Topic: Robert Hynds (c.1861-1929)

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Tauranga settler Robert Hynds and his family lived on Hynds Road in the Gate Pa / Greerton area. This article was researched and written by Debbie McCauley in March 2013 after a series of interviews with Robert's grandsons, Grant Hynds and Alister Sutton.

Robert Hynds was born in Limuwady, County Derry, Ireland, in c1861 to William and Peggy Jane Hynds (nee Hull). At aged 22, on 19 July 1883, Robert Hynds departed Glasgow, Scotland, along with a cousin. They arrived in Townsville, Australia, aboard the Oban Bay. Robert worked in Queensland and as he followed a strong Christian faith throughout his life was deeply upset at the treatment meted out to the aboriginal and Torrens Island peoples who were harsly treated in the cane fields of Queensland.

In 1884 the New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes (1854-1930) recorded as deserters Robert Hynds and Peter Johnson: 

Deserters from Her Majesty's Service. From the New South Wales Artillery. On the 2nd November, 1884. No. 1,094, Gunner Robert Hynds, born at Limuwady, Derry, Ireland, 23 years of age 5 feet 91/4 inches high, pale complexion, brown hair, blue eyes; a soldier; dressed in regimentals; under two year's service.

It is understood that Robert arrived in New Zealand from Townsville in around December 1884, prior to the Tarawera Eruption in 1886. At the time of the eruption he was working for Mr George Bailey Sutton of Opotiki.  Mr Sutton had a contract for the Motu Gorge Road that ran through to Gisborne. When Tarawera erupted, Robert and his two co-workers thought the end of the world had come. Their hut collapsed under the weight of the ash. On the third day the three men drew straws as to who would ride out on their one pack-horse to Opotiki to see if there was anyone else alive in the world. The man selected did not return, and was never heard from again. Robert and his remaining companion decided to walk to Opotiki and there they found out about the eruption.

In 1888, Robert was staying with George Sutton and his wife in Opotiki. From there he took a boat to Auckland and then another boat to North America. From 1888 to 1898 Robert was living in the north-west of America and Canada. During this period in Canada Robert was working as a bear hunter. Robert's first marriage in the United States was very shorted lived. His wife died from injuries received when she was kicked by a horse. His second wife was Lydia Flannagan (c.1858-1898) and they had four children together who were born in either the United States or Canada.

The family story is that at some stage during this time Robert, being an expert horseman, rode in the famous Buffalo Bill's Wild  West Shows. These were run and owned by William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917). There is also some suggestion by Grant Hynds that Robert met with Scottish envangelist John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907) during this period in the United States.

Later, Robert was farming in either British Colombia or Washington State. Two conflicting stories exist about the death of Robert's second wife, Lydia, at Fairview, British Columbia, Canada, on 15 November 1898. One is that she died during childbirth; the other that she was driving a horse and buggy when it was struck by a train. After Lydia's death, Robert left the USA/Canada and returned to Ireland with his four children. In Ireland he stayed with the father of David Hynds.

Whilst in Ireland, Robert met  Jennie Smythe (1873-1952), the daughter of the local miller. They married in Balteagh, Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 8 February 1900. The Hynds family in Ireland were contractors and farmers. Some were also Presbyterian ministers.

Robert and Jennie Hynds arrived in Tauranga from Northern Ireland in May 1900 aboard the Rakaia. The Rakaia departed London, England, on 28 March 1900, arriving in Wellington. According to the shipping record, in board were Robert Hynds (aged 36); Mrs Hynds; Master Jas Hynds (aged 11); Miss L Hynds (aged 9) and Master Robt Hynds (aged 6).

Robert Hynds and family c1924 Robert Hynds and family c1920-24

Robert Hynds and family (c.1924). From left: George Douglas Hynds, Jeannie Hynds (nee Smythe), Albert Smythe Hynds, Sarah Kathleen Hynds, Robert Hynds and John Hynds. Photograph supplied by: Grant Hynds (2013).

The Hynds family owned a twelve acre fruit orchard in Greerton on which they also milked cows. This is how the name Hynds Road came into being.

The children of Robert Hynds:

  1. William James Hynds (1889-1925). He was known as 'Jim'. Born in Washington State, USA, in 1889. Married Beatrice Ivy Revell in 1914 (reg. 1914/6970). Jim died in New Zealand, aged 36, in 1925 (reg. 1925/484).
  2. Mary Hynds (1891-1918). Born in the north-west of the USA or in British Colombia in 1891, she was baptised in Arrisook. She died in Tauranga, of pneumonia, on 27 April 1918 (folio. 1918/850).
  3. Letitia Hynds (c1892-1956). Known as 'Jessie'. Born in the north-west of the USA or in British Colombia in c1892, she was baptised in Arrisook. In 1924 (reg. 1924/5942) she married Nelson Oram. Nelson fought in WWI (1914-1918). Jessie died in New Zealand, aged 65, in 1956 (reg. 1956/33377).
  4. Robert Hynds (1893-1967). Born in British Columbia, Canada, on 20 July 1893. Married Christina Margaret Alice Stewart (1895-1969) [grandaughter of George Vesey Stewart] in 1920 (reg. 1920/4596). Robert died in New Zealand, aged 73, in 1967 (reg. 1967/44958).
  5. Albert Smyth Hynds (1902-1963). Born in Tauranga on 25 July 1902 (reg. 1902/16593). Married Ruby McClure Brown in 1929 (reg. 1929/6109). Albert died, aged 61, in August 1963 (reg. 1963/26993).
  6. Sarah Kathleen Hynds (1904-1973). She was known as 'Kathleen'. Born in Tauranga on 18 March 1904 (reg. 1904/15419). Married Thomas George Fletcher Sutton in 1925 (reg. 1925/4359). Kathleen died in 1973 (reg. 1973/49142).
  7. John Francis Hynds (1906-?). Born in Tauranga 1906 (reg. 1906/6085). At aged 18 he moved to Sydney, Australia. He married Eileen de Mey. John was in the Australian Air Force, becoming Squadron Leader after several years. He was in Darwin when it was bombed during World War II (1939-1945). John was building airforce stations in Riverston, Sydney and the Northern Territory. He was an explosives expert.
  8. George Douglas Hynds (1908-1987). Born in Tauranga on 18 May 1908 (reg. 1908/5455). George died in 1987 (reg. 1987/32731).

In 1901 Robert Hynds was elected onto the Greerton School Committee (Bay Of Plenty Times, 29 April 1901, p. 2).

A Bay of Plenty Times article from 7 November 1906 describes the road from Eyre’s corner to Hynds as being all grass and rat-tail. Their solution was to plough it right across, harrow it well and clean up the water-tables by hand. Where the road deviates through the Council sections to the main road the gorse requires to be cut back three feet; grubbed would be better; it is now out to the wheel track.

Another Bay of Plenty Times article dated 18 March 1910 commends Robert Hynds on winning prizes for his apples, pears, peaches and lemons. The article further describes how he had recently added five acres to his orchard which was already planted in young trees, and mentions plans to establish a canning factory.

Robert helped to bring electrical power to Greerton in 1915. Later, the family operated a slaughter-house on Hynds Road and meat was delivered locally using a horse and cart.

In 1916 Robert was fined for failing to clear noxious weeds from his property: Before Mr R W Dyer S.M., in the Magistrates Court, on Thursday, Mr LJB Grant, Inspector of Noxious Weeds, proceeded against Robert Hynds for failing to clear noxious weeds: Defendant was fined £2, costs £1 2s 7d. (Bay Of Plenty Times, 11 December 1916, p. 4)

On 9 April 1924, Robert, Jennie and daughter Kathleen arrived in Southampton, England, aboard the Corinthic from Wellington . On 8 July 1924 they departed London for Auckland aboard the Largs Bay.

Robert died at Gate Pa, Tauranga, aged 69, on 9 June 1929 (reg. 1929/13390). His obituary appeared in the Auckland Star on 11 June 1929:

MR. ROBERT HYNDS. The death has occurred at Gate Pa, Bay of Plenty, on Sunday, of Mr. Robert Hynds, at the age of 69 years. Mr. Hynds was born in County Derry, Ireland. He carried out fruitgrowing and dairy farming at Gate Pa for the past 29 years, and he took a very keen interest in public affairs, and for some years served on the Gate Pa School Committee. He is survived by a widow and an adult family, Messrs. Robert Hynds, Auckland, Albert and George Hynds, Tauranga, John Hynds, Melbourne [mostly in Sydney], and Mesdames N. Oram, Auckland, and G. Sutton, Paengaroa. (Auckland Star, 11 June 1929, p. 10)

After Robert’s death his son George worked the family farm, purchasing an adjoining property owned by Mr Robert Tuthill in 1934 and converting the orchard to dairying. Some time after this, George gained the titles to the 'dead man's land' situated on the west side of Hynds Road running south all the way to Chadwick Road. 'Dead Man's Land' was land that had been granted to soldiers, in this case probably from the Battle of Gate Pa, but not taken up.

Jeannie died in Tauranga, aged 85, in 1952 (reg. 1952/27545).



Alister Sutton (personal communication, 2013).

Auckland Star, 11 June 1929, Robert Hynds Obituary.

Bay of Plenty Times, 16 October 1886.

Bay of Plenty Times, 7 November 1906 (p. 4).

Bay of Plenty Times, 18 March 1910 (p. 2).

Bay of Plenty Times, 20 March 1914 (p. 5), Hynds-Revell Wedding.

Bay of Plenty Times, 30 January 1920 (p. 7), Hynds-Stewart Wedding.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Evening Post, 11 May 1900 (p. 4), Rakaia from London.

Grant Hynds (personal communication, 2013).

Greerton School Centennial Jubilee, Souvenir History 1876-1976.

MacMillan, V. (1976). Notes taken during a visit to Miss V. A. MacMillan, 34 Fraser St, Tauranga, on 16th September, 1976. (V/F Biographies, New Zealand Room, Tauranga City Library).

Royal BC Museum Genealogy Search:

Stokes, E. (1980). A History of Tauranga County. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2013). Robert Hynds (c.1861-1929). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2013) 

This page was archived at Perma cc February 2017

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Robert Hynds (c.1861-1929)

First Names:Robert
Last Name:Hynds
Date of Birth:c.1861
Place of Birth:Limuwady, County Derry
Country of birth:Ireland
Date of death:9 June 1929
Place of death:Gate Pa, Tauranga
Place of burial:Tauranga Presbyterian Cemetery (18th Avenue)
First settled:Opotiki
Date of Arrival:May 1900
Name of the ship:Rakaia
Date of sailing:28 March 1900
Place of settlement in Bay of Plenty:Greerton
Port of arrival:Wellington
Sailed from:London
Date of arrival in Bay of Plenty:1900
Spouses name:Jeannie Hynds and Lydia Flannagan
Spouses date of birth:1873
Spouses place of birth:Terrydo, Limavady, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Spouses date of death:1952
Spouses place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Date of marriage:8 February 1900
Place of marriage:Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Fathers name:William Hynds
Fathers date of birth:1821
Fathers place of birth:Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Fathers date of death:December 1898
Mothers name:Peggy Jane Hull
Mothers date of birth:3 April 1825
Mothers place of birth:Tergoland, Dungiven, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Mothers date of death:1914
Mothers place of death:Limavady, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Name of the children:George Douglas Hynds , Mary Hynds , Jessie Laetitia Hynds , William James Hynds, Robert Hynds, Albert Smyth Hynds , Sarah Kathleen Hynds , and John Francis Hynds