Robert Francis Vaughan Pheney[1]

Male 1867 - 1942  (74 years)


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  • Name Robert Francis Vaughan Pheney 
    Born 22 Oct 1867  New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4
    Address:
    Devon Street 
    Christened 3 May 1871  Haverstock Hill, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 5
    Address:
    Holy Trinity 
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 Aug 1942  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 6, 7, 8
    Address:
    Auckland Hospital 
    Cremated 2 Sep 1942  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 9, 10
    Address:
    Waikumete 
    _UID C0D8495CCAAB455C9A36C0AAF6A4D5A6A241 
    Person ID I1591  Treefive
    Last Modified 27 Oct 2016 

    Father Richard Cliff Francis Pheney,   b. 13 May 1831, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Oct 1869, New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 38 years) 
    Mother Emma Mitchell,   b. 20 Sep 1835, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jan 1921, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Married 4 Feb 1856  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [11, 12, 13
    Address:
    the Old Church, St Pancras 
    Family ID F455  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    00230 Painting by Robert Pheney
    00230 Painting by Robert Pheney
    Signed R. Pheney
    00231 Painting by Robert Pheney
    00231 Painting by Robert Pheney
    Signed R. Pheney
    00687 Pheney, Robert - 'Tree Study, Auckland Domain'
    00687 Pheney, Robert - "Tree Study, Auckland Domain"
    Watercolour 1911
    00688 Pheney, Robert - 'Nikau Palms'
    00688 Pheney, Robert - "Nikau Palms"
    Watercolour 1901
    00689 Pheney, Robert - 'Rock study'
    00689 Pheney, Robert - "Rock study"
    Watercolour 1921

  • Notes 


    • Robert was born on 22 Oct 1867 at 1 pm in Devon Street, New Plymouth. His father died the day before Robert's second birthday. It is possible that Robert spent some time at the Infant Orphan Asylum before his mother Emma took the family to England.

      The 1881 Census for Wanstead, Essex, England records Robert Francis W. Pheney, 13 years, born Taranaki, NZ.

      Robert returned to New Zealand in the 1880s. He is not with his mother and sister Emma, saloon passengers on the ship Oamaru which arrived in Auckland on 23 Nov 1884 - perhaps he was in steerage. His sister Frances had emigrated first, travelling alone in 1878 on the Dallam Tower.

      Robert was in Auckland by 1889. He led a full and varied life. His vocation was as an accountant, but he and Arthur L. Higgins were appointed Inspectors of Nuisances for the Auckland City Council in Apr 1902 – his Sanitary Inspector appointment was cancelled in May 1902, it is unclear if this was related to the appointment just the month before.

      He was a member of the Progressive League, particularly active in the period 1888-1890. At a meeting in March 1898, he gave an impromptu speech and recitation from Shakespeare. In Oct 1888, he give an address on "Trade Unions";
      In Jul 1889, he spoke on "Imperial Federation". In Sep 1889, he spoke in a debate on railway reform. In Oct 1889, he re-opened a debate on "Home Rule"; and in Mar 1890, he spoke on "Colonial Federation".

      Robert was an artist - a watercolourist. He was a member of the Mahlstick Club and an active member of the Auckland Society of Arts 1889-1940 - he remained a working member until 1942. In 1889 he won two first prizes in the Society's competition; in 1891 as a pupil of "Wright's Studio" (Frank and Walter Wright), he again won the competition. He was a committee member for the Society, exhibited many paintings and won several other awards over his long career as an artist. His sister Frances exhibited from the same address as Robert.

      He was also a photographer - elected club reporter for the Auckland Photo Club in Aug 1901. His photo "A Summer Afternoon on Auckland's Eastern Water-front" featured in Brett's Annual, which was reviewed by the Auckland Star on 20 Oct 1930. The Annual was described as “A Superb Production. Beautiful Colour Work” and Robert’s painting was also praised. It was “a truthful rendering of a familiar scene in Judge’s Bay, and many people familiar with the beach life of Auckland will be glad of this timely little reminder”.

      Robert was active in the Athenaeum Literary and Debating Society.
      In a debate at the Athenaeum, to be held on 27 Sep 1904, Mr. R. Pheney was to take the affirmative view on "That the present Indulgence in Sport is Detrimental to the Community". He may have struggled with this view – he had a range of sporting interests, noted below.
      The fortnightly meeting of the Athenaeum Society was held on 28 May 1901. Mr R. Pheney read the journal, and contributed an editorial on "The Cultivation of Literary Style". He cited many authors, and gave quotations from Cobbett, Ruskin and Quincey. At the meeting on 18 Jun 1901 of the Athenaeum Society, Mr R. Pheney gave a short speech on "Gardening”.
      He lectured on Goethe's "Faust" in Jul 1905.

      Robert was also involved in the Theosophical Society from at least 1906 to 1927.
      In May 1906 he gave a public lecture on "Man's Threefold Nature".
      A public lecture by Mr R. Pheney on "Brotherhood: Evolution and Occultism" was advertised for 9 December 1917.
      In Feb 1918, his subject for a public lecture at the Theosophical Society was "The Bhagavad Vita: The World Song and the World Battle".
      His lecture in Feb 1921 was on "Reincarnation and Reatonement".
      A lecture at the Theosophical Society by Mr. R. Pheney entitled "The Divine Aura Which Breathes Through Forms" was advertised for 2 Sep 1923.
      In 1927 he was the honorary auditor for the Theosophical Society.

      He also had sporting interests. In Oct 1888 he was in one of 7 rowing crews at the West End Rowing Club competing for Professor Carrollo's trophies.
      He played cricket in the 1890s for St Marys and was still playing in 1910, when he scored 51 runs for the Eden B team.
      He cycled – in 1900 he advertised an Osmond bicycle for sale – it had cost £35, he would take £12 for it.

      In 1895 he was a shareholder in The Aurora Gold Mining Company.

      The Auckland Star of 4 Apr 1906 noted that Mr Pheney had been elected as lieutenant of No. 9 G.A.V. (Garrison Artillery Volunteers). The Volunteers were raised in 1902, No. 9 Company was based at Devonport.

      From 1890 or earlier, Robert lived in Home Street, Grey Lynn and then from about 1914 to 1919 with his sister Frances at Grange Road, Mt Eden. He then moved to Parnell. On several occasions he used coastal shipping to travel around New Zealand, including to Dunedin and Wellington.

      Natalie Sinnott remembered that, when she was a girl living with her parents in Grange Road, Auckland, "Uncle Bob" (her great uncle) lived in a bach at the back of the property - this was towards the end of his life. Robert did not marry, and had no children.

      His newspaper death notice on 31 Aug 1942 read: "PHENEY On August 30, 1942, at Auckland, Robert Francis Vaughan, only son of Richard Pheney of London and New Plymouth and beloved brother of E M Howell of 228 Balmoral Road: aged 74 years. Funeral notice later." The funeral notice on 1 Sep 1942 advised that the funeral would leave Watney Sibun & Sons’ chapel at Khyber Pass, Newmarket at 11am on 2 Sep for the Crematorium.

      The Waikumete Cemetery crematorium recorded Robert as an artist and accountant.

  • Sources 
    1. [S510] Background Shipping Index New Plymouth Arrivals and Departures 1852-1880, Mrs Pheney & 3 chn (i.e. including Robert); 2 October 2000.

    2. [S26] BAP013 Baptism Pheney, Robert Francis Vaughan, BAP013.

    3. [S52] BIR020 Birth Pheney, Robert Francis Vaughan, BIR020.

    4. [S1628] DTH Death Index New Zealand, Robert Francis Vaughan Pheney; 23140; 1942.

    5. [S3513] ancestry.com London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, 3 May 1871: Robert Francis Vaughn Pheney.

    6. [S111] DTH007 Death Pheney, Robert Francis Vaughan, DTH007.

    7. [S1135] DTH175 Death Pheney, Robert Francis Vaughan, DTH175., Robert Francis Vaughan Pheney; 31 August 1942; page 1.

    8. [S2758] ancestry.com New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007, BUR193., Headstones: Panmure St Matthias.

    9. [S2110] DTH499 Pheney, Robert funeral notice, DTH499., funeral notice; 1 September 1942; page 1; http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

    10. [S2758] ancestry.com New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007, BUR193., Waikumete Cemetery Cremations 1942.

    11. [S174] MAR011 Marriage Pheney, Richard jnr (RCF Pheney) and Mitchell, Emma, MAR011.

    12. [S1346] MAR184 Marriage Pheney, Richard, MAR184.

    13. [S2402] ancestry.com England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, 4 Feb 1856: Richard Pheney and Emma Mitchell.