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CAMPBELL, MARY nee DOUGLAS

 

Mary Douglas was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada about 1859, the daughter of William and Mary Douglas nee Middlemas, and the granddaughter of Robert and Helen Middlemas nee White, both of whom were Hawera's earliest settler families.

 

The Douglas family first emigrated to Canada and a short time later decided to try their fortune elsewhere, so from the port of New York returned to England where they boarded the Royal Saxon, a sailing ship en route for Melbourne. From Australia the Douglas family moved to Bluff and eventually landed in Wanganui in the early 1860s. In 1867, the family set out for the site of what is now Hawera, on what in those days was a journey fraught with the greatest danger, all the rivers en route had to be forded except one or two of the larger watercourses over which they were conveyed in punts. Passing along the beach near the military camp on a bluff between the Ingahape and Tangahoe streams, they surmounted the sandhills on the western bank of the latter and eventually reached the site of the present town of Hawera.

 

Here on a slope overlooking the Tawhiti Stream, in the present Douglas Street area, they set to work and built a small house, choosing the situation as being favoured with a fine outlook and having a fine spring of water nearby. Mr Douglas with his brothers-in-law Andrew and Thomas Middlemas and other pioneers, worked together and erected a sod fort for mutual protection against the threatening natives. This little fort was long afterwards known as the "Canadian Redoubt" and was situated about where the present Fire Station is. When the Hauhau rising of 1868 took place, the women and children of the Douglas family fled to Wanganui to escape. Their house was burnt down, along with those of nearly all the other outlying residents.

 

The family decided to return to Hawera at the end of 1868, but their expedition was stopped a while at Wairoa (Waverley), on account of the disastrous defeat of the European forces. In 1869 they returned to Hawera and built another residence close to where the municipal yards were situated in Albion Street. Mary Douglas was one of the original pupils of Hawera School established in 1875 on South Road, and in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of 1935 she planted a memorial Kauri tree in the school grounds.

 

In 1881, at the age of 21, Mary Douglas married Malcolm James Campbell at her father's house and the couple took up residence in Union Street, Mr Campbell being in business in town. She was the mother of J E Campbell, husband of Marion. Mary Campbell died on the 20 October 1935, at Hawera, aged 75 years and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.

 

SOURCES

Obituary "Hawera Star" 21 Oct 1935

Hawera District Centenary by A P C Bromley

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