Wellington Anniversary Day

To mark Wellington Anniversary Day, we would like to share this photo we found from 1913.

A group portrait of early settles who arrived in New Zealand before 1840. 72 years ago at the Wellington early settlers gathering on Anniversary Day. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19130130-16-01.

The ‘Early Settlers and Historical Association of Wellington’ issued an open invitation to all early settlers and their descendants to attend a reunion at Newtown Park on Anniversary Day 1913.

The event was an open picnic with sports in the afternoon, and the Governor General and Lady Liverpool attended. The new kiosk was open and hot water was available for those who prefer a ‘billy tea’ and lunch under the trees. There was bobbing for apples, highland dancing, a maypole, a baby show and a treacled bun competition (?).

All early settlers on arriving at the park were invited to enter their details in a book (we wonder where this now is?). On the day it was discovered that there were three ladies present born in the ‘20s. A photograph was taken of all of those who arrived or were born in Wellington prior to 1840.

Of those in the photograph, we have identified three at Karori Cemetery:

Ellen Howell

Ellen Howell’s plot

Ellen was born in Kent in 1835 and arrived in Wellington in May 1841 on the ship ‘Lord William Bentinck’ with her father John Clout, stepmother and three siblings. She married Thomas Howell in 1855. He was a storekeeper. They appear to have had fourteen children. In 1891 Thomas and Ellen sought to recover in the Supreme Court £100 damages from the Apollo Soap and Candle Factory due to their works causing ‘divers, offensive, unwholesome and unpalatable smells, vapours and stenches’ affecting their properties in Riddiford Street. They did not succeed in their suit. Ellen at Howells Ave in 1923. The newspaper reported she was aged 91.

Plot Ch Eng/P/37

Agnes Leslie

Agnes Leslie’s plot

Agnes is a little bit of a mystery. She died in 1925, aged 86 at the Home For the Aged Needy. She was rejected for the Old Age Pension in 1899 (as she was only 62 years of age). In 1903 she was awarded a pension of £18 noting she had been 62 years in the colony. She lived in Holland, Frederick and Brougham Streets 1890 -1920. But we cannot find out more about her. She is buried in an unmarked plot.

Plot Ch Eng 2/G/663

Not in the photo, but another interesting burial at Karori Cemetery of an early settler:

Frederick George Petherick

Frederick Petherick

Frederick arrived in Wellington on the ship ‘Aurora’ on 22 January 1840 with his parents, brothers and sister. It was the first immigrant ship to arrive in Wellington, chartered by the New Zealand Company and the arrival of this ship is marked by Wellington Anniversary Day. Frederick was 8 years old when they landed on the beach at Petone.

He later took part in the gold rushes in Victoria during the early 50s and then the West coast for more gold mining. He married Elizabeth Ballinger in 1879. They had four children. In 1881 he was a carpenter and storekeeper in Featherston where he was declared insolvent. His liabilities amounted to £792. He died at his home 112 Oriental Parade in 1917.

Plot Ch Eng 2/D/22

By Julia Kennedy