise funds for the group).
A talk on researching in Ireland with an in-depth look at where the
Irish emigrated around the world following the potato famine. We will
also examine the links between Ireland, Scotland and England. There
will be film excerpts from Irish genealogy programmes played
throughout the evening to complement the main talk.
Following the main talk there will be a chance to ask questions about
Irish research and Catherine Delahunty, a local Irish researcher, will
be on hand to try and help answer your questions for you.
Just a reminder that if you change your email address you need to let
us know. We had a few August newsletters which were bounced back
to us due to changes in address.
How are you coping with the cold winter we have been experiencing?
I believe it is the wettest for some years. Still it can’t be anywhere
near as cold as the winter of 1881 in England. I have just been
reading a publication entitled Frosts, Freezes and Fairs by Ian Currie.
In it he explains that in January 1881 postmen and newspaper boys
were lost in the snow and greengrocers adopted sledges to deliver
provisions. One man from Herefordshire, Edmund Fortesque Gange,
was making business calls and got caught in the
blizzard. His head had to be thawed so his cap
could be separated from his hair. Then in 1963
the Thames river froze so solid at Oxford that a
driver took a short cut across it in a pre-war
Austin Seven. I guess we don’t realise just how
easy we have it in 2008.
meeting absolutely astonished at some aspects of their computer they
did not know about nor appreciated how it worked. For those who
could not be at the meeting we have written it up in full in this
A huge response to our August newsletter with information on Green
Island. We have some follow-ups to the article in this issue. And, yes,
I will be doing other suburbs over the next year. I chose Green Island
first because I found it had the most interesting history, along with the
fact that it is one of the few suburbs which has a cemetery located
within its boundaries.
Our website is coming along nicely. It has been a huge learning curve
for Kaye Saunders who has done most of the work on it for the past
three months. We especially want the site to reflect our group’s
mission statement and we hope that we are achieving this. Kaye
would really like you to tell her what you would like to see on our
website. Also, she is keen to get some help from members with some
experience in web design. She can be contacted at [email protected]
(mark your email “Attention Kaye re website”).
Our monthly raffle continues to be well supported and we are
extremely grateful for this. Thank you to the members who have
donated prizes. The proceeds of our raffles allows us to provide free
suppers and print the hard copies of our newsletter. Our treasurer
filed a return with the Inland Revenue Department up to 31 March
2008 and thankfully we had nothing to pay.
Heather Bray
Don’t forget our essay writing competition. So far we have had thirty-two people
request entry forms which is really positive.
First prize:
$100.00 - Citation - Copy of the book containing all
essays submitted to the competition
Second prize:
$50.00 - Citation - Copy of the book containing all
essays submitted to the competition
Third prize:
$25.00 - Citation - Copy of the book containing all
essays submitted to the competition
Fourth prize:
$25.00 - Citation - Copy of the book containing all
essays submitted to the competition
All writers who have essays published in the “Southern Tales” book will receive
a 20% discount on book purchase.
All entries must be received by 10 December 2008 and the winners will be
announced at the February meeting of the Dunedin Family History Group as
part of our celebrations for our first anniversary.
Entry forms are available from the group either via email or by sending a sae to
the address below.
Dunedin Family History Group
C/- 28 Milburn Street
Dunedin 9012
We had a lot of apologies from people unable to
attend our August meeting. This was mainly due
[email protected]
to coughs, colds and bad weather but we still had
a good attendance and a big thank you to Ricky
The Dunedin Family History Group cannot vouch for the accuracy of goods and
and Kevin Bray, Kaye Saunders and Noel Read
services that are advertised in this newsletter or be responsible for the outcome
for their presentations on the night. We have had
of any contract which may be entered into by a reader with an advertiser.
huge positive feedback from members. Many
Opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and not
long time users said they did not expect to learn
necessarily those of the group.
This newsletter is copyrighted to the Dunedin Family History Group. No part
much from a beginners guide to buying a
may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright holders.
computer for genealogy but came away from our
Page 1
This is a beta version of the site so there will be changes and
improvements to the site over time with the final release of the
site late in 2008.
News from Dunedin
Saturday Morning Music Classes
40th Anniversary Celebrations
Dates: 20–21 September 2008.
All past and present staff, pupils and families
are invited to attend.
Further information contact:
Lyndsey Garden, Registration Secretary,
phone (03) 478 0898; email [email protected]
or Aart Brusse, Musical Director,
phone (03) 454 5929; email [email protected]; website
Coalmining Accidents and Deaths
The Coalmining Accidents and Deaths database contains over
164,000 records of coalmining deaths and accidents in the
UK. A search facility is available and information may include
name and age of person involved, date of incident,
occupation, colliery, owner, town, county and any notes which
may include the cause of death or injury. Names are not
displayed for injuries since 1950 for privacy reasons.
For anyone with coalmining ancestors this database is part of
the Coalmining History Resource Centre <http://
www.cmhrc.co.uk/site/home/> which includes mine location
maps, 'a day in the life' of a coal miner in 1939, 1842 Royal
Commission Reports and more.
News from Around New Zealand
Brilliant website for English photographs
Twizel High School Reunion
Dates: 13–15 November 2009
All past pupils, staff and friends of the school
are welcome.
Contact Terena, phone (03) 435 0586
or Kara ph (03) 435 3247
or check out their website
Our friend, Jane Porter, from Derbyshire, England has
emailed to tell us about this website.
When you enter the site click on which country you want.
Lots of photos, books, postcards, etc
News from Scotland
New Publication for Sale
This new historical study reveals the
hidden patronage and interlocking
political, business and family interests
behind the construction of
Wellington’s iconic cablecar, the
development of the suburb of Kelburn
and the establishment and location
therein of the new Vic toria
University. Using previously unknown
archive sources the author exposes
the secret links between Seddon’s
Liberal ministry, Irishman and liquor
magnate Martin Kennedy and a small
coterie of Wellington businessmen,
known as the ‘Kelly Gang’. Using Kelburn as a case study, he
shows how both Seddon and the businessmen worked
together to end the political career of Sir Robert Stout.
256 pages.
$50 plus $5 postage and handling
Only available from publisher, Hit or Miss Publishing, PO Box
22-145, Khandallah, Wellington 6441, NEW ZEALAND
Jane Porter has also provided us with some
excellent Scottish websites. These sites are well
worth a visit.
March 2009
March 2009 is Family History Month in New Zealand so we
thought the Dunedin Family History Group should do
something special to celebrate the occasion.
We have a few ideas but If any members have any
suggestions how we can celebrate Family History Month could
they please let Heather or Kaye know so we can get started
on organising events.
News from England
Thanks to Susan Guthrie for advising us
about the following two websites
UK Nineteenth Century Serials Edition
The NCSE website is a free, online edition
of six UK nineteenth century periodicals
and newspapers. It includes full runs of the
Monthly Repository (1806-1837), Unitarian
Chronicle (1832-1833), Northern Star
(1838-1852), Leader (1850-1860), English Woman's Journal
(1858-1864) and the Tomahawk (1867-1870) as well as a
decade of the Publisher's Circular (1880-1890).
All six journals can be browsed or searched by keywords
contained in the index of keywords. Articles once found can
be downloaded free of charge.
Page 2
Members of the Dunedin Family
History Group extend their
deepest sympathy to our group
secretary, Kaye Saunders, on the
passing of her mother in
Riverton on 18 August.
Our thoughts have been with
Kaye at this sad time.
By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Lyane Kendall has brought to our attention a series of books
by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. THE MORLAND DYNASTY is the
longest-running historical family saga ever, following the
Morland family through five hundred years of British history.
Though the Morlands are a fictional family, they interact with
real historical events and characters, so you can witness
through their eyes the great events of history from the Wars of
the Roses through the Restoration, the French Revolution, the
American Civil War, the Charge of the Light Brigade, and the
sinking of the Titanic. The Morland Dynasty is both a family
saga and a painless way to absorb the real history of this
island and its people. It is intended to continue up to the
Second World War. At present 30 volumes have got as far as
If you are interested in English history, if there are gaps in
what you learned at school that you would like to fill, or if you
simply enjoy a family saga (and there is no longer one than
this anywhere in literature!) then this series may be what you
are looking for.
1 - THE FOUNDING Begins: 1434
Period: Wars of the Roses; Richard III
2 - THE DARK ROSE Begins: 1501
Period: Henry VIII
3 - THE PRINCELING Begins: 1558
Period: Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots
4 - THE OAK APPLE Begins: 1630
Period: Charles I, the Civil War
5 - THE BLACK PEARL Begins: 1659
Period: Charles II, the Restoration
6 - THE LONG SHADOW Begins:1670
Period: Charles II, James II
7 - THE CHEVALIER Begins: 1689
Period: William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I, the Old Pretender
(1715 Rebellion)
8 - THE MAIDEN Begins: 1720
Period: George I, George II, the Young Pretender (Bonnie Prince
Charlie, 1745 Rebellion)
9 - THE FLOOD-TIDE Begins: 1772
Period: George III, American War of Independence, Enclosures
10 - THE TANGLED THREAD Begins: 1788
Period: The French Revolution; beginning of Industrial Revolution
11 - THE EMPEROR Begins: 1795
Period: Rise of Napoleon
12 - THE VICTORY Begins: 1803
Period: The Regency; Beau Brummell; Industrial Revolution; Battle
of Trafalgar
13 - THE REGENCY Begins:1807
Period: the Napoleonic Wars; the Peninsular Campaign; the
Industrial Revolution
14 - THE CAMPAIGNERS Begins:1815
Period: the campaign of the 100 Days and the Battle of Waterloo
15 - THE RECKONING Begins:1816
Period: Post war slump; Chartism; Pentrich Revolution; industrial
16 - THE DEVIL’S HORSE Begins: 1820
Period: George IV; the factory age; the Rainhill Trials; Liverpool and
Manchester Railway
17 - THE POISON TREE Begins: 1831
Period: William IV; 1832 Reform Act; the railway pioneers
18 - THE ABYSS Begins: 1833
Period: William IV, Victoria; the Railway Age; George Hudson
19 - THE HIDDEN SHORE Begins: 1843
Period: the early Victorian Age; Philanthropy
20 - THE WINTER JOURNEY Begins: 1851
Period: the Mid-Victorian Age; The Great Exhibition; the Crimean
21 - THE OUTCAST Begins 1857
Period: The American Civil War; the Divorce Act; the first
Underground Railway
22 - THE MIRAGE Begins: 1870
Period: High Victorian Age; Franco-Prussian War; changes to
medical training
23 - THE CAUSE Begins: 1874
Period: High Victorian; women’s rights
24 - THE HOMECOMING Begins: 1885
Period: Late Victorian; Oscar Wilde; Prince of Wales's Set; Girls'
25 - THE QUESTION Begins: 1898
Period: Late Victorian/Edwardian; Boer War; Motor Cars;
26 - THE DREAM KINGDOM Begins: 1908
Period: Edwardian; Aviation
27 - THE RESTLESS SEA Begins: 1912
Period: George V; Titanic; Cat and Mouse Act
28 - THE WHITE ROAD Begins: 1914
Period: Beginning of WW1
29 - THE BURNING ROSES Begins: 1915
Period: Continuing WW1
30 - THE MEASURE OF DAYS Begins: 1916
Period: Continuing WW1: The Somme
My mother’s relatives arrived and lived in Dunedin.
The surnames I am interested in are Simpson,
McLaren, Thompson, Stratton and Jones.
One puzzle we have is what happened to
Alexander Simpson who arrived on the Otago on
11 October 1873 with his wife Catherine and their
family. Alexander Simpson was born 31 October
1824 in Rattray, Perthshire, Scotland and married
Catherine Keir.
Alexander was recorded as a labourer on the ship but in both
Scotland and Dunedin he is shown as a woodturner. The last
place of residence I have for him is Maclaggan Street. This is
from documentation when he gave consent to the marriage of
his daughter, Mary McGregor Simpson, to James Thompson
on 21 March 1876. His wife Catherine died of TB on 16
August 1877 at 16 Castle Street. This was the residence of
James Thompson who also bought the burial plot in the
Northern Cemetery where Catherine and many other family
members are buried.
It does not appear that Alexander was in Dunedin when his
wife died. There is some thought that he may have returned to
Scotland before Catherine died or went to Melbourne with the
McLaren and Thompson families.
I have purchased several death certificates hoping one was
him but no luck so far. I would be grateful for any information
on this family.
Marjorie Webby
13 Covent Drive, Stoke, (elson
[email protected]
I'm researching a couple named Frank and Jessie Guinness
who lived in Dunedin in the 1880s. On electoral rolls covering
the time Frank Guinness is described as a labourer.
In "Papers Past" there are items that indicate that in 1883 the
couple lived in "Patience Villa" in Albany Street; and then in
1885 they lived in a house named "Yukova". I couldn't get
anything more on those two names on "Papers Past" or
Google. I emailed the Dunedin City Council Archives who
advised me that “Vukova” was a house in Castle Street with
six bedrooms. In the 1880s it was owned by a Mr David
Does anybody have access to information about those two
properties? Were they early versions of rest homes or private
hotels or boarding houses?
Rod Smith
40 Baroda Street, Wellington 6035
[email protected]
Page 3
Jane Porter, a good friend of our
group lives, in Derbyshire,. England.
She saw Bonnie Prince Charlie
mentioned in the Scottish article in
our August issue. Jane emailed to let
us know he was also well known in
Bringing his whole army with him,
Prince Charlie marched from
Scotland to Derby. They stayed in
tents at Swarkestone bridge. The
fields where the army camped are
now farm land. Apparently Bonnie
Prince Charlie couldn't get enough
support in Derby so he and his army
returned to Scotland. There is a pub
near the bridge called “The Bonnie
Prince”. According to several books
on ghost stories, people claim to
have heard galloping horses on the
famous bridge.
Swarkestone bridge is
actually a causeway. The
land has always flooded
when the nearby river
overflows. It's a very narrow
bridge and Jane confesses
that it frightens her a bit as
the car is so near the edge
when you cross the bridge.
Legend tells that two men
were drowned in the river
and their grieving wives
gathered lots of support and money and they built the bridge
to prevent other people getting drowned.
Jane recommends the following websites for further
information on the bride, Derbyshire and Prince Charlie.
Swarkestone Bridge - Films
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp4UvqDbcfo (YouTube
Derby / Town.
On page 12 of our August newsletter there was a transcript of
soldiers who appeared on the Green Island School War
Memorial. There were a few we could not find in New Zealand
soldiers records.
A member of our group, Diane Taylor, has been able to
identify three of these soldiers. They actually fought with the
Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and their records can be
downloaded online from http://www.naa.gov.au/whats-on/records-releases/wwi.aspx
William James BOOKER 6230 born at Dunedin, died 9 April
1917, France.
Ernest Edward DRIVER 1668, Son of Robert and Annie Driver
of 24 Rue Hill Terrace, Dunedin, New Zealand died 2 July
1915, buried at Shell Green Cemetery, Turkey.
James McAHAN 9577, died 20 May 1915, buried at Shell
Green Cemetery, Turkey.
Also, group member Eleanor Morris is related to another
soldier we could not identify - James BROWN.
James Brown was an elder brother of Thomas Brown, M.C.,
who was also included on the Green Island School memorial.
James Brown was born 14 October 1880 at Green Island, the
son of John and Lucy BROWN, nee FREEMAN. He went to
Green Island School for three years until his family moved to
Myross Bush near Invercargill. He then went to Invercargill
Middle School until 1891. He worked in the family fellmongery
and never married. He enlisted in September 1917 as a
rifleman, regimental number 72229, 'B'. Coy, 1st Battalion, 3rd
NZ Rifle Brigade. He was wounded in France 11 days after
joining his battalion and died one week later on 15 October
1918. He is buried in France in the Beaulencourt British
Cemetery at Ligny-Thilloy, Pas de Calais.
This is marvellous as now there are only two soldiers on the
monument who we have not been able to identify.
Group member Lesley Brook has been able to add a little
more to the early history of Green Island.
The land (as shown on the map below) between the Main
South Road up to District Road, from the school to Church
Street, was farmed by Lesley’s ancestors, John and Elizabeth
Muir, from about 1853 (land acquired over several years) until
1864 when they moved up to Shag Valley.
They sold it in 1874 to William Kennedy who promptly
subdivided it for the township, but from 1861 businesses had
begun appearing along the main road, some on sections
leased from the Muirs.
John Muir bought his sections from the Crown at £5 for 10
acres or privately for £3 per acre, but sold in 1874 for £30 per
acre. The farm immediately to the south of his, which is still
farmland, was Barbara Shand's property. John Muir worked
for her for a while.
Bonnie Prince Charles
Bonnie Prince pub
Bonnie Prince's statue in Derby
Swarkestone Bridge info
Page 4
Otago Witness, 1 October 1853, Page 2
It was interesting that Lesley made mention of the Shand property, which was
adjacent to the Muir farm. The Shand property (sections 83-87 on the Green
Island Bush District survey plan) ran south of the present Green Island school
and took in where the Green Island Memorial Park is now located, Shand Park
(the dog exercise park), Burgess Street and the site of the Catholic Church and
St Peter Chanel School. Some of the Shand property is still used as farmland
James Shand (46), his wife Barbara nee Angus (36) and their children,
Margaret (16), James (13), Jane Bonar (12), Barbara (10), William (8), John (6)
Isabella (3) and infant Mary Anne had arrived at Port Chalmers aboard the
Phoebe Dunbar on 24 October 1850. They took up land immediately at Green
Island Bush. James died on 8 August 1851, less than a year after arriving, and
Barbara took on the challenge of farming the Shand property, with the help of
her growing sons. As you can see from the two newspaper clippings on this
page she appears to have been a shrewd business woman.
Barbara Shand remained on her property for the rest of her life but her children,
particularly her sons, moved away from the area.
Margaret Shand married William C Brown (ex Poictiers) and lived in Green
James Shand married Isabella S. Duncan and owned property at West Taieri.
Jane Bonar Shand married Ralph Swale and lived in Winton.
Barbara Shand never married.
William Shand moved to live at East Taieri.
John Shand moved to live at Lime Hills and died at Centre Bush.
Isabella Shand married Rev Dr Watt and lived at Green Island.
Mary Anne Shand never married.
Barbara Shand never remarried after being widowed in her mid 30s. She died
on 15 July 1892 aged 79 years. It was after her death that the Shand property
was sub-divided.
Group member Isabella Shaw remembers her grandmother owned what she
always remembers being referred to as the Shand Estate. She has photographs
of herself as a child with large barns and out-houses in the background. These
photographs were taken at her grandmother’s property. As her grandmother’s
property covered 7 acres it was probably only part of the sub-division of the vast
Shand farm.
Isabella’s grandmother kept two cows, geese and hens and as a child she
remembers that the
flowed through the
grandmother sold out
Church. Before the
development work on
the property they
Pupil’s at
flattened the property
by removing a hill
and cut down all of
School in
the bluegums. They
also diverted the
1946 /47
Kaikorai Stream.
Page 5
Otago Witness, 2 June 1855, Page 2
Otago Witness, 21 July 1892, Page 24
Group member Isobel Michelle had Knox
relatives who farmed on Green Island Bush
Road from the 1860s onwards. The farm was
above the township and she thinks their land
came to the edge of the cemetery. She believes
the family gave the land to be made into a
cemetery so she is puzzled why members of the
family are buried in the Southern cemetery,
where there is a large family tombstone.
She is aware of one burial in the Green Island
cemetery of a baby born between 1874 and
1878 to Robert McCracken. It is assumed the
baby was stillborn. The BMD Registrar in
Wellington has no record of this baby but he is
mentioned in the Green Island cemetery
If anyone has any information on the original
owners of the land on which the cemetery is now
located can they contact Isobel at
<[email protected]>
I asked the question in the August edition that if
there was a school in the district from 1853 and
the first burial was not until 1865 where were
people buried before the Green Island Cemetery
opened? Karen Lewis of Ashburton wrote According to my Williams family bible five children,
ranging in age from birth to thirteen years, died
while my family were at Green Island Bush from
1854-1862. All but one of these children have death
certificates and two of the deaths are acknowledged
in the newspaper. All are shown in the bible as
having been buried “on the farm”. I have always
presumed this to mean the property at Green Island
Bush. I visited this property in 2002 and the present
owner said there had been large stone mounds on
the property when he took over in the 1960s and he
had been told by the previous owner that they were
grave markers but there was never any
headstones. Unfortunately, at some stage the
stones were removed and he could only roughly
point me to the spot which was very overgrown.
QUESTIO/: In the Port Chalmers School
records the residence of several relatives was
Glendermid. I can’t find this place on a map.
Would it be the name of a farm? Jill Fletcher,
ANSWER: It was the name once used for Sawyers
Bay, near Port Chalmers. In 1874 Sawyers Bay
was renamed Glendermid. The change was
unpopular with locals and the suburb was re-named Sawyers
Bay soon afterwards. However a local tannery in the area
retained the name of Glendermid.
Sawyers Bay got its name in the mid 1850s as there was a
saw mill in the area. The Maori had previously called the area
Tarere Kauhiku.
Depending on the time period your relatives were at Port
Chalmers school, I would suggest that you also check the
Sawyers Bay School records which have been transcribed up
to 1920 and a copy is in the Hocken Collections. This school
also appears on both the members and public version of the
NZSG CD version 5. The transcript for the school on the CD
goes up to 1908.
QUESTIO/: If my relatives left Germany in 1863 and
settled in Britain would they have applied for naturalisation
papers and become British citizens? They never returned to
Germany. If they did become British citizens how would I
find information on them? Tony Allan, Gore
ANSWER: Naturalisation is the means by which a person of
foreign birth obtains citizenship of another (adopted) country.
The majority of the aliens settling in Britain did not go through
the legal formalities of an Act of Naturalisation as it was
expensive and usually only the rich could afford it.
It was less expensive to become a denizen (resident) by
Letter Patent. This gave the status of a British subject, without
the full rights of a natural-born subject (i.e. unable to hold
public office and could hold land but not inherit it). These
records are kept at the National Archives London. Their
website is http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm
QUESTIO/: What would be the best newspaper in Dunedin
to research if I am looking for information on insurance
claims in Dunedin in the 1880s? We actually have the
newspaper clipping which is tattered and yellowing and we
are trying to track down the original copy for reproduction
in a family history publication. The problem is we don’t
know which paper it came from. Also what papers operated
in Dunedin in the 1880s? Gayle Munro, Mosgiel.
ANSWER: This is a huge question to answer. Most people
think of the three main newspapers in Dunedin - the Otago
Witness, the Otago Daily Times and the Evening Star.
However, there were many more. The following is a list (that I
am aware of) of newspapers published in Dunedin pre 1900.
Daily Advertiser
Daily News
Daily Telegraph
Dunedin Advertiser
Dunedin Leader
1869-73 & 1880-83
Evening Mail
Evening News
Evening Star
Evening Tribune
Illustrated N. Z. News
Illustrated New Zealander
Morning Herald / Globe
Morning Star
New Zealand Sun
Otago Colonist, see Daily Telegraph
Otago Daily Times
Otago Guardian
Otago Mail
Otago News
Otago News Letter
Otago Witness
Otago Workman / Beacon
Penny Post
People's Journal
Pictorial New Zealander
Saturday Advertiser
Saturday Review
Southern Mercury
Weekly Budget
There were also suburban newspapers:
North East Valley Weekly Advertiser
Port Chalmers Independent
As I mentioned, these are only the newspapers pre 1900 for
Dunedin. The list would have been longer if I had included
post 1900 Dunedin newspapers or some of the other
newspapers around our region such as the Tuapeka Times or
the Bruce Herald.
The best repositories in Dunedin to locate early newspapers
are the Hocken Collections or the McNab New Zealand Room
at the Dunedin Public Library.
The McNab New Zealand Room has a selective index to
Dunedin newspapers from 1851 to the present day which
focuses on local, historical and biographical interest.
Newspapers indexed include the Otago Daily Times, Otago
Witness, Taieri Herald, The Star (Dunedin) and other
community newspapers. The bulk of the index from 1851 to
1992 is a card catalogue located in the McNab New Zealand
collection on the third floor of the library. Additions to the index
since 1993 can be searched using the Library’s online
catalogue via the Southern Regional Newspaper Index. The
online version also includes some articles from the early
1850s, the 1930s and 1940s.
For further information go to:
The Otago Witness newspaper is online at:
If the insurance claim article you are seeking was in the Otago
Witness then this site should enable you to find it.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Otago Settlers
Museum to view “The Mallard Newspaper Card File”.
This file focuses on people, places and events, mainly in New
Zealand, from the early days to the 1930's. Mallard was a
former President of Otago Early Settlers Association and in
the insurance business. The file reflects his interest in
insurance claims, court cases, fraud, fire, mutiny, collisions
and wrecks.
The following is a brief history of the main newspapers in
The Otago Witness began in 1851 as a four page, fortnightly
newspaper and started publishing weekly in August that year.
The Otago Witness took its title from the Edinburgh Witness,
which was a popular journal in Scotland. In 1855 the Otago
Witness had only 210 subscribers but by 1864 the paper was
printing 4,500 copies a week. The Otago Witness also
published an edition especially for the goldfields.
During this time the paper's popularity was further improved
by introducing illustrations. Initially these were engravings but
around 1900 the Otago Witness started using photographs on
an insert. The paper stopped publication in 1932.
Page 6
The Otago Daily Times was first printed in November 1861
and is the newspaper with the longest history of daily
publication in New Zealand. Its founder was Julius Vogel who
went into partnership with William Cutten, publisher of the
Otago Witness, to form the Otago Daily Times and Witness
Newspaper Company Ltd.
The Evening Star was first printed in May 1863 under the
ownership of George and William Henningham. Creditors took
over the newspaper in 1869. The plant was bought by Mr
George Bell, proprietor of the recently founded Evening
Independent, who incorporated the two titles into one
publication in June 1869. Bell, who arrived in Dunedin in 1863,
worked with Vogel as a sub-editor on the Otago Daily Times
and editor of the Otago Witness for five years prior to founding
the Evening Independent and subsequently buying the
Evening Star.
The Evening Star ceased publication in 1979. The Otago
Daily Times Ltd and the Evening Star Company Ltd merged to
form Allied Press Ltd. Ironically, George Bell’s great great
grandson, Julian Smith, became principal shareholder,
chairman of directors and managing director and his brother
Nick, a substantial shareholder, director and business
The Otago /ews - H. B. (Henry Baker) Graham, a printer
from Carlisle, arrived at Port Chalmers, 21 September 1848,
on the Blundell accompanied by his wife and infant daughter.
Graham, aged 42, soon set about establishing the first
newspaper in Otago, appropriately named the Otago (ews.
Graham, who described himself as being of Half-Way Bush
(sic) printed and published his newspaper from premises in
Rattray Street, Dunedin. He brought with him an Albion Press,
made by Hopkinsons of London in 1845, and it is believed to
have been the first press used in Otago when Graham printed
the prospectus for the Otago (ews on 24 November 1848.
Wednesday 13 December 1848 saw the printing of the first
edition and it continued to be published every alternate
Wednesday afternoon until issue 14 (9 June 1849) when it
changed to be published every Saturday morning. It continued
as a weekly publication until issue 86 (30 October 1850) when
it began being printed every ten days. A total of 91 issues
were printed, the last being on 21 December 1850.
In his articles Graham was optimistic for the future of Dunedin
but his editorials infuriated Captain William Cargill (leader of
the Otago Association, the branch of the New Zealand
Company responsible for the initial settlement of Otago). A
constant stream of satirical gibes infuriated Cargill to the point
that he withdrew funding for the paper.
However, if you read between the lines of the newspaper itself
the Otago (ews had more than just the problem of infuriating
Captain Cargill. With Cargill withdrawing funding finance must
have been desperate and issue 59 (20 April 1850) saw an
advertisement placed by Graham to sell the very press on
which the newspaper was being printed. This must have
raised some concern as by issue 65 (1 June 1850) a notice
was placed advising a subscription list was now open to retain
the Otago (ews newspaper in the settlement. The
subscriptions were to be made to Mr Mercer’s Store and the
subscriptions would be presented to Mr Graham. A testimonial
was held for Graham at the Royal Hotel where eighty pounds
was presented to Graham towards keeping the Otago (ews
However this cannot have been enough to save the paper and
by issue 79 (7 September 1850) Graham was advertising the
letting of the house, office and shop used as the Otago (ews
office. He made an offer that he would sell it all at a
reasonable rate if someone was willing to keep the paper
running. This advertisement ran for several months along with
a further advertisement to sell the desk from his office in issue
81 (21 September 1850).
About this time he also made note that he would not be
accepting any further subscriptions beyond a quarter (three
months) due to his ill health.
Issue 91 (21 December 1850) saw the last edition of the
Otago (ews.
Another settler, William Henry Valpy, contributed one hundred
and fifty pounds to purchase the plant from Graham and set
William Cutten up as editor of a new newspaper, the Otago
Witness. Its production commenced just weeks later, with the
first edition appearing on 8 February 1851.
Graham was to have worked with Cutten on the Otago
Witness newspaper but ill health resulted in Graham’s death
just twenty days after the first edition of the Otago Witness.
Henry Baker Graham died on 28 February 1851 and his death
notice was one of the first printed in the new paper.
On the 28th, ult, at his residence near Port
Chalmers, Mr H. B. GRAHAM, late Editor and
Proprietor, of the "Otago News" deeply
lamented, by his relatives and friends.
The format of the Otago Witness was almost identical to that
of the Otago (ews and the same Otago (ews advertisements
were run in the first few editions of the Otago Witness.
However, where the Otago (ews had offended William Cargill
the Otago Witness was actually insulting, vindictive and highly
biased in the way that it helped William Cargill fight his
political opponents. Over time it settled down and became an
inoffensive newspaper.
David McDonald of the Hocken Collections had, for some
time, wanted a reference index to the Otago (ews. The
Hocken Collections is the only repository which holds a
complete set of the paper, including issue 15 which is handwritten because no complete copy of the original paper exists.
The layout of the newspaper took a similar format each issue.
The front page contained advertisements, page 2 dealt with
shipping news, more advertisements, births – death –
marriage information and usually the editorial page. Pages 3
and 4 were extracts of world news as copied from the
overseas and other New Zealand papers, which arrived in
Dunedin via the immigrant ships. Consequently a lot of this
news was very out of date by the time it was printed in the
Otago (ews.
David McDonald approached Heather Bray of the NZSG
Dunedin branch to do the index. The initial stage of the index
has recorded any information of a genealogical nature - all
references from Otago that relate to names, ship references,
passenger lists, occupations, businesses, events,
organisations, birth – death - marriage notices, place names,
land – section – house sales, weather journals, Dunedin
market prices, Customs duty reports, postal rate lists etc.
Places and events outside of Otago are included but only if
they have a direct link back to Otago e.g. a ship bringing
cargo from Port Cooper.
The index has been printed in four ways:
A full index of all 7382 entries – a copy of this is held
by the NZSG Dunedin branch in their library (on the open
shelves in the Otago Settlers Museum research room) and a
copy is in the Hocken Collections.
Although part of the main index, a separate index to
the ships, ship’s masters / captains and ship’s agents (total of
970 entries) has been printed.
Although part of the main index, a separate index to
passengers in and out of Otago has also been printed (454
Although part of the main index, a separate index,
along with the scanned images, of all birth, death and
marriage notices [48 entries] has also been printed.
A copy of all names has been extracted and is available on
the CD Rom produced by the New Zealand Society of
Heather Bray has a full copy of the index and is happy to do
lookups. Send a sae to 28 Milburn Street, Dunedin or email:
[email protected]
Page 7
Ricky Bray speaking at our
August group meeting
Report Of Our August
Branch Meeting
The August group meeting was devoted to computers and
while it was aimed at those without computers or those who
had not upgraded for many years, a number of experienced
PC users acknowledged that the evening clarified a number of
myths or misconceptions.
Kevin Bray spoke on hardware - the physical items that make
up or connect to a computer. A table elsewhere in the article
summarises the equipment covered and what they are.
Kevin later spoke on software - the programs that run on a
computer. Most computers will come with a wide range of preinstalled software that will be all that a lot of computer users
will need but for those who may want to expand on this Kevin
explained the differences in proprietary software, Shareware,
Freeware, and Public Domain software. He also talked about
Operating Systems, Anti-virus software and demonstrated
some basic uses of a word processor, spreadsheet and other
common programs.
An element of contention erupted when Kevin sorted a
spreadsheet by date column. Many people claimed this was
not possible. Kevin assured everyone that if you entered the
dates using slashes rather than dots, dashes or spaces you
could sort by dates. By the time Kevin got home he had an
email from Eileen Binns. Eileen had gone home and
immediately tried this and acknowledged it worked.
Kevin also spoke in detail about PDF files and in particular the
DFHG Newsletter. A small group on the email list have had
difficulty opening the newsletter. Kevin explained that the
emailed version of the newsletter should be opened with a
PDF reader, not a word processor. Adobe Reader is available
free with almost all new PCs, on computer magazine disks, or
on the Internet. The latest release is version 9 and you should
try to keep up to date. If the file will not open from the email,
save the document to your computer and use your PDF
reader to open the file.
Ricky Bray spoke on “What questions to ask when buying a
computer”. Ricky discussed his suggested minimum
specifications for buying a desktop or laptop suitable for
today’s software and someone undertaking genealogy. These
specifications have been included in the table of hardware
appearing on page 10. In talking about Windows Vista Ricky
explained there were several versions of Vista and the most
likely versions an ordinary home user would require would be
Home Basic or Home Premium. Vista Ultimate caters for
users with gaming or multi-media needs. Ricky drew the
comparison of fitting the engine of a 1978 Escort into a 2008
Falcon. The Escort engine will struggle to cope. In the same
way Vista will struggle to perform well in an older slower PC
with lower RAM. Amongst the many questions for Ricky:
Should I turn my computer off?
their machine and believe that it helps keep the machine at an
even temperature and even flow of power. Some general
suggestions are: Don’t turn your computer off and on
repeatedly or for short periods, turning your monitor off and
using sleep or stand-by modes is a good way to minimise
power use. Restarting your PC once a week helps install
updates and clear any memory buffers.
Which is best - desktop or laptop? It depends. The laptop is
far more portable and takes up much less space in your home
but the screen and keyboard might be a bit too small for some
to use all the time. The laptop will generally be a little behind
the desktop in terms of power and speed. You will pay a little
more for the convenience and the compression of all the
hardware in the laptop. To buy a machine capable of running
Vista and the most popular software applications today you
should not need to pay more than $1500 to $2000 for a
desktop or $1500=$2200 for a laptop / notebook.
Finally, Ricky briefly demonstrated the many extra hand-held
devices that can be used with a computer or with each other
in conjunction with a PC. Using a mixture of USB cables,
memory cards, wireless, or bluetooth Ricky saves photos from
his Sony digital camera or video camera to his PC where they
can be saved, edited, printed, emailed or transferred to
another device like his MP3 player, I-Pod, PDA (Personal
Digital Assistant) or even his cell phone. Ricky’s PDA and cellphone both also contain mobile versions of Windows including
Microsoft Word, Excel, and other applications including a web
browser and email meaning that he can read, write, edit, and
save all sorts of documents. Ricky can even run a genealogy
program on his PDA. Ricky can also connect his GPS (Global
Positioning System) receiver to his computer to down load
map co-ordinates for journeys.
Kaye Saunders spoke next on Macintosh computers. Her full
talk is printed on the following page and is sure to be of
interest to Mac users.
Noel Read finished the night by speaking on the Dunedin
Genealogy Computing Group—an informal sub-group of the
NZSG Dunedin Branch that meets six times a year to discuss
computers, computing and related topics with a particular
interest in genealogy. There is no membership fee and
members of the public are welcome to attend for a visitor fee
of $3.00. Noel outlined the topics covered in their meetings
and the computer workshop held each year. From time to time
attendees are invited to talk about the programs they use and
This is a hugely debated subject world-wide with many
thousands arguing that repeatedly starting your PC is harder
on the machine than leaving it running all the time while
others argue the opposite. Those who never or seldom turn
their computers off claim no noticeable impact on the life of
Page 8