James Qualtrough[1, 2, 3]

Male 1808 - 1881  (72 years)

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  • Name James Qualtrough 
    Born 26 Dec 1808  Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Christened 26 Dec 1808  Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6
    Parish of Arbory 
    Gender Male 
    _UID EB4B50E6E52F4620BD2FAE86118D0D08B9B0 
    Died 3 Oct 1881  Pakuranga, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Buried Pakuranga, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Pakuranga Cemetery 
    Person ID I400  Treefive
    Last Modified 22 Oct 2014 

    Father William Qualtrough,   b. Abt 1764,   d. 1826, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Mother Catherine Moore,   b. Abt 1786,   d. 1856, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 70 years) 
    Married 11 Jan 1807  Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Family ID F114  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Catherine Clague,   b. 15 Apr 1810, Malew, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jun 1881, Pakuranga, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years) 
    Married 12 Nov 1835  Malew, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
     1. James Qualtrough,   b. 1836, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 May 1896, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
     2. Elizabeth Jane Qualtrough,   b. 1838, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1918, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     3. William Qualtrough,   b. 1840, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1919, Cambridge, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
     4. Henry Qualtrough,   b. 1843, Malew, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1843, Malew, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     5. Catherine Qualtrough,   b. 1844, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Dec 1873, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years)
     6. Henry Qualtrough,   b. 1845, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1852, Malew, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 7 years)
     7. Richard Qualtrough,   b. 1847, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1921, Cambridge, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     8. Anne Qualtrough,   b. 1849, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jul 1908, Pakuranga, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years)
     9. Thomas Qualtrough,   b. 1851, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1944, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years)
     10. Sarah Qualtrough,   b. 11 Sep 1853, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Aug 1921, Te Awamutu, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     11. Emily Qualtrough,   b. 1855, Arbory, Rushen, Isle of Man Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Oct 1941, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
    Last Modified 12 Sep 2019 
    Family ID F115  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    00058 James and Catherine Qualtrough
    00058 James and Catherine Qualtrough
    00639 Catherine and James Qualtrough  1870
    00639 Catherine and James Qualtrough 1870

  • Notes 

    • JAMES QUALTROUGH (1808 – 1881)


      This background is based on chapter 2 of A Quota of Qualtroughs (authors Elizabeth A. Barlow and Joy McDougall, published in Matamata, New Zealand by Elizabeth A. Barlow in 1984), by kind permission of Elizabeth Feisst. For further information on Qualtroughs worldwide see http://www/qualtrough.org.

      The name Qualtrough, like many Manx names that begin with a Q, is of Celtic-Norse origin, and derives from the McWhaltrough clan of Kentraugh, an important estate of early times. The land was given, tradition has it, to the first McWhaltrough (or Mac Whaltroughe) in Mannin Beg (Isle of Man) who was said to be a half-brother of one of the Norse kings.

      The Kentraugh estate in its heyday comprised twelve farms, three mills and a large house and a number of smaller farmhouses and outdwellings. Ancient Manx records show Kentraugh Mill was working as far back as 1506, owned by a Robert Qualtrough (McWhaltragh).

      A great stone wall ran along the foreshore and is still in existence. Some say this wall was built as an effective shelter against the wild storms of the Irish Sea, others that it was a bastion of defence against invaders; yet others that the powerful southside family of Qualtroughs built the wall as cover for their private and possibly dubious activities – smuggling of whisky and rum-making, maybe. The gates to the driveway of the house were operated mechanically, shutting out intruders.

      The Qualtrough name was recorded as far back as 1430 with a William and a Jenkin Mac Qualtroughe being named as Members of the House of Keys (Manx Parliament). In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries some of the family were Deemsters – the lawmakers in various districts of the island who were judge-and-jury in settling disputes and punishing wrongdoers. And there is a ballad telling of the jaunty deeds of one, Captain Harry Qualtrough, a privateer on the side of the British in the Napoleonic Wars – the “Tiger Privateer” it is called.

      Fame and fortune wax and wane. Certainly the Qualtroughs tumbled from their pinnacle. Information taken from Mona Douglas’s book, They lived in Ellan Vannin, tells how one of the hereditary owners of Kentraugh lost the ancient seat through the application of a harsh Manx law in the early 19th century.

      He had mortgaged the property for £300 (sterling) – quite a sum of money in those days. The mortgagee, claiming financial difficulties, forced the closure of the mortgage and the Qualtroughs were doomed. In default of cash payment the claimed not only the value of the money loaned, with interest, but the estate, including household chattels. This was the entitlement under the law of the land, no matter how harsh.

      Had the Qualtroughs not suffered loss of lands and position by the action of kinsmen, it is unlikely that there would be New Zealand lines of the family today.


      This biography is transcribed from chapters 4, 5 and 6 of A Quota of Qualtroughs (authors Elizabeth A. Barlow and Joy McDougall, published in Matamata, New Zealand by Elizabeth A. Barlow in 1984), by kind permission of Elizabeth Feisst. For further information on Qualtroughs worldwide see http://www/qualtrough.org.

      Text in square brackets [ ] refers to matters in A Quota of Qualtroughs that are not included in the biography below. The explanatory note in double square brackets [[ ]] at the beginning of chapter 5 is not part of that chapter.
      4 Family Exodus of 1859

      Who was Who in the JAMES QUALTROUGH family bound for New Zealand in 1859:
      James Qualtrough (51)
      Catherine Qualtrough, nee Clague (47)
      James, Jnr (23)
      Elizabeth Jane (20)
      William (19)
      Richard (12)
      Anne (10)
      Thomas (8)
      Sarah (6)
      Emily (4)

      Two sons, both named Henry, had died in childhood. The first Henry died the year he was born (1843). The second Henry, born in 1845, died in 1852.

      Their second daughter, Catherine (15) stayed behind with an aunt and an uncle on the Isle of Man. [(See Genealogical Charts 1 and 4 – 8).]

      JAMES QUALTROUGH was 51 in 1859 when he left the Isle of Man to settle in New Zealand – not an adventurous boy but a man of middle-age who must have weighed up the pros and cons thoroughly before making the decision. His wife, Kitty, also entering into her middle-age, had borne 11 children.

      James, birthplace Arbory, Rushen Vale, in the southern end of the Isle of Man, was the son of William and Catherine (nee Moore) Qualtrough and he had three sisters – Elizabeth, Margaret and Jane.

      [(A few words here about these Manx kinsfolk may make it easier to follow our Family Tree later on.] Elizabeth, a dressmaker, did not marry. She died in 1881. Margaret married Edward Keig, sometimes spelt Kegg, and they had a daughter, Betsy and a son Edward. Jane married John Hudgeon. There were no children of this marriage.

      Margaret’s son, Edward, married Christian Moore and they produced three daughters named Kathleen, Irene and Marjorie. Marjorie married Herbert Pedder. [See Genealogical Chart 1)].

      Going back to James himself, he had married Kitty (nee Clague) at Malew in 1835. Kitty Clague was the daughter of James Clague and Barbara Kinley, of Ballawhetstone, MAlew. Just why their daughter Catherine stayed behind when the rest of the family migrated is not wholly clear except that she seems to have spent with the childless Aunt Jane and Uncle John Hudgeon of Ballakillowey.

      Perhaps there was a pull of heartstrings – at 15 years of age Catherine could have been courting. The eldest Qualtrough son, James Jnr. had spent much of his youth with his grandmother Qualtrough, going back to his parents upon her death in 1856. Communities were close to each other.

      The names sound formal, copied from documents. The owners were almost certainly called Jim or Jamie, Kitty or Kate among family and friends, for in James’ shipboard diary[, as you will see,] the children are referred to by the diminutives of their given names.

      In much later years their nephews or nieces – some of whom are living at the time of writing - used the shortened name with, of course, a respectful prefix of Aunt or Uncle.

      It must have taken courage, faith, optimism – and surely a degree of desperation – for a middle-aged couple with eight children to pull up stakes from a settled land and sail to an unknown country on the other side of the world and start all over again.

      The Isle of Man was a rural community with little employment for young people other than to work the land. Farms had been supporting families for generations and had been divided and sub-divided. Most holdings were small, most families were big. What could the future promise?

      In New Zealand the Government was enticing the “right” kind of settlers – good, experienced farming folk of some substance – with what was popularly called the “40 acre scheme.” (Officially the Auckland Wastelands Act of 1858). To emigrants who could pay their own passage out the Crown would grant land – allotting 40 acres per adult and 20 acres per child above five years of age and under 19 years of age.

      James must have been struggling for some time before the decision to emigrate. It seems he had inherited debts from both his father and father-in-law and was obliged to meet them.

      The decision was made. Most of the land that was James’s, comprising three farms, one in the north and two in the south of Man were disposed of, belongings were packed. It was good-bye forever to mystic Mannin Beg – Isle of Fairies – where Qualtroughs had lived for hundreds of years.

      Towards the end of June (1859) James and Kitty and the family turned their backs on their Island homeland and their past and crossed to England to make ready for the long voyage to the new land. How their thoughts must have been with Catherine who stayed behind. The tears must have flowed at the moment of parting, the hearts ached.

      They made for Liverpool where their ship awaited them. It was the Mermaid, already famous for a race against the illustrious Red Jacket in 1854 on the competitive London-Melbourne run. Mermaid had lost upon that occasion but nevertheless she was the pride of the White Star line, a clipper of 1321 tons built in Nova Scotia in 1853 and destined 50 years later to be wrecked of Southport on passage from Liverpool to Quebec.

      She was making her first – and only – voyage to Auckland. Thereafter she was to serve the London-Lyttelton run under the Shaw Savill flag (by charter until 1869 when she was purchased) and to make waves in nautical circles with a record voyage of a mere 75 days from Lyttelton to the English Channel (unloading on the 78th) in 1862.

      Such a feat was this that Mermaid was accorded a heroine’s welcome when she sailed into Lyttelton in February 1864. The then LYTTELTON TIMES reported that other ships in port flew bunting and fired a salute to her master, Captain Rose.

      The first sight of the ship, black-painted hull a foil for the pine-yellow topmasts and furled white cotton sails must have imprinted itself on the minds of the young Qualtroughs.

      Author James Cowan (son of Elizabeth Jane) in his SETTLERS AND PIONEERS, writes of the Mermaid:

      “The figurehead, carved by a craftsman of rare skill, was the most lovely mermaid ever chiselled. Her long, blue-black hair, as sleek as a seal’s coat, fell and flowed as to the life and in keeping with tradition, she held a comb and a glass in her hand. The siren advanced, bowing with the rhythmic progress of the ship, ushering the sea rover into the realms of blue water. The swell sometimes buried her generous bosom as the bow fell into the hollow and with the next heave upward, lifted her on to the crest and bared her graceful dolphin tail.”

      Then again:

      “Looking outboard one would have seen that the vessel had a broad yellow band along her covering-board, defining her sea-kindly sheer and her high lift of bow. No make-believe lines of painted gun-ports chequered her sides. That fashion of 13 dummy ports aside was left to the British ships....... double top-sails had just come in in the Merchant Service but so far the Mermaid’s owners preferred the old-style whole sails.”

      Mermaid’s master was a Captain White and he was taking some 400 passengers of various classes out to a new life in a new colony – English, Irish, Scottish, German and, it goes without saying, Manx. It must have taken some planning on the Qualtroughs’ part. Imagine the foodstuffs, clothing, medicines, toiletries, books and other domestic needs for the long voyage for 10 souls plus such household effects that could be taken on a ship which were considered essential.

      On July 11 the Mermaid was towed down the Mersey River towards the open sea. On July she spread her three columns of canvas, the proud and serene figurehead rejoicing in the tang of the Irish Sea which the Manx family were never again to sail upon – save the eldest son James Jnr. 22 years later following his father’s demise – and it was southward ho!

      James Snr. was a tall, good-looking man, educated, courteous, religious and with a dry sense of humour. This we deduce from a photograph taken of him and Catherine before their departure; and from the writings of his diary and descriptions to James Cowan by his mother (Elizabeth Jane also called Betsy). Jimmy Cowan was about 11 years old when his grandfather Qualtrough died so he would have had some personal memories himself.

      The version of James Qualtrough’s diary following on here is one of the copies scattered throughout our family. The original was held by the late Mr. J. A. (Bert) Kinley of Ballafesson, Isle of Man, a descendant of daughter Catherine.

      We only wish that James had continued to keep such a diary of his life in New Zealand.

      Catherine in the photograph, looks neat, well-dressed and slightly formidable, much less a relaxed person than her husband. But who is to say? Perhaps she just took a poor picture. And with a husband and seven children to look after (James Jnr and daughter Catherine living with relations) body-and-mind must have been on the go from morning to night. There were no labour saving devices as we know them.

      Upon Kitty and 20-year-old Betsy must have fallen the bulk of the thousand-and-one details of preparing for the family’s personal needs upon the high seas. According to entries in James’ diary, Kitty was also active in helping sick and distressed fellow-passengers throughout the 100-day voyage. Most of all she kept her own dear ones alive and healthy from Mannin Beg to Aotearoa and throughout the years as early settlers.

      The voyage was lively. Tragedy, drama, comedy trod the deck of the ship as surely as ever trod boards of theatre. Entries in James’ diary set the springs of imagination a-bubbling.

      5. Voyage to New Zealand

      [[Explanatory note: James wrote diary entries most days between Friday 15 July and Wednesday 19th October 1859. They relate mainly to the weather (particularly when it caused issues for sailing the ship) and the location, with some notes about life of the passengers on board ship. Only the introduction and the first two and final two entries are included here.]]

      Diary of the late James Qualtrough. The MERMAID left Merseyside 11 July 1859 and arrived Auckland 19 October 1859.

      We left the Mersey on the 11 July 1859 about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, tugged by the tug boat RATTLER belonging to the tug company. She did not leave until Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock, when the MERMAID set sail and made her own way at about 8 knots an hour. In the afternoon most of the passengers became very sick. On Thursday the 14th we had something like a hospital on board. The worst of us were James and Ellen Martin. I have been very sick myself but I have never lost my spirits. I have been able to join in our prayer meeting with a measure of delight.

      Friday 15th Today when I write, the children are playing about in good spirits. My dear wife and Betsy are beginning to knit and to sew. James and Ellen Martin are a good deal better. We have all day long an hubbub, something like a fair with 400 on board.


      Tuesday 18th We are surrounded with coast fowls, from the Islands, all around, of which I think there are some dozens in numbers. Some small smacks and wherrys trading on the coast. The signals from hill to hill tell a ship has reached Auckland now. The first ship that came within hearing, the Captain called out. “What ships are in Auckland?” He was pleased to hear that the MAORI was not in.

      Wednesday 19th About 10 o’clock last night, after we had anchored, the pilot came on board. This morning we got near the wharf in good health.

      James Qualtrough

      6. Early Years in Pakuranga

      IT WAS Spring in New Zealand when the jaunty Mermaid swept into Auckland waters well ahead of her illustrious rival, the Maori, on 19 October, 1859.

      Triple-coned Rangitoto, awesome guardian of the Waitemata, a volcanic peak merely dormant, dominated the other half-dozen offshore islands.

      “Waitemata? It means ‘sparkling waters’.”
      The translation rippled through the ship as excitement mounted. The end of the voyage!

      Old gravures show Auckland of those days with wooden jetties on a shoreline no longer in existence, high up in what is now a multi-storey Downtown of Auckland City. There were buildings – the first warehouses and business offices, hotels, private guest-houses, a few shops and silhouetted on the skyline, Partington’s Mill. Here and there, a horse-team drawn cart, a bullock wagon, a saddled horse, await further orders and pedestrians moved gracefully on cobbled streets. The men, in narrow-legged trousers, longish jackets and high hats, escorted ladies in full skirts, bonnets and often with parasols. Pictures which included Maoris showed them in European clothing with tattooed faces, many of then bewhiskered, some with long greenstone ear pendants, somewhat incongruous in their sartorial anachronisms.

      Grafton Gully – no bridge as yet – had masses of feathery tree ferns, tall kahakiteas and puriris, topped by an occasional kauri in silhouette, highlighted by a stand of golden kowhai in bloom.

      There was much open space among the stolid brown buildings, land that sloped away to open country which rolled towards green hills and blue skies on a long horizon.

      Auckland in October: warmth in the sun and a brisk sea breeze scudding clouds that held suggestions of a passing shower across the slender neck of land separating the Waitemata from the Manukau. On the waterfront investigating seabirds, keening and exultant in their discoveries, must have touched chords of memory for the immigrants whose home shores were far away.

      James had been allocated Crown land out from Papakura, about 45 kilometres southward from Auckland, in the Hunua bush. Exactly where we haven’t been able to ascertain. It comprised approximately 120 hectares on the arithmetic of the 40-Acre Scheme.

      After the preliminaries and formalities of landing and the business at the Land Office, the Qualtroughs were introduced to a bush settler-farmer who lived about two kilometres away from their allotment. He was to take them by bullock cart to their land and give them a hand settling in. James paid him £1 (sterling) a day, which he did not consider excessive in view of the work and time involved; and no doubt for the useful information he could impart.

      Papakura was on the Great South Road, which had evolved from the portage tracks of the Maoris to a highway metalled as far as Drury. There was actually a daily coach service from Auckland to Drury, run by a Mr. William Young. It was known, grandly, as the “Auckland, Papakura and Drury Diligence.”

      It would not have accommodated the Qualtroughs and their possessions, though, for according to THE NEW ZEALANDER, issue dated 23 December 1857, it was capable of carrying .... “nine substantial yeoman or traders and even nine ladies (provided their several courses of vestments were not open to Mr Punch’s rebuke) with comfort and without distress to the horses.” The PUNCH reference was to a topical joke taken from the famous magazine which was eagerly-awaited reading from ‘Home’.

      From James Cowan’s SETTLERS AND PIONEERS comes the following information on the Qualtrough’s first night in the bush – and New Zealand.

      “.... The height and thickness of those trees and the density of branch and leafage amazed the stalwart stranger who stood gazing at them, axe in hand. Their boughs stretched far overhead, they were looped together with a rigging more intricate than a ship’s; cable-like grey ropes, round as hawsers and as strong, hung down from the hazy ceiling, like ropes in some woody belfry.

      “.... The axeman walked out from the bush fringe to the tents gleaming against the dark of the tall timber. In the little camp there were two tents and a tarpaulin shelter for the piles of baggage trunks, shipboard chests, boxes of food stores and a hundred supplies.

      “While he (James snr.,) had explored the bush edge and tested the tree-temper with eye and nose and axe, his family had reduced the miscellaneous loads from the bullock-dray to some order against the night.

      “.... Most of their land was covered with standing bush – a tall forest of red and white pine, puriri, rata, kohekohe; on the hills the great kauri; but timber is of no use to the pioneer after enough had been pit-sawn from it for the home buildings. The rest would have to go up in smoke and add to the fiery pall which would presently cover most of the bushland sections.”

      Betsy’s most vivid memory of that first night in the bush was of the meal that the mosquitoes made of their faces – “the stinging flies” they called them.

      Their neighbour (unnamed) came around the next morning to tell them he had arranged with a group of Maoris down at Papakura Creek to build the newcomers a nikau whare to live in until they could put up a more permanent dwelling.

      “.... Two cheerful young Maoris came up and greeted the pakehas. Both could speak some English. They set to on a neat whare with beautifully-made walls of nikau palm leaves, artistic as well as useful, with a thick roofing of fern-tree fronds. By the end of the second day, with the assistance of the white family in cutting, fetching and carrying, there was a rain-tight house, one that would be cool in hot weather and warm and windproof in cold....

      .... “gradually the settler and his family fitted themselves into the conditions of the country, on the edge of the interminable forest. It was not so very difficult for these country-bred folk. They cut their way slowly into the bush with the nearby Maoris to call upon for help and bush-sense. When a little ground was cleared the neighbour lent them his bullocks and plough. To the Maoris a few pounds of tobacco and gifts of clothes were more acceptable than money.”

      James Cowan observes that the friendly and helpful spirit of the Maoris helped mightily in establishing immigrants on the land in the first two decades of British settlement. Unfortunately it did not last. He writes:

      “In the third year of the MERMAID family’s life in the bush the Waikato war began. The kindly Maoris of the South Auckland country were forced into the struggle ....

      “.... That unhappy check to the peaceful subjugation of the bush and the winning of a livelihood from the newly-turned soil altered the course of life for many a border family. The tragedy of war, like so many far greater wars before and since, could have been avoided. At any rate, the frontier settlers and the Maori farmers were not the warmakers.”

      Perhaps the rumblings of war were behind the decision of James to change his land. We can only speculate on the reasons. Perhaps the distance from church and school played a big part, for James was a deeply religious man, well-educated and keen for his children to be educated.

      Perhaps he realised that to turn virgin forest into farmland would take more years of prime-of-life than he felt he had left to him. Perhaps the isolation was too much for Catherine and the girls.

      Documents show that James Qualtrough, farmer, of Papakura, purchased land at Pakuranga from Alfred Buckland, stock and station agent, on 4 December, 1860. He bought 118 acres 32 perches (47 hectares) on the main Panmure-Howick highway for which he paid £1,180 (sterling).

      East Tamaki, Howick and Pakuranga were already well settled. The populace included retired soldiers, men of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles who, on leaving military service, were given a cottage and an acre of land.

      Thousands of immigrants were to arrive in the Auckland areas in the 1860’s and Tamaki-Pakuranga land was favoured for its relatively easy access by water or across country to the port of Auckland, about 23 kilometres away.

      The area was good land for wheat and vegetable growing, with ready markets at Howick where troops were stationed, and in Auckland itself. Wheat was transported in sacks to Partington’s Mill – known as the Victoria Flour Mills – and butter and eggs were sold.

      For 15 years (1850-1865) access to Auckland across the Tamaki River depended upon a punt operated by a Joseph Williams. According to records this was a pretty uncomfortable, dangerous experience for those forced to use it. The punt was often holed, or its guiding chain broken; and the transport of stock by punt could mean delays of an hour or more. There was a strong current at the point of crossing and mishaps were common.

      In his book OLD MANUKAU, historian A. E. Tonson writes:

      “.... The traffic crossing in 1862 was quite considerable and the daily average was about 180 settlers and children, 58 horses, 23 carts and 100 cows and sheep.”

      Prompted by dissatisfaction from the settlers, the Tamaki Bridge Act was passed in 1864 and a bridge was put across the river in 1866. A. E. Tonson writes:

      “The settlers were able to cross on a new 19-span bridge built of materials brought over from Australia. Costing £17,025 (sterling) the bridge was 576 feet in length and with a width of 21 feet and at the Papakura end was a swivel apparatus which opened to provide a passage of 40 feet for large vesels.

      “.... In 1916 a new 800-ft concrete bridge was opened and this remained until demolished in 1963 after being replaced in 1959 by the present bridge.”

      A. E. Tonson draws a graphic picture of the bridge in use in early days. viz:

      “Travelling to town from Pakuranga was quite an event in the early years and on Fridays, dressed in their best, the various families with horse and trap would head for the city market. The toll to cross the bridge was 6d for a horse and cart. As cutters used the river, it was often a race to reach the bridge before the gates were closed and the keeper cranked the span around.”

      Not all towngoers went in style. It was quite common for the young and sturdy to walk the distance there and back, sometimes carrying a 25-kilo. sack of flour on their shoulders on the return journey.

      A school was not officially established in the locality until 1869 – weekly fee 9d for seniors, 6d for juniors – but James had his younger children taught privately, paying one shilling per week per pupil. The schoolroom was set up in the teacher’s home.

      James was a prime mover in having the Methodist Church at Howick, then a predominantly Catholic population, moved to Pakuranga for the use of faithful Wesleyans. [(See chapter on history of the church.)]

      James and Catherine died in the same year – 1881 – and both are interred in the graveyard on the site of the church before it was moved to the Howick Historic Village.

      We don’t know too much about life at Pakuranga between 1860 and 1881. Certainly it was not a land flowing with milk and honey if James and Catherine had expected such, which is most unlikely.

      Although the land was fertile there were two exceptionally bad winters between 1860 and ’63 and the latter year also saw the outbreak of the Waikato Wars which disrupted the lives of all families. Within three months of war being declared, on July 12, all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 55 were on active service. Youths under 16 and men turned down for active service trained for the Home Guard.

      Although Pakuranga was not actually attacked, Maori raiders killed isolated settlers and looted their homes as close to the settlement of Howick – where the Militia was stationed – as Whitford and Maraetai. A family named Trust (how ironic!) were massacred only a couple of miles from Howick in a particularly brutal and unjustified killing.

      The Waikato Wars ended officially in 1864 and Auckland areas at least settled into peace. But the year of fear had imprinted itself into the minds of the young Qualtrough children for both Thomas and Emily, though aged only 12 and 8 respectively at the time, told tales of burying valued possessions in the front garden of their house in case the family had to flee to safety. Tommy, though so very young had duties with the Home Guardsmen should the area be attacked, fetching and carrying guns and water – so he said. Memories of his help being appreciated might have been a little dramatised in true ‘boy’ fashion.

      The farm was still financially encumbered upon James’ demise. James Jnr. took it on although he himself had a small piece of land at Karaka. By this time Willy, Richy and Tommy had gone off to seek their fortunes in the Waikato, which was forging ahead as the Golden South of the 60’s and 70’s.

  • Sources 
    1. [S249] Biography Qualtrough, James and Catherine and descendants.

    2. [S255] BOK008 Book - A Quota of Qualtroughs, BOK008., Qualtrough emigration and life in New Zealand for James, Catherine and descendants.

    3. [S3826] BAP Baptism National Library of Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers (Copy).

    4. [S1006] 1851 Isle of Man Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 2526; Folio: 108; Page: 28; GSU roll: 105992-105996.

    5. [S15] BAP002 Baptism Qualtrough, James 1808, BAP002.

    6. [S2544] ancestry.com Isle of Man, Select Parish Registers, 1598-1950, 26 Dec 1808 Arbory: Jas Qualtrough.

    7. [S113] DTH009 Death Qualtrough, James, DTH009.

    8. [S176] MAR013 Marriage Qualtrough, William and Moore, Catherine, MAR013.

    9. [S175] MAR012 Marriage Qualtrough, James and Clague, Catherine, MAR012.