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BURTON, EFFIE GRACIE nee GOULD

 

Effie Gould was born in 1874 in Ryde, Isle of Wight, England, the daughter of Dr Joseph Gould and Charlotte nee Gotch.  Effie trained to be a nurse at St Guy’s Hospital, London then returned to the island.

 

She acted as a midwife and district nurse.  A group of women became concerned that many of the children at the local school were not getting proper attention.  The women formed a committee and employed Effie to see to the children’s health and welfare, and to advise the parents.  She was supplied with a bicycle and a small honorarium.  Effie also watched over many of the consumptive cases on the island.  A lot of them were sailors who had been sent to the island to convalesce.

 

Her husband, Thomas Henry Burton came out to New Zealand in 1909 to look for land.  He worked around New Zealand looking for the best area and chose South Taranaki.  He then worked for the Egmont County Council replacing wooden bridges with concrete ones.

 

In the winter of 1911, Effie and her three small daughters arrived in Wellington. A long slow train journey was taken to Eltham where Tom met them.  He took the family to Rowan in a horse drawn dray.

 

Medical services were sparse in those days, and when the family moved to Riverlea, Effie was able to use her training.  She became midwife to many of the women in the area.  The men working on farms, timber mills and road building camps, found her knowledge and skills useful, especially with the slow and difficult journey to the nearest doctor.

 

The 1918 influenza epidemic found Effie advising on methods of prevention and on nursing practices.  She had only one lung and was very brave to be helping others who were infected when she could have succumbed to the influenza so easily.  Her journeys around the district lifted anxieties and spurred recovery in many of her patients.

 

About 1919 the family moved to Nolan Road, near Hawera.  On the 6 January 1920, Effie died at Hawera aged 46 years, the result of catching a “chill”.  She is buried at the Hawera cemetery.

 

SOURCE

Kathleen Brant, Auckland (daughter)

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