Monday, June 6, 2011

Some Packers with an O'Halloran or two thrown in...

Jane Hislop's daughter Mary Elizabeth Kennedy married a chap by the name of Joseph Peter Packer.  I've found a wee bit of information on him and his family due in part to his father and brother's unusual Christian name - Worthy!  I was also interested because for years my Nanna had an elderly friend, Miss Margery Packer, who lived on Nairn Street in Wellington, who we used to go visit on a regular basis when we visited my grandparents as children.  So I thought I'd briefly gather some information on them...

Joseph Peter Packer's parents were Worthy and Annie Packer.  Worthy Packer married Ann "Annie" O'Halloran in 1879.  Worthy had been born around 1839 and according to a list of "missing friends" advertised in the Wanganui Chronicle on  7 June 1890, where his sister was asking after him; he was a native of Somerset and had come to New Zealand 23 years earlier - so around 1867? Annie was born around 1856.

It is likely that Annie is in fact Anne Halloran, who was nominated to come out to New Zealand with her sister Catherine, both domestic servants of Galway, Ireland, they travelled to New Zealand on the ship Invercargill.  The ship left Glasgow on 12 July 1878, arriving in Otago on 2 October 1878.  At the time Catherine was 25 and Annie was 22.  They are listed as going to Oamaru.  This indicates that they had some family in New Zealand already who sponsored them.  I think it's likely that Catherine married Timothy Crowley in Invercargill in 1881. 

The Packer family seem to have lived in and around the Waimate District, perhaps near Waihao.  Given that the eldest child was a priest and the family were buried in the Catholic part of the Waimate Cemetery, I'm fairly certain that the family were Catholic.  However, Worthy Snr, was obviously still Anglican until the day he died, being buried in the Anglican section of the Old Waimate Cemetery!  

There were eleven children born into the family, but at least three of those didn't survive infancy:

Eldest child, William John Packer was born in 1880 at Waimate.  He died on 4 November 1970, at the ripe old age of 90!  William is buried in the Bromley cemetery in Christchurch and was listed at his death as a Priest.  

Twins, Joseph Peter Packer and Thomas Packer were born in 1881.  Joseph went on to marry Mary Elizabeth Kennedy.  His twin, Thomas, died on 22 December 1900 at the age of 19.  He is buried at the Old Waimate Cemetery. 

Jane Packer was born in 1883.  She possibly married Alfred Brown in 1907.

Worthy Edward Packer was born 4 April 1885 and quite obviously was named for his father.  He married Hazel Eileen Dobbs on 30 September 1913.  He died 24 September 1962 at the age of 78.  Hazel had been born on 18 January 1893, and died in 26 December 1978.  Worthy and Hazel are both buried at the Ruru Lawn cemetery in Christchurch.  

Kate Packer was born in 1887 and I'm fairly certain that her actual name was Catherine Cecilia Packer.  She married a Waimate local Michael Martin "Mick" Leonard in 1911.  Mick had been born around 1881.  Mick and Kate had at least one son, Martin Joseph Leonard (1912 - 7 October 1991).  Kate died on 26 June 1977, Mick having died earlier, on 2 September 1970.  

Adam Packer was born in June 1889 but sadly died later on 15 October 1889 at the age of five months.  Adam is buried at the Old Waimate Cemetery.  

John Packer was born in late 1890, but like his brother Adam, he also died in infancy - at the age of five months on 28 February 1891.  John is buried at the Old Waimate Cemetery.  

Ann Packer was born in 1892, but I have not been able to find any further information on her either.

James Anthony Packer was born in 1894 and died on 18 April 1939 at the age of 45.  He married Hannah O'Connor in 1925 and she died on 15 September 1984.  They are both buried in the Old Waimate Cemetery.  

Youngest child, Arthur Packer was born in 1900, but like his two little brothers before him, died in infancy later that year on 27 June at the age of merely five weeks.  

Worthy Packer Snr died on 16 July 1901 at the age of 62.  Annie Packer died on 4 June 1915 at the age of 59.   


  1. the Catherine O'Halloran you mention as marrying Timothy Crowley is not the one you think. This Catherine (my GGGrandmother) was born in county Clare

  2. Great Aunty Mary was lovely (the elderly lady in Wellington your nanna knew). Mary and Joseph had the Teddington Hotel on Banks Peninsula but Joseph died young. Mary carried on for about 30 years as publican and I remember her when I was a child & she went to Wellington to live with her sister or friend, I can't remember who. She was my grandma's aunty.

    Ann Packer you mention, daughter of Worthy and Annie, married to become Annie Green and may have lived around Geraldine where Kate Leonard, Anne's sister lived.

    It is good to read your history here. Thank you. I always wondered if Anne O'Halloran came out here alone or for what reason and you've got the info here. She had a sister. They were from Northern Ireland I believe. Now I know why my mum was named Anne Catherine after her great-gran and grand aunt.

  3. Thank you for sorting out the Worthys for me.