Monday, 28 June 2021

Elizabeth Gibson, 1891-6/11/1911.


GIBSON. — On Monday, 6th November, 1911. Elizabeth, fourth daughter of William and Sarah Gibson, Tay street, Invercargill; at the age of 20 years. Deeply regretted. 

The funeral will take place at Dunedin.  -Southland Times, 8/11/1911.



[Special to the Star] GORE, November 8. The inquest on Elizabeth Gibson, found dead on the railway line near Pukerau on Monday night, was opened at Gore this morning before Mr A. Martin, J P., and a jury of six, of whom Mr George Paterson was foreman. Mr Ennis watched the proceedings on behalf of the Railway Department. 

William Gibson, father of the deceased, said he was a picture-framer, carrying on business in Invercargill. The body was that of his late daughter Elizabeth. She was 20 years of age. Deceased at the time of her death was a waitress at Hopkins's Tea Rooms, Dunedin. She was single. Witness last saw her alive at Clinton on Monday last. Witness remembered seeing her on the platform of the South express bound for Invercargill. Witness saw her on the platform several times, but did not see her after leaving Clinton. As far as witness knew, deceased stood on the platform from the time the train left Clinton until the accident occurred. The deceased joined the train at Dunedin, and seemed in her usual health and spirits. Witness admitted that he had liquor that day. In consequence of that liquor he was lying on the seat of the carriage part of the journey, and if deceased had come into the carriage he might not have seen her. Witness did not have any drink in the train. He had two bottles of beer with him, but did not open them. He had his last drink at Dunedin. He had a good many drinks shortly before he left Dunedin. Mrs Gibson was with witness. She also partook of liquid refreshment at Dunedin. As far as witness could see she was ''almost" sober. She might have been under the influence of liquor. Deceased was very much against drink, as were all witness's daughters. Witness had borrowed a pencil similar to the one produced from deceased, and had returned it on the morning of the accident. Witness could not assign any reason for suicide except that deceased had a set on drink. He did not think she would go that far. He knew of no reason whatever why deceased should take her life unless it was in consequence of the drinking. Witness could not say whether his daughter was first missed at Gore or Edendale. Continuing, witness said that the first he knew of the accident was Guard Williams asking him if he had seen his daughter. Witness replied that he had not seen her, unless she was on the platform. 

Sergeant Burrowes: Do you remember hearing the deceased say to her mother "Father has had a drop of drink, and I feel like jumping off the train"? 

Witness: I did not hear it. 

In reply to Sergeant Burrowes, witness said that he could not say that the deceased jumped off the train because he was under the influence of drink. 

To the Coroner: It was a cold night. Witness thought deceased was a bit quiet, but did not think there was anything the matter with her. He had not seen her previously for 12 months. 

In reply to a juryman, witness said the deceased was of a cheerful disposition. 

Dr McIlroy said the injuries would be consistent with a heavy fall on the feet. A fracture of the base of the skull could be produced indirectly by landing on one's feet from a height. There was not the slightest indication of the girl's condition being other than normal. 

Sarah Gibson, mother of deceased, remembered meeting deceased in Dunedin on Monday last. Witness went into Hopkins's about 11 a.m. and had a cup of tea. One of witness's sons was very ill, and witness asked deceased to come home and see him. Deceased said: "Yes, I will come home, but I have not drawn my wages." Witness said not to trouble about that, and promised to make all arrangements. Witness gave deceased £1 on the station. Deceased asked whether she should get a return ticket, and witness advised her not to, as there was no concession. Deceased said she did not like Invercargill, and wanted to return to Dunedin. Deceased heard somebody on the train ask Mr Gibson to have a whisky, and said: "Mother, father has had some beer, and if he takes whisky you know how it will play up with him." Mr Gibson did not take any whisky, as far as witness knew. He had two bottles of beer with him, but when the train arrived at Invercargill the beer was missing. Deceased did not suggest throwing the beer off the train. She also said: "If dad takes any whisky I would think nothing of jumping off the train." Witness replied: "Lizzie, don't talk such rubbish." This conversation took place on the platform of the carriage. Witness went into the carriage, and left deceased on the platform. Witness did not know where this conversation ensued, but it was south of Balclutha and before the train arrived at Gore. Witness did not pay much attention to deceased's remark about jumping off the train, but regarded it as an empty threat. Witness did not see deceased after she left her on the platform. When the guard asked witness if she had seen her daughter witness suggested that she was in the lavatory, and Mr Gibson suggested that perhaps she had left the train at one of the stations in a huff. 

In reply to the coroner witness said she was in ordinary good health that day, and understood what her daughter said. Mr Gibson was not drunk, but he was tired. Witness admitted having one or two glasses of beer at Duncdin. Witness was not affected by the drink at all. Deceased seemed in good health, but was quiet. Deceased did not remark that witness had been drinking. Witness remembered vomiting on the train, but she was always like that when travelling. Witness did not see deceased washing her father's face in the lavatory. Witness did not remember Mr Gibson being sick on the train. 

In reply to Sergeant Burrowes witness said most emphatically that she was not under the influence of drink. 

Mr Gibson here broke in with "What do you mean by under the influence of drink?" 

Sergeant Burrowes: When a person is away from his normal condition. 

Mr Gibson: It's a big question. 

Mrs Gibson: Aye, it's a big question. 

Sergeant Burrowes: Now that you have mentioned the matter, I'll prove that you were absolutely drunk, and that Mrs Gibson was under the inlluence of drink. 

The witness was rigidly cross-examined as to her drinking on the day in question, but could only remember having "about three drinks." Witness knew her daughter's writing, but could not identify the writing on the note produced as her daughter's. Witness would not swear that the note was not written by her daughter. Her daughter always signed her letters "Liz." Witness did not see deceased with the pencil produced. Witness did not see deceased reading a magazine or book, but she might have had one with her. 

Arthur Williams said he was guard on the train in question on Monday. Witness took charge of the train at Milton. The first intimation witness had of anything being' wrong was after the train left Gore, when Mr Jas. Robertson asked witness if he had seen the girl whose ticket he had checked after leaving Clinton. Witness asked what girl, and Robertson pointed out Mr Gibson. Witness spoke to the Gibsons, and asked Mrs Gibson where the girl was. Mrs Gibson pointed to the platform and witness informed her that deceased was not on the train. Mrs Gibson, in reply, said: "I wonder if she jumped off the train." For the moment witness made light of this, as he had no reason to think such a thing would happen When the train reached Mataura witness rang up the District Traffic Manager and informed him that a young woman was missing off the train. Both Mr and Mrs Gibson were certainly under the influence of drink when witness spoke to them. They did not seem to realise or appreciate what witness said. They were not sufficiently drunk to call for any interference on witness's part. They appeared to be muddled, but Mrs Gibson was the brighter of the two. 

James Robertson said he was a passenger on the train in question. He joined it at Clinton. Witness saw the deceased throw some bottles of beer out of the carriage window. She then went on the platform. Witness later saw deceased wipe her father's mouth, and heard her say something about being disgusted. Shortly afterwards witness saw deceased give her ticket to the guard, and follow him from the carriages to the platform. That was the last witness saw of her. It was obvious to everyone that both Mr and Mrs Gibson had taken more than was good for them, though Mr Gibson was the worse of the two. Witness corroborated the guard's evidence as to searching the train and advising the district traffic superintendent. Witness examined the gates on the carriage, and they were fastened. 

John T. Mitchell (photographer) was a passenger on the train in question from Clinton to Gore. Witness corroborated Robertson's evidence. When the train arrived at Gore Mrs Gibson made insulting remarks sotto voce while Sir Joseph Ward was speaking. Witness thought deceased looked all right, but appeared to be very worried over her parents' condition. 

Thomas Wright was a ganger on the railway. On Monday night he received instructions at Waipahi to proceed to Pukerau and search for a passenger supposed to have fallen off the train. Witness proceeded along the line in a jigger, and just north of Pukerau discovered the body of a lady on the south side of the line. Deceased was lying on her back, with her head towards Pukerau, fully extended. Witness noticed abrasions on the face, and that the arm was injured. The body was removed to Pukerau. From marks which witness noticed, he came to the conclusion that deceased left the train about 40ft from where the body was found. Witness was satisfied that deceased was not dragged by the train. She had probably turned several somersaults. 

Sergeant Burrowes said the matter was reported to him at midnight on Monday. Accompanied by Constable Schruffer, witness proceeded by motor car to Pukerau. On arrival at Pukerau the body of deceased was handed over to witness by the station master. The body was conveyed to Gore. Witness examined the body and clothing. From the right hand pocket of the jacket Constable Schruffer took a lead pencil and the following note, written in pencil, apparently on the title leaf of a magazine or novel: 

Good-bye all. I am heartbroken. Forgive me for doing this, but I hope that this will let my mother know the curse drink is.—Lizz. God help my sisters and brother. 

This pathetic note, which was handed to the jury, was badly written on a torn piece of paper, and was unpunctuated. 

The Coroner characterised the case as a very bad one. After an absence of 10 minutes the jury returned a verdict "That deceased met her death by jumping from a train while in a state of mental depression." 

The Coroner said he quite agreed with the verdict.  -Evening Star, 8/11/1911.

The evidence produced at the inquest is intriguing.  Was this a young woman at the end of her tether?  The redoubtable champion of the ordinary citizen, the "Truth," had a different view on the matter.



Poor Parents' Pitiful Plight.

The Result of No-License Lies — Wowserism and Hysteria — The Girl's Written Message — The Tragedy of the Train — The Inquest — An Officious Policeman — The Bounce of Burrowes — A Cruel Cross-examination — Sergeant Burrowes's Threat  — Parents very Respectable — A Protest from "Truth."

[From "Truth's" Dunedin Rep.]

With a shameless disregard of the common decencies of life, and displaying a blackguardly callousness over the sorrows of an unfortunate family, the narrow-minded benighted crowd of wowsers and No-license mob in sainted snufflesome Dunedin, and no doubt, in the most of New Zealand, are using the recent suicide of the unfortunate, misguided young woman, Elizabeth Gibson, who jumped off the South express in a fit of mental depression and thus ended a promising young life, to their alleged advantage. 

The inquest was held at Gore on Wednesday of last week before Mr A Martin, J.P., and a jury of six. 

Sergeant Burrows represented the police and Mr A. T. Ennis appeared on behalf of the Railway Department.

During the course of the examination of the girl's father and mother the great sergeant 

ADOPTED  A DICTATORIAL TONE which "Truth" will refer to later on.

The evidence of the father, William Gibson was taken first. Briefly it amounted to that she was 20 years of age and was a waitress in Hopkins tea-rooms in Dunedin. She travelled with witness and her mother on the South express on the previous Monday night. He saw her on the platform of the car several times during the journey, but not after leaving Clinton. He admitted that he had had liquor during the day, was lying on a seat in the carriage and might not have seen his daughter come through. He had a good many drinks that day, and his wife had one or two, and might have been under the influence. Witness could give no reason for the girl's action except that she had a "set" on drink. The first he knew of her being missing was when Guard Wi1liams asked him about her.

Sergeant Burrowes: Do you remember deceased saying to her mother, "Father has had a drop of drink, and I feel like jumping off the train"? 

Witness: I did not hear it.

The kindly sergeant pressed the question about the girl's object; but witness said he could not say that the deceased jumped from the train because he was under the influence. 

Dr. McIlroy gave evidence to the effect that death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull caused by landing heavily on the feet. There was not the slightest indication that deceased's condition was other than normal.

Sarah Gibson, wife of a former witness said that she went to Hopkin's tea-rooms on Monday, to see deceased as she wanted her to come to Invercargill to attend to a sick brother. Gave deceased £1 for her fare and met her on the station. On the train someone asked Mr Gibson to have some whisky, and deceased said, "Mother,  

FATHER HAS HAD SOME BEER, and if he takes whisky you know how it will play up with him." Mr. Gibson did not have any whisky, as far as witness knew. He had two bottles of beer with him on the train but it was missing when they got to Invercargill. Deceased said, "If Dad takes any whisky I would think nothing of jumping off the train,'' and withess replied "Lizzie, don't talk such rubbish." This conversation took place on the platform of the carriage and witness did not see deceased any more after she went inside. When the guard asked her about her daughter she believed she was in the lavatory. 

To the Coroner: Mr Gibson was not drunk. She had one or two beers in Dunedin, but they didn't effect her. She was sick on the train but that was usual with her on train journeys, on account of the motion.

Sergeant Burrowes once more asked witness if she wasn't drunk, and she firmly denied the allegation. 

Mr Gibson (to the sergeant) What do you mean by under the influence of drink?

Sergeant Burrowes reckoned it was when a person was away from the normal condition. 

Mr Gibson: It's a big question. 

Sergeant Burrowes: Now that you have mentioned the matter, I will prove that you were absolutely drunk, and that Mrs Gibson was under the influence of drink. 

The generous sergeant then subjected the obviously suffering old lady to a long and gruelling examination which only brought to light the fact that she had three drinks in Dunedin that day. 

Guard Williams' evidence was to the effect that when he asked Mrs Gibson where her daughter was she said, 

"I WONDER IF SHE HAS JUMPED off the train". Both Mr and Mrs Gibson were under the influence of drink and did not seem to realise what witness said. They were not sufficiently drunk to call for any interference on his part.

James Robertson, engine driver, who joined the train at Clinton, said he saw deceased throw some bottles of beer off the train. Mr and Mrs Gibson were both under the infuence but Mr Gibson was the worst.

Evidence was also given by John T. Mitchell, a passenger on the train, and Ganger Thomas Wright, who found the body at Pukerau, clear of the line. 

Sergeant Burrowes gave evidence to having brought the body in, and having found on it a note written in pencil, apparently on the leaf of a magazine: 

"Goodbye all, I am heartbroken, forgive me for doing this but I hope that this will let my mother know the curse drink is." 

"God help nay sisters and brother." 

The jury brought in a Verdict that deceased had met her death by jumping from the train when in a state of mental depression.

The whole affair is a very sad one, and the death of that misguided young woman can be laid at the door of

THE FANATICAL WOWSERS who term themselves the New Zealand Alliance. However, before stating its reasons for the above statement "Truth" would like to hand a few pointed remarks to brave, generous, kind-hearted, and sympathetic Boss Bobby Burrowes. How noble, how manly, how generous it was of burrowing Burrowes to get up in righteous indignation and bombastically say to a sorrowing parent, who was manifestly suffering the tortures of Hell over the unforseen results of a little over-indulgence. "I'll prove that you were absolutely drunk, and Mrs Gibson was under the influence of drink!"

"Truth" doesn't know who Burrowes is, and doesn't care, but hopes that he feels proud of himself over the above unnecessarily cruel and callous statement, and also over this brilliant cross-examination of a sorrowing mother. From his brutal bombast the reader can only assume that Burrowes is a wowser with as much bowels of compassion as there is in a paving stone. 

However, he is suitable for such a red-nosed, sly-grog, keg-infested dirty village as Gore, and "Truth" wishes Gore joy of him. It is a well-known fact, and one that has been proved on innumerable occasions, that the perfervid oratory of wild-eyed wowsers creates a form of religious hystetia in women — especially young women of an impressionable age, such as Elizabeth Gibson. 

The writer has visited the various Yankee Boodle missions which periodically infest these shores and return laden with the gold of the foolish and the hysterical, and leave behind them as payment a lot of religious maniacs who generally finish up either as non-church goers or in the lunatic asylum. At these meetings he has seen women — aye and things who call themselves men — reduced to a state of hysteria by the skillful playing on their weak brains which the so-called missionary knows so well how to do. "Truth" believes, and every circumstance seems to point to the fact, that this 

UNFORTUNATE GIRL had been carried away by the rotten sentimental oratory of a lot of wild-eyed watery wowsers, who have painted to her drink as being one of the demons out of hell. The temporary lapse of her parents as a consequence, seemed in her poor deluded mind to be something horrible and abnormal, and hysteria gave place to reason and well, The End. Therefore, in all truth can the death of this young woman, whom the writer observed on many occasions, and who was a bright, healthy young woman, exceedingly popular with all those with whom she came into contact, be laid at the door of the Dunedin branch of the A-lie-ance of hypocrites and mud-slingers.

As regards the unfortunate parents, Burrowes and the New Zealand A-lie-ance will be surprised to learn that they have the widespread sympathy of the community, both in Dunedin and Invercargill. Of course, the A-lie-ance will weep a few crocodile tears over the Gibson family's loss, but they will be the tears of those who rejoice in the downfall of another. Mr and Mrs Gibson were for many years residents of Dunedin, and were well-known as

DECENT RESPECTABLE PEOPLE and were highly respected by a large circle of friends. Admitting that both Mr and Mrs Gibson were under the influence of liquor, what does the fact point to? They live in the dry area of Invercargill, where beer is, supposed to abide not. Coming from that area where the wowser has decreed that they shall not have any drink, and being honest people, to whom neither the plentiful slygrog shops nor the still more plentiful keg guzzles would appeal, what was more natural than that they should indulge a little, and, not knowing their, capacity, over-indulge? Can the honest, straightforward man or woman stand up and blame them? "Truth" thinks not.

Rather is the iniquitous, idiotic system which germinated in the brains of fanatics and was incubated by fools — the system, of No-license and guzzle, to be blamed, for the excess of this sorrowing old couple. They have a sorrow to bear now which will last to the grave. To the great thinking public "Truth" would merely, say: "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone."  -NZ Truth, 18/11/1911.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.

33192 Sergeant David Gordon Swan, 19/6/1879-26/3/1918.

In March, 1918, the German Spring Offensive was at its height.  A gap had been torn between the British 4th and 5th Army Corps and Battalions 1 and 2 the Auckland Infantry Regiment, along with the 2nd Battalion of the NZ Rifles, were sent to fill it.  

The Official History of the Auckland Regiment describes the action:

1/Auckland advanced along the Serre road, in threes, with intervals between the platoons. In an orchard just outside the village they passed two English eighteen-pounder guns, which for the last four days had been retiring and fighting all the way. Three hundred yards further on, near the "Windmill," two Hun machine-guns opened fire on the column. The Aucklanders immediately swung half-right and deployed, with the 15th and 16th Companies leading and the left flank just touching on the Serre road. They advanced in artillery formation toward the "apple-trees" and a long hedge, which ran across the front. Here the enemy fire became intense, and at this point casualties commenced to occur. Henry Beery, one of the oldest soldiers with the Battalion, a very brave man, was killed. From the hedge the ground fell away for some little distance, and then, after a small level space, rose again to the Serre Ridge. At the foot of the ridge, and just to the right of the sugar refinery the 16th were checked. Many men had fallen. Lieutenant Swayne, one of the company's most gallant soldiers, was wounded. The machine-gun barrage was too heavy to pass, and so a halt was made in a sunken road, while the men recovered their breath, and ways and means were found to continue the advance. In the meanwhile, the 15th Company, under Captain Holland, had gone well forward. Getting into a tangle of old saps, and led by their Company Commander, Sergeant-Major Rogers, Prendergast and other brave men, they bombed forward, past the chalk pits, through the Bowery and into the enemy positions beyond. Three machine-guns were taken and a number of the enemy, who were fleeing in all directions, were killed. This brought the 15th Company well ahead of the 16th, took off much of the pressure, and opened up the way for a further move. In the meanwhile, Captain Vercoe had worked with great energy to reorganise his men, Captain Coates had pushed up reinforcements from the 3rd Company, and shortly before dusk everything was ready. The Lewis gunners, coming practically out into the open, engaged the enemy guns and drew nearly all the fire upon themselves. They suffered heavily. Few of them were left, but their purpose was achieved.

From the sunken road to the enemy guns there was only some hundred and twenty yards of open, gentle slope. As darkness commenced to fall, Captain Vercoe gave the signal. "Come on, boys; rush them, rush them!" The Waikatos, and the 3rd Auckland with them, went up the hill in the teeth of the German fire. Lieutenant John Allen led the charge with magnificent courage. Looker, Moffitt and Brewer were amongst the first to break into the German line. The Aucklanders closed in with the cold steel, and in a few moments the Huns were a crowd of panic-stricken fugitives. It was in vain that their officers endeavoured to rally them — a few were taken prisoner, many were killed, and the remainder ran. Night fell as victory was secure. The sugar refinery, on the left of the Serre road, taken by the Rifle Brigade, and set on fire by the German artillery, was burning luridly. It was a wild night. Numbers of the enemy were on the front, and several times they came up against the Auckland posts. Once a number of them were observed to be deploying out on the road ready to counter-attack. Lance-Corporal Bray and another man, going out by themselves, reached the flank of this party and dispersed them with Lewis gun fire.

Photo courtesy of the Online Cenotaph.


Corporal David Gordon Swan, who was killed in action on the west front on May 25, was the eldest surviving son of Mr David Swan, of Bayfield, Anderson Bay. Corporal Swan arrived in Dunedin with his parents in 1879. He was then an infant six months old. He was educated at the Caversham School and then went into the employ of Messrs Wood, Scott, and Co., to learn the tailoring business. He afterwards learnt his trade as a cutter with Mr Warsaw. About 16 years age he went to England and Canada to gain experience. Returning six years later, he accepted an appointment with Messrs Thomson and Beattie, of Invercargill, as cutter. After three years service there he returned to Dunedin, and entered into business on his own account, and soon had a fine connection. He enlisted with the 23rd Reinforcements. In his younger days Corporal Swan was a keen footballer. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society, and was also a member of the Cargill Road Methodist Church. He would have been 39 years of age in June next. Mr Swan has another son at the front, Leonard Wesley Swan, a despatch rider. 

David is usually referred to as having the rank of Corporal.  He was promoted to Sergeant  one week before his death.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

David Nicolson, 1878-9/11/1903.


The following particulars regarding tho death of David Nicolson, of the Rise and Shine dredge, who was drowned on Monday last, have been supplied by one of the crew to the local director of the company. As the dredge was closed down for repairs all hands were employed on the day shift, and after stopping work the men went to the edge of the tailings in order to get info a little skiff kept there to entitle the crew to cross a narrow stretch of still water which was backed up by the bottom stack of tailings and the foot of the Cromwell Flat terrace. A strong wind, accompanied by cold rain squalls, had been blowing on Monday, and whon the men got to the edge of the water they found that the wire rope on which the skiff travelled had become fouled, presumably in consequence of the wind. Mr Nicolson volunteered to clear the line and bring the boat to the edge of the tailings. He stripped off, and when he had accomplished his object he expressed his intention of swimming to the other side. He took a header from the boat, and started to swim across, but it is thought that there must have been a strong undercurrent, for before he had gone far he was in difficulties, and called out to the men to take the boat to him. His request was carried into effect as quickly as possible, but when his comrades got within a few feet of him he suddenly sank and was never seen again. When the unfortunate man sank he was near the end of the tailings, and it is surmised that he was swept through the gorge at Deadman's Point. The water was very cold at the time, and it is thought that Mr Nicolson must have been seized with cramp. The dredgemaster was absent when the fatality occurred.   -Otago Daily Times, 13/11/1903.

The Rise and Shine dredge at Cromwell.  Hocken Library photo.


An inquest was held at Miller's Flat on the 26th ult., before Acting-coroner Johns and a jury of six, concerning the death of David Nicolson, who was drowned off the Rise and Shine dredge, Cromwell, on November 9, and whose body was picked up at Miller's Flat fifteen days later. Inspector Green watched the proceedings on behalf of the Mines Department, and Mr Steward (Roxburgh) on behalf of the relatives of deceased. The evidence showed that the crew of the Rise and Shine dredge used a small dingey as a convenience for themselves, contrary to the instructions of the directors and the dredge-master. The boat was not provided with any life-saving appliances. The deceased, who had got wet while releasing one of the lines that was jammed about the tailings, proposed, as he was already wet, to swim ashore from the tailings to the bank. No sooner did he enter the water than he appeared to be struggling with some undercurrent, and called out for the boat. Some loose timber lying in the boat was thrown to him, but he failed to catch it, and before the boat went to the rescue he disappeared for the last time. The jury's verdict was to the effect that it was an accident pure and simple; that no blame was attachable to anyone, and that the crew did everything possible under the circumstances to save his life; and added a rider stating that if the convenience boat had been provided with a lifebuoy, line, and boathook the deceased's life might have been saved.  -Evening Star, 1/12/1903.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin. DCC photo.

9/59 Alexander Lister McClintock, 24/9/1891-27/9/1916.

Alexander McClintock was fatally wounded during the Battle of the Somme, the "Big Push," in which British and Imperial forces were to obliterate the German trenches with artillery and send the infantry strolling through the gap.  They did not know that their enemy had been preparing for just such an offensive, and had dug deep, concrete-lined bunkers.  There, the German troops sat, anxious but relatively safe, knowing that when the shellfire stopped it was time to dig out the bunker exits, set up their machine guns, and wait.


Sergeant Alexander Lister McClintock (died from wounds) who was a son of Mr Thomas McClintock, of Middlemarch, was employed in farming before he enlisted. He left New Zealand as a trooper, and received promotion in the field. He was wounded in Gallipoli, and subsequently spent five months in Egypt. He went to France with the first lot of New Zealand troops. He was wounded on September 17, and died in hospital in England on September 27. Sergeant McClintock, whose brother is in Trentham at present, was about 24 years of age.   -Otago Daily Times, 7/10/1916.

Photo courtesy of the Online Cenotaph.

Thanks to Alexander's Army records, accesible through the NZ Archives website, he can be identified as being in 1st Battalion, 10 Company of the Otago Infantry Regiment.  The Official History of the Regiment has this to say about the activities of the Company on the day that Alexander received his eventually fatal wounds:

At two o'clock on the morning of the 18th a message was received from Brigade that the Battalion of the PAGE 125London Rifles on our left was making an attack on that part of Flers Trench and Flers Support adjoining the left of the line held by the 1st Battalion of Auckland and extending to Goose Alley, and that Otago Battalion was to take over the position when it had been consolidated. Previous to this, the 10th (North Otago) Company, commanded by Captain J. Hargest, had been in touch with the 8th London Regiment in Fat Trench, and because of the latter's numerical weakness had taken over about 200 yards of its line. When the 8th London troops attacked at 5.30 a.m. the Lewis guns of 10th Company, together with two Vickers guns under Lieut. R. B. Caws, were thrust forward in readiness to support their right flank, and for the material assistance thus given an appreciative letter of thanks was received from the G.O.C. 47th Division. The 8th (Southland) Company, commanded by Major S. Rice, now proceeded to take over the new line, but the enemy in Goose Alley harassed our men with bombs from the high ground at the junction of Flers Trench and Goose Alley, the locality of many grim struggles, and endeavoured to work their way down from it. It was therefore necessary to bomb the enemy back in the direction of Goose Alley and establish protective blocks. The work accomplished on this morning by our bombers, under Lance-corp. W. Murray, against almost overwhelming odds, was of a very gallant order. The enemy resorted to volley firing, and in addition to being more liberally supplied with bombs, had the advantage of position on the high ground. However, our party succeeded in accomplishing its task of establishing and maintaining a block, notwithstanding the fact that every bomber of the Battalion who had been engaged had become a casualty.

Alexander was wounded by multiple bullets in his legs. His right leg was amputated in the Military Hospital at Etaples, so it is possible that his wounds had become infected by the mud of the Somme.


On Friday evening, at a social at Middlemarch, Private Frank Pickard, of the Nineteenth Reinforcements, who was on final leave, was presented with a safety razor and other useful articles. Mr B. Irwin presided, and addresses were given by the pastors of the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches. The proceedings were limited owing to news of the death of Sergeant Alexander McClintock from wounds received in France. A vote of condolence with his parents and family were passed.  -Otago Daily Times, 12/10/1916.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.

Andrew Wilson, 1853-30/10/1903.

In the late 19th and early part of the 20th Century in New Zealand there was a class of workers whose rate of death and injury while serving in uniform was much higher than that of others.  They were the railwaymen.  Steam locomotives and their rolling stock were unforgiving and mistakes were often fatal.

There is reason to think that the Mr Andrew Wilson, whose accidental death is the subject of a Dunedin telegram today, is the former Invercargill railway man of that name. He was head shunter here some twelve years ago, and resided in Liddel street; was one of the earliest members of the local Poultry Society, and was much respected both in and out of the service-Southland Times, 30/10/1903.

Dunedin, This Day. Andrew Wilson, yard foreman at Dunedin railway station, while running to shift some points, stepped in front of a truck and had both legs nearly severed close to the body. He was taken to the hospital, where he died within half-an-hour of admission. Deceased was about 50 years old, and married-Woodville Examiner, 30/10/1903.


An inquest touching the death of Andrew Wilson, who sustained injuries through being run over by a moving truck at the Dunedin railway station last evening, was held at the hospital this afternoon before Mr C. G. Graham, district coroner, and a jury of six, of whom Mr Thomas Martin was chosen foreman.

David Wallace, goods agent, stationed at Dunedin, said that he knew the deceased, and identified the body as that of Andrew Wilson, yard foreman at Dunedin. Part of his work was to attend to shunting in the yard in connection with the goods traffic. Deceased had been twenty years in the railway service, and was exceptionally sober and steady in his habits. On the night of the accident deceased was employed on his usual duties. He (witness) last saw deceased in the yard about 4-30 p.m. To Mr Green, sub-inspector of police: The working hours of deceased were from 5 p.m. till midnight. He could only account for the accident on the supposition that the deceased had crossed hurriedly to attend to points on the other side of the yard. He had made inquiries, and could not find anyone who had seen the actual accident.

Alexander Henderson Waugh, shunter in the passenger yard, stated that he knew the deceased. He saw him last evening in the goods yard employed on his usual business between 7.15 and 7.20 o'clock. About that time he ran past him in the direction of a waggon previously shunted, and that was the last he saw of him. A few seconds afterwards he heard a bump, as if a waggon had gone over something, followed by a cry. He went to ascertain the cause, and found deceased lying on the line behind the waggon. He ran up and found deceased very seriously injured, but still alive. He procured assistance, and Dr Gordon Macdonald was telephoned for and came immediately. To Sub-inspector Green: He accounted for the accident on the supposition that deceased tripped while crossing the rails to fix the points, and the waggon which he was shunting passed over him. The waggon was fully loaded with cattle.

Mr F. R. Hotop, junior house surgeon, deposed that deceased was brought to the hospital about eight o'clock last evening. The injured man was suffering from fracture of both legs, and as the main arteries had been touched, there had been considerable loss of blood. The cause of death, in his opinion, was shock and loss of blood consequent on these injuries. 

The jury brought in a verdict that deceased was run over by a railwav waggon, no blame being attachable to anyone."  -Evening Star, 30/10/1903.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin. DCC photo.

1340/185 Stoker/Private Arnold William Davison, 22/5/1889-26/8/1918.


A quick look at Arnold Davison's Army records brought interesting results.  It seems he served in the Royal Australian Navy on the cruiser HMS Pioneer as a stoker, enlisting in 1909.  He then transferred to the 6th Infantry Battalion of the Australian Army, embarking from Melbourne in October, 1914. The 6th Battalion was in the second wave of landings at Gallipoli. Arnold Davison was invalided home in 1916.



DAVISON. — On August 26, 1918, at his parents' residence, No. 6 Helena street, South Dunedin, Private William Arnold (late of 6th. Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces), dearly beloved eldest son of Mr J. W. and the late Mary E. Davison; aged 29 years. Deeply regretted. He did his duty.  -Evening Star, 26/8/1918.

Friends of Mr John William Davison (and family) are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his late son, Private William Arnold, which will leave his residence, No. 8 Helena street, South Dunedin, TO-MORROW (Tuesday). 27th inst., at 2.30 
HUGH GOURLEY, Undertaker.  -Evening Star, 26/8/1918.

There was a military funeral at South Dunedin yesterday afternoon, the remains of Private Wm. Arnold Davison being interred at the Southern Cemetery. The deceased, though a New Zealander, the son of Mr J. W. Davison (who as in the Railway Workshops), enlisted in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the war, served with the Sixth Battalion of the Australian Forces in Egypt, and was invalided home over two years ago, suffering from diabetes. The procession started from Mr Davison's residence in Helena street. Major Grenhough represented the Staff, and returned soldiers acted as pallbearers. Members of the R.N.Z.A., under Sergeant-major Gallagher, were the firing party. The services at the house and at the cemetery were conducted by the Revs. C. Dallaston and R. Raine.   -Evening Star, 28/8/1918.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.

The Mollisons of the Dunedin Diggers' Mart

John and Ann Mollison arrived in the colonial outpost of Dunedin not long after the town was established.  Their daughter Elizabeth arrived in the world at about the same time. John set up to make footwear, as he had done back in Montrose, Scotland.  In the town of "Mudedin," good footwear was a useful thing indeed.


JOHN MOLLISON begs respectfully to intimate to the Inhabitants of Dunedin and its neighbourhood, that he has commenced business as Boot & Shoe Maker in that House lately occupied by Mr. Mills, Cabinet Maker, Rattray Street; and, as he carried on for some years in Scotland the business of Boot-tree and Last Maker, and having a practical knowledge of both trades, he is convinced he can supply those who may order from him with a very superior fitting article. 

NB — J. M. can at present supply a few pairs with Gutta Percha mid-soles, which is a thorough preventive of damp. Rattray Street, Dunedin, 8th February, 1851.   -Otago Witness, 8/2/1851.

John entered the lists for the Provincial Council in 1853 but was not elected, coming last in a field of  5, with 18 votes out of 78.  "Addresses by both the successful and unsuccessful candidates were afterwards delivered from the portico of the Mechanics' Institution, and the day's proceedings closed with a bonfire and other rejoicings," according to the Otago Witness of 24/9/1853.

Early the following year, their second child, a son, was born.

JOHN MOLLISON has for Sale at his Store, Princes Street, an Assortment of Men's and Boys' Strong Boots, which he can recommend as of first-rate quality and workmanship. 

Also About 50 pairs of Ladies' Slippers and Children's Boots.

An assortment of Reaping Hooks, four different sizes. 

J. M. begs to inform the Public, that in the course of a few days he will open a General Store, and hopes by strict attention to business, and charging moderate profits, to merit a share of public patronage.   -Otago Witness, 25/2/1854.

As seen in the above, John Mollison's prospects were looking healthier as the 1850s progressed and Dunedin began to reap the benefits of the settlers' hard work.  John was happy to take a share in the prosperity by importing the things the people needed.



BEGS to intimate that he has received for Sale per "Stately" — 


STONEWARE — including a Large Assortment of Milk Basins, Bowls, Pudding Dishes, Breakfast and Dinner-Plates of all kinds, in different patterns, Tureens, Cover Dishes, Mustards, &c, Cups and Saucers in variety, Cream Pots and Jugs, large and small. A few Bed-room Sets, &c. 

DRAPERY. Welsh Flannels, Scotch Blankets, Blue Serge, Blue Flannels 

Linen and Cotton Sheeting and Shirting 

Bleached and Unbleached Calicoes — Prints and Ginghams 

Furniture Prints and Stripes 

Perth Winseys, plain and striped 

Shawls — Gala Tartan — Shepherds' Plaids 

Fingering and Wheeling Worsted 

Tweeds and Cloths — Waterproof Coats 

Ready-made Vests and Trowsers 

Riding Boas 

A Case of Ironmongery will be opened for Sale in a few days.  -Otago Witness, 25/2/1854.

THE SUBSCRIBER would take this opportunity of returning thanks to the Public for the liberal Patronage he has received since he commenced business, and hopes in future to merit a continuance of that support. 

He would beg to intimate that in futuie he in tends to adopt the system of Small Profits and Quick Returns. (He will render Accounts every three months.) To carry out this system, he has made a reduction on nearly every Article on hand. Should he meet with due encouragement, be will add to his Present Stock a general assortment of everything required by the Public, and Sell in Retail almost at Wholesale Prices. 

On hand at present, a General Assortment of Provisions — Confectionery — About 700 Pairs of Boots and Shoes of different kinds — Blue Serge Shirts — Striped ditto. — Men's and Boys' Trowsers — Plaiding Drawers — Vests — Sheeting — Ladies' Filled Shawls and Dresses. Brandy — Rum — Gin — Sherry Wine  Fine Scotch Whisky, &c. 

JOHN MOLLISON, Princes Street. 

Shop open from 8 Morning to 7 at Night, Saturdays excepted.   -Otago Witness, 5/8/1854.



BEGS to intimate that he expects direct from home next month a quantity of Goods consisting of Alloa Worsted, Welsh Flannel, Blue Serge and Flannel, Scotch and English Plaiding, Shepherds' Plaids, Scotch Blankets, Drugget, Balmoral Winsies, Linen and Cotton Sheeting, Calicoes, Hoyle's Prints, &c, &c. 

J. M. having purchased during the last fortnight nearly 300 pairs of Boots and Shoes, which he has marked off at extremely low prices to insure a quick return. He would recommend an early call, as they are selling off quick. 

J. M. has on hand a General Assortment of Groceries, Crockery, Blue Serge Shirts, Regatta and Striped ditto., Men's and Youths' Black and Fancy Cloth Caps, Boys' Balmoral Glengarry Bonnets, Men's and Boys' Cord and Moleskin Trowsers, Oilskin Coats and Leggings, Linen and Cotton Sheeting, Neck Ties and Mufflers. A few Ladies' Shawls. 

A Beautiful Piece of Black Satinette 

A Splendid Kitchen Grate, with Boiler and Oven 

Campbelltown Whisky, Wine, Rum, and Gin 

Raspberry and Black Currant Jam and Jelly, &c, &c. 

Princes Street, March 9.   -Otago Witness, 10/3/1855.

Lists of things for sale are not usually the most interesting things in the world, but Mollison's imports are to this writer, as it shows what people were buying and shows a certain prosperity in those days before - and we all know it's coming - the shock of the Otago Gold Rush.



100 Pairs of Girls' Patent Calf and Cordovan Slippers 

50 Pairs of Girls' Cashmere Boots, which he will Sell at decided Bargains 

50 Pairs of Ladies' Cashmere Boots, superior quality 

100 Pairs Ladies' Patent Calf and Cordovan Slippers, which he can recommend. 

The above being only suitable for Summer, he has made a Reduction in Price so as to insure a quick Sale. 

Gentlemen's Riding and Wellington Boots 

Men's and Boys' Watertight ditto 

Ladies' Leather and Boys' Cloth ditto 

LIKEWISE Ladies' and Gentlemen's Plaids, a few Pieces of Tartan for Ladies' and Boys' Dresses, Winseys, Printed Muslin de Lame, Orleans, Black Coburg Prints, Superior Cord, Men's and Boys' Trowsers, Black Cloth Caps, Neck Ties, Oilskin Coats, &c.

SUNDRIES. Collins's Axes, Trays, Waiters, Tea Kettles, Brooms, Shoe Brushes, Curry and Mane Combs, Pocket Combs, Castor Oil, Salad Oil, Sugars, Teas, Chocolate, Sardines, Pickles, Mustard, Currants, Raisins, Sago, Arrowroot, Carbonate Soda, Yellow Soap, Candle, Confectionery, Spices, &c, &c. 

Fresh Butter every Saturday morning.  -Otago Witness, 15/12/1855.

Trade, and presumably life went on in a fairly reguar pattern for the Mollinsons through the rest of the 1850s, with a notable exception - a son was born on February 15, 1857.  He lived for two days.



Ladies Circassian and Crape Dresses 

Lustre and Alpaca Robes 

Muslins and Prints 

Wool, Cashmere, Barege, and Paisley Long Shawls 

Persian and Brocaded Silk do. 

Toilet Covers, Hosiery, and Haberdashery 

ALSO, Gentlemen's and Boy's Circular Coats, suitable for the present season.   -Otago Witness, 28/3/1857.

In the late 1850s John, who had arrived to ply his trade as a bootmaker, added another string to his bow, becoming a registered auctioneer.  Possibly this was done so that he could rid his shop of unsold stock to make room for new arrivals, but he was soon selling on behalf.  His advertising now referred to him as an "Auctioneer and General Merchant," and he was selling gold and silver watches.

The discovery of gold inland from Dunedin and the overwhelming invasion of diggers from over the seas was a heaven sent opportunity for all of the town's businesses.  John Mollison wasted no time in catering for the new population of customers.



Hurrah for the lads that are digging for the gold, 

About the Tupeka the truth is really told;

Hurrah for the merry lads, that joined in the rush,

It will learn them the hardships of living in the bush. 

Hurrah my merry diggers, before you make a start, 

I would recommend you all to call at the "Diggers' Mart;" 

There you'll get your Blankets, your Shovel, Pick, and Spade: 

You're sure to make the Colony, and give a start to trade. 

Should you give me but a call, I will suit you with the best — 

With every sort of Clothing, from a Stocking to a Vest; 

The Proprietor of the Mart will fit you out so nice: 

"READY CASH" will be his motto, and the "VERY LOWEST PRICE." 

ON HAND: GOLD DIGGERS' SHOVELS, PICKS, AND PROSPECTING PANS; 6 and 8 oz. Gold Scales; Scarlet, Blue, and White Blankets; 72-inch Calico (for Tents); Jumpers; Crimean, Blue, and Striped Shirts; Under-Clothing in great variety; Welsh Flannels; Wire; knitted Lambswool and Shetland Hosiery; Pilot Jackets; Tweed, Pilot, Cord, and Mole Trowsers - Belts; Watertight and Thigh Boots. 


Being creditably informed that a number of LADIES are to start (early) for the Diggings, to add to the comfort of their husbands; 

IF SO, He would recommend them to give him a call before leaving, and inspect a splendid lot of WINCEYS (just arrived), suitable for the winter. 

THE PROPRIETOR OF THE MART Will endeavour always to have on hand a select stock of Goods for the successful Digger, suitable for PRESENTS either for Wives or Sweethearts. 


But the good times did not last for the Mollison family.  Typhoid struck Dunedin.  The overwhelming of what little sanitary arrangements the town had by the camping - although brief - of thousands of miners newly arrived by sea meant the transmission of diseases by the "befouling" of the natural waterways.


On the 10th April, of gastric fever, after a short illness, Mr. John Mollison, Merchant. Dunedin late of Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland. Lamented by the widow and family, and a large circle of friends and acquaintances.  -Otago Daily Times, 14/3/1862.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.


THE whole of the valuable stock of the late Mr. John Mollison, Draper, &c, Princes-street, Dunedin, will be offered for sale at Prime Cost. 

The stock consists of every article in drapery and men's clothing, and a great variety of boots, shoes, diggers' tools, &c. 

The Shop will be open for business on Saturday, April 19th, when persons looking out for cheap bargains will do well to attend early, as this is a bona fide sale. The whole of the stock must be cleared out in three weeks. Note the Address.

Late JOHN MOLLISON, Princes-street, 3 doors from the Queen's Arms.   -Otago Witness, 19/4/1862.

The precise locations of businesses in the old town of Dunedin are usually very difficult to pin down, and in this case the demise of the owner allows us to pinpoint the "Diggers' Mart."  The Queen's Arms Hotel was on the site of the Empire Tavern, now remodelled as living accomodation.  The mart having an entrance from Stafford Street places it three doors to the north of the Empire.


ALL claims against the late John Mollinson, Princes-street, to be rendered immediately; and all outstanding debts to be paid without delay to the undersigned, at the store, in Princes-street. 

ANNE MOLLISON. Dunedin, 23rd April, 1862.  -Otago Daily Times, 5/5/1862.


On the 5th instant, of gastric fever, Elizabeth Wallace Mollison, only daughter of the late John Mollison, merchant, Dunedin. The funeral will take place this day, at two o'clock p.m. Friends will please accept of this intimation.  -Otago Daily Times, 7/5/1862.


THE Friends of the late Mrs John Mollison are respectfully informed that her Funeral will move from Inverness Cottage, Filleul street, on Tuesday, 4th October, at 2.30 o'clock p.m., for the place of interment at the Southern Cemetery. 

JOHN GILLIES. Undertaker, 18 George street and 11 Great King street.   -Evening Star, 1/10/1887.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.


Votes of thanks were passed to Mr James S. Mollison, C.E., engineer in charge of Government public works, Orange, New South, Wales (son of the Mr John Mollison, Dunedin), for the presentation through Mr Peter Duncan, of two volumes of the Otago Witness, ranging from November, 1852, to June, l860. This gift is enhanced by the fact that Mr Mollison refused several offers by collectors and others, but sent the volumes over on hearing the association was about to erect an early settlers hall.   -Otago Daily Times, 9/2/1904.