Booklet titled “Here a Name - A History of the Houliston Family in New Zealand”



Source Information

  • Name Title Booklet titled “Here a Name - A History of the Houliston Family in New Zealand” 
    Author written by Caldwell, P. 
    Source Type Booklet Detailed 
    Dated 1982 
    Editor revised by E Franklin 
    Page Number pp 3-4 
    Booklet Section Ellen Shiels Houliston Branch 
    Source ID S3 
    Text “Ellen Shiels Houliston Branch

    On May 25th, 1830, to George Moffat and Isabella (nee Clark) at Blakerstone, Berwickshire, Scotland, was born a son, William. On April 31st, 1857, at Oldhamstocks, he married Ellen Shiels, eldest daughter of Robert and Alison Houliston, the officiating minister being Rev. Wm. Paterson. They sailed almost immediately for Australia. The journey was arduous and long and the young bride was very seasick. Having been advised by well-meaning friends that oranges would help her, she indulged greatly in these to no avail. The combination of oranges and seasickness left an ever-enduring impression on her mind with the result that never to the end of her days would she again touch an orange and later, when her husband mooted the idea of a trip home, she turned him down unhesitatingly.

    On January 10th, 1858, at Collingwood, Australia, their first-born, George, saw the light of day. William was at this time driving provisions to the silver mines so Ellen, accompanied by a friend in like condition, took a house in Collingwood until after their confinements. She later joined her husband at the diggings where they lived in a tent house. The following year at Smeaton on May 28th Alison Wright was born. Here at Smeaton, also, on December 24th, 1860, Robert was born.

    At the beginning of 1862 the Moffat family sailed for New Zealand where the Houliston family were already planning to buy land. They came first to East Taieri where William worked on Mr Todd's farm for a year or two. They lived in a small house near the gates of the East Taieri Church. Here on August 16th, 1862, Isabella was born and here on June 10th, 1863, she died and was buried in the East Taieri cemetery. For the sum of 41/5/- Mr Wm. Moffat acquired "for himself, his heirs or assigns, the perpetual exclusive right to one burial allotment in the Taieri cemetery number 77".

    Later in 1863 they shifted to Te Houka where they had acquired a section of 50 acres. This cost one pound per acre and was the nucleus of the present Ellenslea farm. This shift was accomplished with the help of a pair of bullocks, one of which afterwards became tooted and died. He was buried in a paddock, which for long afterwards was known as "Jimmie's Ridge" in his memory. On arrival they pitched a tent in a paddock south of the present house and just above a spring in the little gully which runs at right angles to the road. Here they lived while the sod house, situated some distance behind the present house, was being constructed. This sod house, thatched with rushes, was occupied for many years. The children born at Te Houka were:

    Alexander; March 20th, 1864,

    Ellen Isabella; March 13th, 1866,

    Adam Houliston; December 3rd, 1869,

    Samuel William; October 3rd, 1875,

    Elizabeth Jane; April 15th, 1879.

    During the early hard days, William helped to make ends meet by contract fencing for the railway at 5/- a chain. He also worked on the roads and build miles of sod fences. When times were easier, a wooden storey-and-a-half house was erected, by carpenter Hope. This was occupied until 1915 when the present house was built by Cross Bros., of Kakapuaka.

    All the sons except Alexander were farmers. Alexander worked in Ryrie's store in Balclutha and boarded with his uncle and aunt, the Robert Houlistons, Junr. He contracted tuberculosis and in 1888 his father arranged to take him, on the doctor's advice, to Australia. It was though that a sea voyage might arrest the disease. They embarked on the S.S. Tarawera; but, when one day out from Auckland, Alexander died. The captain put in to Russell and landed the father and his dead son. Here in the cemetery at Russell lies the 24-year-old Alexander.

    Among the records we have of Ellen Shiels, is a picture taken, I think as a wedding photo. In this William's hand showed coyly round the far side of his wife's waist. She was so "sair affronted" that she would not have them distributed; but in later years the daughters found them and helped themselves.

    William died while still in his prime. He contracted a foot injury which necessitated the amputation of his leg. This was done in the Ellenslea home by the local Dr Smith, assisted by Dr Fitzgerald, of Kaitangata. One room was emptied of its furniture and here on the kitchen table, the operation was performed. Although he survived the operation, gangrene set in and he died soon afterwards. Ellen survived him till 1919 when she died at the age of 82. Of the family, William carried on the Ellenslea farm, which is still being farmed by his son, James Maurice Moffat. George and Adam farmed "Blinkbonnie" and "Newfield" a block purchased from a Mr Cameron and originally known at "Glenbig". These farms are now in the possession of Neville Moffat and Arthur Moffat respectively. Robert was also a farmer at Te Houka. Alice married James Wilson, a Te Houka farmer. Ellen married Albert Rooney, drover, and went to live at Kakapuaka. Elizabeth married her cousin, Robert Houliston, of Kakapuaka.” 
    Linked to Adam Houliston Moffat
    Alexander Moffat
    Ellen Isabella Moffat
    Samuel William Moffat
    William Moffat
    Family/Spouse: William Moffat / Ellen Shiels Houliston 


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