Sunday, April 19, 2009

Further information on the Gribble and Hirst families

I received the following email today from Shale Chambers, in response to this earlier post on the streets of the Shawville and S.L. Hirst subdivisions in Morningside. He's given me kind permission to post his email here.
"Great research.

I am Shale Chambers, husband of local Auckland City Councillor, Glenda Fryer, but more importantly 2nd Great-Grandson of James Gribble, whose estate was donor to Mt Albert Borough Council of most of what was to become Gribblehirst Park. We received the Mt Albert Historical Society April Newsletter, which brought to my attention both your website and the ‘Shaw Estate’ Leslie, Kenneth and Ethel Street subdivision street naming issue. Like you, until now I had taken Scott’s book advice at face value in my earlier research of the neighbouring Gribble Estate. I have, however, all the LINZ historical records for the Hirst subdivision, should you or the Society be interested in further details.

What I can tell you is that Samuel Luther Hirst (1851-1934), who married James Gribble’s eldest daughter, Mary Ann Gribble (1856-1941) purchased Allotment 154 and part Allotment 155 from the Estate of James Gribble in 1891 (it had first been purchased by Gribble as part of a larger estate in 1854). The land was subdivided by S. L. Hirst with the land forming Leslie, Kenneth, Thames (where Luther and James earlier were gold miners/managers - later in the ‘30s renamed Thanet due to the duplication of Thames street names) and Aroha Avenue (which joined to Troonsville Aveneue (part of the Gribble Estate subdivision and later all renamed Aroha Aveneue – Troonsville was a nearby tin mining town in Gribble’s homeland of Cornwall).

So to the street names. Allotment 153 and Ethel Street was outside the earlier Gribble Estate. You have speculated that Ethel was either a McDonald or a Collins. I am sure that will be correct, but I do note that there was a Ethel May Hirst (b. 1871, m. Samuel Armstrong Hetherington), who was the eldest child of S. L. and M. A. Hirst. There may be a connection, if no Ethel turns up in the McDonald or Collins whanau of the time. The Hirst’s other children were named Henry James (b.1877, d. 1877, 2 days), Hedley James (b. 1878), Mabel Elizabeth (b. 1881), Lillian Ivy (b. 1883), Henry Gordan (b. 1885), Samuel Leonard Bramley (b. 1888, d. WWI in France 9-6-1917), Ruby Myrtle Jubilee) b. 1890) and Ernest Percival Ivan (b. 1895). Those names provide no further clues to the street names of Kenneth and Leslie Avenues.

However, S.L. Hirst’s only grandchildren born by early 1906 were named Kenneth (b. 1904) and Leslie (b. 12-12-04). All other grandchildren were born from late 1906 on after the roads had been named and dedicated. It is almost certain that Kenneth and Leslie Avenues are named after these first-born two grandchildren of S. L & M. A. Hirst.

Kenneth Samuel Hetherington, the only known child of eldest daughter, Ethel and her husband Samuel Hetherington, and likely the first born grandchild of S. L. Hirst. Kenneth married a Murial C. – family name unknown, they had two children and lived in Riccarton before WWII. Kenneth served in WWII in the 21st Bn, NZ Infantry, No. 568026 and died at in action in Italy (presumably the Battle of Cassino) on 30 April 1944, aged about 39. He is buried at Cassino War Cemetery.

Leslie Henry Samuel Hirst was the first born to 2nd surviving child of S. L. & M. A. Hirst, Leslie Henry Samuel Hirst and his wife Editha nee Short (m. 1903). Leslie was born 12-12-1904. Leslie married Eileen Sarah Morton and they had two children.

I have many original LINZ records, and a rather full Gribble family tree and written history.

I trust this is helpful to your researches, and wonder what further may be required to place this information in the public record of our local street history.


Thanks, Shale. The good news is that the Auckland City Library's database was amended recently regarding the children's names entry. I'll let them know about the additional information regarding Kenneth and Leslie.


  1. A further email received two days ago:

    Hi Lisa,

    It was with great interest I came across your blog with information about Gribblehirst Park and the reply you received from Shale Chambers.

    My name is Chris Austin (nee Hetherington) and I am the granddaughter of Kenneth Samuel Hetherington that Shale mentions as being the Kenneth that Kenneth Street is named after.

    I can add the following information to that which Shale provided - Kenneth Samuel Hetherington was the eldest son of Ethel May Hirst and Samuel Armstrong Hetherington. They had two more children, Phyllis and Vincent, but they had not been born by 1906. They all lived in Thames where Samuel Armstrong Hetherington managed Hetherington's Drapery Store. Kenneth Samuel Hetherington married Muriel Clarice Simes in Christchurch and they had a family of two children, Judith and Michael (my father) and lived in Thames prior to WWII. Kenneth was killed at Cassino, Italy aged 40 years and is buried in the War Cemetery there. Muriel and the two children then moved back to Christchurch where her family was based.

    I have recently compiled a history of the Hetherington family which I donated a copy to the Auckland City Library if you are interested in further information about the Hetherington side.

    Many thanks,
    Chris Austin.

    Thanks, Chris!

    1. Hi,
      I work at the University Book Shop in Dunedin and we've just had an order for Chris Austin's book "The Simes Family of Christchurch." Unfortunately I'm finding it near impossible to find definitive contact details for her to notify her of the order. Is there any possible way this message can be passed onto her somehow? We'd love to be able to supply the customer with the book.
      Kind regards,
      Penelope Esplin
      University Book Shop
      378 Great King Street, Dunedin
      Ph: (03) 4776976

  2. Hi,i am at high school and i am doing a family tree.My beach house is in thames and my grandfather lives there.Inside the house it has a picture of the Hetherington store.Samuel is my great great great grandfather.I was wondering if you knew his wife because i know he had a child called Armstrong Hetherington who is my granfathers,grandfather.Thank you.

  3. i think.....................

  4. Hi Anonymous,

    Would you like to email me at, and I'll forward your enquiry onto Chris Austin who may be able to help you.