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 43-44 
    Booklet Section Jane Houliston Branch 
    Source ID S6 
    Text “Jane Houliston Branch

    Jane Houliston, aged 16, and Robert Fairbairn, aged 20, became great friends on board the Robert Henderson while coming to New Zealand. It was, however, four years before they married. Jane went out to service on arrival in New Zealand and had some unusual experiences. At one place, her mistress was very fond of the bottle and was so often "under the weather" that the young Jane had more than her share of extra work and responsibility. Later she worked for a Mrs Fuller, at Woodside. While there, she had an exciting adventure in connection with the Maungatua robberies of 16th October, 1861. Quite a number of miners returning from the gold fields were held up as they came over Mt. Maungatua, tied up and robbed of their gold. One man managed to free himself and subsequently the rest of his mates. They then walked three miles to Fuller's where they were taken in and fed. Jane was aroused from bed and set to boil potatoes as there was insufficient bread in the house.

    In 1864 Robert Fairbairn bought "Ferndale" and with the help of his brother built a house. This was of two rooms, made of clay and thatched with wi-wi rushes from the swamp. Here he took his bride. Their bridal journey was not without hardship. They came down the Taieri River and set out from the mouth to walk to their house. They lost their way, and to make things worse, the bride's best boots were not of the kind best suited for tramping across miles of swamp, tutu and scrub.

    During their first hard years, Robert spent quite a lot of time working out, harvesting on the Taieri Plains while his wife battled on by herself at home. She had to work hard, and led a very isolated life. Once she walked to Otokio over the roadless hills and she made regular trips to Taieri Mouth. Every Saturday morning in the 60s a storekeeper came down the river to deliver groceries ordered the previous week and to buy the farmer's butter and eggs. This developed into an occasion for meeting and exchanging news by the settlers. Sometimes Jane would drive the sledge, but often it was doing other essential work and she would set off walking, her butter and eggs in a basket and her baby securely tied on her back in a Paisley shawl Once she was going on horseback with her baby, Alice, in front of her, when her horse stumbled and they were both thrown to the ground, without, however, serious injury. Their daughter, Alice, was born at Te Houka at Robert Houliston's. When Jane was ready to go home, the babe being then six weeks old, she caught the coach to Milton. There her husband met her and they rode home to "Ferndale" Akatore. Their road led through the "Narrowdales" where the Michelles now live.

    About 1870 the sod house was vacated in favour of a storey and a-half wooden house. Once Jane's mother decided to visit the family at Akatore. Leaving the coach at Milton, she and two sons set off to walk across the hills to Ferndale. They lost their way and had to spend the night out in the open. The two boys curled up under a flax bush, but their mother walked about most of the night.

    The Fairbairns opened a lignite coal mine on the farm and built a trolley line to bring out the coal.

    Of the family all lived to adulthood except James. When a lad of twelve he was caught in the cogs of the horsepower which was used to cut the chaff. They set off for Dunedin with the injured boy made as comfortable as possible in a sledge. He died as they reached Saddle Hill. Robert, William and Samuel were all farmers. Of the girls, Mary, Jeminia and Barbara married farmers. Kate's husband, George Lawson, was a storekeeper at Taieri Beach, Outram and Momona. Alice's first husband, a fisherman, was drowned in tragic circumstances on the bar at Taieri Mouth. She later married Thomas Agnew, a farmer. Ellen's husband, John Coutts, was a surfaceman and later a gardener.” 
    Linked to John Coutts
    Robert Allen Fairbairn
    Robert Houliston Fairbairn
    Samuel Houliston Fairbairn
    William Moffat Fairbairn
    George Lawson
    John Russell 


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