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Sarah Symmans came from Bath in Somerset, and arrived in New Zealand on the British Empire at Lyttelton in 1862 with her husband Henry.  The family lived at Oxford, Canterbury for some years before coming to South Taranaki in 1883.


It is believed that Sarah was one of Florence Nightingale's nurses who went to the Crimean War.  For a time in her young days, she was in the Isle of Wight when Queen Victoria spent much time at Osborne, and she was called upon to do fine needle work for Her Majesty.


Sarah lived for many years in Otakeho, part of the time on a bush farm on Rama Road, and acted as the district nurse.  Many of the roads were only tracks, not metaled, and she was often seen riding side-saddle, wearing a long encumbering riding habit and carrying her nursing equipment in a bag on her saddle - going in all weathers to her patients, men, women or children.  In those days doctors were not called to maternity cases.


Sarah Symmans died on the 27 April 1930 at New Plymouth aged 92 years and is buried at Otakeho cemetery.



Otakeho School and District Centennial 1884-1984

Leo Symmans, Trentham (g/grandson)