Monthly Archives: March 2014

Auckland Sinclair-Fullertons – in war & peace

My last post focused on the journey of two of my grandmother’s (Sinclair) aunts from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Auckland.  For a few years, the aunts Evelyn (1879-1953) and Isabella (1875-1965) lived with Evelyn’s husband, Dr Francis W Fullerton (1870-1953) and their daughter Gwendoline Eveline Fullerton (bn c. 1905) in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore.  In February 1919 they moved across the Waitemata Harbour to live in Remuera in Auckland city. They seemed to have very full and socially successful lives there.

Dr. Fullerton

Dr. Fullerton was a medical practitioner held in high regard. Along with several doctors in 1919, he signed a letter in support of prohibition, claiming that alcohol had a bad impact on the health of the community.  Dr Fullerton  frequently gave medical forensic evidence in court cases.  The NZ Truth, 4 December 1920, p.5, reports that Dr Fullerton gave evidence for a murder charge before the court:


“I Was Brought into the World with a Curse on Me.”

(From “Truth’s” Auckland Rep.)

At the Magistrate’s Court, Auckland, on Monday, Frederick Spierpoint. (26) was charged before Mr. J. W. Poynton, S.M., that on November 3, at Henderson, he murdered his mother, Nora Blanche Spierpoint. Chief-Detective McMahon prosecuted and Mr. E. J. Prendergast appeared for the accused. Dr. Francis W. Fullerton, of Auckland, said that he went to Henderson on November 3 at about 1 p.m., and on arrival saw Mrs. Spierpoint lying on a couch IN her house. She was semi-conscious and was suffering from a large wound on the scalp.

Dr F W Fullerton Auckland Star 1935

Dr. F. W. FULLERTON, who has accepted the post of hon, medical officer to the Auckland City- Mission. Auckland Star, 4 February 1935, p.8

Gwendoline (Fullerton) Manning

In March 1919, Gwen was reported to have passed her Matriculation. In May 1919, the “Social Sphere Column of the Observer, reports that Gwen, dressed in early Victorian costume, was part of the fancy dress Grand March at a Myers Free Kindergarten fundraiser.  Miss (Isabella) Sinclair, and Dr and Mrs Fullerton were frequently mentioned in the society pages of the daily newspapers. For instance, Dr and Mrs Fullerton are listed as guests for weddings in the “Women’s World” section of the Auckland Star in November 1921 and  June 1930.

Gwen’s photography appears to have been well regarded in the city. She married Keith Manning on 13th June 1931, and left for the Federated Malay States the following week (Evening Post, 13 June 1931, p.8)

Gwen Keith Manning wedding Akl Star 1506193 p10
Mr & Mrs Keith Manning at their wedding: Auckland Star, 15 June 1931, p.10:

QUIET REMUERA WEDDING.—Mr. and Mrs. Keith Manning leaving St. Aidan’s after their marriage on Saturday. The bride was Miss Gwendoline E. Fullerton, who has achieved much success with her portraits of young Aucklanders.

The Auckland Star (Sat 13 June 1931, p.14) reports that at her wedding, Gwen wore,

a frock of Naples blue polka clotted ninon, ankle-length, with cape effect at the back, and navy blue hat.

Mannings, Singapore & World War II

Keith Wilson Manning, the son of Dr and Mrs Manning of Christchurch, was employed at a rubber plantation in Kuala Lumpar. His wife Gwen lived with him in Kuala Lumpar, where they had a son. When the Japanese took control of Singapore and the Malay Peninsula in 1942 as part of WWII, Keith Manning became a civilian prisoner of war. It is unclear whether Gwen was also a civilian prisoner of war. The Evening Post (of 24 February 1942, p.8), reports that she had recently arrived in Auckland to stay with her parents.  Keith Manning’s obituary (Auckland Star,25 September 1945, p.3), suggests she may have been an internee:


News that her husband, Mr. Keith Manning, died in Singapore on November 20 last has been received by Mrs. Gwen Manning, of Titirangi, one of the internees who recently arrived at Auckland from Malaya. Mr. Manning, who was 51 years of age had been a rubber planter in Malaya since the first World War. With the Japanese invasion he undertook police and patrol duties on the wharves and in the city of Singapore. After the fall of Singapore he was interned, first at Changi Camp and later at the Sime Road camp. At the Sime Road camp he was infected by a typhus-carrying form of tropical flea while cultivating a vegetable garden and succumbed to complications which are considered to have been due to malnutrition and lack of medical facilities for treating him. Mrs. Manning has been advised that her husband was buried by the Bishop of Singapore, who also died shortly afterwards. The bishop’s wife was another victim.

However, the confusion is clarified in the NZ Herald article of 25 September, 1945, p.6:

NEWS BROUGHT BY FRIEND First advice of the death of her husband, Mr Keith Manning, in Singapore on November 20 of last year, has been received by Mrs Given Manning, of Titirangi, from one of the New Zealand internees who recently arrived at Auckland from Malaya. […] Mr Manning was the son of Mrs Helen Manning and the late Dr Manning, of Devonport and Christchurch.

This must have been a devastating time for Gwen: a woman who had been used to a full and successful life  in Auckland society.

Beyond WWII

Dr. and Mrs Fullerton continued to live in Auckland, and died within a month of each other at the end of 1953.  Mrs Fullerton seems to have had the Sinclair talent for music.  She bequeathed her Bechstein Grand Piano to her grandson (Evelyn Fullerton Probate, Archive NZ Ref No: BBAE A645 1570 Box 1147; Record No: P2209/1953 – in Archives NZ Mangere). The executor of Dr Fullerton’s Will was his brother, Walter Ernest Fullerton, merchant in Auckland (also held in Archives NZ Mangere).

Dr. and Evelyn Fullerton are buried in Purewa Cemetery, and have a plaque in the plaque garden of the cemetery.

Francis Evelyn Fullerton cemetery plaque_1

Fancis Evelyn fullerton cemetery plaque_2

This is just a couple of minutes walk from where Evelyn and Isabella’s brother, James Sinclair, is buried in an unmarked grave.

Isabella spent her final years with with her niece, Gwen Manning in Kerikeri in the far north of New Zealand’s North Island. Isabella died in October 1965.  She left everything to her niece, executor of her Will, Gwendoline Eveline Manning of Kerikeri (Isabella Sinclair Probate, Archive NZ Ref No: BBNY A1346 10440 Box 45; Record No: 283/1965 – in Archives NZ Mangere).

Isabell was cremated at Purewa Cemetery.  Like her brother James, she does not seem to have a plaque to mark her passing.



Filed under Uncategorized

The Sinclair connections: Tyneside to Auckland

About this time last year, I thought that my grandmother and her father, a Sinclair, were the only members of their family to migrate to New Zealand.  Then, on learning my great grandfather’s name, James Sinclair, I discovered that he was living in Matakana (north of Auckland) in the early 20th century. He was living with his brother, Stephen Edward Sinclair, and Edward’s wife, Jessie (née Campbell).

Recently I have learned that two of Edward and James’ sisters also lived in New Zealand (mainly in Auckland) for over 40 years.  They were Isabella Sinclair (1875-1965) and Evelyn Fullerton (née Sinclair, 1879-1953).

In the 1881 England, Census, Eveline Sinclair (4 years old) and Isabella Sinclair (6 years) are listed in the household of John Sinclair, tobacco manufacturer, at 26 Beverly Terrace, Cullercoats. Also in the household are Eveline and Isabella’s brothers, Stephen Edward Sinclair ( 7 years) and James Sinclair (20 years). In the 1891 England Census, Isabella Sinclair (16 years) is listed in the household of John Sinclair, along with her brother Stephen E Sinclair (17 years) and James Sinclair’s youngest child, Fannie Sinclair.

Evelyn (aka Eveline) married Doctor Francis W Fullerton (1870-1953) of Hull.  The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph, Thursday July 6, 1899, includes a report of the marriage of the previous day at St George’s Church, Cullercoats:

The article, “Fashionable Wedding at Cullercoates”, reports that the bridesmaids were Dr Fullerton’s sisters, Edith and Katie, and Evelyn Sinclair’s sisters, Isabella and Grace. The best man was Dr Fullerton’s brother, Arthur Fullerton.  The bride was given away by her brother John Sinclair. The article states that,

The bride wore a gown of rich ivory satin duchesse, handsomely trimmed with ivory Chantilly lace, and having transparent yoke of finely trimmed chiffon, and a skirt trimmed with pleated chiffon and lace. The upper drapery was finished with true lover’s knots and orange blossoms, and she also wore a wreath of orange blossoms and tulle veil, with a diamond, pearl, and ruby pendant, the gift of the bridegroom. The bridesmaids were attired in white China silk, handsomely trimmed with guipure lace, and shaded yellow chiffon sashes, and white chipped picture hats trimmed with roses, and they each carried lovely bouquets of white blossoms.

After the wedding there was a reception at the house of the bride’s mother.  The newlyweds then left for their honeymoon in Scotland.

In the 1901 Census, Dr and Mrs Fullerton were living in Hull, with two servants, Margaret Carvin (20) and Eliza S Clark (23).

Before leaving England for New Zealand, the Fullertons had a daughter, Gwendoline Eveline Fullerton, probably born around 1905The New Zealand Herald, 9 June 1908, p.4 lists Misses Fullerton (3), I. Sinclair, and Dr. F. W.Fullerton as passengers in the first saloon of the SS Cornwall.  They had arrived the previous day in Sydney, from Liverpool and Melbourne. The New Zealand Herald on 19 June 1908, p.4, lists Misses Fullerton (3), I. Sinclair, Dr. F. W.Fullerton as passengers arriving in Auckland on the SS. Cornwall from England.

When they first arrived in New Zealand, Isabella and the Fullertons lived in Te Kuiti in the King Country.

General view of Te Kuiti 1908 heritage images

General view of Te Kuiti, 1908. Photographer: A. S Hawley for Auckland Weekly News, 23 Jan, 1908. In Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19080123-2-2

There is a newspaper advertisement for Dr. Fullerton in the King Country Chronicle, 30 August, 1909, p.2. It says that Dr, Fullerton “May be Consulted Daily at Mr Kerr’s Boarding House, Te Kuiti.”

Dr Fullerton’s brother, Walter Ernest Fullerton also lived in Waitomo and Te Kuiti. Initially, he was a farmer, later he was a manager of an Assurance Association.

The Fullertons and Isabella returned to England for visits on several occasions. In May, 1911 they returned to England for the coronation of King George V (22 June 1911). The Fullertons and Isabella planned to be away for 12 months. However, after about 6 months, they left London to return to New Zealand on The Orient liner Orsova (New Zealand Herald, 29 January 1912, Page 4).

Later in 1912, the Dr Fullertons and Miss Isabella Sinclair moved to the North Shore of Auckland. The King Country Chronicle,  6 November 1912, p.5, reports that they were leaving to live in Takapuna and were farewelled,

at the Bowling and Croquet Club’s ground, on Saturday afternoon last. A large number of their friends attended, which evidenced the esteem in which the guests had been held. Games of croquet and bowls were indulged in, and a delightful afternoon tea provided. Altogether a most enjoyable afternoon was spent. The greens were in excellent order and the bright and pretty costumes worn by the ladies made the scene an animated and pretty one. Subsequent to the afternoon’s gathering Mrs Fullerton was presented by her friends with a very handsome rose bowl and stand, also a gold pendant, Miss Sinclair receiving a silver-mounted manicure set. Sincere regret was expressed on all sides at the guests’ departure from Te Kuiti, and many good wishes extended to them for their future welfare.

Takapuna Beach Jan 1913 Auck Weekly news

Auckland’s favourite seaside resort: Holiday-makers on Takapuna Beach, on Boxing Day. Published in Auckland Weekly News, 2 January 1913. In Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130102-4-3

Dr. Fullerton was elected a councillor on the Takapuna Council. A 1913 report on the newly elected Takapuna Council lists Dr F. W. Fullerton as one of the Council members, but states that he was unable to attend the Mayor’s inauguration due to being “indisposed”. Dr. Fullerton was listed as being one of the members on a “Works Committee” that was set up. (New Zealand Herald, 2 September 1913, p.5,)

A 1914 article states that Takapuna Council member, Dr F. W. Fullerton had presented a report to the Council about the quality of water in Lake Takapuna.  The report showed it was necessary to remove weeds from the lake, move the location of intake pipes, and to further monitor it for bacterial content. (New Zealand Herald, 17 December 1914, p.9).

Lake Takapuna c1914

Lake Takapuna (Lake Pupuke), c.1914. Creator: Frederick George Radcliffe. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 35-R233

Dr. Fullerton was still a council member in 1916.

In 1919, the Fullertons and Isabella Sinclair moved across the harbour to Remuera in Auckland city. On leaving the North Shore,  Dr F.W. Fullerton was presented with a leaving gift by the Takapuna Croquet Club. Speakers expressed regret that he was leaving to reside in Auckland. (New Zealand Herald, 18 February 1919, p.6).

To be continued…


Filed under Auckland, biography, Dr Francis W Fullerton, Evelyn (Sinclair) Fullerton, Gwendoline (Fullerton) Manning, Isabella Sinclair, newcastle upon tyne, places