Topic: William Edward Mulgan (1817-1902)

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The grandparents of New Zealand author John Alan Edward Mulgan (1911-1945), known as Alan Mulgan, were some of the first settlers to arrive in Katikati in 1875 on the 'Carisbrooke Castle.'

Looking strange? see an archived version here

William Edward Mulgan was born in Ireland in 1817. He was rector of Dunaghy, County Antrim. In 1852 Rev Mulgan married Arabella Maria Stringer in  Monkstown Church, Ireland. They had two children together:

  1. Edward Ker Mulgan (c1857-1920). Born at Ballynahinch, County Down, Ireland.
  2. Olivia Louisa Mulgan (1860-1938). Born at Magheralin, County Down, Ireland. Married John 'Jack' Andrews in 1889.

The family arrived with the first party of settlers to Katikati, New Zealand, on the Carisbrooke Castle in 1875. William was nominated to the first school board in 1876. The couple held their golden wedding anniversary at 'Hillside' in Katikati in 1931.

On 4 January 1881 at Tauranga Edward Ker Mulgan married Frances Maria Johnston, the daughter of Canon and Frances Johnston of Hillside. Edward became a teacher and was head teacher at No. 2 School (Central) Katikati from 1888 to 1890, when the family then moved to Auckland. Edward enrolled at Auckland University and graduated BA in 1894 and MA in 1896. In 1896 he was appointed Inspector of Schools for the Auckland Education Board and later attained one of the highest posts in the New Zealand Education Service. Their son, Alan Edward Mulgan, was born on the farm in Katikati on 18 May 1881. He entered journalism as a cadet for the Auckland Star in 1900.

Alan Edward Mulgan married Marguerita Blomfield, one of the first women to gain a master's degree at Auckland University College. Alan was a lecturer in journalism at Auckland University and in 1935 he joined the Broadcasting service. In 1947 he was awarded the O.B.E.

At the age of 77 Alan Edward Mulgan published his autobiography 'The Making of a New Zealander.' One chapter contains his memories of life in early Katikati. He also wrote a poem called 'Golden Wedding' along with at least another twelve books.

Alan Edward Mulgan and Marguerita's son John Alan Edward Mulgan (born in Christchurch in 1911) needs no introduction as many of his writings have recently been republished. One of these is 'Man Alone' (1939) and another 'Report on Experience' (1947). John married Gabrielle Wanklyn and their son Richard is Professor of Political Studies at the Australian National University.

In 1967 I attended a lecture in Tokoroa given by Professor Paul Day of Waikato University on the life of John Mulgan. Accompanying Professor Day was his wife Gabrielle. Gabrielle was the widow of John Mulgan. That lecture was to inspired me to research and collect anything and everything to do with Katikati and so the Katikati Archive began 44 years ago.

Pupils of all Katikati schools should feel very proud to have such illustrious names for their house competitions. Volumes more could be written about this family!

Arabella Maria Mulgan died, aged 76,  in 1899 (reg. 1899/5855). She was buried in Purewa Cemetery, Auckland. William Edward Mulgan died in Auckland in 1902 (reg.1902/468). He was buried in Purewa Cemetery, Auckland.


by Ellen McCormack (2011).

This page was archived at perma cc April 2017

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William Edward Mulgan (1817-1902)

First Names:William Edward
Last Name:Mulgan
Date of Birth:1817
Country of birth:Ireland
Date of death:1902
Place of death:Auckland
Place of burial:Purewa Cemetery, Auckland
First settled:Katikati
Date of Arrival:1875
Name of the ship:Carisbrooke Castle
Spouses name:Arabella Maria Stringer
Spouses date of birth:c1823
Spouses place of birth:Ireland
Spouses date of death:1899
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Purewa Cemetery, Auckland
Date of marriage:1852
Place of marriage:Monkstown Church, Ireland
Name of the children:Edward Ker Mulgan and Olivia Louisa Mulgan