Topic: Mildred Caroline Garmonsway (nee Bell) (1894-1978)

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Mildred Caroline Bell married Thomas Albert Garmonsway and had seven children. They separated in 1931. After she died her ashes were scattered at Pyes Pa Cemetery in Tauranga. Mildred was my great grandmother - Debbie McCauley (2013).

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Mildred Caroline Bell was born in Fowlers [now Kimbolton] on 6 January 1894. Her parents were Edward and Mary Bell (nee Watt) who married in Turakina on 19 May 1881.

Mildred's younger sister, Ida May Bell, died at eight days of age. Two of her brothers, John and Alexander, were killed during World War I (1914-1918).

On 2 August 1915 (reg. 1915/3078) she married Thomas Albert Garmonsway (1881-1977) at Otorohanga. They had seven children together:

  1. Hector Keith Garmonsway (1914-1979). Born 14 February 1914. He married Hazel. Hector died on 25 November 1979.
  2. Mavis Kathleen Garmonsway (1916-1996). Born in Te Kuiti on 6 January 1916. She married Walter George Kelly (1907-1981) in Otorohanga on 10 August 1940. Mavis died in Tauranga Hospital on 19 July 1996. Her ashes were buried along with Walter's in the Pyes Pa Cemetery Rose Gardens.
  3. Mildred Ruby Garmonsway (1917-1992). Born in Te Kuiti on 27 October 1917. She married Eric William Henry Muir (1914-2004) on 27 August 1953. Mildred died on 21 August 1992. Her ashes were buried in the Pyes Pa Cemetery Rose Gardens.
  4. Phyllis Mary Garmonsway (1919-2006). Born in Ngaruawahia on 2 October 1919. She married Albert Charles Adams (1915-1995) at the First Presbyterian Church, King St, Frankton on 20 May 1944. Albert served in World War II (1939-1945). Phyllis died on 8 September 2006 (reg. 2006/22593). Phyllis and Albert are buried in the Te Awamutu RSA burial ground (Divisional Cavalry Sgt. Regimental number 21900).
  5. Eileen Annie Garmonsway (-). Born on 22 October. She married Ernie Turner.
  6. Rose Ivy Garmonsway (1925-1995). Born in Hamilton on 3 February 1925. She married Victor John Scelly (1922-1997). Rose died in 1995 (reg. 1995/32388).
  7. Ida Melva Garmonsway (1930-2012). Born in Otorohanga on 27 March 1930. She married William Hard on 5 December 1954. Ida died on 9 May 2012.

The family lived at Whawharua, just out of Otorohanga. The children helped to milk cows before and after school. They shared horses during the ride to school each day.

I remember my great Aunt Ruby telling me once that they had a big orchard and plenty of fruit, but they couldn't make jam because they could never afford to buy sugar.

In 1931 Mildred and Thomas separated.

Mildred later owned 'The Wattles' boarding house at Waitomo Caves. 'The house was built in 1910. Initially it was the home of one of the teamsters from the Hotel. It was first run as 'The Wattles Private Hotel' by Mrs D de Lunie. It became known as the Whitehouse after Mr and Mrs John D Poucher bought it in 1966 and Mrs Poucher ‘ran it’ (Whitehouse Travel Hotel). There is a description of it in ‘NZ on $10 a day’ (1976/77). From 1976 they ran it purely as a restaurant (Whitehouse Restaurant - lunches 7 days a week). Mr Poucher was on the catering staff at the Hotel (1964-1971). THC (Tourist Hotel Corp) bought it from the Pouchers in 1976 to use as married staff quarters. The Whitehouse and was a landmark in Waitomo until it was demolished in around November 1996 to make way for the award winning HuHu Café' (Hawke, 2014).

'Mildred was a fantastic cook and was employed for a time as cook at the Matamata Hospital' (Keetch, 2013).

"The Wattles" Boarding House at Waitomo Caves (c1934).

Thomas died, aged 95, on 24 June 1977 in New Plymouth.

Mildred died, aged 84, on 16 May 1978 at Tauranga Hospital. Her ashes were scattered at Pyes Pa Cemetery in Tauranga.



Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Edward Garmonsway and Letitia King: Their descendants. A booklet to commemorate the Garmonsway family reunion held 16-17 April 1983 in Cambridge, N. Z. by Barbara Kelly, Julie Fox and Peter Wood (1983).

Karen Adams-Keetch (personal communication, 2013).

Lindsay Hawke (Collection Services Officer, Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre, personal communication 12 June 2014)

Mavis Kathleen Kelly (personal communication, 1992).

This page was archived at perma cc February 2017

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Mildred Caroline Garmonsway (nee Bell) (1894-1978)

First Names:Mildred Caroline
Last Name:Bell
Date of Birth:6 January 1894
Place of Birth:Fowlers (now Kimbolton)
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:16 May 1978
Place of death:Tauranga Hospital
Place of burial:Pyes Pa Cemetery, Tauranga
Family Surname:Garmonsway
Spouses name:Thomas Albert Garmonsway
Spouses date of birth:4 November 1881
Spouses place of birth:Paterangi, Te Awamutu
Spouses date of death:24 June 1977
Spouses place of death:New Plymouth, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth
Date of marriage:2 August 1915
Place of marriage:Otorohanga, New Zealand
Fathers name:Edward Bell
Fathers date of birth:24 December 1846
Fathers place of birth:South Kirby, Yorkshire, England
Fathers date of death:20 May 1912
Fathers place of death:Taupiri, New Zealand
Fathers nationality:English
Mothers name:Mary Watt
Mothers date of birth:5 January 1860
Mothers place of birth:Wanganui, New Zealand
Mothers date of death:21 May 1949
Mothers place of death:Hamilton, New Zealand
Name of sibilings:Greame Jewett, William Bell, Annie Mary Bell, Ida May Bell, Ivy Cecilia Cox, Alexander Law Bell, Percy Lyell Bell, Vincent Bell, John Edward Bell, and Allen Gerrie Bell
Name of the children:Rose Ivy Garmonsway , Ida Melva Garmonsway , Hector Keith Garmonsway , Mavis Kathleen Garmonsway , Mildred Ruby Garmonsway , Phyllis Mary Garmonsway, and Eileen Annie Garmonsway
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Mildred Caroline Garmonsway (nee Bell) (1894-1978) by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License