Topic: Alice Heron Maxwell (1860-1949)

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For sixty years Alice Heron Maxwell worked tirelessly to preserve The Elms and its contents, a place that has become a true treasure and historical icon of Tauranga. She was also a signatory to the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition. Story by Debbie McCauley.

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Alice Heron Maxwell was born in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia on 9 October 1860. Her father was Reverend Andrew Stirling Maxwell and his wife Euphemia Ballingall Maxwell (nee Johnston) who married at Old Machar in Aberdeen, Scotland on 10 November 1852. The couple emigrated to Australia where their family grew to include:

  1. Euphemia Maxwell (1853-1863).
  2. Andrew James Maxwell (1855-1930). Born in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. Died in Nelson, New Zealand.
  3. Morrice Finch Maxwell (1857-1858). Born and died in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia.
  4. Edith Jane Maxwell (1859-1930). Born in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. Buried in Mission Cemetery, Tauranga, New Zealand.
  5. Alice Heron Maxwell (1860-1949).
  6. Ebenezer Maxwell (1862-1937). Born in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. Buried in Mission Cemetery, Tauranga, New Zealand.
  7. Alexander Johnston Maxwell (1864-1865). Born and died in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia.

Andrew died in Kilmore in 1865 and Euphemia moved with her children to New Zealand. Her sister Christina had married Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown in 1860 and Alice visited the couple at the the Tauranga Mission House.

The names of Edith and Alice Maxwell are associated with Tauranga Mission House, known after Archdeacon Brown acquired it for his own use after retirement as The Elms. The property passed to the Maxwell family in 1887 when Christina died. Euphemia and her daughters moved from Wellington to Tauranga to live in the property.

Alice signed the Women's Suffrage Petition that was presented to Parliament in 1893 (Sheet No. 398).

When Euphemia died in 1919 Alice inherited The Elms. For over sixty years (1887-1949) Alice worked tirelessly to preserve The Elms. She and her sister Edith maintained the property, and its contents, and conducted visitors through the home. Edith died in April 1930 and Alice carried on her work alone.

Alice died on 24 July 1949, having spent 60 years living at The Elms which was inherited by her nephew Duff Heron Maxwell. She was buried in Tauranga Mission Cemetery.



Bush, Ernest Edward (1982). Biographical Sketches of The Centennial Mural.

Rorke, Jinty (1996). Alice Heron Maxwell. Retrieved from (Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, last updated: 2012). 


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Alice Heron Maxwell (1860-1949)

First Names:Alice Heron
Last Name:Maxwell
Date of Birth:9 October 1860
Place of Birth:Kilmore, Victoria
Country of birth:Australia
Date of death:24 July 1949
Place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Place of burial:Tauranga Mission Cemetery
Fathers name:Andrew Stirling Maxwell
Fathers date of birth:16 June 1820
Fathers place of birth:Dundee, Angus, Scotland
Fathers date of death:20 May 1865
Fathers place of death:Kilmore, Australia
Mothers name:Euphemia Ballingall Johnston
Mothers date of birth:1829
Mothers place of birth:Aberdeen, Scotland
Mothers date of death:20 February 1919
Mothers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand