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ATMORE, DOROTHY ANN nee CORRIGAN (MBE)

 

Dorothy Ann Corrigan was born in Hawera on 26 August 1894, one of three children of James Randall and Annie Corrigan nee Troup.

 

Dorrie as she was known, attended Hawera Primary School and was the dux of the Hawera District High School in 1907, winning a scholarship to Wanganui Girls College. She went there for three years and then her father decided to take the family "home" to England. Dorrie had a few months before leaving so procured a position as junior in the solicitors firm of Welsh McCarthy. Her starting pay was 5/- a week which was later raised to 7/6d. Her father teased her that it cost as much as that to keep her bike in good repair.

 

In 1912 the family went to the United Kingdom, and Dorrie spent the greater part of 1914, until almost the outbreak of World War One in Geneva, Switzerland at the Classes Des Etrangeres, (a finishing school) learning French.

 

Upon her return, she became secretary of the Hawera Women's National Reserve from 1915 to 1919, raising money for the war effort, organising clothes and food parcels. During the flu epidemic of 1918, Dorrie and members of the Women's National Reserve assisted with the "inhalation chamber" that the government had sent for the people of Hawera. In 1919, Dorrie and a Mrs Page went to the borough council on behalf of the Women's National Reserve and the Returned Services Association with a request that the council set aside a portion of the Hawera cemetery for soldiers' graves.

 

After the war she worked as a director of "Chautaugua", a lecturing and musical company, and travelled throughout New Zealand and Victoria, Australia with the company in 1921 and 1922. Her father J R Corrigan was elected the Liberal Member of Parliament for Patea, and Dorrie acted as his secretary from 1922 to 1925. J R Corrigan shared a room at Parliament with Harry Atmore, who was to become Dorrie's future husband. A foundation member of the Hawera Girl Guides' Association she went to Europe in 1928 and attended guide training camps at Foxlease in the New Forest, England.

 

On her return to Hawera in 1929 she served on the Board of Managers of St John's Presbyterian Church, and also edited a weekly children's page in the Hawera Star under the name of "Smile Queen". She worked with the Crutch and Kindness League (forerunner of the Save the Children Fund, of which in later years she was patron of the Nelson branch). She was a life member of the Egmont Sheep Dog Trials Club, and for many years organised the catering for trial days with Ella Pennington.

 

A foundation member of the Hawera Women's Club, and later president, she was at the time of her death, patron and life member of the club. In 1936 she married Mr Harry Atmore, MP for Nelson, the last of the independent members of parliament in New Zealand. In 1939 Dorrie was asked to organise the Women's War Service Auxiliary throughout New Zealand, and in recognition of this work, she was awarded the MBE in 1946.

 

In late 1946, Dorrie was one of three women chosen to visit the United States of America at the request of the New Zealand Government, to represent her country at a world-wide conference of women. While she was overseas her husband died at Nelson having represented that electorate from 1911 to 1914, and from 1917 to his death in 1946.

 

Dorrie returned to Hawera to look after her mother until Annie's death in 1957. During that time she served on the then Hawera Hospital Board from 1951 to 1957, and she was largely instrumental in getting a women's wing built at Ngahuru Home, then under the hospital board control. Until that time, Ngahuru was only for men.

 

She was field officer for the Crippled Children Society in Hawera, welfare officer for Heritage and editor of the St John's parish magazine The Messenger. She was also patron of the Taranaki Basketball (Netball) Association from 1949 until 1958.

 

Dorrie returned to Nelson where she was president of the Nelson branch of the Pan-Pacific and South-east Asia Women's Association. She became dominion president of that organisation for three years, and was made a life member. She attended the association's conference in Canberra in 1961, and at Honolulu in 1968. She also attended the UNICEF conference in Bangkok in 1964. The last PPSEAWA conference Dorrie attended was Auckland in March 1976. In Nelson she was an honorary member of the Nelson Soroptimists' Club, and patron of the Nelson Netball Club.

 

A foundation member of the Hawera branch of the League of Mothers, Dorrie was a past Taranaki provincial president, and in March 1976, addressed a provincial league meeting in New Plymouth.

 

As a long standing member of the Presbyterian Church in Hawera, she and Mr L A Taylor jointly laid the foundation stone of the church's youth centre in 1972, and she was one of the four asked to plant memorial trees at its opening in April 1974.

 

Dorothy Ann Atmore died on 11 September 1976 at Hawera, and her ashes are interred with her husband at Nelson.

 

SOURCES

Obituary "Hawera Star" 14 Sep 1976

Ross & Claire Corrigan, Hawera (nephew)

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