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Article about Ellen Isabella Moffat

Transcribed from photocopy of article obtained from Peter Moffat


Ellen, the sixth child of William and Ellen Moffat was born at Te Houka, and it is safe to assume that she was born in the sod house, their first permanent New Zealand home.

Like her brothers and older sister she attended the Te Houka school and we read of her in 1880 being placed second on the Class 5 prize list, also getting a special prize for writing. No doubt she stayed at home after leaving school, especially as her older sister Alice was married in 1882.

In 1900 Ellen was married to Albert Rooney, and from all accounts she was a very home-loving person who rarely left her home. Hannah, their daughter says she “never knew two people so much in love as her mother and father”.

Albert became a drover, after a hernia operation made it impossible for him to continue working as a landscape gardener. As a drover he was away from home quite a lot. Hannah can recall, with great amusement, a letter her Mother received which was a real “lovey-dovey affair”.

After her marriage Ellen attended the Methodist Church of which Albert was a Society Steward, and they are both mentioned in the Jubilee Booklet printed in 1920: “We do not forget quiet unobtrusive Mrs Rooney, whose interest and love for the cause is second to none”.

Throughout her married life Ellen lived at Kakapuaka — their house still stands although recently extensive alterations have been made. For many years Ellen regularly walked into Balclutha to do her “messages”. At Kakapuaka four children were born: Hannah, Bill, Patience and Elizabeth, who sadly died in infancy.

Ellen died in 1943 and is buried in the Balclutha Old Cemetery.

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