William Stanley Oliver

This tiny plot is tucked at the very end of Row K in Public2. It is for the four week old son of Stanley Oliver OBE and his wife Frances (nee Anglin).

The couple were married in Burlington, Vermont, USA in February 1934.

Stanley was the conductor of the Montreal Choral Society.

In April 1934 the couple departed for Australia and New Zealand reportedly on a ‘holiday and health tour’. Their first stop was Wellington where he was an invited guest conductor of several concerts. They were rather taken with the city and in June 1934 Stanley was elected conductor of the Royal Wellington Choral Union. He was one of 27 applicants for the post. He also founded the Schola Cantorum.

Their son William Stanley was born on 15th September 1935. He died at Wellington hospital on 13th October, ‘dearly loved infant son of Stanley and Frances Oliver’. He gradually faded away, the doctors did not know why.

While researching William, we came across this wonderful website created by his sister, Mary Knox, who was born in 1940, six years after his death. We asked Mary if she was happy for us to share it. If you want to read more about the Oliver family and their emigration to New Zealand, please follow this link:

In 1952, Stanley was awarded an OBE for his services to music. He died in 1964 in Lower Hutt. Frances died in 1975. She was also a talented artist.

Our recent Tuesday working bee cleared his plot of weeds, and we hope in time that we will have some new plant cover for it. Mary hopes to visit the plot for the first time one day soon.

Plot: *Public 2/K/590

Oliver plot
Oliver plot headstone
Stanley Oliver


This double width ‘hip tomb’ is for Duncan Robertson Menzies and his wife Dorothy.

Duncan was a grandson of Isaac Featherston who after Featherston and Featherston Street are named.

Dorothy was a daughter of William Jarvis Willis who married Amelia Riddiford. After her death, he wanted to marry her sister Eliza, but had to go to Australia to do so as it was not legal in New Zealand. Amelia and Eliza were both daughters of Daniel Riddiford for who Riddiford Street is named after. Dorothy is a child of his second marriage.

Duncan and Dorothy married in 1907. They married at Marton and the reception was held at her father’s house ‘Woodendean’. Their daughters Mary, Jean, Egidia and Dorothy were born 1908-1915.

Dorothy died in 1921, aged 41.

Duncan then remarried to Lucy Dorothy Brandon in 1927 when she was 42 and he was 51. She was a daughter of Alfred de Bathe Brandon. Brandon Street was named for her grandfather. We have covered two of her Brandon cousins previously:

Duncan was a member of the Wellington Club, the Wellesley Club and Wellington Golf Club and president of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants of New Zealand 1923-24, a trustee for the New Zealand Olympic Association. He had represented Wellington at hockey.

Duncan died in 1945 and is also interred in this plot. Lucy died in 1979 and was cremated.

This plot was cleared at our recent working bee by Sarah and Philippa.

Plot: *Public 2/M/262

Duncan Menzies. Evening Post 31 January 1945
Menzies plot, after cleaning.
Menzies plot detail

Marco Fosella

Marco Fosella was born in Florence, Italy in 1846, the son of a distinguished engraver.

He initially worked in ‘commercial pursuits’ in Paris but at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war he enlisted with the International Ambulance service. He served in the Battle of Sedan and was a recipient of the 1870 medal.

In 1875 he decided to try his luck abroad and sailed on the ship ‘Gutenberg’ for New Zealand, accompanied by his young bride Ottavia. They had five children of which three daughters survived to adulthood.

He opened a clothing factory in Wellington which was very successful. When the Manawatu line began opening up land, he was one of the first to purchase on the coast, where he started dairy farming before settling in Levin. It was there that he established a drapery business.

He took an interest in local affairs, as member of the Levin Fruit Growers Association was one of the greatest advocates for opening a fruit canning works in Levin. He sat on the Borough Council, School Committee and was captain of the boating club.

Marco died at Wellington on 24 September 1921. His obituary included:

‘Cosmopolitan in his toleration and outlook, he all the more appreciated the freedom and opportunities he enjoyed in a British Dominion, and while still evincing  a pardonable pride in the land of his birth, he was a loyal and self-sacrificing citizen’.

At her death in 1923, the newspaper wrote of Ottavia that she was ‘justly popular for her sterling character and the breadth of her sympathy which made her always anxious to render assistance where needed’.

Plot: *Public 2/M/260

Marco Fosella from Kete Horowhenua ‘Reproduced from 75 years in Levin.’
Stamped on back with black ink – Horowhenua Historical Society. Acc. No. Date
The business premises of Marco Fosella, Tailor & Draper, General Store, western side of Oxford Street, Levin. This shop was built in 1897 and was situated where Robyn Bates Pharmacy is today (2001). A group of largely unidentified people stand in front of the shop, however, the man second from the left has been identified as Marco Fosella. Horowhenua Historical Society Inc.
Fosella plot.

Dally and Stirling

After some head scratching, we realised we have a case of an incorrectly placed memorial.

The book-like memorial is for Rosina Stirling ‘sister of the above’.

M W Dally ‘Mother’ is the only recorded interment in this plot *Public 2/M/268. Rosina Stirling is recorded in plot *Public 2/M/261 which is just two plots along. It’s hard to know how the error occurred or if someone moved the memorial later.

Margaret Ward Dally died in October 1921, aged 77. Margaret was a widow who may have been visiting her daughter Elizabeth (wife of William Bray) who resided at Clifton Terrace, while on a holiday from her home in Ballarat, Victoria. She was born Margaret Ward Symons and married James Lory Dally in Cornwall in 1864. Her daughter Elizabeth moved back to Australia in the mid 1920s and so it is likely there are no descendants in New Zealand

The nearby Stirling plot is for three unmarried sisters – daughters of William Stirling and his wife Elizabeth Clark of Kilbirnie. Jane (Jeanie) was the first interment in 1921, aged 52 ‘after years of illness’. Like her siblings, she was born in London.

Second was Rosina in 1937, aged 73. In 1891 she was part of a tailoresses dispute between the Tailoresses Union and employers. She was a first-class coat hand at the DIC and received 30s a week. She thought 35s would be a fair wage.

 And thirdly Ellen in 1953 aged 88.

Their parents are in Plot: *Public 2/L/98 and youngest sister Julia in Plot: *Public 2/L/510 which is almost directly behind her sisters but unmarked.

This plot was cleared by Sarah, one of our Tuesday working bee volunteers.

Dally plot
Dally plot (far right) and Stirling plot (far left)
Stirling plot headstone

Chim Chum Gee

This headstone was uncovered by Howard, one of our volunteers at our Tuesday Working Bees. The headstone is for Chin Chum Gee who was found dead in bed on 14th November 1921, in a house on Courtenay Place. An inquest was held and the medical evidence stated that he died of a disease known as beri-beri (Thiamine deficiency) which was noted in the newspaper as being common among sailors who visited Asia.

Chin was 21 years of age and had a cousin in Wellington, George On, who testified that Chin had only arrived in Wellington from New Plymouth a few days prior and had been in bed since his arrival.

Chin was buried on 15th November and is the only interment in this plot.

Public 2/M/274

Gee plot
Gee plot detail

Vilhelm Jensen and Hettie Bennett

Vilhelm Jensen was born in Aalborg, Denmark. In 1873 at the age of 12, he travelled by himself on the ship Halcione to New Zealand as part of an immigration scheme.

His early jobs were in farming, bridge building, saw milling and carpentry. When he was 20, he started his own business and over time ran several general stores around the Hawkes Bay and then in the 1890s at Porangahau. In 1893 he became a JP.

He married Henrietta (Hettie) Bennett in 1886. She was born in St Helier, Jersey and had emigrated with her family in 1875. They had a family of two sons and five daughters.

The family moved from Woodville to Upper Hutt in 1899 where Vilhelm also ran a general store before moving to Wellington. While continuing as a shop keeper, he bought and sold valuable pieces of city land.

At the time of the Boer war, he made statements in support of the Boers. He replied to a letter in the newspaper with his own:

‘… he insinuates that I ought to be struck off the Commission of the Peace for holding pro-Boer views. In answer I may state that some people ought to be bricked up in a lunatic asylum for holding certain other views, but they are not’.

A group from the Seventh Contingent who were camped nearby in Upper Hutt, lowered a Danish flag floating over Vilhelm’s residence, mistaking it for a Boer flag. An officer subsequently apologised and then the Danish consul informed Vilhelm that the government has apologised to him for the affront to the flag.

Vilhelm tried unsuccessfully several times to be elected to parliament and also the Wellington city council, on all occasions as an independent.

In 1924 he became a director of the Theatre de Luxe (later the Embassy theatre) of which he had a one third share of the £50,000 capital. He was chairman until at least 1940.

He made trips to America, Africa and Europe in 1904 and to ‘the old country’ in 1929. His observations on London at that time were:

‘The wonderful underground traffic system made him think of what may ultimately be the solution to the traffic problems of Wellington.’

An audience with King Christien was granted while he was in Denmark in 1930. In 1931, Vilhelm held a party at his home at 32 Fitzherbert Terrace to celebrate the Danish King’s 61st birthday. On hearing of this, his majesty cabled his thanks.

In 1933 he proposed to hold a reunion for those who travelled out on the Halcione in 1873, but it is not known if one proceeded.

In 1936, Vilhelm and Hettie celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at which time they had eleven grand children and one great grandchild.

Hettie’s father Henry died in 1942, aged 102 and was buried at Karori Cemetery. As a schoolboy he could recollect playing with Lily Langtry.

Vilhelm died in 1946 and Hettie in 1947. Both were cremated at Karori.

Nine days before he died, Vilhelm, while sitting in his hospital bed tore his 1925 will in half. His estate was worth £64,750. This resulted in probate being sought in the Supreme Court. His honour held that when Vilhelm tore the will, he understood what he was doing, despite his age, and did it with clear intention of revocation. Vilhelm had gone about creating new wills in 1941 and 1945, each time saying that he had no will. Hettie hoped the matter could be settled among the family, rather than in court, but the family was “so very parted”.

Golden wedding celebrated. Evening Post 14 October 1936
Evening Post, 7 October 1931

Loss of the ‘Santina’

On 25 September 1933, seven fishing vessels left Island Bay at 4am that morning for their daily fishing. At 6am a southerly gale sprang up and all of the launches except two returned to port. The ‘Santina’ had broken down and another launch stayed to assist. When it was realised that the second launch wasn’t powerful enough, it too returned to Wellington to get the assistance of the Harbour Board’s tug ‘Toia’.

The ’Toia’ departed the wharf at 10am and returned at 1pm without having seen anything. It was decided to make the search by air, and one of the Wellington Aeroclub’s Gipsy Moths left the Rongotai Aerodrome at about 2pm. It returned at 3pm without sighting anything. In the evening, a piece of the hull belonging to the launch was found at Breaker Bay. An extensive search continued to be made but by the 27th, hope had faded.

The four crew on board the ‘Santina’ were:

Vincesco Costa (owner and skipper of the launch), aged 50, married with three children, lived in Trent Street.

Paolo Panozzo, aged 42, married with two children in Italy.

Generara Amitrano, aged 40, married with two children in Italy.

Ronald Frank Alley, aged 15, who had recently joined the crew.

A funeral service was held at sea in the afternoon of the 27th by the Italian fishing fleet 1 ½ miles southeast of Barrett’s Reef. Twenty-six launches left Island Bay at 2pm and the service was organised by the Cook Strait Fishermen’s Association.

The service was conducted by Rev. Father N.B. Maloney for the three Italian members of the crew, and by the Rev. G.C. Blathwayt, vicar of St Hilda’s church Island Bay for Ronald Alley. The Basile brother’s launch ‘Prince Umberto’ with the official party and wreaths on board started off from port first. At the position the ‘Santina’ was last seen, the leading launch stopped and waited as the other vessels swung around her in a broad circle. The burial service was read and the wreaths consigned to the sea.

Ronald Alley, the young member of the crew was the son of Frank Alley and his wife Mabel Rose Smith who married in London in 1917. He was 24, she was 20. Ronald’s birth was registered in Buckinghamshire the same year. A daughter Winifred Mabel was born in 1919.

The family moved to New Zealand and two further daughters Elizabeth and Lilian were born in 1930 and 1931. Frank worked as a waterside-worker. The family were living in Reef Street, Island Bay, when Ronald was lost at sea.

Mabel died in July 1939 at their home in Melbourne Road, Island Bay, aged 41 and was interred at Karori Cemetery. Frank died in 1953 aged 59 and is buried with her. Their plot is unmarked.

Plot: *Ch Eng 2/K/360

Wellington fishing launch tragedy: impressive funeral service at sea for the crew of the lost craft. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19331004-33-01
Sea funeral, Wellington. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-047740-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22863361
Alley plot

Sanders Diamond Wedding

Diamond Wedding – Christmas Day 1934

A tea and social were held on Christmas Day 1934 to mark the diamond wedding anniversary of Mr & Mrs W H Sanders. The occasion was held at Mrs Moore’s tearooms in Ohiro Bay.

Walter Henry Sanders and Emily Baldwin were married at Gold Street Wesleyan chapel, Northampton, England on 25 December 1874. They came to New Zealand in 1908.

At the time of their anniversary, they had seven sons & daughters, thirteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They enjoyed good health.

Walter had come to New Zealand in 1903, and Emily came with her younger children in 1908. He continued his trade as a shoemaker. The family lived in Brooklyn.

Emily died in April 1935, aged 84. Walter died in 1953, aged 99.

Plot: Public 3/C/423

Diamond wedding party (from Ancestry trees)

Liez Family

Channel Islands > France > England > USA > England > New Zealand

Thomas Liez (or Leiz) was born in St Peter Port, Guernsey in 1829. The family had been in Guernsey since at least 1700. In 1851 he was baptised into the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and became an elder three months later. He then became a pastor of a French Mission at Le Harve. In 1856 he married Caroline Foreman at Dover, Kent. His occupation was a carpenter.

By 1860 they were living in Preston where Thomas was president of the Preston Conference of Latter-Day Saints. In May 1862 they departed from Liverpool heading to New York with their two young children Thomas junior and Selina along with several hundred Latter Day Saint emigrants. On arrival, the established route was a steamboat from New York up the Hudson River to Albany, then by train to St Joseph, Missouri via Niagara, and then finally a steamboat to Florence, Nebraska.

On 10th August 1862, the family departed the outfitting post at Florence on a ‘church train’ of wagons, led by Horton D. Haight, a seasoned leader of ‘down and back’ wagon trains. There were 509 people taking part in the train. They arrived at Salt Lake City on the 19th October.

Caroline’s mother and sisters Louisa, Eliza, Charlotte with their families had travelled a similar journey the year before.  Sadly on that journey her mother died from injuries after being run over by a wagon and never made it to Salt Lake City.

Caroline died in 1865 and in 1866 Thomas remarried to Annie Mitchell who was born in London. She likely travelled to SLC with her siblings in a different 1862 Company. Their children George Mitchell, Caroline Annie and Eleanor Ann were born in SLC. By 1870 Thomas has joined the Reorganised Church of the Latter-Day Saints.

They arrived in Nelson in 1874 on the ‘Ocean Mail’ from England. Daughter Clara was born in Nelson in 1876 and by 1878 the family had moved to Wellington.

In 1880, Thomas attended a meeting advertised for the unemployed held on Flagstaff Hill, Mt Victoria, primarily to discuss the misleading books and pamphlets circulated in England and to consider asking the ‘Home government’ to relieve them, as the New Zealand government did not appear to care about their welfare. Thomas was voted to the chair (or boulder as it was in this case). It was agreed to form a committee to wait on the government.

His children Thomas junior and Selina went to Melbourne. In 1886 Selina was admitted to Fairfield asylum suffering from ‘mania’ and died at Beechworth in 1933. Thomas junior was a coach smith and died in 1929.

Annie signed the women’s suffrage petition in 1893.

Thomas died in 1902 at his residence 168 Adelaide Road. His funeral service was conducted by Rev Bond, a Wesleyan church minister.

His son George became a farmer and lived in the Manawatu. Daughter Clara became a teacher at Mt Cook school, married an accountant and moved to Auckland. Daughter Eleanor became involved with charitable work at the Missions to Seaman Church. She married William Cook. Caroline worked as a boot machinist. Annie died in 1925 aged 93.

Thomas & Annie Liez, daughter Caroline Annie Liez, and Eleanor & William Cook are buried in this plot.


Liez plot

Josephine Antoinette MacDonald

‘Having helped many to live, she passed to her rest on the 18th August, 1928 in her 98th year’.

She was the daughter of cousins Wilbraham and Caroline Liardet, whose ancestor had emigrated from Switzerland to London in the 1780s. Her father was also a descendant of the writer John Evelyn who was the author of ‘Sylva’ and her mother spent the early part of her life at court in France. Wilbraham inherited a fortune of £30,000 and had spent it by the time the family emigrated to Australia in the 1840s. Josephine was present at the coronation of Queen Victoria as a child.

In 1854, aged 23, Josephine married Captain John Vernon Venables in Melbourne. Their first two children were born in England before the couple returned to Melbourne. John died in January 1864 at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum and Josephine was left a widow with four children. The eldest was born in Auckland three months before John’s death.

In September of 1864, Josephine was having success running a Registry Office (labour exchange) in Auckland, so much so that she has ‘been induced to take more Business Premises in Wyndham Street’.

She continued advertising heavily for positions wanted.

In August 1866 Josephine is now advertising her Registry Office on Willis Street, Wellington: ‘Wanting engagements, several highly respectable female servants’. Only a few weeks later she married John Parker MacDonald . He was born in 1822 in Tasmania and also used the name John Poniatowski MacDonald. A month following the wedding, the advertisements for the Registry Office stopped and the family moved to Hokitika.

In October 1867, John MacDonald was charged ‘on the information of Ellen Bellringer with having neglected to support his illegitimate child’. He was ordered to pay £3 5s for thirteen weeks’ arrears. A few weeks later, Josephine was charged by Ellen for assaulting Ellen’s daughter, Sophia Catherine MacDonald, by striking her on the back with a piece of wood. It was said in court that considerable ill feeling existed between the two women. The case was proved and Josephine was fined £2 plus costs.

John and Josephine had three sons all born on the west coast: Alfred, Evelyn and Sylva.

In 1879, Josephine set up business again, this time in Pirie Street, Wellington, manufacturing ‘surgical belts, anti-rheumatic corsets, Indian quilted caps’. In 1899 she is living in Abel Smith Street, occupation: surgical belt maker. John died at Ngaruawahia in 1900 and is buried there. She involved herself in fundraising for the Blinds Soldiers and Sailors Funds and the Congregational Church well into her 80s.

She died at her home in Coromandel Street. Her son Sylva having predeceased her in 1905 following a bicycle accident. Her other son Thomas Vernon Venables is the third burial in this plot in 1940.

Josephine’s parents are buried at Bolton Street Cemetery.
Liardet Street in Vogeltown is named after a cousin.

Public 2/F/11

Josephine MacDonald
Josephine’s plot.