Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reunion Registration is now Open


We are excited to announce registration is now open for the Reunion.
The reunion will be held on January 24th and 25th 2015 at Fairway Lodge, Silverfield, Takapuna.
We have negotiated what we feel is the best  price and format for our needs and we are able to offer several options in our aim to have as many attend as possible. We hope to make  this event pleasurable and enjoyable as possible while making it as affordable as we can.
To that end we have formatted the two days as follows:
Saturday 24th January
11am - 4pm
The day will begin with check in where you will be issued with name tags denoting which branch of the family you belong to . This will make it easy for you to recognise those who descend from the same branch of the family as yourself.
From 12 noon we will have our photographer taking formal group photos of each branch of the family and of the whole group, along with roaming candid photos throughout the day.
These photographs will be available in an inexpensive  book form, after the reunion. Orders to be taken on the day or beforehand  via a form which will be included in a later newsletter.
Leading up to the reunion we will announce the price of  a photographic family history book which will be available for pre-purchase and pick up at the reunion.
Finger food and tea and coffee will be supplied throughout the day and a cash bar will also be available for those who wish to make use of it.
There will be photographic and informational displays and a large family tree available for viewing.
Saturday primarily though is a mix and mingle event where we can all get to know each other.
Feel free to bring along any photos or copies, along with family mementos you wish to share or display.
Saturday Evening
This is at your leisure. We have suggestions for local restaurants for those interested.
Sunday 25th January
12 noon - 3:00pm
Buffet Luncheon
Sit down lunch with presentations and speakers (descendants) and cutting of the Reunion Cake
Middlebrook Reunion Registration Form
If you prefer to print and fill in a paper form you can download it here
Please share the registration forms with anyone who may be interested in attending

By John McBain

I have such a wealth of memories! First off I feel very privileged to have known one of the original Middlebrook  immigrants to New Zealand. John (the son) was my great-grandfather. He died in Te Awamutu in 1939, I was then aged 6.
Te Awamutu,  then as now, was small town N.Z. John loved the town, loved the people and everybody loved him. By the time I was aware and had a memory of such things he was living with his daughter Ettie and son-in-law Sid, who had a house on the main street in town. On a sunny day he would be out with his stick and two steps on his way, he would be chatting with somebody. Progress was slow in a town where everybody was a friend. I was living in Te Awamutu

then too and in such a town, as a 5 year old I was free to wander on my own. Sometimes we would meet on the street and he would stop to chat, occasionally  I would go to see him at his room, which had a doorway onto the large sweeping verandah. At the time I saw nothing “special” in that, he was my great-grandfather, I thought everybody had one! Now in hindsight I realise just how special that was.

But past “memories” in these newsletters have been been of grandparents, mine were John Thompson Middlebrook and wife Susie(nee Frost) I had no other grandparents, my Dad was an orphan from an early age. John Thompson had worked with his father John in the butchery almost from the beginning in Te Awamutu, so succeeded him into the business. Around 1938 they moved into a new house they had built in the town. My memories are of a refrigerator (it was a Westinghouse)  in the house, so normal these days, but I had never seen one in a house before. You could put water in trays in an icebox at the top and “next day you had ice”, even in mid-summer! Hot days it was wonderful to have a cube of ice in your drink.
I would visit after school, just to get a cool drink. My grandparents also had a summer bach at Cockle Bay (now a part of Auckland). For a week in summer I would travel up there with them and my Mum came too. A week at the seaside,

Such bliss! The final year that we made the trip, a Japanese invasion was a major worry and Cockle Bay beach had been festooned with a tangle of barbed wire, with only a small gap to walk through to reach the water for swimming.

But my grandfather was having health problems. The doctor advised that his work “in and out of chillers “ was likely to aggravate the condition seriously. He really had to move!  So they did, to a small farm in Manurewa. But my visits didn’t end.

Summer School Holiday I was off up to Manurewa by train. Still the worry of Invasion, my grandfather had made an “air raid shelter” in the vegetable patch. A trench with a ramp entry and timbers over the top, with a pile of soil atop the timber.
Pumpkins sprawled over all , it looked a part of the garden. Manurewa was within range of Auckland, a wondrous place for a 9 year old. Off with grandma in a taxi , which in wartime you had to share with other fare paying passengers,to save  petrol. The train with engine belching steam, was at point of departing and it was a dash across the platform. Back on the farm –my grandfather had a barn, a treasure trove for a young boy. He had such a lot of tools, some I knew others I was  a little unsure. Pots for nails and screws- I reached for a distant one with inquisitive fingers to identify what might be within. Certainly not the expected! It moved! In panic, I withdrew with the largest spider I had ever seen clinging to my  fingers. I never returned to the barn again!


This photograph shows the wedding of Ethel Hardy (daughter of Ellen Hardy (Miller) and John Rowley Stewart) and William Henry Hewett on 1st September 1921.
We believe the 3 attendants could be Coopers - Children of Susan Jane (Hardy) and James Bailey Cooper. We would welcome confirmation or otherwise of this from anyone familiar with the families. Email lauren if you have any information

Will of Ellen Middlebrook

This is the will of Ellen Middlebrook. I believe it was written by Ellen herself as the handwriting and the signature on the second page match perfectly.
Here is a transcription of the will.
This is the last Will and testament of me Ellen Middlebrook Widow of the CIty of Auckland in the colony of New Zealand.. I give and bequeath to my children here-after mentioned. To my daughter Jane Thompson, the wife of Hector McRae the sum of fifty pounds sterling for her sole use and benefit, and to my sons Benjamin Middlebrook and John Middlebrook the sum of fifty pounds sterling and to my sons Samuel Middlebrook and James Thompson Middlebrook, the like sum of fifty pounds sterling held by them in promissary notes and to my daughter Elizabeth Hardy the wife of George Douglas Hardy the sum of fifty pounds sterling held by GD Hardy her husband on promissary note and the remainder of any monies possessed by me at the time of my death to be divided into six equal portions and given to my six children before named. And the piece of land belonging to me at Tawhio KatiKati to be sold on the decision of the majority of my children and the proceeds to be divided equally among my six children before named and George Douglas Hardy and John Middlebrook of Auckland to be executors of this my will . Signed by Me Ellen Middlebrook in the presence of us present at the same time who in their presence and in the presence of each other and subscribe our names as witnesses hereto. Withnes my hand this 27th of February 1892 .
What we can learn from this will.
1. Ellen was living in Auckland in 1892 when this will was written ( She had been in Katikati and Opua in the 1880s)
2. Clearly Ellen didnt think highly of Jane's husband Hector - she states that the money due to Jane is for her sole use and benefit., however she states that the money to be left to Elizabeth should be held by her husband GD Hardy.
3. Ellen still owned land in Katikati ( Tawhio seems to be a misspelling of Tahawai as there appears to be no place named Tawhio) in 1892 . She had been living there in 1881 according to an article in the Bay of Plenty Times which described the settlement and its inhabitants.
4. Ellen owned property  (38 Cobden Street Auckland) which she likely purchased after this will was written.

Your Stories Required

We welcome and would much appreciate your reminiscences or stories relating to the Middlebrook Family for inclusion in future newsletters and on the upcoming website..

No comments:

Post a Comment