HILLSDON, George Henry James

George Henry James Hillsdon
Photographer, London Street, Lyttelton

George Henry James Hillsdon was born in London in 1852 the son of Thomas Hillsdon an engineer and Susan Hillsdon nee Walters. He arrived in New Zealand about 1876 and married Elizabeth Annie Woolley at St Luke's Church, Christchurch on 8 February 1881. 

A son George Thomas Hillsdon was born on 16 May 1881, a daughter Alice Mary Isabel Hillsdon in 1884 and a second son Richard Walter Hillsdon in 1887.

He died at in residence in London Street, Lyttelton on 17 February 1926. Death registration  and burial records show he was aged 70 years, however his correct age would have been closer to 74. His wife had died on 16 September 1919 at Christchurch and they are buried in Bromley Cemetery, block 35 plot 30.

The Mataura in Dock.— A very fine enlarged photograph of the New Zealand Shipping Company's s.s. Mataura in the Lyttelton Graving Dock is to be seen at the Christchurch office of the Lyttelton Harbour Board. It is 2ft 6in in height and 2ft wide, and was enlarged by Mr Sorrell from a photograph taken by Mr Hillsdon, of Lyttelton. It has been prepared by the Board in order to be sent to the Canterbury Court at the Wellington Industrial Exhibition. It will form an excellent advertisement for the Port and the dock, as the Mataura is the largest vessel ever docked in New Zealand, being 5764 tons, 421 ft in length and 54ft 6in beam.
Star, Issue 5714, 6 November 1896, Page 3

Press, Volume LVII, Issue 17154, 25 May 1921

Sudden Death. 
Forcing an entry into a stationer's shop in London street yesterday morning, the police discovered the body of George Henry James Hillsdon lying on the floor of the kitchen. On the table was an open Bible, which deceased had evidently been reading when death, which is believed to have resulted from heart-failure, took place. Hillsdon was last seen alive on Tuesday, and, noticing that he had not opened his shop yesterday morning [Friday], neighbours became suspicious and informed the police. Deceased was a widower, and had lived alone for some years. He was nearly 70 years of age.  He leaves a son and daughter in Auckland and a son in Christchurch. An inquest will be held this morning [Saturday].
Press, Volume LXII, Issue 18621, 20 February 1926

Mr H. Y. Widdowson, Coroner, held an inquest on Saturday on the body of George Henry James Hillsdon, a photographer and stationer, who was found dead on Friday morning.

Dr. B. H. Gilmour gave evidence that he had conducted a post-mortem examination. In his opinion death had occurred through asphyxiation, caused by a high collar which deceased had been wearing. Hillsdon had evidently had an attack of angina pectoris, which would cause him to fall and double up in pain.

Henry W. Rider, confectioner, of London street, said he had last seen Hillsdon alive about 2 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. He then appeared in good health.

Constbale  (sic) W. J. Irwin said that Hillsdon lived alone in the dwelling attached to his shop. Witness was informed on Friday morning that a carrier had attempted to leave a parcel at the shop, and had found it locked up. Witness found deceased on the floor, fully clothed except for his coat. The high collar was very tight round the neck. There was a Bible on the floor. The table was laid as if deceased had, just finished having tea. The Coroner found that deceased died on February 17th. The cause of death was asphyxia, caused by the collar pressing against the windpipe, following a fall during an attack of angina pectoris.
Press, Volume LXII, Issue 18622, 22 February 1926

1. George Thomas Hillsdon (carpenter) born 1881, reg. 1881/4504, died 22 April 1940 at his residence 63 Cranford Street, St Albans, Christchurch aged 58 years, reg. 1940/25418, married 1905 Rosa Gertrude Cowper, died 10 October 1962 aged 80 years, reg. 1962/41497
1a. Walter Henry Hillsdon, born 1907, reg. 1907/17551, died 1971 aged 64 years, reg. 1971/37664
1b. Alice Gertrude Hillsdon, born 1909, reg. 1909/21213, died 31 May 1965 aged 56 years, reg. 1965/28606, married 1934, reg. 1934/10925 Keith McKenzie Yarrall, born
11 September 1906, died 11 September 1982, reg. 1982/40341 

1c.  Ernest George Hillsdon, born 11 January 1913, reg. 1913/4972, died 1989 reg. 1989/46741
1d. Emma May Hillsdon, born 23 April 1915, reg. 1915/9545 (Mrs Nicholas), died 2002, reg. 2002/8328
1e. Vera Joyce Hillsdon (Mrs Lynch), born 3 November 1917, died 1979, reg. 1979/27658

2. Alice Mary Isobel Hillsdon born 1884, reg. 1884/5784, died 1955, reg. 1955/35137, married 1909, reg. 1909/2113 Walter William Hender O.B.E. 1944, master mariner of Lyttelton [1], died 1963, reg. 1963/34197 aged 83 years. (in 1945 lived at 593 Mount Albert Road, Epson, Auckland)
2a. William Charles Kingston Hender, died 28 July 1971, reg. 1971/44845 aged 61 years
2b. Gwenllian Alice Hender, born 27 July 1913, died 15 December 2012, reg 2012/31649 (Mrs Lodder)
2c. Ronald Walter Hender died 24 November 1945 aged 34 years, privately cremated at Auckland

3. Richard Walter Hillsdon (photographer) born 11 March 1887 Auckland, reg. 1887/18914, [Richard's WW1 military records incorrectly give his date of birth as 11 March 1888] died 24 July 1955, Kingseat aged 67 years, reg 1955/24963 (unmarried).   

Free Births, Deaths and Marriages Births Dec 1852 - recorded as Hillsden, George Henry James Lewisham vol. 1d page 576
CCC Cemeteries Database

George Hillsdon's headstone in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch.


above - a sailor from HMS Phoebe, possibly Harold Des Forges by George Hillsdon, Lyttelton
below - reverse


 Ivy Eveline Green
born 1890, reg. 1890/7436 daughter of Louisa Jane and Morris Gananoque Green
married 1913 Albert William Cousens

Ernest Henry Green
born 1888, reg. 1888/3563 son of Louisa Jane and Morris Gananoque Green

[1] Greymouth, February 11. Captain Hender of the Union Steam Ship Company's Kowhai, now in port, met Captain Scott [Robert Falcon Scott] on two occasions. The first was eleven years ago, when Captain Hender was one of the ship's company of the relief ship Morning, which took stores and other necessaries to the Discovery, meeting that vessel in latitude 79 south. The Morning brought back to New Zealand Lieutenant (now Sir Ernest) Shackleton. who was invalided home, and nine others of the Discovery's crew. The next time Captain Hender met Captain Scott was in Lyttelton on his return to New Zealand about a year later.

''Captain Scott was not a man to talk much to anyone." said Captain Hender, to a "Star" representative. " He nevertheless was a splendid fellow, extremely popular and greatly liked by everyone on board his ship -just the man for the job he had undertaken." The second officer of the Kowhai, Mr Hatfield, one of the Morning's company on the second relief expedition, also had many opportunities of noticing how Captain Scott was esteemed, admired and loved by every man connected with the expedition.

Star, Issue 10691, 11 February 1913


RETIREMENT ANNOUNCED (0.C.) WELLINGTON, this day. The Union Steam Ship Company announces the retirement, after 40 years' service, of Captain Walter William Hender, O.B.E., master of the Narbada. Captain Hender was born in Stafford, Staffordshire, on November 27, 1879, and went to sea in sail at the age of 15. After 10 years' service in sail and steam he entered the U.S.S. Company's employ on September 19, 1904, as third officer of the first Talune. In July, 1906, he was promoted to second officer of the Tarawera and subsequently came ashore to sit for his extra master's certificate at Auckland prior to being appointed first mate of the ship Dartford in May, 1908. Next he was transferred to the Kotuku, and later to the first Monowai and Mokoia, and finally reached the position of master on July 29, 1912, when he took command of the Squall. During the past 32 years Captain Hender has had charge of many of the company's vessels. In March, 1926, he entered the transpacific cargo service upon assuming command of the Waitemata, and later commanded other ships in the same service, alternating with a short period in the Sussex in the Calcutta-East Indies cargo service. In October, 1929, Captain Hender was sent to the United Kingdom to take charge of the collier Karepo, and assumed command during the following month, remaining in that vessel for a brief period after her arrival in New Zealand. In January, 1931, he was appointed to the Narbada, engaged in the Calcutta East Indies service, remaining there till recently but for short relieving periods. A few months after the outbreak of the present war the Narbada came under the control of the British Ministry of War Transport and has made many voyages to distant parts of the world, including the war areas.

Auckland Star, Volume LXXV, Issue 228, 26 September 1944
Ref: PAColl-6001-37
Crew of the 'Morning' during a picnic at Otarama. 
Left to right, back row: C Parkins, O Riley, G W Rolfe, A Cheetham, J Sullivan, G Bilsby, H King. 
Middle row: W Hender, L Burgess, A Noyon, W Burton, J Wainwright, J Beer, A Coelho. 
Front row: F Taylor, A N Pepper, G R W Leavy, J A Chester. 
Absent: A Casement, J Hancock, F Kemp, T Good. 
 Photograph taken by Sir Joseph James Kinsey on 21 November 1902. 

Kinsey, Joseph James (Sir), 1852-1936. Crew of the 'Morning' during a picnic at Otarama. 
Ref: PAColl-6001-37. 
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22487456

Walter William Hender

 Walter William Hender
photograph courtesy of Dee Muckle



Helpful Advice said...

Fascinating to read the information about the photographer. I have a photo taken of my great grandfather by him and never knew he'd been to New Zealand! He was in the Royal Navy so I guess it was on a posting when he stopped. This is the photo

Early Canterbury Photography said...

Good to see the Hillsdon photograph. If you know which ship your great grandfather served on I should be able to find when he was in Lyttelton.

Unknown said...

Walter Hender was my grandmothers 1st cousin, are any of these photographs of him. He married George Hillsdons daughter. I only knew until recently that he had been to the south pole but I did know he'd emigrated to New Zealand. My father was also a merchant navy captain. I now live in Ireland. Are there any NZ relations out there. virtudee@gmail.com.

Unknown said...

My grandmother Mary Jane grubys cousin was Walter William hender who married George hillsdons daughter. I didn't know until recently that he had gone to the south pole but did know that he'd emigrated to nz. My father was also a captain in the merchant navy Thomas Richard muckle. I live in Ireland do I have any nz relations out there.
Dee muckle.

Anonymous said...

My Father was Walter Henry Hillsdon's son so George Henry James Hillsdon was my Dads Great grandfather.