Topic: Margaret Sharp Galbraith (1845-1919)

Topic type:

Known as 'Peggy', Margaret Galbraith was the sister of Tauranga Mayor Robert Sharpe Galbraith (1857-1890) who died in office on 21 February 1890. Margaret was a signatory to the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Margaret Sharp Galbraith, known as 'Peggy', was born at East Greenock in Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1845. She was the second child of George Galbraith and his wife Isabella Taylor Galbraith (nee Taylor). George worked as the chief accountant of the Caledonian Railway Co., Scotland. The family included:

  • Isabella Taylor Galbraith (1843-1919). Born in Greenock, died in Tauranga, New Zealand.
  • Margaret Sharp Galbraith (1845-1919).
  • James Galbraith (c1847-1915). Born in Greenock in c1847. James was a journalist and editor of the Bay of Plenty Times and then the Waihi Miner. He died in Waihi, and was buried in the Waihi Public Cemetery.
  • Elizabeth King Galbraith (1849-1906). born in Edinburgh, Midlothian. Married George Boyd Thornton in Scotland in 1881. Died in Ardroch, Dunbarton, Scotland in 1906.
  • Jane Mary Galbraith (1855-1858). Born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, died in Row, Dunbarton, Scotland.
  • Robert Sharpe Galbraith (1857-1890). born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Died in office as Mayor of Tauranga on 21 February 1890. Buried with his parents and sister at Tauranga Methodist Cemetery.
  • Joanna Taylor Galbraith (1858-1937). Born in Row, Dunbarton. Married Alexander MacLennan in New Zealand in 1887. Died at Pennant Hills, New South Wales, Australia.
  • John Cameron Galbraith (1861-1907) (nephew of George, raised by him after parent's death). Born in Singapore. His father was George Galbraith's brother, Robert Sharpe Galbraith (1825-c1868) who married Alice Davidson. John's parents both died in c1868 and at the age of 8 he was sent to Scotland where he was raised by his Uncle George and Aunt Isabella. John became a general storekeeper at Te Puke (Te Puke Pioneer Store) and later farmed at Papamoa. He married Barbara Ann Bird at the No 2 Road Hall in Te Puke in 1885. John died aged 46, in July 1907 and was buried in the Old Te Puke Cemetery.

The 1851 Scotland Census shows Margaret (aged 5) and family living in Paisley Road in Renfrewshire, Scotland. By 1871, when Margaret was aged 25, the family had moved to Dunbartonshire in Scotland.

George Galbraith worked for the Caledonian Railway Co for 40 years. After George retired, the family decided to immigrate to New Zealand as part of George Vesey Stewart’s Te Puke settlers’ scheme. Margaret, her brother Robert, along with cousin John and mother Isabella, arrived in New Zealand on board the Lady Jocelyn. They landed at Tauranga on 2 January 1881. By then Margaret was aged 35.

A few months later, on 19 August 1881, Margaret’s brother James arrived in New Zealand on board the Hermione. Her father George and sisters Isabella and Joanna arrived in New Zealand on board the Oxford on 10 March 1882.

The family home, named Ardencaple, was built in 6th Avenue, Tauranga by David Lundon to a design by architects Fitzgibbon Louch and Son.

On 21 of February 1890, Margaret’s younger brother, Robert Sharpe Galbraith (1857-1890), died whilst holding the office Mayor of Tauranga. He was buried with his parents in the Tauranga Methodist Cemetery.

Margaret signed the Women's Suffrage Petition that was presented to Parliament in 1893 (Sheet No. 398).

She was very involved in Tauranga’s St Peter's Presbyterian Church and was organist of the church for six years.

In 1915 another younger brother, journalist James Galbraith (c.1847-1915), died in Waihi and was buried in the Waihi Public Cemetery. Born in Greenock, he had been the editor of the Bay of Plenty Times and then the Waihi Miner.

Margaret spent much time nursing her elder sister, Isabella Taylor Galbraith (1843-1919), who died on 17 May 1919 and was buried in Tauranga Methodist cemetery.

Margaret never married. She died at Ardencaple on 30 July 1919, aged 73 (reg. 1919/5663) and was buried in the Tauranga Methodist Cemetery. The family plot 388 also contains her parents and brother. Her obituary appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times

GALBRAITH On July 30th at her residence 'Ardencaple', Tauranga, Margaret Sharpe, daughter of the late George Galbraith, and dearly beloved sister of Joanna T McLennan of the Manse, Granville, NSW, aged 73. Funeral Saturday 2pm. Friends please accept this intimation. We regret to chronicle the death of Miss Margaret S. Galbraith, which occurred at her residence "Ardencaple," Sixth Avenue, on Wednesday last. Deceased was a daughter of the late Mr G Galbraith, who, with his family, arrived in Tauranga in the year 1880. With the exception of a visit to the Old Country some years ago the late Miss Galbraith had since resided here. She took a keen interest in the affairs of St Peter's Presbyterian Church and was organist of the church for a period of six years. The late Miss Galbraith saw much illness in her own home and the loving care which she bestowed upon her late sister and others during long illnesses showed her great self-sacrificing spirit. She was a sister of the late Mr James Galbraith, who was a well-known journalist in Tauranga and Waihi. Another brother, Mr R. S Galbraith, who owned a large farm in the Rangiuru district, died here many years ago. A sister Miss Isabella Galbraith, passed away here on May 17 last. Mrs McLennan wife of the Rev Mr McLennan, of Granville New South Wales, is a sister of deceased, and has been staying in Tauranga for several months. Much sympathy will be extended to Mrs McLennan and family in their sad bereavement. The funeral takes place to-morrow at two o'clock (Bay of Plenty Times, 1 August 1919, p. 2). 



Bay of Plenty Deaths 1872-1920: E-G.

Bay of Plenty Times (1899, December 11): Death of Mr George Galbraith.

Bay of Plenty Times (1919, August 1): Obituary.

Births, Deaths and Marriage Online (New Zealand).

Clement, Christine (2011). The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District (pp. 113-125).

McLean, Heather (1996). Tauranga Methodist and Children's Cemetery.

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Margaret Sharp Galbraith (1845-1919)

First Names:Margaret Sharp
Last Name:Galbraith
Date of Birth:1845
Place of Birth:East Greenock, Renfrewshire
Country of birth:Scotland
Date of death:30 July 1919
Place of death:Ardencaple, Tauranga, New Zealand
Place of burial:Tauranga Methodist Cemetery
Fathers name:George Galbraith
Fathers date of birth:1821
Fathers place of birth:Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Fathers date of death:9 December 1899
Fathers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Isabella Taylor
Mothers date of birth:1817
Mothers place of birth:Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Mothers date of death:4 November 1883
Mothers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand