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JACOMB, ELIZABETH ANN nee CONNOLLY

 

Elizabeth Connolly was born in Cork, Ireland on the 29 October 1852, the daughter of William and Agnes Ann Connolly nee Bennett.  As a child, Elizabeth came to New Zealand with her parents, and a brother and a sister on the Matuku, arriving in Patea, then called Carlyle, in 1865.  Her father was paymaster and drill instructor for the British troops.

 

From February 1865, both banks of the Patea River mouth were occupied by British troops under Generals Cameron and Chute, and Patea became the base for the opening of the road between Wanganui and New Plymouth. By August 1866 a small civilian settlement had grown up at the beach, the township comprising two hotels and a boarding house, three stores, a butcher, a school, courthouse, barracks and some 70 huts and houses built of iron, timber or toitoi.  Surveys to locate military settlers on land grants were proceeding north and south of the township.  Access through the river port was the main reason for the town's existence and a regular trade developed with Wanganui, Wellington and Nelson. 

 

The British troops were withdrawn by early 1867 and the present town site was surveyed and named Carlyle.  About 1870, the town moved from the discomforts of sandstorms and sandflies at the beach, to the present site and in 1881 the borough adopted the name Patea.

 

After Elizabeth's marriage to Rupert Jacomb, a member of the Armed Constabulary, in 1872 in Patea, the couple continued to live in the town.  Rupert had a grain and produce store in Patea for many years.  A few years before her death, Elizabeth moved to Hawera to live with her daughter Queenie Graham.

 

Elizabeth took an active interest in the life of the community until later years and was particularly well known in music circles.

 

Upon her death she was thought to hold the record for the longest residence in South Taranaki for any European at that time.  Elizabeth Ann Jacomb died at Hawera on the 16 January 1944 aged 92 years and is buried at the Patea cemetery.

 

SOURCES

Birthday "Hawera Star"  30 Oct 1941.  Obituary "Hawera Star" 17 Jan 1944

Patea: A Centennial History by Margaret Leslie, Livingston Baker and Ian Church.