Topic: Alexander James Mirrielees (1878-1972)

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In October 2013 the 6th Battalion (Hauraki) Regimental Association Committee was successful in obtaining the medal of Major A. J. Mirrielees during a Wellington auction at a cost of $850. The medal is now on display in the 6th Battalion (Hauraki) Regimental Association Museum at the corner of Devonport Road and Eleventh Avenue in Tauranga.

Looking strange? see an archived version here

Alexander James Mirrielees (1878-1972)   

Alexander James Mirrielees was born at Riverton on 4 June 1878 (reg. 1878/13778), the youngest son of William Phillip and Ellen Mirrielees (nee Lyon). His father arrived in New Zealand in 1860, taking part in the Gabriels' Gully Gold Rish. Previously he had worked in Moscow then Odessa on the Black Sea before moving to Australia in 1854. William and Ellen married in Riverton in 1866.

Alexander was educated at Riverton High School before completing a four year apprentiship with chemist C. F. Whitford. He moved to Wellington, where he qualified, then opened a pharmacy in Johnsonville, remaining there for seven years. During that time he became involved in the Rifle Volunteers, winning the New Zealand Service Championship Belt and the Challenge Cup several times at Trentham.

In 1902 (reg. 1902/4388) he married Violet Mary Ada Sheath. The children of Alexander and Violet:

  1. Joan Mirrielees (1903- ). Born Wellington.
  2. Ronald Mirrielees (1908- ). Born Johnsonville (twin).
  3. Elsie Mirrielees (1908- ). Born Johnsonville (twin). Married James Moloney in 1931.

In 1910 he received a pamphlet entitiled 'Beautiful Tauranga' by Colin Norris and decided to move. He bought a pharmacy on The Strand in Tauranga from Mr Woods and transferred from the Johnsonville Rifles to the Sixth Hauraki Regiment.

In 1914 the Mirrielees bought sections on the Corner of Cameron Road and Monmouth Street.

After the First World War Alexander retired from the Hauraki's with the rank of Major. During the war he served as a recruiting officer for the area.

He was involved in the following Tauranga organisations:

  • Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club (Foundation Member - President)
  • Mayor Island Fishing ('Rainbow', 'Kotahi', 'Kingfish')
  • Deep Sea Fishing Club (Foundation Member - President)
  • Tauranga Harbour Board (Chairman 1933-44)
  • Tauranga Golf Club (President)
  • Tauranga Club
  • Tauranga Bowling Club (Joined in 1910)
  • Yacht and Powerboat Club
  • Fire Board (Chairman 1938-1941))
  • Tauranga Rifle Club (Life Member)
  • Chamber of Commerce (President)
  • Justice of the Peace

Captain Mirrielees (12 September 1994) by Jinty Rorke:

Before reclamation began the tip of the Te Papa peninsula ended in a sandy bank, which curved round to the west and provided a sheltered anchorage at the base of the cliff to the north of the Mission Station. This sandbank was generally known as The Spit, and the road leading to it Spit Road. In the 1860s the imperial regiments established a practice rifle range here. It was also used by the Armed Constabulary and, later, by the Tauranga Rifle Volunteers.

The name was changed to Mirrielees Road in 1951 after Captain A.J. Mirrielees, who had been in charge of the Rifles Volunteers who practised at the butts. Mirrielees, who was a founding member of the Tauranga Harbour Board, had a chemist's shop on The Strand. He was also a commercial photographer, as were many chemists in those days, and his postcards are an important part of the Tauranga District Library's photograph collection. Mirrielees son, Ron, kept homing pigeons, in the loft of their house on Cameron Road. During the filming of "My Lady of the Caves" on Mayor Island in the 1920s his birds were used by the film crew to send messages to the mainland. This was particularly important as the leading lady had her young baby on the island with her. Fishing boats would then deliver the necessary items to Mayor Island.



Bay of Plenty Times (February 1964)

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Mirrielees Biographical File (Tauranga City Library: Research Collections)

This page was archived at Perma cc March 2017

Medal: Alexander James Mirrielees (1878-1972)

Medal: Alexander James Mirrielees (1878-1972)

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Alexander James Mirrielees (1878-1972)

First Names:Alexander James
Last Name:Mirrielees
Date of Birth:4 June 1878
Place of Birth:Riverton
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:13 August 1972
Place of death:Tauranga
Place of burial:Tauranga Anglican Cemetery
Spouses name:Violet Mary Ada Sheath
Spouses date of birth:1879
Spouses place of birth:New Zealand
Spouses date of death:27 June 1928
Spouses place of death:Tauranga
Spouses place of burial:Tauranga Anglican Cemetery
Date of marriage:1902
Place of marriage:New Zealand
Fathers name:William Phillip Mirrielees
Fathers date of birth:1832
Fathers place of birth:Aberdeen, Scotland
Fathers date of death:1907
Mothers name:Ellen Lyon
Name of sibilings:William Mirrielees and John Mirrielees
Name of the children:Joan Mirrielees, Ronald Mirrielees, and Elsie Mirrielees
Member of Society:Sixth Hauraki's