Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Karaka Creek wedding, 1896

Barbara Harvey, whom I meet through events put on by Friends of Waikumete Cemetery, told me of a wonderful find she made at Huapai: a white (yes, the buff colour here is just the colour of the paper Barbara very kindly scanned the invitation onto, then sent it to me in the mail) invitation, delicate and oh so old (1896) to a wedding which occurred between Ethel Margaret Redwood and Harry Ashby.

When she told me about it -- and that she had found the following news item about the wedding festivities in Papers Past, I'd thought the ceremonies had been held in Karaka, South Auckland, and that the Thames Star (24 July 1896) simply picked it up as news.

A pretty wedding took place yesterday afternoon, when Miss Ethel Redwood, second daughter of Mr John Redwood of the Karaka, was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Mr Harry Ashby, eldest son of Mr Wm. Ashby, of Bella street. The marriage took place at the residence of the bride's parents, the Rev. J. Mackenzie, M.A., officiating. The bride was given away by her father, and looked charming in a pretty cream costume, with silk and lace trimming; and orange blossoms. She also carried a beautiful bouquet made by Miss Ashby. Of the bridesmaids, Miss Grace Redwood and Miss Ethel Ashby looked excellent in maroon serge dresses with white silk sashes ; Miss Jessie Hutchison in cream cashmere and pale pink trimming ; and Miss Ethel Morris pale blue cashmere with blue, trimmed with ribbon. Mr Wm. Ashby officiated as groomsman. After the ceremony the bridal party sat down to a splendid wedding breakfast prepared by Mrs Redwood, mother of the bride. The presents were both numerous and valuable, showing the esteem in which the young couple were held. In the evening a party in celebration of the marriage was held in the Protestant Alliance Hall, about 50 couples being present. Mr A. Billing provided the refreshments to perfection. Songs and dances were indulged in, the dance music being supplied by J. Donnelly (violin) and R. Eastings (piano). Dancing was continued into the early hours, Mr Jas. Dare officiating as M.C.
But I suspect that the Ashbys were a Karaka Creek family, living in the vicinity of Thames. William Ashby is reported to have died at his son Harry's home in Karaka Creek, October 1910, to be buried at Shortland. (also Thames Star).

How the invitation ended up all the way in Huapai is anyone's guess. Thank you, Barbara, for letting me share your wonderful find with the readers!

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


  1. What a wonderful piece of ephemera! Truly delightful and again... good ol' paperspast!

    Lovely post :) thanks


  2. Yes, you can see family in the directories
    takes awhile to load
    Street off Karaka rd now called Redwood Lane
    Redwood Lane named after JOHN REDWOOD who lived at end of lane and was a Battery Manager for many years.(Ref 10)

  3. That's brilliant, Althea. Thank you!

  4. Ethel Margaret Redwood 1876-1952 was my Great Aunt my Granfather David Hutchison redwood was her Brother As a child i remember her as Aunt Ethel . The Redwood family lived in Redwood Lane off Karaka Road and the Karaka Stream ran past the bottom of the garden , I stayed in this house as achild a couple of times i think the last time was about 1960 , . The house is still there and is the owners residence of a Motel Complex The Ashby Family Lived on Bella Street Harry Died in 1938 he was a Cartage Contactor in Thames . John William Redwood Ethel's Father was the Battery Manager / Manager of the "May Queen Extented " mine at the time of his death in 1899 , he was born in London St Marylebone England in 1846 and Came to NZ with his parents and Siblings on the Ship " Egmont" in 1855 . i have a lot of information on the family if anybody is interested . It was really great to come across this item something i would love to own , look after it Cheers Lew Redwood

    1. Hello
      I am descended from Henry Senior Redwood brother of William Redwood in your tree!

  5. Thanks, Lew -- and definitely thanks for sharing your information! I'll pass this on to Barbara Harvey. I know she does treasure the invitation.

  6. Hi again, Lew -- message from Barbara:

    Dear Lisa,

    I have twice attempted to post a message - nothing has appeared? Can you do it? Tell Lew Redwood that I would be happy for him to have the wedding card



    Let me know how to get in contact, and I'll pass it on to Barbara for you.

  7. aww that's lovely :) i love seeing items go back to their families. Cheers for that Barbara...a lovely thing for you to do.


  8. Hi Barbara

    Thanks very much for your very generous offer are you sure that you want to part with it ? I would be delighted to own it and prepared to pay you for it . You can contact me on (09) 4383227 or e-mail I look forward to hearing from You Regards Lew Redwood