Mary Seward Blackman

Mary Seward Blackman

Mary Seward Blackman (née Coombs) was actively involved in raising awareness and funds for Belgian relief during the First World War. After war broke out in 1914, she joined other Dunedin women to organise patriotic activity in support of the war effort. She acted as the treasurer for the local North-East Valley Committee during the war, helping to coordinate canvassing efforts in the area.

In December 1915 the committee supplied a large number of jam tins so local women could make home-made jams to send to the front – an operation in which Mary would have been closely involved. Mary continued her work throughout the war and in September 1917 helped arrange a patriotic concert as a fundraiser for the Women’s Patriotic Society. In recognition of her work in support of Belgium during the war, Mary received the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal).

Family information

Parents: John Coombs and Elizabeth Ann Coombs (née Boyes)

Born: 1875

Died: 28 September 1969, aged 94

Buried: Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 162, Plot 37 (ashes)

Married: Percy James Blackman, 1903


  • Thelma Blackman (Fleming)
  • Lance Blackman
  • Dorothy Blackman (Gibbons)
  • Maxine Blackman (Parker)
  • Sylvia Blackman (McLiskey)
  • Colquhoun Blackman (Rev.)
  • Patricia Blackman (Judd)
  • Galnor Blackman

Active in: Dunedin

Obituary/death notice:

Blackman, Mary Seward – On September 28, 1969, at Wanganui, beloved wife of the late Percy James Blackman, and loved mother of Thelma (Mrs I. Fleming, Wanganui), Lance (Dunedin), Dorothy (Mrs D. Gibbons, Wanganui), Maxine (Mrs F. Parker, Dunedin), Sylvia (Mrs H. McLiskey, Wanganui), Colquhoun (The Rev. P. J. C. Blackman, Feilding), Patricia (Mrs B. Judd, Masterton), and Galnor (Dunedin); in her ninety-fifth year. Messages to Mrs F. Parker, 387 Main North Road Dunedin. 
Otago Daily Times, 29 September 1969, p. 3

Selected sources

'Meeting at North-East Valley', Otago Daily Times, 19 April 1915, p. 3

'The War', Otago Daily Times, 5 May 1915, p. 8

'Women's Patriotic Association', Otago Daily Times, 14 December 1915, p. 6

'Amusements', Evening Star, 14 September 1917, p. 6

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