Sunday, 26 January 2020

Elizabeth Gore and the demon drink: a story from Dunedin's "devil's half acre."

Walker Street, Dunedin, no longer exists.  In the late 19thC and early 20th, it was part of a poor area of Dunedin where, as I say to visitors, "you could buy anything that money could buy; legal or not."

It was named "the devil's half acre," a frequent source of drunkenness and disorder reported in the papers of the time.  It was where people whose money was spent on things other than rent found cheap accommodation.

Elizabeth Gore had been "a respectable young woman" when she married her husband, William. Living in Walker Street, she was anything but.


Provoking Language. — Alfred Gore was charged with using provoking and insulting language to Elizabeth Gore, wherefore she asked that accused might be required to find sureties to keep the peace. There was no appearance of defendant, but plaintiff said she had come to an arrangement with him that if he would sign a paper to separate from her altogether she would do her best to maintain the children. He had agreed to this, but it would take half an hour to complete the matter, — The case was adjourned till to-morrow.  -Evening Star, 10/10/1890.


Family Quarrel. — William Henry Gore was charged with assaulting his wife Elizabeth Gore, at Wingatui, on the 30th January. — Mr Solomon appeared for complainant, and Mr Mouat for defendant. — There were also informations charging defendant with failing to provide his wife and children with adequate means of support. — The case was adjourned for a fortnight, with the view of a possible settlement.  -Otago Daily Times, 11/2/1898.

Saturday, February 18. (Before Messrs A. G. Christopher and W. Robertson, J.P's.)
Stabbing Case. — William Henry Gore was charged with having, on the 16th inst., assaulted Elizabeth Gore by stabbing her in the arm with a knife, thereby causing her actual bodily harm. — Mr Hanlon, instructed by Mr Solomon, asked for a remand for a week, and applied for bail, at the same time stating that the case was not a serious one. The woman injured was defendant's wife, and she was present in court Counsel believed she would be satisfied if defendant was bound over to keep the peace. — Sergeant O'Neill said accused was perfectly sober at the time of the occurrence, and threatened to do for the woman. — The Bench remanded the case for a week, and allowed bail, accused in £25 and two sureties for £25.   -Otago Daily Times, 20/2/1898.

Wife v. Husband. William Henry Gore was charged with, on the 16th inst., assaulting Elizabeth Gore by stabbing her in the arm with a knife. — Mr Solomon defended. — Sergeant O'Neill stated that the prosecutrix was the wife of accused. They lived together in Walker street, and at six o'clock on the evening in question accused returned to his home perfectly sober. After tea the parties quarrelled, and, according to the version of the wife, accused hit her on the face with his fist. After that he seized hold of her, picked up a knife which was lying on the table, and stabbed her, inflicting a wound in the forearm about an inch long and half an inch deep. She rushed out in the street for protection, and the next day laid an information against her husband. Sergeant Higgins arrested accused, who said (Pointing to a broken window in the kitchen): "That's how it was done." — Mr Solomon suggested that the case might be dealt with summarily, and the wife being called said she wished the case dealt with in the lower court. — The charge was therefore amended to one of common assault. — Dr Macdonald gave it as his opinion that the wound was caused by some sharp instrument. It was nothing serious. — Elizabeth Gore, on being cross-examined, said that she and her husband had been on bad terms for some years, but she denied that her drunkenness was the cause of it. Mr Carew did not severely lecture her, and advise her to drink no more. She was not drunk on the night in question, and if her little children said that she was she would deny it. She never put her arm through the window. She stepped on the broom, the handle of which broke the glass. — Sergeant Higgins also gave evidence. — Mr Solomon said that this was a very painful case. The defendant was the son of very respectable parents, but, unfortunately for him, he married a woman who had given way to drink. She had been brought before Mr Carew and severely lectured about her intemperate habits. Her children frequently saw her in this condition, and while she was in such a state she would say anything. On the night in question, when the defendant came home for his tea he found his wife drunk. The little children would tell the Bench the same thing. She then commenced to call her husband bad names, and he put her outside. While outside she was very violent, and put her hand through the window causing the wound. She did nothing until the next morning, when she went to the shop of Mr Price, chemist. — Evidence was given by the defendant in support of Counsel's statement. — Alfred Thomas Price said he remembered Mrs Gore coming to his shop to get her arm dressed. He should say that the wound was caused in the way stated by the defendant. He saw Mrs Gore several times that day. She was not sober. — Counsel then called the daughter, a prepossessing child, aged ten, who said her mother had been drinking that day, and was lying on the sofa. Her father never struck her mother. She was quite sure that her mother put her hand through the window. — The defendant's son also gave evidence, after which the Bench decided to have a look at the wound. — Mr Ross said that the evidence was so contradictory that the Bench had decided to dismiss the case. The wound looked more likely to have been caused by glass than by a knife.  -Evening Star, 28/2/1899.

A case with pitiful surroundings, which has occupied the attention of the Court on more than one occasion, came before Mr C. C. Graham, S.M., this morning, when William Henry Gore was charged with disobeying an order for the maintenance of his wife, Elizabeth Gore.
Mr Solomon, who appeared for the defendant, said he was very sorry to have to come to the court time after time in connection with this matter, and tell the same story. The complainant was a respectable young woman years ago, and the defendant was the son of a well-known citizen. He married her, and unfortunately she had been the curse of his life. She had ruined both his life and that of his children's by her drunken habits. She went about the street continually in a drunken state, and the defendant had had to break up his home several times through her. The police had even come to the court and given evidence that she had been seen lying on the floor of her house drunk, and the little children playing about her. He again took her back about three weeks, but she had got beastly drunk again, and left his new home at Mosgiel, taking £2 with her. The defendant did not know what to do for her, but it was out of the question to ask the man to pay money under the order. 
The Complainant denied that she was addicted to drink.
Mr Solomon said Mr Carew warned her about her drinking habits. The Defendant stated that he had been married for eleven years, and had three children. He paid his wife money regularly under the order until she expressed a wish to come back to him again. This he agreed to, and took her to live at Mosgiel; so as to get her away from her old companions. On returning home last Tuesday week he found her lying drunk on the floor, and £2 5s, which he had placed in a drawer, gone. She was in the same state for the three following days, and on Saturday she left on her own accord. Witness was only earning £2 2s a week, and, in order to look after his children, he had to pay 6s a week for a housekeeper, 10s for rent, and if he gave her 7s a week, as the Court had ordered him to do, that only left him with 19s for the maintenance of himself and his children. She laid an information against him for stabbing her, but the justice dismissed the case, saying that she received the injury by putting her hand through a window. She had since laid an information against him for assault, but now withdrew it. The constable at Mosgiel had to go to a hotel and stop the publican from serving her. He had been compelled to sell up his home five times, and during the intervals she had repeatedly come back to him. It had cost him between £60 and £70 for court cases. — On being cross-examined by his wife witness said he defied anyone to say that he had been drunk. 
Mr Graham said that this was not the first time the parties had been before him, so that he knew something about the case. It was difficult to know how to deal with the matter. He did not like to reverse an order made by Mr Carew, but from the evidence it was very hard to ask a man to maintain her. Yet, he could hardly turn her adrift. 
Mr Solomon said he did not wish that to be done. The only possible thing that could be done with a view to reforming her was to give her a chance of going to work.
The Complainant: I am too weak to work. The last time I went to work my husband came and gave me a black eye.
The Defendant: I deny that. 
Mr Solomon did not see how that could be when she asked her husband to take her back again. Counsel felt somewhat diffident in asking His Worship to accept the husband's own statement, and he therefore asked that the matter might stand over for a few minutes to hear what the constable at Mosgiel had to say.
This was agreed to, and on resuming, 
Constable Christie stated that he had not been to a hotel at Mosgiel and asked that she should not be served. He had not seen her lately, but had seen her drunk once or twice about twelve months ago. 
To the complainant: He had seen her slightly under the influence of drink in the township at Mosgiel. 
In answer to His Worship, the constable said he visited the house and found it in a very clean state. 
His Worship said the husband said one thing and the woman another. He could not take it upon himself to upset the order without more corroborative evidence. The woman could not be left absolutely destitute, so that he would have to make an order for the payment of the arrears. If the defendant wished to have the order upset he must make application. 
The Defendant: Yes; I will make an application next Thursday.
His Worship then inflicted a sentence of seven days, the warrant not to be issued until the defendant was given an opportunity of paying the arrears (£1 1s).  -Evening Star, 7/4/1899.

NOTICE — Elizabeth Gore, Frederick street, is not the Elizabeth Gore who was at Court yesterday.   -Evening Star, 8/4/1899.  

A woman named Elizabeth Gore, who had been in the hospital for a week on the verge of delirium tremens, was convicted and fined 10s. or seven days, and ordered to pay the hospital expenses (24s).  -Evening Star, 14/4/1902.

(Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams and a jury of 12.) 
A husband's petition for divorce. 
Mr S. Solomon appeared for the petitioner, Wm. Henry Gore, of Wingatui. Mr A. B. Barclay for the respondent, Elizabeth Gore. The co-respondent, John Stewart, of Dunedin, labourer, was not represented. Mr Solomon said the story it was his duty to lay before the court that day was a very sad one, and one that vividly showed how very dreadful and disastrous, not only to health and body, but to all happiness, the abuse of drink might be. The petitioner and the respondent were married on the 31st March, 1888. The petitioner was the son of highly-respected people in Dunedin, his father being Mr James Gore. The respondent was a highly-respected young girl — an eligible and attractive girl in every sense of the word. They were married in Dunedin, and had three little children. They lived perfectly happy for a little time, until unfortunately the curse of craving for drink seized the young woman, and gradually it had undermined her, body and soul. It had become little less than a disease with the poor woman, and really one could not help feeling that, to a certain extent, she could not help the way she had given way to the curse. No one was sorrier for the fact than her husband, but however that might be, the results that had arisen from the woman's dreadful propensity for drink were such that after 12 or 14 years the husband was compelled to ask the court to break the bonds that bound them together. Their family history, from the time the trouble arose, had been simply dreadful. Year by year it had got worse, until it culminated that day. As might be expected, the woman, through giving way to drink, became unable to attend to her household duties, became quarrelsome, nervous, and irritable, and the consequence was that she and her husband began to quarrel. Desperate attempts were made to patch up the differences and to persuade the woman to leave off drinking. For a time it was likely the attempts would be successful. The little children were made the means of bringing them together, but at last there was an open rupture, and the woman, in a drunken state, ran away from the house. She was ultimately brought back, and, begging for forgiveness, the husband took her back. This went on for four or five years, but the scenes became so dreadful that he (learned counsel) was compelled to advise the husband that the best thing to do would be to refuse to take her back any more. The consequence, inevitably, would be that the woman would have to go to the magistrate and explain her position, and the husband would have to provide her with means to keep herself. The woman came before Mr Carew six or seven years; and an order was made that the husband should pay so much a week. She was living separately from him at that time. 
His Honor: When was that?
Mr Barclay: In 1896. 
Mr Solomon (continuing) said that since that date the woman had from time to time gone back to her home, and the husband, for the sake of the children, had taken her back. He lived at Wingatui, where his brothers had brickworks, and he was employed there. He had had the care of the children on his shoulders and his work to attend to, and was quite unable to cope with the task, and consequently he had taken her back from time to time. However, her habits had got worse, until she came at last before the other magistrate of the town, Mr Graham. He (learned counsel) explained the position to Mr Graham, and stated to him, in the presence of the woman and her husband, that the best thing to do would be to get a simple form of separation, as provided by the legislation in New Zealand, and the magistrate granted a summary order of separation, and ordered the husband to pay 6s a week towards the wife's support. There were two reasons why such a small sum was given — that it was as much as the husband could afford, as he had to keep himself and the three children, and it was felt desirable by the magistrate that the woman should have as little money as possible, because if she had money she immediately spent it in drink. The money had all along been paid by the husband. Things went from worse to worse, and ultimately the man, from information supplied to him, could have no sort of doubt whatever that his wife, by this time, had become not only a drunkard, but something a good deal worse. He had made inquiries, and the result showed that the young woman, who a few short years before was a respectable, reputable member of society, had become nothing more than the constant associate of prostitutes and thieves. On one occasion she was traced to a brothel in the south end of the town.
Evidence in support of the petitioner's case was given by William Henry Haydon, jun. (clerk in the office of Solomon and Gascoigne, solicitors), William Henry Gore (the petitioner), David Goldsmith (saddler), Frank Lawless (steward), James Kennedy (acting-detective), Constable Osborne, and John McDonald (clerk). Mr Barclay, in opening the case for the respondent, said no doubt they would all have been glad to have been spared the painful duty of inquiring into this case, but it was rendered necessary in the administration of justice that it should be gone into. The story told by the respondent was different from the story by her husband. It must be feared, he admitted, that the woman was of intemperate habits. She said, however, that that was not the cause, or the first cause, of her troubles with her husband. Her husband's conduct towards her was not good.
Mr Solomon: I must object to this. It is not open to respondent to prove that affirmatively. By the rules that govern this court at the present time this must be pleaded. If the defendant relied on it for a defence that her husband's conduct has conduced to her misconduct, it must be pleaded to give us the right to meet it.
Mr Barclay (continuing) said it must be admitted that the intemperate habits of respondent alluded to was the cause of quarrels, although there could be no use in going into those quarrels.
His Honor: The jury would probably understand there would be two sides to the question. There is no reason in the present case to fix the blame either on one party or the other. It is not material. Learned counsel then proceeded to give respondent's version of an affair referred to in the Fernhill Club's grounds. In conclusion, he referred to the fact that there had been about a dozen cases between the parties in the Magistrate's Court, which culminated in a separation order on the grounds of cruelty, and respondent was allowed the sum of 5s per week. Respondent would stoutly deny adultery with anyone at any time, and learned counsel would point out that it was possible for both men and women to be addicted to drink and yet to be in other respects perfectly honest, moral, straightforward, and in every other way admirable persons,
Evidence was then given by respondent. Mr Solomon having replied, His Honor summed up, and stated that the only issue to go before the jury was: "Did the respondent on February 22, 1902, commit adultery with one John Stewart? "
The Jury retired at 3.10 p.m., and returned in 10 minutes with an affirmative answer to the issue submitted.
His Honor granted a decree nisi, to be made absolute in three months.
Mr Barclay asked that the scale on which costs were to be allowed should be fixed. His Honor accordingly allowed costs on the lowest scale.  -Otago Daily Times, 25/4/1902.
Walker St area, from the Otago Witness, photo held by the Hocken Library.
Monday, January, 19. (Before M. C. C. Graham, S.M.) Drunkenness. — A male first offender was fined 5s, or 24 fours' imprisonment for drunkenness; in George street. Elizabeth Gore was fined 10s, or 48 hours' imprisonment, for having been drunk in Cumberland street. Mary Byrne, charged with having been drunk in King street, and with being an habitual drunkard, pleaded: "Guilty," and was fined 40s, or 14 days' imprisonment.   -Otago Daily Times, 20/1/1903.

Only one name appeared on the charge sheet at, the Police Court this morning Elizabeth Gore alias Mahoney being fined 20s for drunkenness. Mr W. D. Hanlon, J.P., occupied the bench.  -Evening Star, 28/1/1903.

At the City Police Court sitting yesterday Elizabeth Gore, alias Mahoney, was charged with drunkenness, and was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence when called upon, the condition being that she should remain in the Salvation Army Home for three months.   -Otago Daily Times, 7/3/1905.

Mr H. Widdowson, S.M., presided at the Police Court this morning. Two first offenders for drunkenness were fined — the one 5s and tho other 7s. Elizabeth Gore, who was yesterday found drunk and deemed to be an habitual drunkard, pleaded not guilty to the charge of drunkenness. His Worship convicted and ordered her to come up for sentence when called upon, conditionally on her going to the Salvation Army Home for three months.  -Evening Star, 2/7/1907.

Followed by Swankiness.
Elizabeth Gore, a youngish woman in a white dress and with a very brightcolored hat, pleaded guilty at Dunedin on January 26th to having looked on the beer when it was brown to too great an extent. She said she was very sorry for her lapse, which was the first for eighteen months. She was in a billet away from Dunedin, and she had just come in to spend a fortnight's holiday.
In view of the fact that her last conviction for shikkerosity was in 1908, the SM thought a five-bob fine would suffice.  -NZ Truth, 5/2/1910.

Before H. Y. Widdowson, Esq., S.M.) 
Drunkenness. — Herbert George Elder did not appear, and was fined the amount of his bail (20s). Elizabeth Gore, an old offender, pleaded guilty, and asked for a chance to go back to the Benevolent Home, which she said she would never leave again. The court orderly informed the magistrate that she had been hanging about the town lately. Mr Widdowson warned her that her next home might be that for inebriates. She was fined 20s, in default seven days.   -Evening Star, 24/5/1911.

A Mother's Maintenance. — Elizabeth Gore (Mr A. W. Moore) made application for a maintenance order against her, son and daughter, Cecil John Gore and Ivy Josephine Gore respectively, for whom Mr B. S. Irwin appeared. — Mr Moore said that complainant, who was divorced, was at present in the Benevolent Institution, but did not wish to remain there unless compelled to do so. He understood that the defendants objected to paying because they were afraid of the misuse of the money by their mother, who was now prepared to go into any decent home, and not have the handling of it. — Elizabeth Gore, the complainant, said she had no means of support, and had certain complaints which prevented her from earning her livelihood. — Under cross-examination, she said that whisky had nothing to do with it. She took a fiveroomed house in Filleul street, at 14s a week. — Mr Irwin put several inquiries as to the reason of the witness for taking this large house in preference to lodgings, at any rate, a smaller place. — The witness insisted that she had been unable, owing to her physical infirmities, to go about to look for anything more suitable. — Mr Irwin elicited the fact that the house had contained only a bed, and that the witness left at the end of a week. — The witness could give no satisfactory explanation as to why her spirit had baulked at the quest for lodgings. She went on to make fierce allegations, which Mr. Irwin bore good-humouredly, till the tide of her eloquence was stemmed by a curt admonition from the Bench. "I am going to stay with a lady friend," volunteered the witness.— Mr Irwin: Who is she? — She's a lady. — Mr Irwin: She must be, if she's a friend of yours! Why don't you wish to stay in the home? — Witness: I don't get the attention there that a sick body wants. I have been nearly choking, and have not been able to get a teaspoonful of cod liver oil. I asked my son for money to buy a plaster with, and he gave me a shilling, but he never came to see whether I was alive or dead — Eliza Ward said that she knew Mrs Gore well, and would be prepared to take her home and do what she could for her, in consideration of the sum of 15s a week. She would see that Mrs Gore got no drink. Witness said she would not turn her back on complainant, whom she knew 30 years ago, when she was a tailoress. — Mr Irwin submitted that no order should be made. If the application were genuine the complainant would be willing to remain in the Benevolent Institution, where she had someone competent to look after her. These proceedings were to blackmail the children, and, if an order was made, it would be a cloak for her in the event of a prosecution being made against her by the police another charge. — The Magistrate intervened, pointing out that complainant was not cross-examined on that matter. — Mr Irwin contended that the renting of the house mentioned was suspicious enough. — Cecil James Gore said that he had seen his mother when she had come to his place of business in a state of drunkenness. His father had divorced his mother 12 years ago. He thought that these proceedings were taken out of spite. His mother could work, and if she was unable to earn her living he would not mind paying for her. — William Henry Gore said that he had divorced his wife for misconduct. When not working she was drinking, and vice versa. She had immoral habits, but was a good worker if she wanted to, but she did not often want to. — Constable Sievier, court orderly, said that three weeks ago Mrs Gore came to the court showing signs of having had liquor, and was in a worse condition when seen later, and was put out of the police station. — The Magistrate said the case was a most exceptional one. He could not see that the complainant had any moral claim upon the defendants. For the best part of 17 years she had not been a mother to the defendants at all. Any rights that could be acted upon would, in the circumstances, require to be a strictly legal right. The court could grant an order only if the complainant were a destitute person, and a burden on the State. But, as she was in the Benevolent Institution, it rested with the authorities to proceed against the defendants. She was suffering from complaints which were probably the result of her mode of life. No order would be made, and the case would be dismissed.   -Otago Daily Times, 27/6/1914.

Friday, July 24. (Before Mr J. R. Bartholomew, S.M.)
Drunkenness. — Elizabeth Gore, alias Mahonoy, alias Bennett, against whom there were 26 previous convictions, on being charged with this offence, explained that the previous day had been her birthday, and stated that she had an engagement open to her. — Under the circumstances the magistrate decided to give her a chance, and convicted and discharged her.  -Otago Daily Times, 25/7/1914.

An inquest was held before Mr J. R, Bartholomew, S.M., yesterday afternoon in regard to the death of Elizabeth Gore, who died suddenly in a house in Walker street earlier in the day. Dr Evans stated that he had performed a post mortem operation. He certified that death was due to heart failure following on cirrhosis of the liver, and the Coroner brought in a verdict to that effect.  -Evening Star, 27/9/1916.
The grave of Elizabeth's husband, William. Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin. DCC photo.
Elizabeth shares an unmarked grave with two seemingly unrelated people in Dunedin's Southern Cemetery.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Robert Williamson, 1873-22/12/1903.

(From our own Correspondent,) The conclusion of the old year and the advent of the new one were marked by a series of painful occurrences in this district. First as the old year was closing one of our hardy miners, a man in the prime of life and health, was cut down in a moment of time, caught in a fall of earth, literally trapped by one of those unforseen and unexpected collapses which sometimes occur. The face showed no sign of crack or rift, but the fault was there, and the fall carried death in its passage. The deceased, Robert Williamson, was a single man, without a relative in the colony and had been working for years at the Upper Nevis, close to the saddle. 
The second accident (occurred) on the Ngapara dredge to the manager, Mr C Fleming, and resulted in the crushing of three fingers of the left hand. Dr Morris was in attendance as soon as possible and dressed the wounded hand, and on the following day took the sufferer to Cromwell. 
A few days later Mr Sutherland’s house, together with the furniture clothing, &c, was totally destroyed by fire. The fire took place at night during the absence of Mr Sutherland, who is engaged on the Ngapara No 3. 
There was no insurance on the building or furniture and much commiseration is felt for the unfortunate family who are vitually left without a stitch of clothing. I am glad to say our sympathy has taken a practical direction and has resulted in quite a substantial sum being raised to enable the sufferers to rebuild a home. 
All the Christmas and New Year fun and frolic is now once again laid by for another spell of hard graft, and work is once more the order of the day.  -Dunstan Times, 26/1/1904.

Garston Cemetery.

Don Tong (?)-9/1936.

Chinese Miner Died In Lonely Whare.
Press Association —Copyright. Invercargill, September 9. Don Tong, a Chinese aged 42, who had been employed by the Nokomai Goldmining Company since last November was found dead late last night in his whare in a lonely spot in the back country near Garston. He was at work on September 3, but he complained of illness and returned to his whare where he lived alone during the past week. He was visited by some of his countrymen who urged him to see a doctor but it is stated that he declined to do so. 
Ernest Mong, miner at Nokomai, visited the hut yesterday and found it securely locked. On looking through the window he saw Tong's body on the floor. The matter was reported to the police at Lumsden and at 11 pm yesterday Constable H. J. Thompson made an arduous journey up the face of a cliff to Tong's whare into which he forced an entry to find the Chinese dead. -Stratford Evening Post, 19/9/1936.

Garston Cemetery.

10049 Private Samuel (4/6/1889-17/9/1916) and Rachael Parker (1856-5/10/1928)

Image from the Otago Witness of 18th October 1916. page 29 - No known copyright restrictions.


GARSTON. December 18. —After some time of dry, windy weather a welcome rain fell, succeeded by close, hazy days, which benefited all vegetation, as the moisture was not allowed to evaporate, as it woud have done with either wind or sunshine. 

Going to the Front. — The young men who have recently left for active service — viz., Messrs Samuel Parker and John Peterson — were entertained by their friends and neighbours. Mr David Seator, who left for Trentham a few weeks earlier, is expected back before leaving finally for the front. Mr Naylor hears regularly from his son Fred, and he has ever but a cheery, hopeful account to give of their experiences. Farmers are contemplating offering their homes to wounded or sick returned soldiers to rest and convalesce in.   -Otago Witness, 22/12/1915.

To the Editor. Sir,—At the social tendered here to Trooper Samuel Parker on Friday, 17th inst., it was pointed out by Mr T L Muirhead, replying to the toast of the New Zealand Government, that there was a great injustice being done to tbe brave boys that are leaving their positions to serve their country, as others hang back to jump into their places. As an instance of this being done there was a young fellow employed on the railway here who volunteered and went to the front, and as soon as he went his place was filled by a strong able-bodied single man with no one depending on him, instead of being filled by a returned trooper or some person not eligible to go to the front. So it was proposed and carried by all those at the meeting to get the chairman to write to the Southland Times so that the Minister of Defence could see the wrong that is being done to the brave fellows who go to the front and to put a stop to all benefits to those who are doing nothing for the country's good by hanging back until compelled to go.— I am, etc., GEO. MACDONALD, Chairman. Athol, March 18.  -Southland Times, 20/3/1916.

Mrs R. Parker, Athol, Southland, was recently advised by a friend, Lieut. A. J. Nimmo, Wellington Infantry Regiment, regarding the manner in which her son, Trooper Samuel Parker, met his death fighting with the forces in France. The Lieutenant, who was associated with Trooper Parker, says inter alia: It was after we had made our first advance on the Somme front and during a heavy artillery bombardment that a shell landed inside our company headquarters' "dug out" and killed our Major, Sam and another lad. All three were killed instantly, which was really a blessing as all of them were badly hit and would have had little hope of recovery. Samuel had been mv orderly since his arrival in France with the 11th Reinforcements last May. I cannot express to you my sorrow, Mrs Parker, at your son's death as he was a faithful and steady lad whom I had every confidence in. I always found him reliable under all conditions. When in action and as a soldier he always behaved as a man. I am sending you home his prayer book which he had in his possession when killed, thinking it would be valued by yourself as a mothers' gift to her son." Such tributes as this must surely bring consolation to the parents in their hour of trial. It stands to the everlasting credit of one who fought and died for his country. The late Trooper Parker's brother, J. F. Parker, is also serving with the colours. In order to get away he had to dispose of his farm and sheep run at Nokomai. Both young men were honorable, trustworthy fellows, highly respected by all who knew them.  -Lake Wakatip Mail, 4/9/1917.
Athol Cemetery.


The death took place at Athol on Friday of Mrs Rachael Parker, wife of Mrs Frank J. S. Parker, a very old resident of that district. Her age was 72 years.  -Lake Wakatip Mail, 9/10/1928.

23577 Private John Joseph Mahoney, 19/4/1873-1/8/1920.

From the Otago Witness of 15th November 1916 on page 35 - No known copyright restrictions.

John Joseph Mahoney is not an easy man to pin down through the usually informative pages of "Pages Past."

His death notice is there, and also are a couple of reports of his "not serious" injury in action.  The issue is complicated a little by a soldier with the same name, a sapper who was killed in 1917.

His military record, through NZ Archives, is more informative.  John was a gold miner before joining up, and was shot in the head in 1916.  He was judged as permanently unfit for further service in January, 1917, and repatriated the following April. He was admitted to Dunedin Hospital on arrival and treated for a discharging sinus which was a result of his wound. His "disability"caused by military service was described as "permanent."

In his archives records I found this:


"Was struck by a bullet which ploughed through the scalp and parietal bone exposing the meninges. He was not unconscious but was taken to C.C.S. (Casualty Clearing Station) at Heilly overnight. No operation performed. He was removed next day to Rouen and remained one night then was removed to 1st Southern General Hospital Birmingham arriving Sept. 22. He remained till Oct. 30th and then went to the Auxiliary Hospital at Harbourne Hall and on Dec. 5th came to Walton. Wound not quite healed.

"There is an unhealed wound situated near the junction of the occipital and right parietal right temporal bones. Here there is a sinus leading down to bare and rough bone and is a small gap in the skull here in which pulsation can be observed.  He is otherwise quite well." - Lt. Col. Mill, No. 2 NZ General Hospital, Walton-on-Thames, UK.

He was finally discharged in September of 1917, received an army pension and was admitted as an outpatient at Gore Hospital.

The Official History of John's unit, the Otago Infantry Regiment, has no specific reference to John and the date of his injury occurs during the Battle of the Somme - a time of many losses for the Regiment.  September 23rd was a relatively quiet day for the Otagos - it is possible that John was wounded by a sniper's bullet.  I have found no record of cause of death - but would not be surprised if it were the result of a bullet through the skull.


MAHONEY. —At Parrawa, on Sunday, August 1, 1920, John Joseph Mahoney; aged 47 years. R.I.P. The funeral will leave the Parrawa Hotel on Tuesday, 3rd Inst., at 1 p.m., for the Athol Cemetery. Friends please accept this (the only) intimation.—C. Sutherland, Undertaker.  -Southland Times, 2/8/1920.

Athol Cemetery.

Robert Stancombe 1886-18/11/1916.

Wedding Bells.
A very pretty wedding was celebrated at Garston on Wednesday, 14th inst, when Mr Robert E. Stancombe, third son of Mr D. Stancombe, Athol, was united in the holy bands of matrimony with Miss Annie Whelan, second daughter of Mr T. Whelan of Kingston. The Rev. Father O'Donnell performed the ceremony, which took place at the residence of Mr & Mrs Alex McCaughan. The bride was given away by her father and.attended by Miss Bessie Lindon as bridesmaid, whilst Mr M. Whelan acted as groomsman. After the nuptial knot had been tied the wedding party adjourned to the residence of Mr and Mrs A. Burnett where a most delectable repast had been prepared. Later the happy couple left on their honeymoon, which was to be spent in the Western district and Dunedin. Mr and Mrs Stancombe, it should be mentioned, are exceedingly popular in the district, a happy fact which was amply testified to by the very large number of presents which they received. In the evening a dance was held in honor of the event in Mr McCaughan's barn. The music for this was supplied by Mr A. Challis (piano) and Soper Bros. and Mr D. Sutherland (violins), whilst Mr R. Muirhead made an efficient M.C. The supper was provided by Mrs A. Burnett and it was one that did her infinite credit. Our hearty congratulations.  -Lake Wakatip Mail, 20/6/1911.

— FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT. A fatal railway accident occurred at Parrawa on Saturday, the victim being a railway surfaceman named Robert Ewan Stancombe. From what could be gathered, the deceased, who resided at Athol, in accordance with the usual practice, had proceeded to Parrawa to receive his pay by the Kingston-Gore express train. When the train moved off the guard felt a jolt, and looking out on the side of the train furthest from the platform, saw a man lying across the rails. The train was at once pulled up, and it was found that the wheels had gone over the man’s neck almost severing the head from the body. How the accident occurred no one seems to know, as there seems to have been no other person on that side of the train at the time. Deceased, who was 31 years of age, leaves a widow and three children.   -Southland Times, 20/11/1916.

Athol Cemetery.

29548 Private Cecil Houston Challis 27/2/1896-5/8/1916.


GARDINER. —In loving memory of Herman, second son of William Gardiner; killed in action at Gallipoli, August 6, 1915. He died for his King and Country. Inserted by his loving father and brother. 


CHALLIS.—On August 5, 1916, at Trentham, Private Cecil Houston Challis, dearly beloved youngest son of Mary and the late Alfred Challis, of Parawa; aged 26. Interment at Athol.  -Southland Times, 7/8/1916.

Two deaths occurred at Trentham Camp during the week-end from cerebrospinal meningitis.
The first, which occurred on Saturday, was that of Pte. Cecil Houston Challis, F Company, 18th Reinforcements. He was a single man, 20 years of age, and his next of kin was Mrs. M. Challis, of Athol, near Lake Wakatipu. The body is being sent South to-night, and the funeral will take place at Athol.
The second man, who died yesterday, was Pte. James Jensen Hende, D Company, 18th Reinforcements. His next of kin is Mr. G. J. Hende, of Hokitika. Deceased was a single man, 30 years of age. His body will be accorded a military funeral in Wellington on Wednesday.  -Evening Post, 7/8/1916.
Athol Cemetery.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Angus Colquhoun Kay 1851-24/4/1897 and 9/1695 Sergeant Stanley Angus Kay, MM, 18/4/1893-27/3/1918.

The Fatal Accident at Balfour.— Our Lumsden correspondent reports of the fatal accident which happened at Balfour on Saturday to Mr Angus Colquhoun Kay, of Longridge North, that the deceased was loading his dray with timber at the siding, when the team bolted. Mr Kay caught the reins and hung on to them, and while in this position some of the timber slipped off knocking him down, and a wheel of the dray passed over his body longitudinally. After the dray had cleared his body Mr Kay got up and walked into the shop of Mr Grant and asked if the occupants of a trap with which the dray had afterwards collided had been injured, and was told nothing serious had happened to them. It was thought desirable to get the injured man to the hotel and this was done, and there he expired about half an hour after the accident happened. Dr Bauchop arrived from Lumsden shortly after death took place and made an examination of the body. Finding no bones broken, his opinion was that death was mainly due to shock to the system. The deceased leaves a widow and four young children, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt in this, as in other parts of the district. He was a man widely known and highly respected for his uprightness and strict integrity. He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church, and by this body he will be sorely missed, as he always took his share of the work in the absence of the Rev. James Blackie, and, in conjunction with Mr McFetridge, kept the services going. I understand that for some time past he had ministered monthly in the Lumsden church, having to ride some six or seven miles each way to do so, but he never failed to be at his post. For many years past he had also held a prominent position on the local school committee. His untimely death cast a gloom over the whole district. I understand the remains will be interred in the Lumsden cemetery on Tuesday.  -Southland Times, 27/4/1897.
Lumsden Cemetery.
CASUALTY LIST No. 537. (Per United Press Association.) WELLINGTON, March .6. 
The following list was issued to-night:
(March 1st.) AUCKLAND INFANTRY. McKENZIE, F. (Murdock McKenzie, Whangarei Heads, lather). 
(March 2nd), MACHINE GUN CORPS. SMITH, D. L. (Matthew Smith, Ravensbourne, Dunedin, father). 
PRIVATE S. A. KAY. Stanley Angus Kay, a Private in the 1st Auckland Machine Gun Company of the 8th Reinforcement and now reported to have been wounded and gassed on February 13, is the second and youngest son of Mrs and the late Mr A. C. Kay, of "Springvale,” Balfour. Private Kay, who is 23 years of age, was born at Longridge North and is an old boy of the Gore High School. He was farming before he rallied to the bugle of Empire.  -Southland Times, 7/3/1917.

Mr M. Foley, for some years clerk at the Magistrate’s Court at Masterton, and formerly of Gore, has been promoted to the clerkship of the Magistrate’s Court at Napier. Advice has been received from Sir James Allen, Minister for Defence, that Sergeant Stanley Angus Kay, (Balfour), No. 1 Machine Gun Company, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry on the field of action. Sergeant Kay left New Zealand as a trooper in the 8th Reinforcements, and, except for his furlough to Britain and absence through being wounded and gassed, has been on the battlefield in France ever since.  -Mataura Ensign, 14/1/1918.

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Sergeant Stanley Angus Kay, Of Balfour, M.G.C, awarded Military Medal for gallantry in Passchendaele Battle.  -Otago Witness, 6/3/1918.

We have been permitted to make a few extracts from letters received from the comrades of the late Sergt. Stanley Angus Kay, whose mother, Mrs A. C. Kay of Springvale, Balfour, was recently presented with the Military Medal won by her son in France by Sir James Allen, Defence Minister. 
Of this gallant Southlander his Captain wrote: — "Sergt. Stanley A. Kay was killed in action on March 27, 1918. He, with his team-mates helping to storm the onrush of the Huns when he was struck by machinegun fire and killed instantly. His loss is much regretted by the officers and men of this company, as he was most popular with every member of the unit, cheerful under all conditions, and a fearless, brave soldier." 
His platoon officer - writing shortly after his death, said:— "I knew him in Egypt before we crossed to France, and a better fellow-worker and helper I never wish to have. Stanley was a particular favourite with all the company, being always cheerful, full of fun and mischief yet withall, the bravest of the brave." 
Another machine-gun officer wrote: — "Your boy was in my section for a long time. I knew him very well, both as a soldier and a friend, and without doubt he was one of the finest boys it has been my pleasure to know, always a perfect gentleman, and one of the most popular men in our company. In several actions where we fought together he proved himself a staunch fighter and a true friend on each occasion. He was killed fighting in the manner I knew he would be, like a perfect hero." 
Sergt. Kay earned his decoration at Passchendaele, where he brought his two sub-section guns to their objective after his officer had been killed and all his gun crews with the exception of one man had become casualties. Only men who are conversant with the conditions which then obtained in that sector can fully appreciate what this effort must have cost them. Sergt Kay met his death on the Somme a year later, and in this connection one of his comrades wrote:— "Your son had charge of two guns of my section when we were rushed in to stay the onslaught of the Huns. I visited him on the night of the 26th, when he was in high spirits at the success of the whole section, distinguishing himself as he always did by his great leadership and coolness. On the morning of the 27th Stanley met his death instantaneously. We had lost a soldier and a gentleman, one admired by all, and a cross now marks the grave of one of the greatest of New Zealand's soldier sons."  -Otago Witness, 9/7/1919.