Turnbull & Son

This charming wee house in Mt Victoria came on the market today. It was built in 1910 for Mrs Catherine Gray who is buried at Bolton Street. This house is a: “fine example of a New Zealand adaption of the Federation Queen Anne style in timber” – WCC Inventory Report. The architects were Thomas Turnbull & sons, a practice that made significant contributions to the built fabric of our city. As a father and son team they produced the General Assembly Library (1899), former Bank of New Zealand Head Office (1901) and Dr Henry Pollen’s House (1902) amongst many other well known buildings.The Turnbull family plot is located at Karori Cemetery in Public 2 section. It is a substantial plot but like its neighbours, has its back to the road. Have any of you spotted it?

More about the Gray family here:http://mtvictoria.history.org.nz/his…/105-brougham-street/

Thomas Turnbull
William Turnbull

T G Macarthy Headstones

Well done Public Trust for getting the professionals in to refurbish the T G Macarthy headstones. Vlad was doing some detailed work on the lead lettering this morning – fiddly and time consuming but necessary to protect it for decades to come. T G Macarthy made a fortune from brewing and hotels and did many quiet philanthropic works during his lifetime. He married very late in life a much younger woman. They had no children and when he died he left half his fortune in trust with the Public Trust, and the other half to his wife. If she remarried and had children her portion was to pass to them. She did remarry but again there were no children so when she died her portion was returned to Public Trust who have been administering it wisely and well for more than a century. Many schools and local organisations throughout the greater Wellington region are still benefiting from grants from the Trust to this day. The Trustees are the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Wellington, and the Catholic Bishop of Wellington. https://www.publictrust.co.nz/…/thomas-george-macarthy…


Deep in Public2 section is this fine headstone to 28 year old George Henry Athea who “met with a fatal accident whilst in the execution of his duty”. He had been married to Kate for for two years and they had a young daughter, Olive. The tram had only been running to Kilbirnie for two years and George had been working as a conductor for one year.On 10th September 1908, George was serving as a tram conductor on a ‘Palace Car’ between Kilbirnie and the Government Railway Station when he fell from the back steps of the car before it pulled up to the Kilbirnie Hotel. He continued the journey as a passenger and then was conveyed to his home in Farm Grove Berhampore, by Archibald Butters who had been in charge of the Tram Car. When the doctor finally saw him George was “deeply unconscious” and died at 7pm that night. The inquest concluded the death was caused by a fall from a tramcar resulting in a fracture of the skull and that the death was purely accidental. George’s father, George Athea Senior died suddenly on the 19th September. On the 7th October, a benefit concert was held by the Zealandia vaudeville company to raise money for his widow. In 1910 Kate remarried to Henry Barraclough.

Athea Plot
Kilbirnie Hotel


This angel standing adrift from her plinth caught our eye and the wistful words recorded beneath. Gladys was the daughter of Albert Edward Neilson and his wife Alice Maud Nicholls, who were married in 1903. Gladys died aged 19 months in 1908. Their second and only other child, Albert Kenneth, was born in 1910.

Sadly there is not much more that can be shared about Gladys, but we can report that her father Albert featured often in the Evening Post – first covering his contribution to the Boer War as Sergeant Farrier, but mostly in his role as rugby referee. In this line he refereed the Ranfurly Shield on occasion and also the Springboks Tour of New Zealand in 1921, was Secretary of the Wellington Rugby Union and was a member of the New Zealand rugby council.

Alice was a member of the National Women’s Reserve which was set up in 1915 to support the War. Alice represented the organisation at burials of returned soldiers.

Both Albert and Alice are interred in the same plot with Gladys in 1965 and 1966 respectively.

Gladys after we gave her a little clean

Then & Now

Another “then and now”. Interesting how the Main Chapel was once so visible on the skyline, as was the Underwood angel, and The Shelter more open. The implements shed has undergone quite a transformation too!

Original photo:

Copyright Attribution
Wellington City Council
Copyright License CC-BY
Wellington City Council Archives, 00557-39-18