Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Jacka Family

Marion Waters was the eldest daughter of John and Eleanor Waters.  She was a first cousin of Alister's Great-Grandfather, Nathaniel "Herbert" Bertram.  

Marion must have been born in Wellington in the late 1850s.  She would have been named both for her paternal grandmother, and for her father's late sister.  Marion married Thomas Samuel Jacka on 21 January 1884 in Wellington.  

Marion and Thomas had a number of children, most of whom appear to have been born in Auckland.  
  1. Ellen "Ada" Ada Muriel Jacka (1885 - 1944) m 1910 Rowland Paul Houghton (1872 - 1937)
    1. Marjorie Gwendolyn Houghton (21 April 1911 - 1999) m Taylor 
  2. Harold Edwin Jacka (1886 - 1935) m 1916 Fanny Emily Shepherd (1888 - 1964)
  3. Frederick Clifton "Cliff" Jacka born 1888 died 1918 aged 30 WWI
  4. Mabel Aline Jacka born 1891 died aged 2 years in  27 June 1893 
  5. Thomas Selwyn "Selwyn" Jacka born 1893, Auckland died 1917 aged 24 WWI
  6. Hubert Waters Jacka born 1895 died in 1956 aged 61 m 1920 Rose Maude Charge (23 January 1899 - 1983)
  7. Edna Marion Jacka born (1896 - 8 January 1927) m Herbert Roland Houghton (1896 - 1969) in 1920
  8. Leslie Norman Jacka born 1899 died 19 July 1955 aged 55 buried (Anglican) in Purewa Cemetery on 21 July 1955. 
Ada's wedding day was recorded in the Evening Post on 5 July 1910:

On Thursday, at St Alban's Church, Mount Roskill, Auckland, by the Rev. H.P. Wingfield, Miss Ada E.M. Jacka, eldest daughter of Mr T.S. Jacka of Auckland, and granddaughter of Mr and Mrs John Waters of Pipitea Street, Wellington, was married to Mr Rowland P. Houghton of Dannevirke.  The bride, who was given away by her father, wore white ninon over tafettas, with veil and orange blossoms, and she carried a shower bouquet.  The bridesmaids were Misses Minnie Allen (heliotrope) and Edna Jacka, sister of the bride (in pink crystalline).  Mr Cliff Jacka was best man.  A reception was held after the ceremony at Heatherlea, the residence of the bride's parents.  The honeymoon is being spent at Rotorua. 

Thomas' father was S.S. "Stephen" Jacka, of Wellington.  He died suddenly, at his home in Hanover Street, Wadestown, on 17 November 1910.  Reports at the time say that Stephen, who was a builder by trade and had had a big building business on Courtney Place, was sitting in a chair at home when he suddenly fell forward and died.  He had apparently been born in Cornwall 83 years earlier.  His wife Ellen had died two years before in 1908.  Stephen left three sons: Thomas in Auckland, and Arthur and Harry in Wellington; as well as two daughters: Mesdames Judd and Kew.  Apparently Stephen had also been one of the earliest Wellington City Councillors. 

Four years later the Jacka family were living at Prospect Terrace, Mount Eden  and World War One broke out in June 1914 - the three remaining Jacka boys all enlisted as they were able.  

Sergeant Thomas Selwyn Jacka, serial number 2/428, was the first of the family to leave.  He left Wellington on 16 October 1914, with the Field Artillery Brigade.  He sailed out on either the Limerick or the Arawa - both ships left on the same date, each with part of the Brigade and other units.   They arrived in Suez, Egypt on 3 December 1915.  Selwyn served in France and survived Gallipoli.  He was never wounded during that action, except for one occasion when with his battery and a shell burst amongst the men, killing and wounding several.  Selwyn suffered concussion and some bruising, and was badly shocked.

Second Lieutenant Frederick Clifton Jacka, 12/3526, left Wellington with the Auckland Infantry Battalion just over a year later on 13 November 1915.  Cliff's Battalion was also split between two ships and he either left on Willochra or Tofua  They arrived in Suez, Egypt on 18 December 1915. 

Lance Corporal Hubert Waters Jacka, serial number 54883, left Wellington on 14 July 1917 on the Waitemata, with the 28th Reinforcements E Company.   Previously he had been an engineer.  The Waitemata arrived in Plymouth, England on 25 September 1917.
Hubert Waters Jacka
 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-J3154' 

Three days after Hubert's arrival in England, on 28 September 1917, Selwyn was killed in action while serving with the Field Artillery in Ypres, Belgium.  He was buried Ypres Reservoir Cemetery in Belgium.  At his death, Selwyn was 24 years old and was a Sergeant Major.

Sadly, just under a year later, on 30 August 1918, Cliff was also killed in action, while serving with the Auckland Infantry Regiment on in Bapaume, France.  He is buried in France in the Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy. 

Thomas Jacka died on 26 November 1922.  The Evening Post reported:

The death of Mr T.S. Jacka , an old resident of Wellington, occurred at his home, St Helyers Bay, Auckland , on Sunday last.  The late Mr Jacka was born in Wellington, and in his early life was a member of the staff of Messrs. Travers and Olliver, solicitors; he was also for a time on the staff of the National Bank.  Mr Jacka afterwards removed to Auckland, and was with the firm of Nathan and Co. as manager of their fire insurance departments.  When the Norwich Union Insurance Company opened its own office at Auckland, he was appointed manager.  That position he held until a few years ago, when owing to failing health he retired.  Mr Jacka married Miss Waters, eldest daughter of Mr John Waters, of Pipitea Street, Wellington.  He is survived by his widow, two daughters and three sons, namely, Mrs R. Houghton of Hamilton; Mrs B. Houghton, Mr Harold Jacka, manager of the State Fire Office, Hamilton; Mr Hubert Jacka, electrical engineer; and Mr L. Jacka, barrister, Auckland.  Two sons - Lieutenant C. Jacka and Sergeant Major S. Jacka were killed in the war.  Mr H. Jacka, Wadestown and Mr A. Jacka, Webb Street, Wellington, are his brothers. 

The actual death notice lists the Jacka family home as "Hamoana" St Helier's Bay.  Thomas was buried in Purewa Cemetery on 28 November 1922.

Marion Jacka died in 2 July 1945 aged 85 and was buried in Purewa Cemetery with Thomas, and her infant daughter Mabel, on 4 July 1945.  


  1. Just some trivia: Stephen Simcock Jacka came to New Zealand from Cornwall on the Admiral Grenfell in Aug 1853 with his brother Thomas and his family. Thomas’s daughter Laura was with them, she grew up to marry Thomas Holyoake, her grandson Keith Jacka Holyoake would eventually become the Prime Minister of their new country!

    My great-great grandmother is Marion Waters Jacka and I have an interesting connection to two of her daughters. Edna Jacka eloped to marry my great-grandfather Herbert Houghton in 1920. They had probably met at least ten years prior when my great-great grandfather Rowland Paul Houghton married Ellen Ada Muriel Jacka in 1910. I have a copy of a photo of the wedding you describe.
    Edna Jacka Houghton ended up on a farm in Reporoa, it must have been a hard life; she had five children (Jocelyn, Auriol-Joan, Roland-Noel, Leonie, Herbert-Rex)in seven years before she died prematurely aged 29.

  2. Hi,

    I have done years of research on the Jacka line. Stephen Sincock (mother was Elizabeth Sincock) Jacka was my 3rd great grandfather. I am a descendant of Emily Feodore Jacka - sister of Thomas Samuel Jacka who is the father of these two brave soldiers. I think it works out they are my 2nd cousins once removed. Thank you for posting this information, I have a great interest in war heros in our family line.

    Marion Waters was born in 1860 in Wellington and died in 1945 at the age of 45.

    Paula Ardern