Aplin Family

Tony who is one of our fabulous volunteers uncovered this dear wee headstone during our working bee in September. Such a large plot for Alfred Oscar Aplin who died in 1902 at 4 months old.

His parents were Alfred Septimus Aplin, age 25 and his wife Ellen Ruth (nee Holmes) age 16. Ellen’s father had arrived on the ship ‘Oriental’ as a baby in 1840 and she had 12 older half siblings. She married Alfred on 18th December 1901. Alfred junior was born in June the following year.

The couple lived at Crofton where the wider Aplin family were farmers. The area is known today as Ngaio. Young Alfred died shortly after 7am on 1st October. A doctor who examined the body said it was likely the child died of convulsions. The coroner was informed but we can find no record of an inquest.

The couple went on to have six more children who all lived to adulthood. It can’t have been an easy life for Ellen. In 1936 she was found illegally in a yard drinking beer with three men who all had various aliases. All pleaded guilty and Ellen was subject to a prohibition order which she breached a month later and was fined 10s.

Alfred senior died in 1956 and Ellen in 1972. Both were cremated at Karori Cemetery.The only other burial in this plot is that of one year old Ronald Barry Aplin who died in 1942. He was Alfred and Ellen’s grandson, and a son of Maxwell & Winifred Aplin.


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Alfred Aplin headstone
Aplin Plot
Ellen Ruth Aplin nee Holmes
The Wellington suburb of Ngaio, c1900. Photo courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library reference

Richmond Family

This plot caught our eye as the headstone was placed to the side rather than head of the plot, which seemed unusual, especially in a double width plot. We presumed there were a number of burials here. But there is only one occupant of this plot: James Wilson Richmond, assistant engineer, NZ Railways.

James was born in 1865 in Nelson where his parents had fled to from the New Zealand Wars. He was the son of James Crowe Richmond and his wife Mary Smith. James senior was born in London and had trained as an engineer, working three years for Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

He came with his brother to New Zealand in 1850 before returning to England in 1854. He married Mary and returned to New Zealand in 1857. The Richmond, Hursthouse and Ronald families of New Plymouth all intermarried and became known as ‘the mob’. His sister Maria Atkinson was the first pakeha woman to climb Mt Taranaki in 1855 (she was invited along to be the cook).

James senior became a member for parliament and also the editor of the ‘Nelson Examiner’. He was  a talented artist. Mary died in 1865 having never fully recovered from the birth of James junior. Her husband was left with five children who were farmed out to various relatives.

In 1890 James first appears on the electoral roll living at Waterloo Quay and working as an engineer.  In 1897 he was assistant engineer of the Public Works Department on the West Coast before acting as District Engineer in Napier which had suffered from terrible floods. It was estimated that £40,000 would be required to repair the railway section alone including repairs to river embankments, bridges and culverts. The loss to the Hawkes Bay region was estimated to be £250,000.

He then transferred back to Wellington to the Railway Department in June 1897. In January 1898 his father died and then in April, after a week’s illness James died from peritonitis. His funeral was held on 1 May at Karori Cemetery.

He was a ‘much respected in the civil service, of which he was a faithful member’.

James died intestate and his two brothers and two sisters were the beneficiaries of his £3500 estate. Maurice was a lawyer, Anne (who married Edmond Atkinson), Dorothy Kate was an artist and Richard a dentist.

Dorothy Kate Richmond (known as Dolla) was encouraged by her father to develop her artistic skills. James senior took his eldest three children to Europe from 1873 – 1881 where Dolla studied at the Bedford College for Women in London and also the Slade School of Fine Art. She exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts from 1885. The death of her father made her financially independent and she travelled to Europe to paint. She died in 1935 and was cremated at Karori Cemetery.

Plot: *Ch Eng/O/2

Read more about the Richmond family:

James Wilson Richmond headstone
James Wilson Richmond plot

de Rose Family

It’s hard to not notice the de Rose plot as sadly the headstone has tumbled from its perch and lies in the path.

Frederick Richard de Rose was born in Bethnal Green, London in 1849. His father was a gunmaker and the de Rose family can be traced back to the seventeenth century in the east end of London. Frederick married Priscilla Grove in Adelaide in 1869, two months before the birth of their first child. Priscilla was born in Somerset, England. In 1870 they moved to Otahuhu where Frederick ran the ‘Otahuhu Bakery and General Store’. They moved to Wellington about 1878 and eventually settled in Majoribanks Street and also farmed at Taita.

Some snipets from the newspapers: in 1880 Frederick was elected an officer of the newly formed ‘Wellington Gardeners’ Mutual Improvement Society’. In 1892 he was advertising for ‘a smart, respectable boy, able to drive and used to horses’.

In 1894 he sued K. Wylie for £20 for selling him a four year old horse that turned out to be a five year old, and won the suit. He was also president of the United Dairymen’s Association.

Frederick rented stable space behind the butcher’s shop of Mr Walter Hampton in Majoribanks Street. On 11th March 1904, Walter saw Frederick return in his trap and feed the horse. He then saw Frederick lying dead on the floor of the stables with blood coming from his head. Walter moved his body so that it lay a few feet clear of the horse in the stall. The constable who was summoned later testified he did not think there was any foul play in doing this.

On 12th March at the Wellington morgue a coroner’s inquest was held. Six ‘good and lawful men of the neighbourhood’ determined Frederick came to his death by a head fracture, the result of disease of the heart.

Priscilla continued their dairy operations at Taita until 1906 when she sold up. She continued to own land in the Hutt and the property at the corner of Majoribanks and Brougham Streets.

Priscilla died in 1912 at her home in Karaka Bay. The subsequent probate lists their surviving children as Frederick James, electrical engineer at Karaka Bay; Charles Turner, warehouseman of New York; John Henry, saddler of Perth; Reuben, sheepfarmer of Koneko; Sarah wife of Joseph Lynam of Karaka Bay.

Frederick junior died in 1916 in Egypt from sickness while serving in WWI and is buried at Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery.

Plot Ch Eng/R/62

de Rose headstone
de Rose headstone in pathway
Frederick de Rose
Priscilla de Rose
Overlooking Majoribanks Street (centre) c 1895. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library Reference
Detail image, assume the de Rose house on the corner next to the cottage,

John Blundell

The death is announced of Mr John Blundell of the “Evening Post” proprietary

John was born in Dublin where his father Henry was manager of the “Evening Mail”. The family went to Victoria in the 1860s then on to New Zealand where Henry Blundell started the “Evening Post” in 1865. It was the first daily newspaper in the country.

When Henry senior died in 1879, control of the newspaper passed to his sons John, Louis and Henry. The newspaper was later formed into a company with various members of the Blundell family sitting on the board.

The late Mr Blundell “had no taste for public life”. He was a vestryman and one of the oldest congregation members of St Peter’s church. He was a foundation member of the Wellington Bowling Club.

“Kindliness and consideration were outstanding characteristics of Mr Blundell in his business and private life”. Among his many bequests were £500 for a memorial window in St Peter’s church, £500 to WCC for a clock for the clock tower of the Town Hall and £500 to be divided among the staff members of Blundell Bros who had served more than 30 years.

John married Kathleen Willis in New Zealand in 1867. She was the daughter of James Fabian Willis, an early Wellington settler. They had seven children, two of which took over the running of the newspaper.

Ch Eng 2/D/376

The father of the Blundells, Mr John Blundell (left), Mr Louis Blundell (right), the late Mr Henry Blundell. ‘Free Lance’ 19 February 1901
Wellington Town Hall Clock Tower
Blundell plot


We have often admired this headstone for its unusual ‘drop shadow’ leadwork lettering, which seems quite modern for the era. It was a prime candidate to be cleaned. The plot fronts Church of England on the main road, if ever you are passing. Here is the Incledon family story:

Matilda Ellen Myhill was born in Deptford, Kent in 1844. Her father was William Myhill, a compositor at Lloyd’s Register. This organisation was named after a 17th-century coffee house in London that was frequented by merchants, marine underwriters, and others – all men associated with shipping.

Matilda’s first husband was Henry Hanson (a merchant’s clerk),. They married in 1865 and had four children. Her sister Emma married Henry’s brother Louis the same year. Emma & Louis emigrated to New Zealand in 1873. Henry Hanson died in 1876 and Matilda appears to have emigrated with her children to New Zealand shortly after.

Matilda then married William Henry Kingdon Incledon in Wellington in 1878, a man nine years her junior. William was born in Devon in 1853, the illegitimate child of Mary Incledon. (Was Kingdon his father’s name?). William and Matilda’s son William was born in 1878 and was the second of three successive generations named ‘William Henry Incledon’.

In 1879 William was fined 5s for removing the surface of the street in Sussex Square. In 1887 he became a licensed dealer for the Westport Coal Company. In 1889 the Kilbirnie main road contracts was transferred to him. William was also fined in 1889 for failing to stamp his weights.

In 1890 William sold his Wood & Coal business. The following year he appears to have gone farming in ‘Nainai’ and also supplied his own milk cart in Cuba Street.

In 1899 the family were living in Abel Smith Street, father and son living next door to each other and both working as dairymen. By 1902, William & Matilda were living in the Hutt and in 1905 they were living in Victoria Street, Petone. It was here that William died, aged 55. He left his estate in trust for his wife and son, but gave £50 to each of his Hanson stepchildren.

Matilda died in 1927 at her home in Laing’s Road.

Also interred in this plot with William and Matilda are their son, William Henry Incledon 1878-1940 and his wife Florence Tregigda 1877-1959; granddaughter Florence May McKenzie 1899-1944, and daughter Louisa Rosina Stevenson (nee Hanson) 1873-1952.

Plot Ch Eng/A/61

Kroner – were they spies?

This is a postscript to our last story which prompted our reader Liz Moir to message us and ask the question. Were we missing something? Were they spies?

To answer that we ordered documents at the National Archives about brothers Josef and George. This is quite a long story …

Josef as we know returned to Germany from New Zealand on the outbreak of WWI in 1914. In 1912 he was granted extended leave from his job in the Land and Deeds office where he had worked for the previous nine years. He travelled to Germany and also visited Paris. While there he tried to obtain a job at the British consul claiming he was a British subject. The New Zealand government advised the consul that he could only claim to be a British subject while he was living in New Zealand. He returned to New Zealand on an immigrant ship from Hamburg noting his occupation as ‘farmer’.

A letter from Philip Morgan to the Minister of Defence in September 1914 provides further weight. He wrote that in May 1914 just before he left the country, Josef had travelled throughout the North and South islands obtaining plans of all the main roads. Josef had told Philip it was so he had a record of all the places he had travelled through.

In March 1915 a memo from the Public Service Commissioner to the Minister of Defence reported that Josef had been caught in the Land and Deeds office making copies of the surroundings of Wellington forts prior to his trip to Germany in 1912.

According to his brother, Josef did fight on the German side and was injured in the war. In 1922 Josef attempted to apply for a British passport in Hamburg. Again, the naturalisation of his father only made him a British subject while in New Zealand. By fighting for Germany he abandoned any rights he had previously under his father’s naturalisation. Section 4 of the Undesirable Immigrants Act 1919 would apply.

As to George, things are not so clear cut. At the outbreak of war he made a statement about declaring himself neutral whilst at his job in the General Post Office. As a result, his job was quickly terminated on 14th August. At the time, he was also known to have recently bought an expensive camera and had been purchasing maps from government offices. It was recommended by the Public Services Commissioner to place him under police surveillance. A description was obtained of his appearance to assist:

‘About 30 years old, 5’ 8” tall, thin build, slightly stooped, dark brown hair and moustache, thin pale face, rather large nose, German in appearance, wears spectacles, looks somewhat consumptive’.

The Mt Cook police station began to keep watch but saw nothing extraordinary. ‘He should be kept under notice quietly’.

In December 1914 he was interview by police who said:

‘…his manner shows clearly he has no love for the English and am of the opinion he would go a long way to help his countrymen if opportunity offers’.

In January 1915, a neighbour of George’s, Mr Alexander, reported to the Mt Cook police station that he thought George had some kind of signalling apparatus in his house as 123 Tasman Street. He had heard late at night the clicking noise of a telegraph machine. Mrs Alexander said she had seen a flash of light on the hill above Wellington College and noticed the occupants of 123 Tasman Street standing in a dark room looking out at it. A detective tried to peer in from the room of a neighbouring house but to no avail.

A warrant was issued in March 1915 to search George’s house, but no signalling devices were found. Detective A. E Andrews reported that in George’s study at the back of the house they found a large rack with over 2000 paper envelopes containing photographs and magazine clippings from around the world in various languages on points of view. They found two cameras and a photo enlarger which probably accounted for the flashing light. During the search George was spoken to by the detectives who reported:

‘he is a German subject, and on the side of Germany in the present war, and he is sure Germany will win the war, and yet attack and capture New Zealand and teach the English several lessons. His conversation was such that if he repeated it to any Britisher he would be knocked down’.

In April the authorities wanted to inter George on Somes Island but legally were not able to detain a British subject.

In October George excited suspicion again when he called at the gas works asking to procure creosote. His answers were evasive when being asked what he wanted it for, and coupled with his German accent caused the manager to report it to the police.

In 1916 George made his last misstep when passing the Taranaki Street wharf he saw the steamer ‘Wagama’ with a Norwegian flag and stepped on board. His purpose was to get any news about the war and he asked if chief engineer if knew anything about a big shooting last year near Bergen. He did not ask for anything to be posted. This was reported by the crew to police.

George was arrested as a prisoner of war on 8th April 1916. His interment on Somes Island was sustained by a heavy letter writing campaign appealing his detainment. His wife wrote often requesting his release and decrying her hardship at home. George was court martialled in 1917 for striking his superior officer who intercepted a note George was passing to his wife (the note was lost in the fracas). He was recorded as disobedient, threatening and insubordinate throughout his time on Somes Island. He used the words ‘There will be a day of reckoning soon’.

During his time on Somes Island, George was permitted to receive reports from the family doctor on the state of Hildegard’s health. His wife also suffered a nervous breakdown and his sister-in-law who was an invalid was also staying with the family.

George was not released on indefinite parole until October 1919. In June he claimed £5000 compensation from the government for loss of health, employment and general damages owing to his interment. He said that he was unable to obtain lengthy work after his parole. He let out the rooms in his house and worked on the waterfront to sustain the family.

In April 1922, George accepted the government’s offer for repatriation to Germany. An expense report was asked for to ascertain the Kroner’s financial position before the full fare was offered. George’s response was that as he had been out of work since the outbreak of the war he had used up all of his savings. The cost was to be borne by War Expenses and application to be made for recovery to the German government. George sent a letter of thanks to the New Zealand government on 27th May and on the 10th July the family departed on the S.S. Rimutaka for Southampton.

So, was George a spy? What do you think?

Liz has agreed to take on the Kroner story as a detailed piece of research. If anyone has any genealogy links to Hamburg or Dresden who can assist, we would love to hear from you.

Hildegard Kroner

This headstone for 8 year old Hildegard Kroner is the only evidence of three generations of the Kroner family in New Zealand.

Her grandfather Heinrich Wilhelm Kroner [sometimes Kroener] came to New Zealand from Germany about 1863 and settled at Kumara on the West Coast. He ran his own bakery, dabbled in mining and was on the committee of the German Society. In 1881 he married Maria Mathilda Louise Wankel at Hokitika. She was also born in Germany. Their son George Frederich Wilhem was born at Kumara in 1883.

In 1886, Heinrich sold up his business and with his wife and son returned to Germany, without plans to return. A second son Josef Emil Albert was born in Hesse in 1887. In 1896 the family did return but settled at Petone. He took over the grocery store of Mr Jones who had been murdered just a few weeks earlier.

George entered service in the post office, firstly as a letter carrier and then after taking the Civil Service exam, as a clerk. In 1908 George returned to Germany and married Johanna Magdalena Borger in Dresden. Their first child Hildegard Edith was born in Wellington in 1909, followed by Gertrud Ingeburg in 1913 and Adolf Wilhelm in 1916.

In May 1914, on the eve of WWI, George’s parents Heinrich & Maria and brother Josef departed for London and then went on to Germany. Heinrich died there in November 1914 and Maria in May 1918. We can find no further trace of Josef.

In 1916, George was detained on Somes Island which was under the charge of Major Matheson. He was one of a number of prisoners who later charged the Major with ill treatment. Of George the Defence Committee wrote ‘This is a case that natural excites sympathy. The man is a natural born British subject, born in New Zealand of naturalised parents’. They acknowledged the situation was particularly hard for George, with a wife and young family unsupported.

In spite of the claims of being badly treated, George was permitted leave from Somes Island to Wellington to see Hildegard. To the Committee he later said: ‘I don’t deny that you said you don’t care a fig for regulations if the child was in danger, I acknowledge my debt to you there’. Hildegard died on 20th April 1917 and was buried at Karori Cemetery. George was interned for two years in total.

In July 1922 George and his family left New Zealand for Southampton. Beyond this, records become harder to trace.

Their son Adolf died in March 1944 between Tschaussy (Belarus) and Dnieper in Russia. His rank was a junior officer. Prior to that he was a student. He was not married. We don’t know what happened to the rest of the family. There is a Getrud Kroner who died in Dusseldorf on FindaGrave 1912-2001 but we have no further details to confirm her identity.

But we have their Hildegard here at Karori Cemetery.

Public 2/M/207

Walter Phelps Bibbing

Who is W.P.B?

The Burial Register provides the answer: Walter Phelps Bibbing.

His death in the newspaper says ‘Little is known of Bibbing. He came to Wellington by the Waikere on the 29th of the last month’. What can we find about him …

He was found dead in his room at the City Buffet Hotel, Lambton Quay, on 8th September 1906. There are indications that deceased took poison.

His inquest held at the morgue tells us that he came from Bristol, England but for some years past had been in South Africa and Australia. He had only recently come to New Zealand. He was a smart commercial traveller, and was not given to drinking habits. His circumstances were straitened since coming to Wellington. He also suffered from an advanced stage of a disease which possible inclined him to thoughts of suicide.

In his room was found an open packet of white powder marked ‘salts of lemon’. Another packet with a similar label was found which bore the name of the Willis Street chemist William Salek. Both packets were almost empty. It was a common household preparation used for cleaning hats and removing ink stains.

Following an examination of the body, it was determined that Walter had taken a great deal of it and this was the cause of death.

Walter had said to a friend about a week before his death that he was not ‘overburdened’ with money. Among his effects was found two pawntickets for small amounts and 6d in money.

Remarks in the Notice of Deceased Estates say ‘relatives unknown’. Presumably it was some kind friends who organised for his headstone. His parents were Thomas and Dorcas. Thomas was a private schoolmaster. They died in 1915 and 1920.

Public 2/G/64

City Buffet Hotel. Photo courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library

Harry Clifton Gibbons

Harry Clifton Gibbons – seed merchant

Harry was born in Lincoln, England and came to New Zealand in 1884, aged 23. For many years was in the seed business on Lambton Quay trading as ‘H C Gibbons & Co’. The Lambton Quay shop contained 2000 sq ft of floor space. He also had fifteen acres of nurseries in the Hutt Valley to supply the shop with fruit, ornamental and shelter trees. They had regular shipments of Japanese bulbs and were extensive importers of ‘British and Foreign Seeds’.

He married Annie Elizabeth Young in 1890. Their daughters were Winifred Lucy, Alice Lumby and Rhoda Gertrude.

Their sons were Edward and Walter Jefferies. Sadly both died in WWI fighting in France. Walter died on 30th September 1916. In his last letter to his parents, which was received a few days after news of his death arrived, he wrote ‘I hope and request that if I go out none of you will not even put on black, as you may be certain I died happy and did my best’. Edward died on 12th September 1918. His leave was overdue but on account of the start of the Allies’ great offensive, the leave was stopped.

In 1922, the Bishop of Wellington unveiled and dedicated a memorial window in St Michael and All Angels’ church at Kelburn in memory of their two sons. Shortly after Harry & Annie departed with their daughters for an extended tour of Great Britain and Europe and to visit Harry’s sister Mrs Turner who was a ranch owner in Ohio.

Annie died in 1937. Harry died in 1941 at their home in Upland Road, Kelburn. Both were cremated at Karori.

Harry’s estate was worth £40,112. There was once a Harry Gibbons Street in Upper Hutt named after him.

Lambton Quay. Photo courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Gibbons Store, Lambton Quay. Photo courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Gibbons Memorial Window, St Michael’s Church, Kelburn
Gibbons Memorial Window, St Michael’s Church, Kelburn

Dulcie Quig

The Mystery of George Shaw

Dulcie Belle Quig was the first wife of Thomas Ellis Glover, a well-known Wellington cartoonist.

Dulcie married Tom in 1916, at the age of 20. Their children Dulcie and Ellis were born in 1918 and 1920 respectively. But sadly Dulcie died seven weeks after the birth of Ellis. ‘The late Mrs Glover’s endearing charm was esteemed by all those whose privilege it was to have known her’.

Three months later Dulcie’s mother Alice died. Alice represented herself as the widow of George Quig. George Quig was the name of Alice’s children. Is this the same George Shaw Quig who was buried at Karori in 1908? If so, he appears to have a wife elsewhere …

George Shaw Quig was born about 1859 in Scotland and in 1887 he had moved with his wife Mary and two daughters to Australia. In 1895, a warrant was issued in Sydney for George’s arrest, charged with disobeying a magisterial order for the support of his wife. His description read ‘dark hair, black moustache only, dark brown eyes, dresses well in dark clothes, a tailor’s cutter’.

In the meantime. George and Alice appear to have had at least three children: George Ernest (born 1894), Dulcie (born 1896) and Alice (married Arthur Law). As George and Alice were not married, it is assumed the children’s births are registered under their mother’s name, and unfortunately, we don’t know Alice’s surname so cannot trace where they were all born.

The next time we can find George Shaw Quig is in 1899 when pops up as a cutter in Christchurch with ‘world wide experience’. In 1907 he takes up a position as head cutter for Kirkcaldie and Staines and then he died on March 1908 at 225 Willis Street. He is buried in an unmarked plot at Karori Cemetery (Public 2/H/126). His wife Mary Quig died in Sydney in 1910.

Alice then starts to appear on the electoral roll in Wellington, sometimes as a widow, sometimes as a spinster. She supports her young family by running a ten-room boarding house in Abel Smith Street until it was damaged in a fire. She then relies on support from her son George junior. Alice died at her home ‘Sherwood’ at 220 Willis Street, age 54.

Public 2/K/309

More about Tom Glover: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Glover_(cartoonist)