Thomas Gale

Thomas Gale ‘one of the best known of our men of business’

The draped urn on the top of this plot symbolises the veil between life and death. Thomas is the only interment in this substantial plot and yet he was a married man with a family.

Thomas was born in Adelaide and educated at St Peter’s Anglican School in Melbourne. He joined the firm of general merchants Messrs Spence Bros. During the New Zealand mining boom, the firm opened businesses on the West Coast. Thomas was sent to run their operation in Hokitika. He worked there for twelve years before coming to Wellington, rising to the position of general manager of Messrs Johnson & Co.

In 1876 Thomas married Lucy Ellen Chapman. Their first son was Herbert Theodore John born in 1877. Frederic Chapman was born in 1878. And their daughter Nellie Adelaide was born in New York in 1883.

Thomas was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Opera House Company and a founder of Wellington bowling club.

Due to ill health he had largely retired from business by 1900 and went travelling to recuperate without success. His illness was a ‘long and trying one’. He died on 19th June 1902 as his home ‘Dulce Domum’ Island Bay aged 50 years.

His daughter married Charles Allen in Bristol in 1907 and her mother Lucy made her home with them. When Lucy wrote her Will in 1914, she divided most of her property between son Frederick and daughter Nellie. She left £100 for her son Herbert ‘provided he should be heard of within one year of my death’. We can find no trace of Herbert after 1902. Lucy died in 1936 in Bristol. Her estate was worth £5000.

Her son Frederick died in 1938 and was cremated at Karori Cemetery. Nellie died in 1943 in Bristol.

Plot: *Ch Eng/R/24A

By Julia Kennedy

Gale plot.

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