Topic: John Rollo Comerford Parker (c1850-1914)
Katikati school teacher John Rollo Comerford Parker was also known as 'Rollo'. His marriage in 1876 to fellow settler Annie Wylie was the first reported wedding in the Katikati district.
John Rollo Comerford Parker was born at St Mary De Lode, Gloucestershire in England in c1850. His parents were John and Jane N Parker (nee Comerford).
He arrived in New Zealand on board the Carisbrooke Castle with George Vesey Stewart's first party of settlers. The ship arrived in Auckland on 8 September 1875.
John married Annie Wylie in Katikati on 17 August 1876 (reg. 1876/2246). The wedding was the first in the district and was reported in the New Zealand Herald: On Thursday last we had the first wedding in the district, the happy couple being Mr Parker and Miss Annie Wylie, the marriage ceremony being performed by the Rev. Mr. Crossley, at his dwelling-house (25 August 1876, p. 1).
Annie was born in County Armagh in Ireland in c1850 to Joseph and Mary Ann Wylie. She left Belfast for New Zealand with her family on 8 June 1875 on board the Carisbrooke Castle.
The children of John and Annie:
- William John Parker (1877-?). Born in Katikati in 1877 (reg. 1877/11393). John was a coach builder. He served in the South African Conflict (Boer War 1899-1902) (Service No. 8740). 10th Contingent, B Squadron.
- Joseph Wylie Parker (1878-1906). Born in Katikati on 5 May 1878, he was baptised on 13 October 1878. He became a blacksmith. He served in the South African Conflict (Boer War 1899-1902) (Service No. 7344), 9th Contingent, E Squadron. He married Jessie Grace Heslop in South Africa. Jessie was born in Natal on 29 September 1879. Joseph died in Stanger in South Africa on 16 October 1906. Their son Robbie Wylie Comerford Parker was born in Durban on 29 December 1906. He emigrated to New Zealand with his mother when he was aged about 16. Jessie Grace remarried in New Zealand to a man named Mr Goddard. She went back to South Africa in her 90s where she died in Hillcrest in Natal on 8 January 1973.
- James Rollo Parker (1879-1951). Born in Katikati in 1879 (reg. 1879/16464). James was a farmer. He served in the South African Conflict (Boer War 1899-1902) (Service No. 4203), 7th contingent, 22nd Company. He married Annie Thomson in 1909. James died in Wanganui in 1951 and was cremated at Aramoho.
- Thomas Jonathan Parker (1882-1882). Born in Ohinemutu, he died there in 1882.
- Thomas Jonathan Parker (1884-1957). Born in Picton in 1884 (reg. 1884/19532). He fought during World War I (1NZEF). Thomas married Martha Shaw Corbett in 1920. He died in Dunedin in 1957 and was buried in Andersons Bay.
- Mary Jane Parker (1885-1902). Born in Picton in 1885 (reg. 1885/18830). Mary died in Gisborne in 1902 and was buried in Makaraka Cemetery. Our Katikati readers will learn with regret that Miss Mary Parker, eldest daughter of Mr Rollo Parker, formerly of Katikati died at Gisborne a few days ago of rheumatic fever (Bay of Plenty Times, 1 September 1902, p. 2).
- Margaret Parker (1888-?). Born in Opotiki in 1888 (reg. 1888/17064).
- Gertrude Parker (1891-?). Born in Waiapu in 1891 (reg. 1891/1362).
John was part of the New Zealand Armed Constabulary. In 1880 he was appointed teacher at Whangaroa Native School near Kaeo.
In March 1881 he was transferred to the Ohinemutu Native School: Mr Rollo Parker, formerly of Katikati, has has received an excellent appointment as school teacher at the Hot Lakes. The Chief Inspector of Schools spoke in the highest terms of his school at the Bay of Islands as being the best conducted in the colony (Bay of Plenty Times, 24 March 1881, p. 2).
By 1893 he was farming at Matakohe, Northland, and later at Makaraka near Gisborne.
In August 1898 he moved the family back to Katikati and took up the position as teacher at the newly re-opened Katikati No 1 School:
On the corner of Ongare Point Road and Kauri Point Road is where the Katikati No. 1 school was built in 1877. 'By the end of 1878 only one school had been built (at Katikati). This was known as the Katikati Number 1 School and stood on the corner of the Kauri Point and Ongare Point roads' ... The photo above was taken in 1900 and shows school children standing ourside the schoolhouse with their teacher John Rollo Comerford Parker (c1850-1915). The school was closed and the building later 'burnt down by a careless swagger' (Sayer, 1977, p. 5).
One year after taking up his appointment in Katikati, in August 1899, John moved the family to Gisborne:
I regret to state that Mr Parker, with his family, is leaving Katikati to take up his residence at Gisborne where he has some property, and where in addition he has obtained a lucrative appointment. Mr Parker came originally with the No 1 Party in the Carisbrooke Castle, married a daughter of the late Mr Joseph Wylie, senr., a member of the same Party, and finding more congenial employment in teaching under the Board of Education than in that of farming, took up his residence in the East Coast district, a vacancy having, however, occurred here by opening No 1 School, he was appointed teacher thereof, but resigned his appointment last August. His Katikati property has been transferred to Mr Seaver, whose name is so familiarly connected with mining transactions and who will probably, at the proper time, materially assist in the development of our mineral hot springs and other natural resources. Under the circumstances the Katikati family can only say 'Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest' (Bay of Plenty Times, 26 January 1900, p. 2).
John died in Gisborne at age 65 on 19 December 1914 (reg. 1915/628) and was buried in Makaraka Cemetery. His headstone reads: In loving memory of JOHN ROLLO C PARKER died 19th December 1914 aged 66 years. Also his beloved daughter MARY died 17th August 1901 aged 17 years (Gisborne Cemetery Records Online).
Annie died in Gisborne on 26 January 1942 and was also buried in Makaraka Cemetery.
Bay of Plenty Times (24 March 1881, p. 2).
Bay of Plenty Times (26 January 1900, p. 2).
Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).
Jillian Mary Comerford Parker (granddaughter of Joseph Wylie Parker).
Joseph Wylie Parker: Archway
Joseph Wylie Parker: Cenotaph
Joseph Wylie Parker: New Zealand History
New Zealand Herald (25 August 1876, p. 1).
The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Katikati and District (2012) by Christine Clement and Ellen McCormack (pp. 343 & 350).
How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2015). John Rollo Comerford Parker (c1850-1914). Retrieved from http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/en/katikati_history/topics/show/2543 (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation:(McCauley, 2015).