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Sheet No: 279

Biography contributed by Graeme Siddle

Eliza Emma Millichamp (nee Thorp) (later Reilly) was born in Yorkshire, England on 22 September 1856. Eliza was the third daughter of Thomas and Mary Thorp (nee Burton). Her father was a carpenter.

When she was 17 the family migrated to New Zealand on the ship Carisbrooke Castle. They arrived at Lyttelton on 2 September 1874. Thomas Thorp was a member of the passengers’ committee which signed a testimonial to the Captain, John Freebody.  Seven siblings –three sisters and four brothers also travelled to Canterbury.

She married John Millichamp in 1877 in Temuka.  They moved to Ashburton in 1880 and set up Millichamp’s Nursery in 1886. ‘John and his wife Elisa [sic] grew strawberries, cherries and rhubarb for sale at first but soon planted trees between the rows. Mrs Millichamp made a non-intoxicating herbal beer which they sold locally. In 1890 they advertised fruit trees, roses, shrubs, old fruit trees regrafted and gardens laid out….’.   He died on 20 February 1912 aged 65 and was succeeded at the nursery by sons Henry and Alf.  Her second marriage was to James Reilly and this took place on 26 June 1913 at the Registrar’s Office in Ashburton. He was aged 42 and she was 56.

In 1883 she is recorded as owning land in Temuka. Until 1886 her parents were living in Temuka but at some time after that they moved to Australia – Thomas dying on August 25, 1912 in Northcote, Victoria, and Mary dying on August 11, 1896 in Launceston, Tasmania.

Eliza Reilly died on 5 September 1947. She was 91.

Her sister Ann Elizabeth White (nee Thorp) also signed the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition – see White A.E. Waimate Sheet 236 Waimate South Canterbury. Eliza Millichamp also signed the 1892 Women’s Suffrage Petition.

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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