Friday, November 24, 2017

Of Entricans & Englands: religion and enterprise in colonial New Zealand.

 Reverend Samuel W. Entrican & Laura Alice England: some research notes

Rev Samuel Walter (Sam) Entrican  born 10 November 1871  at “Craigmonaghan House”,
Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland reland, the 8th child  and 5th son in a family of 11. He graduated frwith a Master’s Degree from the Royal University of Ireland, Belfast,  and came to Auckland, New Zealand in 1889 as a probationary Presbyterian minister. 

Father: Robert Entrican, born  7 February 1833  Stoney Falls, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, son of James & Sarah (nee  Bogle) Entrican. Died  21 March 1916, Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand

Mother: Jane nee Jack, born 1834  Magheracoltan, Co Tyrone, Ireland,  daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (nee Welsh) Jack. Died  3 August 1925, Auckland,
New Zealand.

 They married 7 February 1856 in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland

 “ENTRICAN-JACK: In the First Presbyterian Church,  Ardstraw, on the 7th inst., by the Rev. Andrew Chark, MR ROBERT ENTRICAN, Stoneyfalls, to  JANE, youngest daughter of the late MR ANDREW JACK, Magheracoltan.”
Ex Ardstraw Parish Marriage Announcements 1850-59, collated from the “Londonderry Sentinel and “Londonderry Standard”

Griffiths’ valauation of Ireland 1847-1864 lists Robert Entrican as a tenant of the Marquis of Abercorn, of whom he held a house, offices and  farmland at Ardstraw, Lower Strabane, Co. Tyrone. Robert Entrican offered this property for sale 22 July 1868 – see Entrican Family Notes below

See: Entrican Family Notes 1839-1946- various personal announcements – births, death, marriages etc - relating to the Entrican family in Co Tyrone.

In 1876 Robert is recorded as  a landowner in Co. Tyrone holding the following properties; at Craigmonaghan, Castlederg, a viilage on the River Derg, 104 acres, and at Brocklis, Ardstrawbridge, Newtownstewart, 85 acres.
Ex. Landowners in Co. Tyrone 1876

Robert &  Jane Entrican came to New Zealand in 1890 with their 2 youngest children, all the others in the family (excepting the Rev John Entrican) having preceded them to this country in dribs and drabs – the first two to make the move being sons James Cuthbertson and Andrew Jack.

See “Obituary : Mr Robert Entrican, “NZ Herald”,  22 March 1916

Diamond Wedding: Mr & Mrs Robert Entrican, Avondale, Auckland.
“Auckland Star”, 7 February 1916

Death of a Well-Known Citizen: Mr Robert Entrican
“Auckland Star”, 21 March 1916

Both Robert and Jane Entrican are buried at the Waikaraka Park Cemetery Auckland, along with their daughter Jennie Jack Entrican.


!) Rev. John Entrican B.A. (1858-1944) Presbyterian minister- remained in Ireland. Married Mary Knox Mitchell at Belfast in 1899. Died at Cookstown, buried at Belfast Cemetery, Co. Antrim , Northern Ireland. Associated for many years with Cookstown Presbyterian Church, Co.  Tyrone. Ireland.

2) Andrew Jack Entrican (1858-1936) Arrived in Auckland NZ 11 January 1880 per ship “Ben Nevis” Became a notable merchant, importer, manufacturing agent and civic personage. He was later joined by his brother James Cutherbertson Entrican and Robert James Soims, who married his youngest sister Nannie Entrican. What was first known as the Entrican Building was built for £10,000 in 1903 and 1904 as a trading store and warehouse for Messrs A.J. Entrican and Co . The company was later known as A.J. Entrican, Sims & Company Ltd. – photo of company building taken between 1940-49  at Auckland Libraries Heritage images
Mr Entrican chaired the Auckland Harbour Board and was Deputy Mayor of Auckland for 21 years. He was a member of the Auckland Fire Board, the drainage board, the Auckland Patriotic Society, the Chamber of Commerce and Merchants' Association as well as a trustee of the Auckland Savings Bank.
In 1970 the building was named Australis House and converted into commercial offices.
In the 1880s Andrew Entrican built a grand Victorian mansion in Ponsonby  (29 Hepburn Street , Freeman’s Bay), currently undergoing restoration. Married Elizabeth Mary Mackay 1883. Buried Waikaraka Park Cemetery, Auckland,  NZ..

See Obituary: Death of a Citizen: Mr A.J. Entrican
“NZ Herald”, 20 February 1936.

3) Robert John Entrican (1859-1928) Married Annie Isabella Lamb 1897. Buried at Wairaraka Park Cemetery, Auckland, NZ.  Father of engineer and forestry expert Alexander Robert (Pat) Entrican

Unnamed infant daughter, died 20 Dec 1862 at Stoney Falls of whooping cough, aged one month.

4) James Cuthertson Entrican (1864-1951). Came to Auckland, NZ  on the ship  “Tongaririo” in 1885 .Initially went into business with Robert William Gallaugher, an acquaintance from home. their business being named Gallaugher & Entrican. Like Entrican & Sims they  operated as wholesale provision merchants. J.C. Entrican also served on the  Council. When Gallaugher married Ellen Annie Mackay, daughter of Captain Richard Mackay of Ponsonby in 1889, James Entrican stood as a witness at their wedding. (Gallaugher’s wife Ellen Annie Mackay was a sister of Andrew Entrican’s wife Elizabeth Mary Mackay)  After a few years he parted ways with Gallaugher and in 1892 joined his brother to form A.J. Entrican & Co.,  Married 1) Elizabeth Mary McPherson 1892. She died in 1910 and he remarried, 2) Annie Sofia Meyer in 1914. Buried St Ninian’s Churchyard, Avondale, Auckland, NZ.

See ENTRICAN FAMILY at St Ninian’s of Avondale

5) Sarah Bogle Entrican (!865-1924)
Married at Castlederg, Co Tyrone, Ireland, to Robert Alexander Houston 1889 then came to NZ. Sarah and her husband are both buried at Waikaraka Park Cemetery, Auckland., NZ Death notice, ‘NZ Herald” 15 November 1924

6) Elizabeth (Lissie) Deborah Welsh Entrican (1866-1961)
 Married James Black Ramsay 1897. Buried Purewa Cemetery, Auckland.

7) Jennie Jack Entrican (1870-1955) aka Sister Grace (Never married)
Buried with parents at Wairaraka Park Cemetery, Auckland, NZ.

8) Samuel (1871-1955)

9) Isabella Josephine Entrican (1873- 1931)
Married William Henry Paul 1905. Buried Hamilton East Cemetery, Waikato, NZ

10) Wilhelmina Grace Entrican (1874-1879) She lies at the Old Urney Graveyard, Co. Tyrone, along with a large number of Entrican, Cuthbertson and Wauchop ancestors
See under Cuthbertson/Wauchop:

11) Ann Amelia Nelson aka Nannie Emmeline Nelson Entrican (1878-1970)
Married Robert James Sims 1908. Buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, NZ.
Robert Sims was a partner in Entrican & Sims  - wholesale provision merchants based at Customs Street East. Two Sims’ family homes were built in Mt Albert -one on the south-west corner of Richardson & New North Roads (later demolished) and another at 6 Allendale Road, built post-World War II. Son Francis Harding Sims became a significant medical researcher.

Samuel Walter Entrican arrived in NZ as a probationary minister in 1898. He was admitted to the Presbytery at the Annual Meeting of the Auckland Presbytery

“NZ Herald,” 6 April 1898.

and  was taking services by December that  year
See “Auckland Star”, 17  December 1898
Ecclesiastical notices: Rev. S.M. Entrican for  St Peters Presbyterian Church

Samuel’s sister Jennie Jack Entrican was ordained a deaconess with the Presbyterian Church, taking the name Sister Grace.” NZ Herald” 9 December 1908

Register of New Zealand Presbyterian Church 
Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries from 1840

ENTRICAN, Jennie Jack   (known as Sister Grace)
b 3.7.1870
Congregational Deaconess St James Auckland  AP 1906
Ordained Deaconess 1908 - resigned 31.12.1909
Home Missionary Pukemiro WkP  7.5.1926
Congregational Deaconess, St Lukes Auckland  AP  1.8.1929-  resigned 30.9.1937
Congregational Deaconess (Honorary Capacity), St Peters Grey Lynn Auckland  AP  1938-50
Visited in Hospitals and conducted services in the wards of Green Lane Hospital.
Sister of Rev S.W. Entrican
Died 1.9.1955

ENTRICAN, Rev Samuel Walter  M.A.
Licensed by the Strabane Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland
Arrived in New Zealand as a Probationer 1898
Ordained and inducted into the Church, Waikato West  20.3.1902 - resigned  28.12.1905
Mahurangi (Warkworth NSP) 30.9.1908 - retired 12.4.1910.
Brother of Sister Grace Entrican.

“Auckland Star”, 18 February 1899: Ecclesiastical
Knox Church, Parnell, Evening service Rev S.W. Entrican

In 1900 Rev. Entrican is listed as an Assistant Master at the Auckland Grammar School for Boys and Girls. The Head master at the time was J.W. Tibbs, M.A. Keble College, Oxford.
“Auckland Star” 25 August 1900. Advertisements: Educational

See also: “Auckland Star” May 7, 1900
Mr S.W. Entrican, M.A., brother of Mr A.J. Entrican, has been appointed junior master at the Auckland College and Grammar School”

Rev. Samuel Entrican takes up the call to Mahurangi
.”NZ Herald”  9 December 1908

Rev Entrican took services at the Mount Albert Presbyterian Church during its first year in operation , before it had a dedicated minister.
“NZ Herald” 27 December, 1913: Sermons, Lectures, Soirees etc.

On the NZ Expeditionary Force Reserve Roll 1916-1917 but no indication that he served during WWI

 Rev. Samuel Entrican married on 14 April 1920 to Laura Alice England  (1879-1969)

The electoral roll of 1919 shows James Cuthbertson Entrican’s household and that of William Lilly England as neighbours in Mountain Road (now Kitenui  Ave.), Mount Albert, Auckland.  J.C. Entrican’s  home at that time was sited at 11 Mountain Road and is probably the house still standing on Alexis Ave, with entrances on Violet St and Kitenui Ave.

Marriages: Entrican-England
“NZ Herald” 18 September, 1920.

“ENTRICAN-ENGLAND.-On April 14, 1920, at the Mount Albert Presbyterian Church, by Rev. G. Inglis, Rev. Samuel W. Entrican, M.A., fourth (sic) son of Mrs and the late Robert Entrican of Mount Albert, to Laura Alice, third daughter of Mr and Mrs N.L. (sic] England, New North Road, Mount Albert,- At home September 23 nd 24, 16 Walters Road, Kingsland.”

 It was a relatively late marriage for both- Samuel was 49 and Laura aged 41.

 Laura’s parents

Father: William Lilly England (1842 - 11 June 1930), eldest son of John Humphrey England (1817-1887) and Ann nee Rees of ‘Eastbrooke Hall”, Denys-Powell, Cardiff, Wales.  William’s father John Humphey England was a well-known merchant and entrepreneur,  founder & director of the firm England Potatoes Ltd 

Mother: Clara Marian Helen Hill (9 April 1844- 4 July 1926), third daughter of Thomas Barton Hill (1805-1886), curate of St Stephen’s Church in the parish of St Mary’s, Islington, and  his wife Mary nee Roberts, of Islington, London.

William Lilly England's father, John Humphrey England Jnr, was born 7 November 1817 in Islington, London and this Islington link may account for the connection to Thomas Barton Hill and his family He was the second child and first son of John Humphrey England Sr. and his wife, Mary Grey Lilly.

William & Clara married 4 July 1872.

“Wanganui Herald”, 6 July 1872

“MARRIED: ENGLAND-HILL – On the 4th instant, at Campbell Town, by the Rev. George Stannard, William Lilly, eldest son of Mr Jno. H. England, Corn Merchant, Cardiff, South Wales, to Miss Clara Hill”

They celebrated their Golden Wedding on 4 July 1922, 4 years before Clara’s death on 27 June 1926.  Both are buried at Hillsborough Cemetery, Auckland.

“NZ Herald”, 4  July, 1922

 William England’s arrival in New Zealand in 1863 was an eventful one. War with the Maori had just broken out in the Waikato and he was conscripted as he disembarked from the ship “Annie Wilson”, enlisting with the 2nd Waikato Regiment .

He later spent a couple of years on the goldfields at Coromandel and on the West Coast , he became a shopkeeper (with mixed success as he was declared bankrupt twice- once in 1880 and again in 1888) and more profitably as a grain merchant – living around Hawera and Wanganui before returning to the West Coast where he ran a business at Westport for several years from 1890. By 1905 he was living in Hastings. In 1915 he moved with his family to Tauranga where he financed his son Harry, a seedsman, into a business on the Strand. This burnt down in 1917 and a court case was held to establish whether the fire was accidental or deliberate arson for the purposes of insurance fraud  – the decision reached by the jury was that the origin of the fire could not be established. William England was called as a witness and described at the time as a retired grain merchant – mention was made at the time of an earlier fire in Normanby in 1887 involving an England family business.

Following this incident it appears that the England family made their final shift to Mt Albert, Auckland.  William England was described in a later obituary as “a staunch supporter of the Presbyterian Church”.

“Auckland Star” 4 August 1930
Obituary: Mr W. Lilly England

Laura was one of 9 children.  She became a teacher of “elocution and dramatic art, voice production and singing”, training at the Walter Bentley College of Elocution and Dramatic art in Sydney and the Laurence Campbell School of Public Speaking and Dramatic Art, also in Sydney.

Around 1910-11 she and her sister youngest sister Clarice moved to Auckland, where they shared a home at 8 Howe Street, Ponsonby, and made a living by giving lessons in elocution and music respectively from a studio at the Pierce Buildings. “Auckland Star”, 24 February 1912.

Advertisements: Educational
Elocution lessons Miss Laura England; Teacher of pianoforte, harmony and theory. Miss Clarice England. Studio: Pierce Buildings, corner Synmonds Street and Khyber Pass.

The sisters then went to Sydney to undertake further study, returning to the family home, at that time 300 Frederick Street, Hastings, in 1914  where they again advertised  for pupils. The England family moved to Tauranga in 1915 and on 16 February 1915 the England sisters announced via the “Bay of Plenty Times” that they had taken their business to Tauranga and by 1916 were taking pupils at Devonport Road,  opposite Third Avenue. In addition Laura was also advertising that she would travel weekly to nearby Te Puke to teach pupils there. In 1917 she returned to Auckland, this time with her family, and resumed classes there.

The two sisters also gave many concerts, recitals and “entertainments” over the years, wherever they happened to be living, and were particularly involved with “Patriotic Concerts”- benefit fund-raisers for the war effort during WWI.

See “Bay of Plenty Times” 3 November 1915,
“Dramatic Recital and Entertainment: Tonight the Misses England give their dramtic recital and entertainment in the Opera House. Miss Laura England has earned well-merited praise elsewhere for her elocutionary talent and Miss Clarice England is a pianist of real ability”


1) Annie Margaret England  (1873-1958) Married Colin Livingstone 1906. Buried Hastings Cemetery, Hawkes Bay.

2) John Humphrey England (1874 –1951) Buried Hillsborough Cemetery, Auckland.

3) Clara Lilly (known as Marion) England  (1876-1942) Married Frederick Lewis Thomson 1922. Buried at Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

4) William Earle Lilly (Willie) England (1877-1948). Married Emilie June Ethel Gilson 1903. Buried at Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

5) Laura  (1879-1969)

6) Ada Elizabeth England (1880-1882) Born & died at Hawera, South Taranaki, NZ.

7) Henry Hill (Harry) England (1881- 1959). Married Althea Hudson Allan 1923. Buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.

8) Thomas Rees England  (1883 -1948) Attended Wanganui Collegiate School. Served WWI - Pte 12/348, (Signaller) Auckland Infantry  Regiment, 1st N.Z.E.F. Buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.

9) Clarice Elizabeth England (1890- 1981) Never married. Buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.

Samuel and Laura had one son, Bernard A. Entrican (1925-1996)

 Samuel died 19 February 1955 aged 83 yrs and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery

Laura died 16 September 1969 aged 90 yrs – also buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.

Several Entrican households were set up in Mt Albert, based around the Mt Albert Presbyterian Church, established in 1913. James Entrican was on the committee set up to found the church, shelped establish a Sunday School and served as its first  Superindendant. He also remained a constant and significant benefactor, contributing much time and money to the cause. His sister Jennie, Sister Grace Entrican,  served from 1919-1933 as President of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union attached to the Mt Albert Church.  Another sister, Nannie Sims nee Entrican. served as church organist for many years, also pianist for the Ladies’ Guild and   her husband Robert James Sims acted as Manger, Elder and Sunday School Superintendant.

The Rev Samuel Entrican was also involved with the church, taking sermons during its first year and later teaching Sunday School classes. He  also served as a member of the Session in 1918. He and  his wife Laura were regular attendees at Sunday services, They are recalled thus: “Rev. Sam Entrican sat in the front seat near the pulpit and read the New Testament Scriptures from the original Greek text, while Mrs Entrican sat beside him, a neat little figure in black with a fresh florist’s spray, often of orchids, in her lapel”.  Apparently ancient Greek was okay, however in 1945 when Austrian Choirmaster Georg Tintner went classical and began teaching the Mt Albert Presbyterian Choir Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” in its original Latin, shocked Elders declared it too “popeish” and Tintner’s contract with the church was promptly cancelled.

See “The First Hundred Years of the Mt Albert Presbyterian Church 1913-2013”, complied by Joyce L. Ross.

Also close by,  just behind Richardson Road,  was another bastion of Irish Protestant enterprise, “Rahiri House”, then at 15 McLean Street, home of Andrew Caughey of the long-running firm Smith & Caughey. This home was gifted by Caughey in 1923 to the newly formed Plunket Society for use as a Karitane Hospital - in the 1950s it backed onto my grandparents' house at 14 Richardson Road and I was fascinated by this grand old home sitting amidst a jumble of utilitarian nurses' dormitory blocks. "Rahiri House" still stands today, now part of the Hebron Christian College at 1 McLean Street.

See “Rahiri House" -  the Caughey family home.
Mount Albert Historical Sociey Inc , newsletter issue 37, January 2017
Samuel and Laura Entrican lived for many years at 6 Richardson Road (Robertson Road till 1907) , Mount Albert, Auckland.  Their address had changed to no 10 by 1957, but it’s not clear if this involved a shift or just a change of numbering along Richardson Road around that time. Laura’s youngest sister Clarice Elizabeth England, who never marrIed) always lived with them as companion/housekeeper . Following his wife’s death in 1926 her father William Lilly England  also joined the Entrican household and died there in July 1930 . Brother Henry Hill England was added to the England enlave at 6 Richardson Street in his retirement years  - did he and his wife separate? Althea died in 1974 and is buried at Purewa Cemetery. Auckland. Laura’s sister Clarice and brother Harry stayed on at 10 Richardson Road after Laura herself died.

My grandfather at 14 Richardson Road always kept on eye out for the widowed Mrs Entrican and would act as handyman when required. I recall as a child visiting with my grandmother and meeting two kindly elderly ladies  who must have been Laura Entrican and her sister Clarice England. I  have vague memories of a porch/conservatory  filled with plants (possibly the orchids which made up Mrs Entrican’s Sunday corsages)and a darkish  kitchen with an old range, either wood or coal-fired, and a bird in a cage. Mrs Entrican had never cut her hair and I was greatly impressed to see her with it down one day after she had just washed it - it reached well past her knees.

Samuel died 19 February 1955 aged 83 yrs and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery

Laura died 16 September 1969 aged 90 yrs – also buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.
Clarice and  Harry England also lie at the Waikumete Cemetery. Henry died in 1959 and Clarice in 1981.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

THOMASON, Alfred Roger (Alf) 1882-1918

Pvte Alfred Roger Thomason, serial no. 52113
B Company, 1st Ballalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment.
28th Reinforcements, NZ Expeditionary Force.

Alfred Thomason, known as Alf, was born at Orinoco in the Motueka Valley on the 20th of September, 1882. He was the second child and oldest son of Thomas and Welsh-born Priscilla (nee Lloyd) Thomason, who married at the Motueka Registry Office on October 29, 1879. [1] He had an older sister, Sarah (Sissie) and two younger siblings, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and  Leslie John (Les), b. 1888.
His father Thomas’ parents, Esmy and Sarah (nee Newberry) Thomason, had emigrated with 7 children from Northants, England on the Emma Colvin in 1856, along with Esmy’s brother, Benjamin, and his family. They all settled in Spring Grove, Waimea South. [2]

The Welsh Connection---
Alf Thomason's maternal grandparents
Roger & Rebecca (nee Canton) Lloyd.
Creating a typical Ngatimoti-style
matrimonial tangle, Rebecca's brother
John Canton married her son-in-law
Tom Thomason's sister Jane.
In 1866, Thomas Thomason’s older sister, Sarah, married George Lines, who was born in Wakefield in 1847. George's parents, Thomas and Ann Sarah (nee Blackwell) Lines, were English immigrants, also from Northamptonshire, who had arrived in Nelson on the Thomas Harrison in 1842. William Giblin, a Motueka storekeeper, had married Emma Beatson, a daughter of architect William Beatson, in 1858. Giblin bought land at Orinoco in 1865 (Section 13, square 3 Ngatimoti), close to his three Beatson brothers-in-law, David, Arthur and Charles Edward, but had no success as a farmer. He returned to his shop in Motueka, at the corner of High and Greenwood Streets where the Motueka Post Office later stood, opposite the Post Office Hotel. In 1867 Giblin sold his section of densely bush-covered land up the Orinoco to George Lines, who built a slab hut with hand-sawn timber on the flat. However it proved a damp and unhealthy environment and after two of their children died of diphtheria ,George moved the house up onto the hill where Edenhouse Lodge stands today, and so survived to some extent the great flood of 1877 which ruined many Motueka Valley holdings, though he may have lost stock on the flat. [3]

When his wife Sarah’s parents both died in 1869, George took in five of his orphaned young in-laws: Esmy Jnr, Henry (Harry), Thomas (Tom), Mary Jane and Ann. The boys would have been a particular asset on a labour-intensive farm as they grew up, and George later helped all three of them to get farms of their own.[4] Esmy Jnr worked his way into a 200 acre block at Tadmor. He married Sarah Anne Inwood, daughter of Henry and Susannah (nee Grooby) Inwood of Pangatotara. Henry Thomason had a 70 acre farm at Pangtotara where he ran sheep, grew raspberries and had a large orchard. He married Esther Delaney, a daughter of Martha (nee Haycock) and James Delaney, a local landholder and at one stage operator of the Ngatimoti Butter Factory at the foot of Church Hill. The land for Henry and Esther's farm, which they called "Echledale", may have been the bride's dowry.[5]
Sarah and George raised eight children of their own, no doubt helped by Sarah’s two sisters; a son, William (Bill), and seven daughters. One of their daughters, Emma Lines, married Ernest (Ern) Robinson, whose family farmed for a while at "Middle Bank" in Lloyds Valley. [6] Ernest was the uncle of Alfred’s wife, Mabel, and for many years worked as a drover with local identities John E. Salisbury and "Greenhill Tom" Grooby, driving mobs of cattle and sheep to Canterbury and the West Coast to sell on behalf of cash-strapped Motueka Valley smallholders.[7]

The Mount Pleasant homestead c. 2000
George Lines' No 1 Colonial Cottage still going strong on top of the hill over a hundred years on.
It has since been replaced by the Edenhouse boutique B&B.

George was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, who until after the First World War enjoyed a harmonious relationship with their Anglican neighbours in the Motueka Valley. He was well-liked and known as an extremely hard-working, kindly man. In addition to breaking in and running his farm, he worked with his horse team as a roading contractor, in company with relatives-by-marriage, John Canton (who married Jane Thomason and was an uncle of Thomas Thomason's wife Priscilla) and Roger Lloyd (who had married Rebecca Canton and whose daughter Priscilla married Tom Thomason). Although largely self-sufficient and often able barter for goods, early settlers had to be versatile; road work and sawmilling provided an important source of hard cash, allowing them to buy farm equipment and grocery staples like flour and sugar.
George’s farm eventually comprised 600 acres and carried around 300 sheep and 30 head of cattle. He also grew grain and had an apple orchard. One of the first in the Orinoco Valley to plant hop gardens, George had two kilns on his property and was able to profit from the world-wide shortage of hops in 1883.[8] He bought outright the extra land he was leasing from E.F. Johansen at this time, and using the plans for a kitset Number One Colonial Cottage from "Brett's Colonial Guide", built a new house on the hill using his own timber. As the timber was milled, each piece of wood was numbered to help with the construction and a later owner in the 1980s commented that you could still see the numbers on some of the rafters. Sarah died 25 June, 1901 and was buried at the Waiwhero Cemetery. George died at his Orinoco home 7 July, 1915, leaving a third of the farm to his son Bill, and the rest to his daughters.

Orinoco School photo, mixed age class of 1894.
Alfred Thomason is in the back row, 3rd from the right, with his sister Lizzie to his left. 
Sister Sissie (with the long dark hair) is in the 3rd row (rthand side) second along from the teacher,
Miss Esther Eves, who would later marry Victor Holyoake and become the mother of 
Sir Keith Holyoake, New Zealand's 26th Prime Minister and Governor-General between 1977-1980. 
Brother Les Thomason Is sitting at the far left end of the 4th row from the back.

When land in the Rosedale Valley was surveyed around 1880, some of it was designated “lease in perpetuity”, which let in farmers unable to afford freehold land. About the time of his marriage, Tom Thomason took up a piece of this Rosedale land (Section 1) with a road frontage on the south side, a couple of km. from the Thorpe-Orinoco Road.[9] He would have run it as a typical smallholding of the time, with some stock, sheep and cattle, pigs, a dairy cow or two and poultry, plus grain and root crops, along with grass for hay. Tom was especially interested in his children's education and involved with various committees campaigning to get a branch school set up at Orinoco, along with his father-in-law, Roger Lloyd, Alexander White and Ernest and Alfred Robinson, uncles of his future daughter-in-law, Mabel. When the Orinoco School District was constituted in March, 1900, Thomas Thomason was one of those elected to serve on the committee set up to manage the school.

His son Alfred would have initially attended the larger Ngatimoti School up on Waiwhero Road near the church (known locally as the Big School), but can be seen gazing rather glumly from the back row of the Orinoco School class photo taken in 1894, the year the school opened. It was built on land donated by Alex White of "Craigholm". [10]  One of Alexander White's paddocks also saw regular service for community picnics and the hard-fought but mostly friendly cricket games contested by teams from all the local areas: Motueka, Upper Moutere, Dovedale,  Lower Moutere, Pangatotara, and so on. Alf's father, Thomas, was a keen cricketer and Alf himself was well-known for his cricketing skills. The Tom Thomason family were members of the Church of England and no doubt attended St James Anglican Church, sited at the junction of Waiwhero and Thorpe-Orinoco Roads.

Spraying fruit trees.
After he left school, Alf was employed around the district as a farm labourer and contractor.
Frank Strachan of  "Manawatane", which shared a boundary with Alf's property, noted in his diary on 2 September 1915, "A. Thomason came and sprayed our orchard. Bottom orchard, lime and sulphur; top orchard, red oil." Red Oil Emulsion (a petroleum based product) was at the time a popular treatment for scale and aphid infestation. Alf was recorded on the 1911 Electoral Roll as an "engine driver", the term in this case used to denote his work with agricultural equipment, like his spraying apparatus. He also grew hops on his Rosedale farm between 1905 and 1911. Sawmilling became a primary occupation when he formed a working relationship with this old school-mates, George and Herbert (Bert) Heath, who ran a portable steam-powered sawmill in the Orinoco Valley, area, milling native timber from about 1913. This sawmill was bought from Bernard (Bern) Tomlinson, who with his brother Albert (Alb) had used it earlier to clear bush on the Orinoco farm of Charles E. Beatson. To provide work for his sons, John Heath had earlier taken 500 acres of Rosedale bushland between 1898 and 1906 after it was offered as a Lease in Perpetuity option sometime after 1892.
Around 1901, Annie Burrow, widowed daughter of Robert and Mary Robinson, came to live in the Orinoco; her parents and brother Ernest Robinson were farming up Lloyds Valley. With her came five of her six daughters – Bessie, Edith, Ivy (Pearl), Mabel (May), Evelyn (Lyn) and her only son, Edward (Ted). The Burrow family settled at "Bank View", a farm on the north side of the Orinoco Road which another of her brothers, Alfred, passed on to Annie after he moved with his family to Takaka. Three of the Burrow girls soon married, all to sons of local farming families. Bessie married Norman Burrell, Edith, Herbert Canton and Pearl, Edward Haycock – and on June 7, 1911, Alfred Thomason was married at Ngatimoti to 24 year old Mabel Alice Burrow, born in Carterton on 20 October 1886. The Rev, W.G. Baker from Brightwater officiated. [11] Ngatimoti was at the time part of the Brightwater parish and the much-loved Rev. Baker came over once a month to take services at St James. Local layreaders conducted Sunday sevices during the rest of the month.
Alf & Mabel ca 1917
Taken at Annie Burrow's
Orinoco home, "Waituna".
The newly married couple moved to Alf's farm up the Rosedale Valley, near the Thorpe-Orinoco Road junction, not far from Alfred’s parents' farm on the opposite side of the road and sharing a boundary with the Strachans of Manawatane - in fact Alf's block of land was in all likelihood purchased from the Strachan family. In the months before his wedding, Alfred built a nice house for his bride-to-be, with a verandah from timber he probably milled himself while working with the Heath brothers on the Cederman property bordering his father's land to the north. Directly opposite their new home was "Clearburn", where Alf''s sister Lizzie and her husband James (Jim) Sutcliffe lived. The Heaths were cousins of Alf's brother-in-law, Jim - they were all grandsons of long-time Ngatimoti schoolmaster, Richard Sutcliffe.
Sometime around 1916, George and Bert Heath moved their mill into Motueka and set it up at a site on the corners of High and Wharf Streets, where they produced wooden packing boxes for the apple industry. The plan was for Alfred to move into Motueka and continue working for them there, but the house the Heaths had offered to build for Alfred and Mabel in town was slow to materialise and perhaps he was getting a bit fed-up.[12] Timber milling was regarded as an “essential industry’ in NZ during the war and men employed in it were exempt from military service. At any rate, when the call for the 28th Reinforcements went out, Alfred Thomason and his wife’s young brother, Ted Burrow, joined up together at Motueka on the 31st of January, 1917, with Alf describing himself as a self-employed farmer on his attestation form. As was the custom in the area for men heading off to war, a farewell function was held for Alf at Orinoco on the 20th of April, 1917 and a second at the “Big School” on 20th June, 1917, when he was presented with a wrist watch.[13]

The house that Alf built for his bride.
Rosedale Road home of Alf & May (nee Burrow) Thomason
Alf embarked for Plymouth, England on the troop ship "Waitemata" (HMNZT 89) on 14 July, 1917. At Cape Town the troops transhipped aboard HMAT A1 "Omrah" and HMT "Norman" which arrived a day later. These two arrived at Plymouth, England, on 24 and 25 September respectively. Although he enlisted with the 12th (Nelson) Company of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, Alf was transferred to B Company, Wellington Infantry Battalion and trained with them at Sling Camp in England. His unit arrived in France on 29 October, 1917, and Alf then served in the trenches on the Western Front for the duration of his war. He was 35 when he was killed at Bapaume, France, on August 31, 1918. [14] He was buried at Bancourt Cemetery, with Army chaplain Rev. E. M. Jones conducting the committal service.

His brother-in-law, Ted Burrow, died of sickness in Palestine a few months later, on the 1st of November, 1918, and is buried at Gaza Military Cemetery, Israel. [15]
Alf Thomason's headstone
at the Bancourt British
Pas de Calais, France.
Alf Thomason’s younger brother Leslie also joined up. He returned but never recovered his health after being gassed during the War. He took over his father Thomas' Rosedale farm and died in 1943 at the age of 55. [16] Their cousin Albert Vernon (Bertie) was killed at the Somme 29 September, 1916, six months after his father Esmy Jnr died of cancer. Bertie's older brother Arthur also went to war, but returned. Another cousin, Herbert Henry (Bert) Thomason, served during the war as well. He was the son of Tom Thomason’s brother, Henry. Bert was wounded at Gallipoli and awarded the Military Medal. He saw out the rest of the war and served again during the Second World War. He served as a councillor with the Motueka Borough Council from 1953 and was Mayor of Motueka from 1953-1968. He was also a founding member of the NZ Returned Servicemen's Association, established in 1916, and had a close involvement with the Motueka branch of the RSA. Thomason Street in Motueka is named for him
Alfred Thomason’s widow Mabel and her unmarried sister Evelyn moved away from the area with their mother and widowed sister, Minnie Nimmo, and her children.They first went to Appleby where Mabel's uncle Ern Robinson had a property on the Appleby Strsight later owned by the Harford fsmily.The Burrow family moved from there to Richmond then Wakefield. Their mother Annie died at Pigeon Valley in 1929 and from 1930 to 1970 Mabel and Evelyn settled together at a home bought earlier by their mother and known as "Waituna", about a kilometre up the Thorpe/Orinoco Road from the St James Church junction. 

Alf had left a will with Motueka law firm Easton & Nicholson. Mabel sold their Rosedale Road house to Ken Grooby who himself sold it on to Welshman Donald Irving Llewellin (known as "D.I."), a returned serviceman new to the area It was later accidentally burnt down. Only the large stump of an old tree is left to mark the site where it once stood. Mabel was one of those early daring women recorded by the Waimea County as owning and driving her own car - a Dodge. [17] Alf and Mabel had no children of their own, but a few years after Alfred’s death, Mabel adopted a son, called Peter Thomason, who stayed in the Orinoco Valley and became a tobacco grower. Completing the circle, Peter bought the farm that had belonged to George Lines and once been home to Alfred Thomason’s orphaned father, Tom.

Waituna, (lt) the Orinoco Valley home Mabel shared for many years with her sister, Evelyn,
and (rt) Mabel in her trusty Dodge.

Mabel Thomason died on 6 August 1971, followed by her sister and long-time companion, Evelyn Burrow, on 22 June 1975. Both were aged 84 at the time of their deaths. They lie together at the Motueka Cemetery.
Alf Thomason is listed on the Nelson-Tasman Roll of Honour. He lies beneath a headstone at the Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais in France and is commemorated at the Ngatimoti War Memorial, Tasman, New Zealand.

Nelson Evening Mail, 31 October, 1879
2)  Stringer, Marion, Just another row of spuds, pg. 591
3)  Bell, Jeni. Orinoco Days, Ch. 2 The First Owners. Unpublished ms.
4)  Pioneers of the Valley, pg 17.  Motueka and District Historical Association (1980) Journal Vol 3. Special Edition, compiled by J.R.Canton
see also:  George Lines, Ngatimoti pg 139
Cyclopedia of New Zealand: Nelson, Marlborough and Westland Provincial Districts (1906)
5) Cyclopedia of New Zealand: Nelson, Marlborough and Westland Provincial Districts (1906)  
i) Esmy Thomason Jnr, Tadmor Valley pg 145
ii) Henry Thomason, Pangatotara pg 228
iii) James Delaney  Ngatimoti, pg 140
6) Pioneers of the Valley, pg 11
7) Salisbury, J. Neville. Bush, Boots and Bridle Tracks, pp. 231-232. Pub. J. Neville Salisbury, 2006.
8) Orinoco Days, Ch. 2
9) Pioneers of the Valley, pg 62
10) Pioneers of the Valley, pg 21
11) Marriage cert 1911/6138 Mabel Alice  Burrow-Alfred Roger Thomason
Births, Deaths and Marriages Online: Historical Records
12) Oral history: Mr S.J. Heath.
13) Whelan, Helen, Ngatimoti is in the News. Unpublished ms.
Colonist, 16 October, 1918.
15) Archives NZ. Military personnel record: Edward Benjamin Burrow
16) Personal Items: Return of Private L.J. Thomason of OrinocoAlso mentions his brother Alfred Thomason.
Nelson Evening Mail, 17 October, 1918.
17) Johnston, Aileen, Women Car Owners: Extracted from the Waimea County Council Register of Motors, 1912-1924. Nelson Historical Society Journal, Vol.6. Issue 6, 2008
Further sources

Graham, Pauline (compiler) & Robinson, Moira (researcher) A History of the Robinson Family. Lincolnshire, England to Nelson, New Zealand. 1752-2000. (2000) Nelson, NZ: Copy Press Ltd. pp 25-26

Droving, from No Roll of Drums, by C.B. Brereton (1947) Wellington, NZ: A.H. & A.W. Reed, Ch. xiv, pp.140-14

Archives NZ.  Military personnel record: Alfred Roger Thomason
Tasman Roll of Honour. Kete Tasman: Alfred Roger Thomason
Second Battle of Bapaume History of War website.
Photo credits
Portraits of Alf Thomason, Alf & his wife Mabel together  and Mabel's home and car from the Robinson Family History, courtesy Christine Decker.
Mt Pleasant homestead, c. 2000, courtesy E. Stevens.
Orinoco School class of 1894 from Pioneers of the Valley, pg 21.
Spraying fruit trees
Nelson Provincial Museum/Kingsford Collection

Alf and May's Rosedale Road home, courtesy Mr Dale Burrell

Alf Thomason's grave at Bancourt British Cemetery Pas de Calais, France
NZ War Graves Project

"Waituna", the Burrow family home in the Orinoco Valley and Mabel with her Dodge

Ex Graham, Pauline (compiler) & Robinson, Moira (researcher) A History of the Robinson Family. Lincolnshire, England to Nelson, New Zealand. 1752-2000. (2000) Nelson, NZ: Copy Press Ltd. p. 50