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Sheet No: 69

Biography contributed by Barbara Mosley

Catherine McNab Mains was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in March 1870. Her parents were Charles and Ann Mains (nee McFarlane). Catherine was their third child and first daughter, and was named after her maternal grandmother.

She attended school in Hampden and then in Port Chalmers, and was known as Katie or Cate. In 1884 when she was 14, Catherine entered service, an occupation she was engaged in for a number of years.

Catherine first signed the 1892 petition (as Catherine Mains on sheet 133). In 1893, Catherine again signed the Women’s Franchise Petition in Caversham, Dunedin (this time she signed Cate Mains). She appears on sheet no. 69, the same sheet as her mother. From 1896 she appeared in the electoral rolls, first giving her occupation as a servant, and then as a spinster.

Catherine never married, but in 1901 she gave birth to a daughter, Jessie, who spent much of her childhood with her grandparents, Ann and Charles Mains. In 1905 Catherine gave birth to a second daughter, Lillie. When Lillie was a baby Catherine applied to the Court for the baby to be taken into care, and Lillie was committed to the Caversham Industrial School. There is no record of what became of Lillie from this time.

From about 1928 Catherine lived with her then married daughter, Jessie in Dunedin, and remained with her until 1939 when Jessie died at the age of 38 years. Jessie’s four children and Catherine continued to live in the home for a number of years until the children grew up and left home. Catherine remained in the home until she died in 1949. Catherine was buried with her daughter, Jessie, in the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin. She was 79 years old.


See also Caversham research databases

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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