CHARLOTTE nee CROWHURST (J.P)
Charlotte Crowhurst was born on the 10 June 1878 at Hawera, a twin with Catherine, the daughters of Thomas Edwin
(J.P) and Catherine Elizabeth Crowhurst nee
Byrne. Thomas was editor of the Waimate Witness (since incorporated in
to the Hawera Star) and author of the
book Life and Adventures in New Zealand. Another sister was Clara Crowhurst.
was an early pupil teacher at Manaia School, and
later at Otakeho . She taught for
many years, and later as a relieving teacher at several country schools,
driving there with a horse and buggy.
In 1903 Charlotte married
Harrison Benton, and the couple lived at Auroa,
raising a family of seven children.
While there, she worked as the Auroa
correspondent for the Hawera Star, as
well as contributing articles to other newspapers. Charlotte wrote the Taranaki section of the WDFF book Brave Days which was written for the New Zealand centennial in 1940.
Charlotte was president of the Auroa branch of the
WDFF for many years, and in 1933 became the first South Taranaki provincial
president. She held many important posts
in Women’s Division, and had an outstanding ability as an organiser. In a WDFF tribute, Pearl Tosland said “We will not soon
forget one who contributed so much to the service of others.” She was awarded the gold badge for service in
the executive of the division.
In February 1931, Charlotte became on
of the first four women in Taranaki to be made Justice of the Peace, along with
Florence Carter. When Charlotte moved to Auckland in the
late 1930s, she continued with her JP work and became well known amongst Auckland lawyers.
In Auckland she
continued with journalism, and was press correspondent to the South Pacific
Heads of Government conference in Christchurch. She was a vice-president of
the Auckland Penwoman’s Club, and publicity organiser
for the Pan Pacific Women’s organisation in Auckland. She was also a committee member of the
Society for the Protection of Women and Children.
Charlotte Benton died on the 28 April 1960 at Auckland aged 83 years.
Herald” 30 Apr 1960