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Please to remember the Fifth of November…

November 5, 2010

1867, I mean.

This is the birthdate of my great-grandmother Rose. I don’t know her original surname as her parents anglicised their name when they came to New Zealand from Lithuania (or possibly Latvia, I’m not quite certain). They also anglicised their religion.[Not so much, as it transpires]. Rose was born in Palmerston North (which is named after Lord Palmerston) in the North Island .[Update 20/12/90: Apparently some of this is slightly incorrect. Rose was born in Hokitika, not Palmie. The family farm (see below) ‘Palmerston’ was named for the city ‘Palmerston’ in the Northern Territory which is now known as Darwin.]

They must have gone to Australia when she was quite young as she married my great-grandfather four days after her sixteenth birthday, and from all accounts he had ‘had his eye on her’ for a few years(!). They had eight children, the eldest of whom (born July 1885) was the soldier on my profile picture. My grandmother was the baby of the family. [One of Rose’s cousins was Yackandandah’s famous son, Sir Isaac Isaacs.]

Rose died in 1935. She is buried in Melbourne, in the Jewish cemetery.

A lot of interesting people were born in 1867, including Marie Curie and Ernest Dowson. It was also the year that the modern rose was born (La France) and the year that gorse was introduced to New Zealand. Gorse is now NZ’s worst noxious weed, partly because it cleverly worked out how to flower in two seasons here, and not in just the one as it does in its original home.



The New Zealand House of Parliament, also known as the Beehive. (It is unicameral and based on the Westminster system).

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