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Florence Harlin was born in Kent Road, New Plymouth in 1866, the daughter of  Nurse Ann Alison Harlin nee Corbett of New Plymouth, whose husband had been killed in the Crimea.  Florence was named for Florence Nightingale.


Florence was educated in New Plymouth in the period of the Maori uprisings, and in 1881 the family moved to Wanganui. Three years later she married Thomas Charles Gomer of the New Zealand Railways. The young couple came to reside in Hawera in 1885, later purchasing a property in Scott Street, adjacent to the railway yards, when Nolantown consisted of two or three houses. Nurse Gomer acted as a midwife in this period and she assisted in the birth of Daisy Basham's son in 1905.


In 1906 Thomas and Florence transferred to Greymouth.  They returned to Hawera in 1913, when Mr Gomer retired from the railway service, and in the following year they opened the Nurse Gomer private maternity hospital at 24 Scott Street, Nolantown (now Glen Williamson Transport).  It was Nurse Gomer's proud claim that, of more than 3000 maternity cases admitted to her home, there was not one loss of a mother in childbirth, and never a "black mark" against the institution, so efficiently did she manage its affairs.  At times there were as many as 12 cases accommodated.


Despite the demands made on her by the nature of her vocation, Mrs Gomer had time and energy for a wide variety of outside activity - as a good horsewoman in the hunting field, an industrious worker for funds for the Hawera Main School and the holding of dances and assemblies for the Foresters Lodge, in which she was one of the Foresters' Hall trustees until the building was sold, and as a member of the Hawera WDFF branch.


These were but a few of her interests, for Florence never refused a helping hand to any of the town's organisations and institutions, the progress of which she watched with close attention, even in latter years when she no longer could be of same assistance.


Florence Gomer died on 19 June 1954 aged 88 years and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Obituary "Hawera Star" 2 Jul 1954