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Charlotte J. Carr

Signed family name
Signed given name
Charlotte J.
Given address
No 90 Lichfield St Chch
Sheet number
Central Christchurch

Biography contributed by Marlies Zyp - van der Laan

Charlotte Jane Carr was born in 1872 in Christchurch, New Zealand as the fourth daughter of Michael Carr and Catherine Carr. In the 1896 electoral role, Charlotte is listed as a printer’s assistant living at 23 Lichfield Street East, Christchurch as is her sister, Annie Mary, listed as a teacher.

On 24 April 1899 she married James Fraser Gunnion in Avonside, Christchurch. A Mr J Gunnion has also signed the Suffragette Petition. They were married by the Reverend Theophilius Le Menant, des Chesnais. The Reverend established the parish of St Mary’s in Christchurch. He was a scholarly man and established schools and churches, and wrote a series of articles In The New Zealand Tablet on the historical development of writing materials, including a section on how shorthand was used by early Christians on tablets to note court proceedings. Their short marriage lasted just over a year; he died in Adelaide on 31 August 1900. According to the probate of his will, they were returning to New Zealand from South Africa and were forced to disembark at Adelaide due to his illness, whereupon he passed away. The probate states Charlotte was left a life insurance for five hundred pounds.

In 1902, Mrs C. J. Gunnion is advertised as the principal of Miss E Carr’s School of Shorthand, Typewriting, Painting, and Book-Keeping, along with a Miss E Carr. In various advertisements, Charlotte is either referred to as 'Mrs C. J. Gunnion', or 'Mrs J. F. Gunnion'; the 'J. F.' presumably referring to her husband’s first two names. The school in Wellington was in the Stewart Dawson’s Buildings on the corner of Willis Street and Lambton Quay. Behind her name is listed 'N.S.S.T', evidence of receiving a certificate of membership of the National Society of Shorthand Teachers from England. She is listed as living at 55 Webb Street, Wellington, as a shorthand teacher, in the 1905-06 electoral role.

In 1905 she remarried Ernest George Benjamin. (In the 1896 electoral role, there is an Ernest George Benjamin listed as living on Lichfield Street in Christchurch and registered as a printer.) They are listed as living on School Road in Wadestown, Wellington. In 1909 they have a son, David Arthur Benjamin. In 1911, she is registered as 'married', and Ernest as a 'reader'. By 1928 they have relocated to 25 Cecil Road. In the 1935 electoral role, Ernest George Benjamin is listed as living at 45 Cecil Road, Wellington, instead, with a David Arthur Benjamin.

She died 11 November 1943 at age 71 and was buried in Karori Cemetery and Crematorium.

References New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. New Zealand, Marriage Index, 1840-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Deaths. (1900, September 4). Star Christchurch, p. 3. Retrieved from

Father Le Menant Des Chesnais’ Lecture. (1887, November 25). New Zealand Tablet, p/ 27. Retrieved from

Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 07 July 2021), memorial page for Charlotte Jane Benjamin (1872–11 Nov 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 221565547, citing Karori Cemetery and Crematorium, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand ; Maintained by woowoo (contributor 49949980) .

Marriage. (1899, May 4). New Zealand Mail, p. 20. Retrieved from

SHIPPING. (1899, May 13). The Sydney Mail, p. 1138. Retrieved from

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] (n.d). The Very Rev. Theophilus Le Menant Des Chesnais.

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.