Burial register ID: 9419
Surname: IRELAND
First name: THOMAS
Middle names:
Gender: Male
Age: 61 Years
Cause of death: Unknown
Burial type:
Date of death: 06-Aug-1903
Date of burial: 08-Aug-1903

Block: 104
Plot: 14

In loving memory of


And his loved wife


Also their children




Bio contributor: Pauline Ireland-Kenny

Thomas Ireland 1841–1903

Thomas Ireland was the second son of Peter and Isabella Ireland, born in 1841 at the coastal village of Cellardyke in Fifeshire. In 1855 Thomas, having celebrated his thirteenth birthday just 45 days earlier, sailed from Liverpool with his family on the Ocean Chief for Hobart Town, Tasmania. Although there are no records to prove this, Thomas most likely worked with his father at Broadmarsh in Tasmania, instead of going to school.

In 1860 or 1861 he must have shaken the foundations of this strict Presbyterian family when he announced that he had fathered a child. Although there is no record of this birth in Hobart for the period 1857-65, Thomas George Ireland was born in Hobart Town; it would appear that the only record is his death certificate in 1867, which gives his age as six and a half.

When Thomas Ireland arrived in Dunedin is uncertain, but the 21 June 1862 “Notice of Intent to Marry” held at the Dunedin Registry Office shows that Thomas had been living in Dunedin for seven months. Thomas’s fiancée Agnes Louisa Carney had been a resident in Dunedin for three months. Family anecdote has it that Agnes Carney worked as a nanny or a governess in Hobart.

On 27 June 1862 Thomas Ireland married Agnes Louisa Carney at the house of his father, Peter Ireland, in Great King Street, Dunedin. By this time, Thomas was probably working in partnership with his father in his carrying business. The Rev. Dr Donald M. Stuart, who was later to baptise and marry most of the Thomas Ireland children, officiated at the marriage, which was witnessed by William Duncan and Agnes Robertson, both of Dunedin.

Thomas and Agnes soon produced a large family of eleven, three of whom were to die in childhood. Their first daughter, Isabella Ann Ireland, was born in 1863 and died, aged almost four, of scarlatina, a prevalent childhood disease in the early decades of Dunedin. Two days later, Thomas George succumbed too, and the pair were buried in the Southern Cemetery.

The growing family lived at 64 Union Street, one house back from the corner of Union and Castle Street, now part of the University of Otago. By now, Thomas was working as head of the packing team in Sargood Son and Ewen’s warehouse, a position he held for over thirty years. The Thomas Ireland children appear to have attended the nearby Union Street school although some are recorded as attending the Normal School in Moray Place.

The following obituary was published in the Evening Star when Thomas died suddenly of peritonitis in 1903:

“Mr Thomas Ireland, who died at his residence, Union Street, this morning, leaves another blank in the ranks of the earlier settlers of Otago. He arrived in 1861 and was principally known for his keen interest in educational matters, being for many years a member of the Union Street School Committee, and as a recognition of his services in that latter capacity, the flag at the school was today flown at half-mast. In addition to his interest in horticulture, he also interested himself in Friendly Society matters and was for nearly 40 years a member of the Foresters’ Lodge Court of Pride, Dunedin. Mr Ireland held the highest offices in his parent lodge. He was employed for over 30 years as the head of the packing room in Sargood Son and Ewen’s warehouse. Mr Ireland was born in St Andrews, Fifeshire, Scotland, and leaves a widow, 3 sons and 5 daughters, and a large circle of friends and acquaintances to mourn the gap his removal has caused.”

Although Thomas did not follow his brothers to the Mount Cargill farm, he used his “green fingers” in other ways. The annual reports for the Dunedin Horticultural Society for 1885-86 show him as a committee member. Perhaps Thomas helped organise the 1889-90 exhibition, which was very successful in the creation of a large ferny gully in the bush.

Others buried here: Thomas’s wife Agnes Louisa and their children Agnes Louisa, Jessica, Isabella, Thomas and Lilian.

See also:

1. Thomas’s parents Peter Ireland and Isabella Ireland (at Block 37 Plot 5).

2. Thomas’s sister Janet (Jessie) Brown and her daughter Isabella (at Block 190A Plot 6-7).

3. Thomas’s sister Isabella (Annie) Heads and her family (at Block 27 Plot 9).

There are 8 Interments in this grave:

Surname First names Age Date of death Date of burial
IRELAND AGNES LOUISA 76 Years 14-Aug-1917 16-Aug-1917
IRELAND AGNES LOUISA 84 Years 08-Oct-1949 11-Oct-1949
IRELAND ARTHUR 5 Weeks 16-Feb-1883 17-Feb-1883
IRELAND ISABELLA 72 Years 19-Oct-1945 22-Oct-1945
IRELAND JESSIE 43 Years 04-Aug-1912 07-Aug-1912
IRELAND LILIAN MARY 72 Years 18-Apr-1958 21-Apr-1958
IRELAND THOMAS 66 Years 09-Dec-1942 11-Dec-1942
IRELAND THOMAS 61 Years 06-Aug-1903 08-Aug-1903