Margaret Elizabeth Callan

Margaret Elizabeth Callan

Dunedin teacher Margaret Callan (on the right in the image above) was involved in local charities and took part in fundraising activities during the First World War. She fundraised under the banner of the Catholic Church (one of many churches and organisations active at the time) and supported the Belgian Relief Fund, among other appeals. Margaret later moved to Auckland where she continued her charitable works and was a founding member of both the Auckland Catholic Women’s League and the Crippled Children Society. Her only son was a prisoner of war during the Second World War. In recognition of her fundraising efforts for Belgium during the First World War, Margaret was awarded the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal) in 1920.

Family information

Parents: James Mowat and Ellen Mowat (née McGregor)
Born: 1881
Died: 22 April 1967, aged 86
Buried: Waikaraka Public Cemetery, Auckland, Area 5 Block D Lot No 441
Married: John Bartholomew Callan, 1913

  • John Bartholomew Callan

Active in: Dunedin

Obituary/death notice


Mrs M. E. Callan. Auckland (PA) – Mrs Margaret Elizabeth Callan, M.B.E., a foundation member of the Auckland Crippled Children Society, died at the weekend, aged 86.

She was the widow of Mr Justice Callan, who died in 1951.

For many years she taught at girls schools in Dunedin. She was also an active member of the Dunedin Shakespeare Society. She married in 1913.

She and her husband moved to Auckland in 1935.

Mrs Callan was a foundation member of the Catholic Women’s League and the Auckland Branch of the St. Vincent D’Paul Society.

In 1960 she was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her many years of work for crippled children.             

Otago Daily Times, 24 April 1967, p. 3



Mrs Margaret Callan, widow of the late Mr Justice Callan, has died at the age of 86.

Mrs Callan was a grand-daughter of one of the early settlers of Otago, Neil Joseph Bruce McGregor. He became the focus of the first Catholic community in a Presbyterian province, giving the land on which St Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin was built.

Mrs Callan was born in Dunedin, where she became a teacher of physical culture and dancing. She taught these subjects in Dunedin Schools. She was also prominent in the Dunedin Shakespearian Society.

She married Mr J. B. Callan in Dunedin where he was partner in a law firm. Later when he was appointed to the Supreme Court Bench they moved to Auckland. He died in 1951.

Mrs Callan was a foundation member of the Auckland Women’s league and of the Crippled Children Society. She is survived by her only son Mr J. B. Callan, of Auckland. 

 - Unknown source


Selected sources

'The War', Otago Daily Times, 1 December 1915, p. 3

'For Bleeding Belgium', Evening Star, 7 July 1916, p. 4

'Dunedin Women Honored', Evening Star, 5 January 1920, p. 6

'Reported Missing', Auckland Star, 30 December 1941, p. 6

'Personals', Evening Post, 29 June 1945, p. 8

'Aucklanders Released', New Zealand Herald, 17 May 1945, p. 4

Otago Daily Times, 24 April 1967, p. 3

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