Mary Mulcahy


Mary Mulcahy
Mary Mulcahy

Mary Mulcahy was one of the many women who worked on the conscription ballot for Government Statistician Malcolm Fraser in the second half of the war.

The daughter of a railway worker, she was born Mary Greaney in Balclutha in 1892. The family followed railway work around the South Island before settling in Wellington by the beginning of the First World War. Mary married Audit Department clerk James Mulcahy in Wellington on 10 October 1916, while he was in camp preparing to join the Wellington Infantry Regiment. James sailed for the front on 15 November.

Mary joined the Military Service Branch of the Government Statistician’s Office on 1 April 1917 as a temporary employee. Initially based in the Public Trust building in downtown Wellington, she moved with the branch to Routh’s building. Mary worked on the conscription ballot process, selecting cards during the ballots and processing and updating files.

James Mulcahy was wounded at Messines in June 1917 and spent a long period in hospital in England. In August 1918 he was classified as unfit for further service owing to ‘hysteria neurasthenia’ (shell shock).

Mary resigned from the Government Statistician’s Branch as soon as James arrived home in October 1918. He spent much of the following year in and out of the shell-shock hospital at Hanmer Springs, but eventually returned to work in the Audit Department. The couple subsequently settled in Palmerston North, where Mary died in 1966 and James the following year.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Mary Mulcahy

What do you know?