Photos spark quest for descendants

 Photos spark quest for descendants
Kat Pickford - The Marlborough Express
Last updated 11:30 30/01/2012

When the two people in this photo stared unblinking into the camera lens more than 150 years ago they would never have dreamed their photo would spark the interest of complete strangers in generations to come.

According to the spidery script on the back of the photo, the couple are Denis Broughan, who arrived in New Zealand in 1854 on board the Constantine, and Nanny (Nancy May) Broughan (nee Aroa or Airey), who arrived in 1855 aboard the Maori.

Picton man Peter Robinson bought the photo for $1 from a garage sale last week. He used to own an antique store and was drawn to the frame, not the picture it held.

"I went there to buy a bike and I ended up buying this for its frame for $1. As far as I can tell, it is from the turn of the century, but obviously the backing has been re-done."

He didn't realise the potential significance of the photo, or the impact it would have on the public until he displayed it at the Blenheim flea market for $15 on Saturday.

"People were coming up to me and saying: `You can't sell that, someone might be really interested in getting that back in their possession.' Some of them got quite angry, so my conscience got the better of me and I put it aside for another day."

Even though the photos are 156 years old, the images are clear.

Peter Robinson said he will hold on to the picture for a while to see if any descendants come forward

Lasting impression: This photo of two New Zealand immigrants was taken in the 19th century and Picton man Peter Robinson would like to return it to anyone who might know them or their family.

If you think you or someone you know might be interested in this photo, please contact reporter Kat Pickford at or phone (03)5208951.

- The Marlborough Express

Broughan Family
 Photograph by Arthur John McCusker - Blenheim.

reverse inscription - back row: Frank, Catherine, Will, Mary, Margaret
second row: Sarah, Fred, Denis, Nancy (or Nanny), Fanny
in front: Gertrude & Denis
(could be golden wedding?)

marriage reg.1860/3712 Ranny (sic) Aroa born 1842 - died 19 Jul 1929 (daughter of Sarah and Isaac Aroa) to Denis Broughan 1839 - died 21 Aug 1925

A pleasing function took place yesterday at "Willow Brook," the occasion being the golden wedding of Mr and Mrs Broughan, the whole family being present. It is rather a unique occurrence to see parents at that age sit down to the table with all their children, ten in number, well and healthy. Mr and Mrs Broughan came out to this district when but boy and girl at the age of twelve and thirteen years, and have been settled here ever since. They were married on April 10th, 1860, and have just completed fifty years together, having watched this town grow from about one house to what we see today. The health of the old couple was heartily drunk and also that of the children, bringing a very pleasant afternoon to a close. Numerous congratulations and presents were received, testifying to the esteem in which Mr and Mrs Broughan are held.
Marlborough Express, Volume XLIV, Issue 80, 11 April 1910, Page 5 

1. Sarah Ann Broughan  birth reg. 1862/11021 married 26 September 1885, St Mary's Church, Blenheim, James O'Connor.   
Fanny Brougham birth reg. 1865/13156, married 27 June 1895 St Mary's Church, Blenheim William O'Shea.
William Broughan birth reg. 1867/21088   
Frank Broughan birth reg. 1870/22600,  married 25 April 1900 at the residence of the bride's parents, Blenheim, Agnes May Tunnicliffe daughter of Charles Tunnicliffe.
5. Frederick Broughan birth reg. 1875/10853 , born 17 May1875, Renwick New Road, Blenheim, married 25 April 1906 St Mary's Church, Blenheim, Alice Murray Watson.    
Margaret Mary Broughan birth reg. 1878/16908, married 20 April 1910, "Willowbrook", Blenheim, Charles Sinclair.
Catherine Agnes Broughan  birth reg. 1880/13835,  married 17 August 1910, "Willowbrook", Blenheim, John  Thomson.  

8. Denis Bernard Broughan born circa 1883, buried 27 May 1965 Omaka Cemetery, Blenheim.
Mary Frese Broughan birth reg. 1885/11874, married 18 November 1913, St Mary's Church, Blenheim, James Smith.     
Gertrude Ellen Broughan birth reg. 1889/9161 


Unknown said...

If you are still looking for descendants for these photos, I am their direct descendant, as they were my great, great grandparents.
Rebecca (

Early Canterbury Photography said...

Hello - The Marlborough Express was looking for descendants of this couple in 2012, I didn't have the photo.