Category Archives: Auckland

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…

Advertisements

9 Comments

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

Auckland, Burns and A’ That

In preparing a talk for the recent Robert Burns’ anniversary, I learned a few things about my Scottish born grandparents.

(Burns’ anniversay 25 January, Wikipedia; Guardian 24 Jan 2014 on Burns and Scottish independence).

My mother’s parents were born in Scotland: John Barr (1887-1971, born Glasgow) and Jessie Barr (née MacPherson 1889-1979, born Perthshire) came to live in Auckland, New Zealand in 1913 and 1914 respectively.  For the rest of their lives they remained very enthusiastic about Auckland, its heritage and its development, while also remaining strongly attached to Scottish culture, heritage and literature.

John (aka, Jack) and Jessie both worked in libraries in Scotland.  Jack started working in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow at 13 or 14 years old. Abe Cunningham was also a cadet boy at the Mitchell Library at the same time.  He later moved to Auckland and worked as a cataloguer at Auckland Public Library.

This photo was taken in 1906, in Glasgow in front of a statue donated to Glasgow by John Stewart Kennedy:

barr statue glasgow 3 cropped

Abe Cunningham and John Barr:
The Munro-John Barr Album

John Barr was chief librarian at Auckland Public Library (1913-1952).

John Barr authored various published books, including a couple of histories of Auckland:

The city of Auckland, 1840–1920 (1922) – includes a Maori history of the Auckland Isthmus, by George Grahame

The Ports of Auckland, New Zealand: A History of the Discovery and Development of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours (1926)

Both books are an accurate historical record and are of their time: they are presented from a European, male perspective, with the main focus on British colonisation, settlement, and municipal development of the area.

John and Jessie had three daughters:  Catriona MacPherson (aka Mac – eldest); Sheila MacPherson (my mother) and Margaret Jean (youngest).  This family photo was taken outside their house in Manukau Road, Auckland – next to the original Epsom Library, sometime around the late 1920s or 1930s.

barrs2 grayscale cropped

Daughters back row: Sheila, Catriona (Mac), Margaret

Both John and Jessie were very active in the Auckland St Andrew’s Society, and both gave many talks or lectures on Scottish topics.  Jack’s specialism was Robert Burns, and Jessie’s main literary interest was Robert Louis Stephenson.  She also gave lectures on Kipling and James Barrie, and was a founding member of the New Zealand Penwomen’s League.

In a review of a John Barr song-lecture, he is reported to have said that Burn’s ‘Scots Wha Hae’ was “one of the greatest poems of liberty ever penned.” (New Zealand Herald 5 Sept 1919. p. 10).

In his typed version* of his address for the 169th Burns’ Anniversary (1928), Jack outlined Burns’ importance: he restored national pride to Scotland at a time when it was needed; Burns provided songs and poems of a quality lacking in other Scots works at that time; Burns’ nationalism was not a narrow patriotism but his humanitarian, liberal and egalitarian values gained international support.

With respect to Burns’ support of “universal brotherhood”, Jack quoted these lines from ‘Scots Wha Hae’:

By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
         But they shall be free!

Following this, he wrote:

That was its commencement, but it rose to the sublime heights of universal freedom in his hopes that there would come a time when

Man to man the world o’er                                                                                     Would brothers be for a’ that.

The last two lines are from Burns’ song and poem, ‘Is There for Honest Poverty’, commonly known as ‘A Man’s a Man for A’ That’.

For Burns, poverty is honest: a man’s character and self-respect are his true worth, and not social class or the trappings of wealth; the wealthy can disguise their true worth with fine clothes; honesty and goodness are worth more than aristocratic titles.

This video uses Ian F Benzie‘s version of ‘A Man’s A Man for A’ that’, and various images related to Burns and the content of the song.

*The typed copy of John Barr’s speech is in the Douglas Munro collection: Douglas is grandson of John and Jessie Barr and son of Catriona Munro (née Barr).

Leave a comment

Filed under Auckland, biography, glasgow, heritage, history, jessie barr (nee macpherson), john barr, library, mitchell library