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Sheet No: 299

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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Adair Polson-Genge

Posted: 30 Mar 2020

Janet Allan Waugh was born on 27 June 1864 in the coal mining town of Newarthill in Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the eldest of four children born to Peter Waugh and his wife Jane Forrest. Peter Waugh was a coalminer and Jane was a domestic servant. Janet’s younger siblings all died between 1870 -1873, leaving her an only child. Also, between these years, Janet’s father left the household, probably for America, but there has always been some doubt as to the true story surrounding his leaving.
In 1879, when she was 15 years old, Janet, her mother, and Jane’s mother, Janet Allan Forrest came to New Zealand, joining four other family members. There is no shipping reference to validate this, but other records point to this fact. They settled in Oamaru where shortly after Janet’s mother married Samuel Bullen and had three more children. The family then lived at the Ngapara district where Janet’s mother was registered as a midwife. Janet worked as a domestic servant and, in 1888, she met and married Robert Whyte. They had three children.
Janet and Robert were community minded folk. They are frequently mentioned in the district notes as having entertained at district functions. Janet was always willing to tend to the social needs of the district and a presentation made to her illustrates how much this was appreciated: "Mrs Whyte,—l beg to present you, in the name of the ladies of Ngapara, with the handsome set of china tea service. In giving you this, they do not give it on its intrinsic merits, but rather to show you how they have appreciated your good services in times of sickness or sorrow, and where you could render assistance you have always done so in a noble unselfish manner. When you look on those articles in your new home I hope you will remember those friends who, in gratitude to you, now present you with this token of their respect and esteem” (Oamaru Mail, 25 August 1896, p.4).
During the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, Janet willingly leapt to service tending the ill but sadly in doing so she also fell victim and died from pneumonia influenza and meningitis on 9 December 1918. Her obituary in the Oamaru Mail noted that “Mrs Whyte was ever anxious to help, particularly where there was sickness; and in the present trouble was doing what she could and unfortunately contracted the trouble herself in a very severe form and passed away after a short illness”.