iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Tag: Canterbury

Martin Burke (1840 – 1918) ~ Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch

Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

While I was in Christchurch last June for the NZSG conference, I was determined to finally discover the resting place of my 2 x great grandfather, Martin Burke.  (There’s a picture of Martin in an earlier blog post.)  My first attempt with my aunt back in 2012 was not successful.  From Christchurch City Council’s cemetery database I knew he was buried in Sydenham Cemetery on 28th November 1918, and I had a plot number, but no map of the cemetery.  Major fail.

This time I had both!  However, it still wasn’t that easy to pinpoint his actual burial site.  While I could find the right block and row, none of the graves were numbered, so it was a case of using my phone and the online database to work out who was buried where, and narrow down his exact burial spot.

And what my aunt had thought was a walkway, was in fact our ancestor’s grave.

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Later that weekend, I met up with a Burke cousin at the conference, and they were also going to search for Martin’s grave.  However, they had been in contact with the council and had a plan with the names and gravesite numbers marked on it.  Smart!

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

We’re not sure why Martin doesn’t have a headstone on his grave.  Perhaps there was no money for a memorial, or some ill feeling amongst the family.  At least we now know where he rests.

Peter Dominic Gaffaney ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954

MR PETER GAFFANEY

A great many Canterbury farmers will regret the death recently of Mr Peter Gaffaney who for more than half a century was a freezing works buyer in different parts of the Province. He was a gifted judge of stock, and among buyers was known as a very hard man to buy against at a sale. He was born at Temuka, and at the age of 19 began buying for the Refrigerating Company at Timaru. The company was then known as the Christchurch Meat Company. He stayed with the company at Timaru and Fairlie for about 22 years, and in 1930 transferred to Borthwick’s and was sent to Fairlie. He went to Rangiora in 1930 and remained as buyer there until his retirement two years ago. In earlier years he bought a great deal at sales, and was sent by his firm to southern centres to buy. A contemporary recalls that about 1925 he bought most of a yarding of 12,000 lambs at Lorneville. His firm sent him for two seasons to Australia, where in the New Zealand off season he bought lambs for the concern’s Victorian works. He never kept a tally of the stock he bought, but reckoned that in his working life he must have accounted for nearly 2,000,000 lambs. He will be remembered by Canterbury farmers as a forthright purchaser who wasted little time in concluding a satisfactory deal, but he will be specially remembered for his unvarying willingness to help farmers wherever he could. There can never be a tally of the number of kindnesses he did in such ways as finding breeding ewes, or additional feed, for clients. He was a member of a famous sporting family, and in his earlier days was prominent as a Rugby forward. In more recent years his interests were in racing and trotting. He was a life member of the Rangiora Trotting Club, and a steward of the North Canterbury Racing Club, and a member of the Metropolitan Trotting Club.1

Some of the details in this obituary seem slightly out – like when he was transferred and to where, doesn’t seem to tally with other information I have. I think it will be helpful to work out a timeline of his life, see how everything fits in.

There’s no mention of any family, or other personal details, which is a bit disappointing.  I’m intrigued by the referral to his “famous sporting family”. What’s that all about? Something else to investigate!

  1. “Mr Peter Gaffaney”, The Press, Christchuch, 1954; digital image, scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE].

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