Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Lively Brays of Mt Albert

I've been working on this piece of research for a couple of days, all coming via the usual circuitous route of diversion-following which I do when not really looking into a project specifically. In the city on Friday, at the end of some commissions, I went into the Research Centre at the library to look up some articles related to the Henderson racecourses. I was in the late December period for 1867 because Boxing Day on some years during the 1860s was when the Dundee Saw Mill Races were usually held (started initially by Thomas Henderson, apparently, for the benefit of his mill workers. Probably the stop-gap until a hotel could be started up there, and a healthier alternative to same.) Anyway ...

I was scanning through the NZ Herald film file for December -- and spotted the A. K. Taylor attack story of Christmas Eve. This had remained undated in the book In Old Mt Albert by Dick Scott. Then, later, I saw William Galbraith's rather pointed letter identifying himself as the man who "impertinently" put his head into Taylor's carriage -- something else I hadn't seen before. Finally, came the report of an arrest made and the police court hearing concerning William Bray. I then contacted a friend of mine who is a descendant of the Bray family of contractors in Onehunga, and asked if his line included some Mt Albert settlers, and the answer was yes ...

Now, I have another piece of Avondale's puzzle filled in, as well as Mt Albert's. Thomas Bray and his sons William and George owned land between what is now Richardson Road and Oakley Creek, leading down between Hendon Ave and New North Road (and, for a time, the Pak n' Save site as well). Part of that land, the remaining farm owned by Thomas Bray at least in the early 1880s, went to his son-in-law J. Stewart, whose name keeps popping up with some regularity as a landmark for both Avondale and Mt Albert Road Board minutes. All this may even help me nail down a Mr. Gallagher in the future, someone I've been trying to sort out (who attempted to start up a brickyard, and have a rail siding along Blockhouse Bay Road towards his land, but failed with both projects).

Anyway, here's the research:
The Lively Brays of Mt Albert
Get your own at Scribd or explore others: History

Update: confusion between John Stewart (married to Mary Bray and the next owner of Thomas Bray's farm) and James Stewart (one of the owners of Allotment 66 and associated with the Thames Hotel) has been resolved. The original version of "The Lively Brays" has been deleted and replaced with the amendment (29 October 2008).

Update 28 April 2011: Info from Lew Redwood (see below also) re the Redwood-Bray connection


  1. " The Lively Bray's of Mount Albert " What a great little story !! William Bray was married to my G Grandfather John Redwood's sister Hannah Redwood .They eloped to Paihia Bay of Islands to get married in 1858, as the family was against the marriage , and were married in the Anglican Church on the 21st of October 1858 she was 14 years old ,there is some confusion over his age family history says that he was 18 years but other records put his birth as 1829 in Tiverton Devon England
    Lew Redwood

    1. Hi Lew, I was searching for information (& photos?) of my GG grandfather Thomas Bray when I found your post. William was born 6/4/1831 in Tiverton. I have a lot of information on the Bray line - if you are interested email me at
      Cheers - Ron McMullen (on the Bray side)

  2. Thanks for that, Lew. So, was there a link between Hannah's brother John, and the John Redwood of Karaka near Thames I've previously posted about? I see the Redwood family arrived in Auckland on the Egmont in 1855 -- John Redwood senior, John Redwood junior, Hannah, and the family.

  3. The John Redwood of Karaka Thames was my G Grandfather , Hannahs brother , he was the Manager of the "May Queen Extended" battery at the time of his death in 1899 aged 52 years. He had married Margaret Hutchison in Onehunga in 1871, Johns Father was William John Redwood ,known always as John , He was a capenter and built the Blockhouse in Onehunga in Jellicoe Park and died in 1860 aged 46 years his death has been attributed to the building of the Blockhouse during the winter months and he got pneumonia , Yes they did all arrive on the "Egmont' in 1855 .Margaret Hutchison was the Daughter of David Hutchison the boat/ship builder from OPnehunga who died in Levuka Fiji in 1867 , another of his Daughters Mary Hutchison married George Fisher my other G Grandfather who was a remmitance man and they lived in Paeroa The Hutchison's arrived in February 1860 on the Ship "Avalanche" Except for David the father he had arrived earlier but so far i have not been able to find on which ship
    Cheers Lew

  4. This is becoming more interesting by the minute! Fabulous, Lew, many thanks for the information. Are your Hutchison connections any relation to the 20th century architect William Martin Hutchison?

  5. Not that i know of . There is a small book in the Alexander Turnbull library and the Auckland Museam library called "A Group of Colonial Familys " writen by Pascoe Redwood who was my fathers cousin , and the owner of the Auckland Glass Company along with his brother John Addis Redwood , which covers the Redwood ,Hutchison , Addis , familys in early New Zealand some parts of it are not entirely correct but it is a very good account Cheers Lew

  6. I'll try to look out for that next time I make a trek to the museum. Pity there isn't a copy at the Auckland Research Centre. Cheers, Lew.

  7. Hi Lew. I'm researching family genealogy for my son's paternal family line. He's related to David Hutchison Redwood/ Margaret Robinson Hutchison & John Redwood line. I wonder, do you have photos of any of them by any chance? I'm trying to attach photos to as many family members as I can, so any help would be most gratefully received. My contact details are Thanks, Cheryl

  8. Hi Cheryl,

    Try contacting Lew Redwood. He gave these details under another post here:
    (09) 4383227 or e-mail