Topic: Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart) (1865-1962)

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In 1900 Emily Surtees took the following photographs of the Dumbleton family of Katikati. Mary Phoebe Stewart was the sixth child of Katikati founder George Vesey Stewart and his wife Margaret. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Mary Phoebe Stewart married Arthur Roderick Dumbleton on 1 January 1885 (reg. 1885/281) at the home of Mervyn Stewart, the grandfather of the bride, at Martray, Katikati. Their children were:

  1. Charles Mervyn Gordon Dumbleton (1886-1967).
  2. Frances (Pearl) Mary Pauline Dumbleton (1887-c1962).
  3. Violet Louisa Grace Dumbleton born (1891- ).
  4. Lawrence (Budge) Phillip Dumbleton (1893-1969).

Mrs A. M. Dumbleton and children reading books, 1900

Front Row: Gordon Dumbleton, Douglas Dumbleton, Buffie Dumbleton.

Back Row: Violet Dumbleton, Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart), Pearl Dumbleton.


Mrs A. M. Dumbleton with Pearl and Violet Dumbleton, 1900

 Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart) with children Pearl and Violet Dumbleton, 1900


Gordon, Douglas and Buffie Dumbleton, 1900

Gordon, Douglas and Buffie Dumbleton, 1900


Mrs A. M. Dumbleton and family, 1900

Sitting in front: Douglas Dumbleton, Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart), Violet Dumbleton.

Standing at back: Buffie Dumbleton, Pearl Dumbleton, Gordon Dumbleton.

Mary Phoebe Stewart died in Wellington in 1962. Her obituary appeared in the Evening Post on 4 October 1962:

MRS. M. P. DUMBLETON DIES, Link With N.Z. History Severed. A link with the early history of New Zealand was severed recently with the death in Lower Hutt of Mrs. Mary Phoebe Dumbleton, the last surviving daughter of the late George Vesey Stewart, who settled the first of the Northern Irish immigrants, arriving in 1875, and took land in Katikati under contract to the New Zealand Government of that day.

Mrs. Dumbleton was 97. She lived in Barber Grove, Moera. She was born in Ireland and came to new Zealand in the Carisbrooke Castle with her parents, six brothers and two sisters.

The Katikati settlement (just out of Tauranga), or the Ulster Plantation as it was often referred to, was the subject of a novel written by Arthur J. Gray and first published in Wellington by A. H. and A. W. Reed in 1938 and  reprinted and revised in 1951. The novel was entitled "An Ulster Plantation" and is a tribute to George Vesey Stewart. The book's introduction was written by the late Alan Mulgan.

The Katikati settlement was one of the last of the Government's special settlemetns which were aimed at grouping together immigrants from one country, united by ties of kinship, or religion and who might preserve their old traditions in a new setting.

George Vesey Stewart was born in 1832, the son of Captain Mervyn Stewart, whose father was a grandson of Sir John Stewart, Baronet. Vesey Stewart's early life was connected with a George Maurice O'Rorke. Little did they then know that they were to later play a big role in the development of New Zealand.

Vesey Stewart's university career was brilliant. He graduated from Trinity College in 1856 with honours in classics, besides winning prizes in French, German, Italian and Spanish, but he surprised many by choosing farming as an occupation.

A German Baron von Steiglitz, who had returned from Australia told Vesey Stewart there was nothing in Ireland for Stewart, adn urged him to go to the colonies. In his 40th year, Vesey Stewart took the advice.

Thus Vesey Stewart decided to settle in New Zealand. The place given the men from Ulster by the New Zealand Government was a tract of land on the north-western shore of Tauranga Harbour in a range of forest-clad hills.

The history of Tauranga is wrapped up with the life story of George Vesey Stewart.

Mrs. Dumbleton, who married Mr. Arthur Roderick Dumbleton in 1883, had five children.


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Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart) (1865-1962)

First Names:Mary Phoebe
Last Name:Stewart
Date of Birth:1865
Place of Birth:County Tyrone
Country of birth:Ireland
Date of death:1962
Place of death:Wellington
Place of burial:Taita Lawn Cemetery
Family Surname:Dumbleton
Name of the ship:Carisbrooke Castle
Spouses name:Arthur Roderick Dumbleton
Spouses date of birth:c1864
Spouses place of birth:Sinlin, India
Spouses date of death:1924
Spouses place of death:Nairobi, Kenya
Date of marriage:1885
Place of marriage:Martray, Katikati
Fathers name:George Vesey Stewart
Mothers name:Margaret
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Mary Phoebe Dumbleton (nee Stewart) (1865-1962) by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License