South Canterbury's Cemeteries 

Fairlie Cemetery - old section at the front. Newer section towards the back. Photo taken March 2002.  "Make sure you close the gate -- people are dying to get in."
On a cemetery tour - start with the gates. Fairlie Cemetery.

Adopt a cemetery in South Canterbury and take a photo of its entrance and transcribe the headstones!  

Otaio Cemetery 83 burials
St. Mary's, Esk Valley 116 burials -
 updated Jan. 2011 - Churchyard Cemetery
St Anne's Church, Pleasant Valley with photos of headstones May 2010
Mt Peel Churchyard 1864-2009 (Church of the Holy Innocents) 113 burials
- Churchyard Cemetery
Woodbury 1890-2013  652 burials, updated regularly so data is current

Salisbury Park Crematorium is located approximately ten minutes drive from the south-west boundary of Timaru city, on Beaconsfield Road.  You go down Beconsfield Road (first road on the right past the Salt Water Creek Bridge) and just keep driving till you get there. It's in the area of Salisbury.  The gardens remain open at all times and are not large and easily walked around. It would be classed as a small to medium crematorium by New Zealand standards.  Founded in 1967 by a Leslie William Betts who was the first owner of Betts Funeral Services (1983) Ltd. The crematorium is still privately owned and operated by a group of company directors and serves the South Canterbury district.  The cremation records are held at the crematorium. The phone number is (NZ country code 64) 3 6843251. The Custodian works between 8am & 5pm and then all bookings and enquiries are switched to a answering service.  The Crematorium is completely independent of the local Timaru cemetery.  The South Canterbury Museum, Perth St., Timaru also holds the crematorium records up to 1990 in their free collection. The Timaru District Council does not hold any records for the Salisbury Park Crematorium. 

Active local & district cemeteries: Timaru City, Pleasant Point, Temuka, Geraldine, Albury, Arowhenua, Otaio, Esk Valley, Fairlie, Burkes Pass, Twizel, Waimate, Otipua, Omarama, Hakataramea, Kurow.

Cemeteries further a field:

cemetery database  
Christchurch Cemeteries Online 

Ashburton District
Crematorium Linwood, ChCh
Oamaru
NZ Cemeteries Online
Local government - record the past

Finding death notices quickly

Not everybody takes advantage of this service. Timaru Herald online Only 29% of the death notices that appear in the Timaru Herald are online. The service is optional.
http://www.amemorytree.co.nz/

http://www.tributes.co.nz/
Obituaries in the New Zealand Herald
Betts Timaru
Galbraith Funeral Services, Temuka
Christchurch Press
Last Post online listings begin  June 2000. local entries
Lamb & Hayward Funeral Directors CHCH Funeral Notices online
    
Harewood & Woodlawn
Funeral link directory

The NZ Society of Genealogists branches haves transcribed most of the cemeteries and the New Zealand Burial Locator CD (contains over 3 million names) or fiche is available at most libraries up and down the country and the South Canterbury monumental inscriptions are available for lookup via email. You can buy the South Canterbury tombstone transcripts. [Christchurch, 1982], 25 microfiche of South Canterbury monumental inscriptions for $42.50 from the NZSG.  Years covered on the fiche are listed below:

Geraldine Cemeteries  

Geraldine 1864- active [is forecast to have at least another 30 to 50 years from 2005]
Arundel
1917-1981
offsite [is expected to have another 100 years of use, from 2005] Arundel does not have concrete berms.
Kakahu 1910-1952  - St Aidans, Kakahu Cemetery on the Winchester / Hanging Rock Road. This cemetery is possibly owned by the Anglican Diocese in Christchurch and overseen by the Morrison family.
St Stephen's Peel Forest
Mesopotamia - Dr Sinclair
Timaru Herald, 23 August 1899, Page 2 Mr J. J. McCaskey is appointed a trustee of the Geraldine cemetery in place of Mr J. Mundell, who has resigned

Mackenzie County

Albury Cemetery 1903-1976
Burke's Pass Cemetery 1873-1982
Fairlie Cemetery 1885-1982
Mount Cook Station - Burnett family 1864-1957
St David's Anglican Church Raincliff 1861-1975
2006: A site along the Lilybank Road has been set aside for the new Tekapo Cemetery.

21st Dec. 2012 Timaru Herald Cemetery for Tekapo
The project began nearly nine years ago, with locals working under the banner of the Six Feet Under Group, and raised nearly $140,000. The initial construction was funded by club members, but has since been handed over to the Mackenzie District Council for administration and maintenance. Mackenzie district community facilities manager said the site, at the Lochinvar Subdivision, was 3863sqm. "It's probably the most spectacular place to be buried in South Canterbury."

Marlborough Express, 12 November 1896, Page 3 An unknown and unregistered grave was lately found in a cemetery near Albury. The caretaker knew nothing of the grave, and the police dug it up, and found a coffin containing the remains of a child. It is believed that a secret interment took place.

Albury Cemetery
Albury Cemetery

Pleasant Point

Pleasant Point 1866-1982.
Pleasant Point Cemetery does not have an RSA section


Pleasant Point Cemetery, on Cemetery Hill, June 2011 "It looks so different now"

This photo, above, was taken going up the hill to the cemetery. The new part of the cemetery, below, has a lovely vista of the surrounding hills and the Two Thumb Range. I believe that the very large trees leading up to the cemetery have been felled due to the danger they pose following the recent earthquakes destabilising the ground and also the high winds we had recently. Replanting has already begun and I am sure it will continue to be a beautifully restful place. P.H. June, 2011.


The new section Pleasant Point Cemetery, on Cemetery Hill, June 2011. Note the permanent concrete berm, typical of NZ lawn cemeteries. Helps to keep the rows straight, makes mowing easier.
 


The older section, Pleasant Point Cemetery, with many unmarked graves but the council database and cemetery maps and plot maps are online.

Pleasant Point cemetery area replanted    Timaru Courier 28 July 2011 
Cemetery Hill in Pleasant Point has had a face lift. The 21 year old pine plantation covering the hillside was felled recently because many trees damaged by wind posed a safety risk. Replanting is almost complete. Timaru district councillor said about 25% of the trees had fallen after recent earthquakes loosened their roots, making them more vulnerable to high wind. Several were left ��hanging�� on other trees. Although the trees had not reached full maturity, the decision was made to mill the entire plantation. If we had left the trees on the ground they would have been worth nothing and it was more efficient to cut the lot down, Funds from the sale of the trees were now being used for replanting and development of the area. It was always the [Pleasant Point Community] board's intention that when the trees came down, that it was not replanted in a plantation again,�� he said. Nature had hastened the process. It was decided to replant the area with deciduous European species, in keeping with the other plantings around the cemetery. ��It was also important that we kept the view at the top of the hill for the visitors, so we have not planted any trees at the top. However, the council would plant low growing native varieties at the top of the hill to provide shelter around proposed seating. Part of the redevelopment of the area included establishing a walking track which connected with the track around the cemetery.

George Henry Wyndham Bayley is buried at Pleasant Point

Temuka Cemetery maps

RSA section Temuka Cemetery gates - Photo taken by Dave MacKinven in January 2006.

Timaru Herald, 29 February 1868, Page 5
Temuka Cemetery. This cemetery reserve was laid out last week, and the first interments took place on February 8, being those of the late Mr Duff and his two grand children. The cemetery is situated at the east side of the township, near Mr Hayhurst's house, and is a most suitable position for the purpose. It is to be hoped that not long time will be allowed to elapse before the ground is fenced, as the road at present passes through it, and now that interments have taken place there is no doubt that such should not be suffered to be the case.

Timaru Herald, 25 July 1879, Page 2
Temuka cemetery. � The condition of the Arowhenua Cemetery reflects the greatest credit on those who have the management of it. It was damaged to a certain extent by surface water during the last flood, but it has since more than regained its former pleasant appearance. The whole of the cemetery having been recently mown, a great variety of very pretty flowers and shrubs are exposed to view. The graves and paths are particularly well attended to, and look very neat indeed. A great need has been recently supplied, by the erection outside the cemetery of a number of posts, strained with wire, to which 100 horses can be comfortably fastened. A visit to the cemetery will greatly please those - who admire neatness and order.

Temuka 1858-1982
[Part of the land at the cemetery is already leased out and if it is used then it is forecast another 80 to 100 years of space is left]
Arowhenua Marae (Holy Trinity Churchyard, Maori 1890-1982) 

Timaru Herald May 2000
Restrictions on the size, colour and lettering on plaques in the ashes area of the Temuka Cemetery are to be removed. The ashes area in the Temuka Cemetery was established in 1979 with strict controls on plaques as to size (130x250mm), lettering (gold or silver), and colour (black or charcoal). The Temuka community board at its last meeting agreed that the restrictions should remain, but that there be some discretion on a case-by-case basis.
 

Timaru Herald 11 August 2013
The Timaru District Council owns the Temuka public cemetery and surrounding land which totals seven hectares. Currently half the land is in use with the other half undeveloped and used for grazing. In August 2013 resource consents were gained by the Timaru District Council to extend Temuka Cemetery on the corner of Domain Ave and Murray St. The consents were sought early so land could be used gradually as it was needed, and planting established. The consents are applicable for 35 years but the extra land is unlikely to be required for six to eight years. Established in the 1870s the cemetery has developed to the eastern boundary with land to the north still available. It is not laid out by denominations and caters for about 40 burials and 15 to 20 cremations annually. Figures fluctuate, but Temuka tends to have a higher number of burials compared with the rest of the country with about 70 per cent and 30 per cent cremations. Elsewhere, the mix was closer to 40 per cent of burials.

Temuka Cemetery gates - Photo taken by Dave MacKinven in January 2006 when the roses were in full bloom.

Timaru Herald, 5 September 1892, Page 2
Most visitors to Temuka know how beautifully kept the cemetery is and now in the first flush of Spring it looks particularly well. The borders are ablaze with primroses, violets, hyacinths and other early flowers, and the sward with its first green tint looks cool and fresh. Recently, although the cause has been sad, some handsome monuments have been erected, and the caretaker. Mr Phillips, has taken every precaution that these and the graves about them are kept neatly. The entrance gates have been coated with black varnish and some of the rather unsightly pine trees have been cut down. Visitors should take an opportunity of crossing the creek to the caretaker's private garden, and take note there of a magnificent bed of hyacinths, most of which have been raised from seed. Although many blooms have been cut away the bed is still a perfect blaze of flowers and the effect is very pretty. Mr Phillips is frequently asked to sell bulbs of these pretty flowers and early in the year had to send some 6lb weight to Dunedin to a gentleman who had previously seen the bed referred to.

Buildings in the cemetery landscape are now very rare. The old sexton's office in the Temuka cemetery is an six-sided kauri building.

Claremont Novitiate 1890-1978

29 May 2000
Ten Marist brothers buried in the cemetery alongside the former St Josephs novitiate house at Claremont house were disinterred and taken to the Catholic section of the Temuka cemetery. Most of the 10 brothers were buried at Claremont over a 40-year period from the 1930s.  It was decided to move them when the land was sold privately. The move allows relatives access to their resting place.

13 January 2001 Timaru Herald
For probably the best part of half a century a life-size concrete statue of the Marists' founder, Marcellin Champagnat, stayed put on its concrete and stone base at the former St Josephs novitiate at Claremont. Yesterday that came to an end. Kanga hammers and cranes were the order of the day as the now Saint Champagnat was surrounded in strops and hoisted on to the back of a truck for stage one of the journey to his new home. He's off to Invercargill, to the grounds of the town's Catholic high school Verdon College. Marist brother Brother Osmund MacNamara still teaches at the school and when the school's board of trustees learned the former novitiate had been sold 18 months ago, they were keen to obtain the statue of their founder. Born in 1789 the priest founded the Marist Brothers in 1817, with the aim of providing education to the children of the poor.
The teaching brothers arrived in New Zealand in 1838. Their link with the old Claremont homestead goes back to 1932 when the house became a training centre for the brothers. It remained that until 1978. The concrete statue was one of two which remained in the grounds. The other, of Joseph, will not be moved as it was made of porcelain and would break if moved. Brothers previously buried in a cemetery on the property were reinterred at the Temuka cemetery last year. The statue's trip yesterday was relatively short - to Timaru where monumental masons McBrides will waterblast it, and give it a new paint job before crating it up for the journey south. And it seems travel is not new to the concrete likeness. Jim Anderson, spokesman for The Claremont Trust, the property's former owner, believes it was not new when it was installed at the novitiate probably in the 1950s. Although unsure of its history, Brother Osmund can remember the statue being at Claremont when he trained there in the mid 1950s. He was also involved in the building of the chapel which has been restored by Claremont's owner John West. A second statue of Saint Champagnat, thought to be identical to the Claremont one, was moved from the grounds of a Marist Brothers property at Tuakau when it was sold about 10 years ago. It is now in the grounds of St Johns College in Hamilton. Brother Osmund said the school's trustees felt it was appropriate for it to be moved as it would have greater significance to the school community than if it remained at Claremont. Assuming the restoration work to the statue is completed in time, Brother Osmund said it will be blessed and unveiled in March at the same time as the new Marist clubrooms at the school are opened. 

Farewell from Timaru 2007 doc.

St Marys Boys Orphanage Cemetery, Ngawhatu, Stoke Nelson.
There was another small burial ground for the Brothers and Priests behind the Orphanage. The two Brothers who were buried there were exhumed and reinterred in the Marist Brothers Cemetery at Claremont, Timaru in January 1965. They were Brother Celestine McPhelamey (died 1890) and Brother Liguori Donnelly (died 1897).

Waimate Cemeteries  
The 2ha cemetery, which dates back to 1869. The early trustees followed the policy of other cemeteries of the times and demarcated burial areas into religious denominations.

Waimate Maori Cemetery - 1861-1981
Waimate - Lawn 1949-1981, Old 1867-1981   database online
Waimate Cemeteries
Waitangi / Te Akatarawa Station 1863-1974
Esk Valley St Mary's 1880-1981
Glenavy Cemetery 1914-1964
Hakataramea Cemetery - Old 1880s, public 1887-1982
St Michael's Churchyard, Waihao Downs 1918-1969
Morven Cemetery 1903-1957
Morven Maori burial ground  1895-1927
Otaio Cemetery 1896-1978
Pareora West 1870-1956
[is closed but is allowed second interments only]

The Timaru Herald | Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Waimate property information and cemetery details are now online.
The Waimate District Council's website has added a new mapping section. "People interested in purchasing property in Waimate or perhaps searching family history now have easy assess to on-line databases and maps," "To find `mapping on-line' simply log on to the council's website and click through from the navigation bar on the left side of the home page." The mapping page was designed by council officer Andrew Hare and it offers viewers several on-line services and download options, such as viewing maps of the Waimate district, and cemetery maps and data. An emergency management map shows sector post locations and areas, and the topographic map of the South Island allow viewers to zoom into any area with several special features such as distance measuring. The property section can be sourced searching by valuation number or physical address and people can find current valuation and rating information as well as historical data for the last 10 years.

Albury Cemertery

 Timaru Herald 12 July 2013
Albury Cemetery has been extensively damaged after recent high winds toppled large pine trees into it. Eight headstones and about 70 per cent of the old conifers have been damaged. The headstones have been broken and toppled off their foundations. Mackenzie District Council staff are trying to find the families of the deceased. However, some of the headstones are so old that contact is unlikely. The council's insurance will cover the cost of repairs. Remaining trees around the cemetery will be felled and replanting done. There was no damage to any other cemeteries in the Mackenzie District.

Timaru Herald 10 Sept. 2013
A major repair job at the Albury Cemetery is complete, after 11 headstones were badly damaged in the winter's wild weather. Mackenzie District Council's community facilities manager  said the headstones have been repaired and council staff were cleaning up broken trees and debris at the cemetery. "The next step will be to replant new trees to replace those damaged by the high winds," he said. "The winds in July reached speeds up to 120km per hour. I've never seen anything quite like it in that area. The trees toppled over and badly damaged a whole host of headstones. It was quite the clean-up job." Mr Nixon said one headstone was badly broken and needed to be replaced, and four had to be re- secured to the ground. "Another four tall memorials were knocked over and have been reconstructed and secured with both plaster and epoxy resin," he said. "We've done the cleanup job in stages over the last two weeks. Some of the headstones had been there for decades." Repairs to the headstones cost the council about $7000, but Mr Nixon hoped to recover that from insurance. Tree felling and replanting is likely to cost another $10,000 but he said the council had recouped this from log sales. The names on the headstones damaged by the storm were: Guthrie, Casey, Gallen, Keeman, Connor, Burrough, Winn, Rowland, Scannell, and Sutherland.

Visiting Local Cemeteries
Fairlie Cemetery
Fairlie Cemetery
Berms are laid to ensure a consistency of straightness, tidiness and ease of plot identification.

Transcribing Cemeteries

Burkes Cemetery, taken February 2006 by Garry Tommey.
Burkes Pass Cemetery, summer 2006.  pdf

The cemetery site was selected by pioneers as over the Pass the shallow soil and rock-strewn ground made burial nearly impossible.

To volunteer, please contact Olwyn. A Pioneer Cemetery: The Burkes Pass Cemetery, Hwy 8, was the first Cemetery in the Mackenzie District. Surveyed in 1881. The land was donated by Mr A.B. Smith of Rollesby. Francis James Cowan, died 19 November 1873, aged 9 years, son of Andrew Cowan, Ferry Keeper of Tekapo, is the first recorded burial but others names unknown were buried earlier before the survey. The entrance is two wooden gates flanked by stone pillars.
Buried at Burkes Pass - Charles Dick

Timaru Herald  Tuesday 26 July 1887
Notes from the Mackenzie Country
Though we live in this outlandish spot we cannot escape the extinction of life when our turn comes. Mrs George Foster departed this life last Friday, after a lingering illness. It is an exception to the general rule in this part of the country - death from natural causes - for ninety per cent of the tombstones in our cemetery indicate accidental death, such as lost in the snow, drowned, or killed by a fall from a horse.  Correspondent, J. Cochran, Burke's Pass.

Timaru Herald Tuesday 4 July 1899
Mackenzie County Council Monthly meeting.
From the Department of Lands and Survey, notifying the appointment of the Council to be trustees for the Burke's Pass Cemetery. Mr McLeod drew attention to the overgrown state of the Burke's Pass Cemetery - The engineer and riding members to get the gorse cleared. Notice to clear the road next the cemetery to be given to the adjoining owner.

Timaru Herald Tuesday 7 November 1899
Mackenzie County Council Monthly Meeting
The work in Burkes Pass cemetery is now completed.

Death Notices from The Press and The Timaru Herald are online e.g.
COTTLE, Mary Frances Private WAAC (UK) WW2 - On December 9, 2012 peacefully at Moreh Home, Fairlie, aged 95 years. Loved wife of the late Richard Grinham and the late William Cottle, precious mother and mother-in-law of Jennifer and Martin Cordes (Fairlie), loved Nan of Bede and Emma (Lincoln), and a proud great-grandmother of Benjamin. Loved youngest daughter of the late Charles and Mary Powell, of Bulphan, Essex, England. Many thanks to Alison Neill and her staff at ''Moreh'' and to Dr Lewis Arundel for their love and care for Mary. A Service for Mary will be held on Friday, December 14, at St Stephens Anglican Church, Kirk Street, Fairlie at 2.00 p.m., followed by private cremation. Donations to Moreh Home, would be appreciated and may be left at the service.  Betts Funeral Services Timaru ph 03 688 4033

KINSMAN, Edith Dulcie (Granny) - Peacefully at McKenzie Healthcare on December 7, 2012 aged 85 years. Dearly loved wife of the late David Arthur Kinsman. Cherished mother and mother-in-law of, Marion and Colin White (Fairlie), and the late Ross Kinsman (Fairlie), Murray and Edith Kinsman (Hornby), Colin and Nicola Kinsman (Albury), and Glenis and Peter Taylor (Kaiapoi). A loved granny and great-granny to all her grandchildren. A much loved aunty of Jenny and David Kinsman (Waimate). A service for Edith is to be held at St Stephen's Anglican Church, Fairlie, on Tuesday December 11, 2012 at 1.30 p.m., and thereafter to the Burkes Pass Cemetery. Geraldine Funeral Services F.D.A.N.Z. Geraldine ph 036938788 Published in The Press on December 8, 2012

More than likely a change of style brought about by cost.
The early settlers to New Zealand found it important to have their birthplace, Ship of arrival in New Zealand and sometimes occupation on the headstones and no mention of the children's names. Often there is a long religious verse or poem. Later generations seem to list children and particularly family lost in war deaths. The birthplace no longer seems important nor are the poems or religious verses used as much but sometimes a verse from a popular song can be found. Recent plaques which are much smaller, not as tall and seem to mention family only. You can also see the trend in the death notices and memorials published in newspapers. A few of the more recent headstones were different shapes: for example one was a guitar, another was a heart, and there was even a surfboard one. Older headstones  at Timaru Cemetery have included marble carved anchors, ship's wheel and angels. Put it down to changing times, and changing attitudes to death and ways of grieving. It may also have something to do with the cost of letters on plaques and headstones. In a Crematorium Park one was restricted as to how many letters could be put on the plaques and the ever rising costs involved.

Mount Peel Station Cemetery
Mount Peel Station Cemetery

Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of NZ photo of St. Anne's and Mt Peel.
Its not recommended to put the street address in a death notice. 


BURKES PASS - A Heritage Village. In February 2001 the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust purchased the church and land to enable it to be retained in the community and become a focal point in turning Burkes Pass into a heritage village. Membership is open to all. Email. In lieu of subscriptions please consider a donation to help the projects.  Liz is looking for information on those buried in the Burkes Pass Cemetery. She is compiling a Who's Who of Burkes Pass Cemetery and plans to write a guide to the cemetery that records the lives of those who rest in the place. If anyone has family or friends buried at Burkes Pass, Liz would love to make contact with you. 

Book Reveals Secrets of Cemetery
John Keast  4 January 2007 The Press (Christchurch)

This is a place of stories -- many sad, some tragic. It is true of all cemeteries, but more so at Burkes Pass. Elizabeth Angelo- Roxborough knows some of the stories and their poignancy and is putting them together in a small book for the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust. It will be available through the trust and the South Canterbury Museum in Timaru. It will form the basis for cemetery tours planned for the historic village. Similar tours have proved popular in Timaru.  Joining a cemetery tour was one occasion when a journey to a cemetery was both enjoyable and interesting. The tours covered a small number yet extensive range of interests of people who made a substantial contribution to the district, particularly to the social and commercial life. There were "lots of nice stories" which pointed to the generosity and goodness of many men and women. One of the problems facing cemeteries in towns such as Burkes Pass was where there were no family members left to care for plots. Maintenance then became a widespread problem. Money raised from the tours might be instrumental in starting a fund that might assist in maintaining such plots. Angelo-Roxborough lives at Burkes Pass and has absorbed its history. She and artist husband Maurie live in the stately Stone House that was once home to the Mackenzie District Council and the Mount Cook Road Board. She has always loved the bleak and beautiful cemetery but has not always known the history of those buried there. "There are climbers, musterers, too many children, the old and the unlucky," she said. Angelo-Roxborough has called on the knowledge of locals and the families of those buried at Burkes Pass to help compile her book. In all, brief histories of the lives of about a dozen people will feature, and Angelo- Roxborough says they were a cross-section of society. There are many stories from which to choose. She has found out a lot about Bridget and James Keeffe, who came to the Rollesby Valley adjoining Burkes Pass from Fulham in England in 1876. They were childhood sweethearts, he living at No. 9, she at No. 12. James worked at Rollesby and, in his spare time, built Alma Cottage. The cottage is still there. Together, the Keeffes had 10 children. Bridget died of dropsy at 51; James of asthma at 57.

Then there is the story of Nicolo "Big Mick" Radove, born in Sicily and one of the first to farm Birch Hill, near Mount Cook. He is buried in Timaru but two infant children are buried in ornate graves at Burkes Pass. Radove bought Birch Hill in 1868. His friend, John Lloyd, helped with mustering. But Lloyd contracted an incurable disease and spent his last days at the station. Each night Radove would carry his friend up to a hilltop behind the homestead so he could watch the sunset. When Lloyd died, Radove buried him on that spot. The grave is marked by a headstone and wooden fence. There is also the story of climber-adventurer Ken Payne, who died descending Mount Cook in 1986. Angelo-Roxborough contacted his family and they sent photographs and his last diary notes, in which Payne described spindrift around his hut and his feelings of disquiet about the risks of the climb. A final selection of characters for the book will be made over the next few weeks as Angelo- Roxborough works on the manuscript. One of the hardest jobs, she said, would be to pare back the information. A fuller history of some of the people mentioned in the book may be added to the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust website. The Mackenzie District Council has made a small grant to the trust to help with the cost of publishing.

Timaru Herald, 31 July 1888, Page 3
FAIRLIE CREEK, July 30. Last Thursday it left off snowing and a downpour of rain commenced, without a break until Saturday morning, when it gradually began to clear up. The snow having considerably wasted away, the creeks and the river Opihi were m high flood and dangerous to cross. A little incident occurred which luckily passed off without a fatality. Last Wednesday evening Mr Close, undertaker, left here with a coffin for the burial of the late John McDowell. Owing to the great depth of snow he was travelling all night, and only reached Burkes Pass at 10 the following morning. It actually took him 13 hours to travel 13 miles. Only for his great presence of mind the result would have been serious. The Mackenzie Country road from Silverstream up is completely blocked, and the mails from here can only be despatched on horse-back. From the above notes it would appear that the storm was from the east of south, and that the eastern ranges precipitated the bulk of the snow as the clouds were carried over them. The foot hills on this side appear to be whitened to their bases, and the whole mountain region made a fine picture under yesterday's sun, and a perfectly clear sky. Settlers among the snow will scarcely be inclined, however, to dwell upon the pictorial effects of the storm. "'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."

Timaru Herald, 30 April 1901, Page 2
The funeral of the late Mrs Wm. Anniss, took place at Burke's Pass on Thursday last and was attended by sympathisers from the surrounding country. Mrs Anniss was brought from the Timaru Hospital on Saturday the 20th and died the following Monday. About 18 months ago she underwent an apparently successful operation for cancer at Timaru but soon after the old symptoms appeared and she .returned to the Hospital, but did not regain strength enough to submit to a second operation. Mrs Anniss had lived at Burkes' Pass 23 years and was highly respected. She leaves a husband and large family to mourn her loss.


TOUGH TIMES ON THE LAND
Michael Vance 4 August 2007 The Press (Christchurch)

`Rough Mike's real name was Michael Carriman -- at least that's near enough for the present purpose, and as you may imagine from the sound of it, he had a bit of the Irishman in him." The Press was attempting to explain the almost alien race reaching New Zealand in growing numbers -- Irish Catholics -- and it was doing so by way of a sentimental tale. That applied to the Mackenzie Country, where the Irish missed out on land leases -- the Scots and English got those -- but bore the brunt of the hard labouring. That day The Press reported a big snow in the Mackenzie and a "very wretched, untimely end" -- death from exposure. Robert Russell, a cook at Grey's Hill Station (now Greys Hills), having received a letter from his wife stating "that some of the children was (sic) seriously ill", started to walk home, presumably to what was then known as Fairlie Creek. "At the time, from 18 to 20 inches of snow was on the ground. He managed to get as far as Whales Creek, about 17 miles, and eight miles from Burkes Pass, where he was subsequently found dead. "From the position of the body it is evident he must have been having a drink of water from the creek, as he was lying in that position when found." The Mackenzie Country was comparatively recently settled. Its residents were still learning its demanding ways, including the need to get the merinos into sheltered pasture for the winter. The big snows of the early years killed huge numbers of sheep. "The Clayton station owners, Messrs Hamilton Bros, will suffer considerably, and it is said they are negotiating with a few farmers near Timaru to grass the whole of their sheep -- about 95,000. "Not a blade of grass nor a tussock is to be seen on the whole of their extensive area of land."

Two hunters in the Tasman Valley were caught in the storm.
Messrs Parker and Welsh had begun their journey home to Fairlie Creek in sunshine and a mere foot of snow. "However, the two gentlemen, the latter of whom was riding on horseback, had not gone more than about three miles when what is now termed the great snowstorm commenced. "So thick was the fall that it was impossible to see more than 20 yards ahead of them. Mr Parker quickly lost sight of Mr Welsh and so he was left to himself." The men were lucky to survive. One spent the night in the deepening snow, warmed only by two wet horse blankets and "and a whiff of his pipe during the night". The other man, Welsh, fought his way to Balmoral homestead through eight-foot drifts. The corpse was brought to Fairlie Creek and an inquest held on the Tuesday morning. The verdict was death from exposure. The burial took place the same day. Deceased leaves a widow and four children totally unprovided for." --Robert Russell is laid to rest. The Press, August 4, 1888


WOMAN OF DETERMINATION  9 July 2003 Timaru Herald
Pauline O'Leary's remarkable life journey came to an end on May 11, 2003. She was aged 77. A respected positive person, Mrs O'Leary will be remembered for her vision and determination in establishing South Canterbury Hospice. Her outstanding service to South Canterbury Hospice was publicly acknowledged when she was made the first life member and elected patron of the organisation. "Pauline will be remembered for her compassion, gentleness, sense of humour, her sincere and kindly interest in people and her strength of purpose to follow her dream for a hospice service in South Canterbury," president of South Canterbury Hospice Alan Munro said. Mrs O'Leary (nee Whyte) was born at Ashwick Flat near Fairlie on December 8, 1925. Born the third child and first daughter to Leslie and Mary Whyte, Mrs O'Leary had an early rural upbringing which consisted of completing farm chores every morning before school. As well as hand-milking cows, it was Mrs O'Leary's responsibility to cook breakfast (chops, eggs and fried potatoes) for her family. Her journey to Ashwick Flat School school consisted of a 5-mile horse and gig ride on a grassed road. In her early high school years she was sent to Timaru to care for her grandmother. While living in Timaru she attended the Convent School - a place that was not among her happiest memories. After completing her schooling at Fairlie High School, Mrs O'Leary was interviewed and accepted for Teachers' Training College. Unfortunately her dreams of being a teacher were shelved when the Second World War broke out. Under the manpower enforcement scheme, Mrs O'Leary was placed at the Fairlie Flax Factory. Despite the hard work, Mrs O'Leary had lots of fun at the factory and made some life-long friends. After her father died, Mrs O'Leary and her family shifted to Timaru where they ran a boarding house. Every Saturday Mrs O'Leary would do the boarders' washing in the copper.
With her mother's help she successfully dodged the manpower and went on to find work in the Rehabilitation and Income Tax Department. It was at a dance at the St Pats Hall in Timaru where Mrs O'Leary met her husband Bernie. The young couple lived in a cottage in Victoria Street before they took a position on a Levels farm. As well as providing meals and morning tea for eight shearers, Mrs O'Leary had a new baby to care for. In 1956 Mr and Mrs O'Leary bought a farm at Kakahu called Ranui.
Sixteen years and seven children later they built a new home on their section. Organisations such as the Women's Division Federated Farmers and Country Women's Institute (CWI) played an integral part of Mrs O'Leary's life. It was through a CWI class that she discovered one of her greatest joys - painting. A love of travel took Mrs O'Leary on a pilgrimage to Israel, Lourdes and Oberammergau. Mrs O'Leary completed a three-year national course on religious studies and set up a prayer group. A keen gardener and nature lover, Mrs O'Leary's vision for a hospice for South Canterbury first came about in 1987 while she was recovering from a life-saving cancer operation. She was quoted in Notable South Canterbury Women as saying: "I was getting better and thought there must be a reason for that - there's something quite important I should be doing." Mrs O'Leary shared her dream with her prayer group and with their help started a letter-writing campaign to try and drum up support. In 1989 a public meeting was held in Pleasant Point and a bank account opened. Mrs O'Leary became chairman of the steering committee and set about establishing South Canterbury Hospice. For some years she was a member of the management committee, serving as the first president. Mrs O'Leary showed great empathy to patients and their family and had a good rapport with hospice staff. Not only did she talk to many community groups about hospice but she also allowed her paintings to be reproduced on note cards which not only raised many dollars but brought great pleasure to those who received them. The affection and respect the community had for Mrs O'Leary was evident from the large number of people who attended her funeral service. One of Mrs O'Leary favourite quotes summed up her life nicely - "Whatever you can do or dream you can do - begin it; magic and power lie in boldness."


aetat 87
aet., aetat.,  aetatis (Latin: Aged).  (at the age of)

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