Mary Wick

Mary Ann Wick became famous in the Auckland region during the First World War for her tireless efforts in support of both Belgium and the Red Cross Society. One of Auckland’s ‘most enthusiastic and practical supporters’ of war work, Mrs Wick began growing flowers and vegetables in her Takapuna garden shortly after the war began. Her intention was to sell the garden’s produce throughout the year and to donate the funds raised to the Belgian Relief Fund and the Red Cross. Within three months of starting she had raised £10 7s (equivalent to around $1500). Mrs Wick died before the war ended, but was posthumously awarded the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal) in 1920 for her support of Belgium in the war years, an honour she was made aware of before her death. 

Family information

Parents: George Nichol and Martha Nichol

Born: circa 1855, Ireland

Died: 18 January 1918, aged 62 years

Buried: Waikaraka Cemetery, Auckland, Area 3, Block 10, Lot No. 109A

Married: John Nicks (1872) d. 1886; John Hoey Moore (1888) d. 1893; Henry Christian Wick (1896)

Children:

  • Martha Dulcibel Nicks, b. 1878
  • Anthony George Nicks, b. 1879
  • John Hoey Moore, b. 1889; served in the First World War with the 14th Field Company Engineers, Australian Imperial Force

Active in: Auckland

Obituary/death notices

1.

WICK – At the residence of her son, Mr George Nicks, Chamberlain Avenue, Mt Eden, Mary Ann Wick, aged 62. Deeply regretted. Private interment.

 'Deaths', Auckland Star, 18 January 1918, p. 8

2.

MRS. M. A. WICK. By the death of Mrs. Mary Ann Wick, which occurred early yesterday morning at the residence of her son, Mr. G. Nicks, Mount Eden, the cause of war work in Auckland loses one of its most enthusiastic and practical supporters. As soon as the distress of the Belgian people became known to the world, Mrs. Wick began garden work upon a considerable scale on her property at Takapuna, and devoted the proceeds of the sale of flowers and vegetables to the Belgian Relief Fund. This work she kept up till quite recently, but in the later months the benefit was transferred to the Red Cross Fund. Mrs. Wick, who was 62 years of age, was the daughter of an early settler in the Auckland district, the late Mr. George Nichol, and arrived with her parents in the ship Queen of the North, 57 years ago. Her three children, by her former marriages, are Mr. Nicks, Mrs. Walter Brodie, wife of the manager of the Thames branch of the Bank of New Zealand, and Mr. J. H. Moore who has been serving in the main body of the Australian Army, and who, for recent services in France, has been twice mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's despatches, and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. It was recently intimated officially to Mrs. Wick that in acknowledgment of her services to the Belgian Relief Fund she had been recommended by the Belgian Consul in Sydney for the Queen Elisabeth Order, instituted by the Queen of the Belgians for conferment upon women throughout the world, who have distinguished themselves in working for the Belgian nation. She did not, however, live to actually receive the well-deserved honour.

'Old Colonist's Death', New Zealand Herald, 19 January 1918, p. 8

3.

MRS. M. A. WICK. The death is announced to-day of Mrs Mary Ann Wick, a lady well known in the Auckland, Thames, and Waihi districts, and conspicuous in late years amongst the workers in the Interests of sufferers through the war. Mrs. Wick came to New Zealand with her parents, the late Mr and Mrs George Nichol, when a child of five, and lived to the age of 62. From the commencement of the war she devoted the proceeds of the garden on her property at Takapuna to the Belgian Relief Fund and latterly to the Red Cross movement. It was lately intimated to her that in recognition of her services to the Belgian cause she had been recommended to the Belgian authorities for appointment to the Queen Elizabeth Order, instituted by Queen Elizabeth for conferment upon ladies throughout the world who have distinguished themselves in working for the downtrodden nation. Mrs Wick is survived by three children of her former marriage—Mrs Walter Brodie, wife of the manager of the Thames branch of the Bank of New Zealand, Mr George Nicks, of Chamberlain Avenue, Mt Eden, and Mr. John Moore, now serving with the Australian army at the front, and who has been mentioned twice in Sir Douglas Haig's dispatches, and awarded the D.C.M.

'Obituary', Auckland Star, 18 January 1918, p. 2

Letter from Alexander Ferguson, Consul for Belgium:

Custom Street,

Auckland
19th December 1917

Dear Mrs Wick,

Some considerable time ago the Government of Belgium instituted a new Order called the Queen Elizabeth [sic] Order, which was to be given to ladies throughout the world who had distinguished themselves in working for the Belgians. I was asked to submit a few names of those whom I considered worthy of the honour, and yours was among the first that came to my mind. I have therefore sent your name to the consul in Sydney to be transmitted to the Belgian Authorities recommending that you should be awarded this high distinction. Up to the present I have received no reply from Headquarters, but I have a note from the Consul in which he says that you have been specially suggested for this decoration, and that when he hears the result he will communicate with me again. I imagine that there is little doubt that you will be the proud recipient of this honour although the giving of it may be delayed some time owing to the circumstances of the war. Let me, therefore, congratulate you very heartily.

I am sorry to hear from Miss Sharland that you have not been at all well lately. I trust sincerely that with the warm weather your health will be greatly improved.

I am

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Ferguson, Consul for Belgium

Anzac Jack website

Selected sources

'Auckland Donations', New Zealand Herald, 18 March 1915, p. 5

'Belgian Medal Conferred', New Zealand Herald, 5 February 1920, p. 8 

Community contributions

1 comment has been posted about Mary Wick

What do you know?

Goossens

Posted: 25 Apr 2016

Hallo J'ai vu dans le journal Belge la recherche de la médaille de mary Wick Je ne sais rien de cette médaille ,mais je possede la correspondance du soldat Charly Myrtle et de Althea Flett cartes postales envoyées depuis l'europe Egypte etc Peut etre la famille est interessée??
Adresse Lauwer Moutere Nelson Wellington Un bonjour de belgique Mad Goossens