Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 256

Biography contributed by Mary Farrelly, great great grand-daughter.

Helen (aka Ellen) Patrick was born on the 16 August 1831 in Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, the last of nine children born to John Patrick, shoemaker and Margaret Nichol.  Helen was just 16 months old when her mother died, and nearly 10 when her father remarried.  Four children were born to this second marriage.

On 2 March 1849 Helen married James Vallance (1819-1903) in Old Cumnock.  Later that year they sailed from London on the barque Maitland to Australia, arriving on 9 January 1850.  A week prior to their arrival, Helen was delivered of a daughter Margaret on 1 January 1850.  Sadly Margaret died aged 18 in 1868 and is buried in Terrace Rd Cemetery with her parents.

Son William was born in 1851 (died prior to 1855) and John in 1853.  The family spent five years in Australia first in Bendigo where the gold rush was in full swing, and then later in Melbourne where they purchased six acres of land in Williamstown. In 1855 James and Helen, Margaret and John sailed on the brig Onkaparinga to New Zealand, arriving in Lyttleton on the 12 March.  They initially lived in Addington, Christchurch before moving to Sefton in 1860 where they had purchased 90 acres, a home they called Springvale.  The property had a small spring and a stream along one side.  Spending their first year in a tent, they built a clay house nearby, the remnants of one wall still standing as of a few years ago.  A further ten children were born in New Zealand, among them my great grandmother Jane, b. 26 March 1857.

Helen and James celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1899 in Sefton, surrounded by family.  Helen, widowed in 1903, died on the 29 July 1913 in Sefton and buried in the Terrace Rd cemetery in Sefton. Numerous descendants owe much to this pioneer woman.


Photo of James and Helen Vallance which appeared in the Cyclopedia of NZ. Photo incorrectly labelled John Vallance (The Cyclopedia of New Zealand)

Gravestone at Sefton (Family collection)


  • National Records of Scotland, Old Parish Registers – Births, 1831 “Old Cumnock Births 610/0040/0121”, Helen Patrick; digital images, Scotlands People.
  • Cumnock History Group,  Gravestone transcription, Cumnock Old Cemetery, Barrhill Road, Cumnock, East Ayrshire, KA18 1PJ
  • National Records of Scotland, Old Parish Registers – Marriages, 1841 “Old Cumnock Marriages  610/0040/0400”, Patrick-Gilfillan; digital images, Scotlands People.
  • 1851 census of Scotland, Ayrshire, Old Cumnock ED 1, p.30, schedule no 125, digital images, Scotlands People.
  • National Records of Scotland, Old Parish Registers – Marriages, 1849 “Old Cumnock Marriages  610/0040/0434”, Vallance-Patrick; digital images, Scotlands People.
  • Series: VPRS 14; Series Title: Register of Assisted Immigrants from the United Kindom (refer to microform copy, VPRS 3502)
  • Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2009.
  • Terrace Rd Cemetery, Sefton (North Canterbury, New Zealand), Margaret Vallance gravestone, block 6, plot 244; Personal photographic  collection.
  • Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages, Victoria. Free Presbyterian Baptisms solemnized in the Parish of Melbourne in the County of Bourke, 1852, No.283 William Vallance.
  • Family records (No official birth or baptism found).
  • Lyttelton Times, Vol V, Issue 247, 14 March 1855, p. 9, Supplement
  • Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, New Zealand, Birth Registration record [Printout copy]. 1857/1964 Jane Vallance (Ref No 20110060391).
  • Star, Issue 6426, 4 March 1899, p.5
  • Terrace Rd Cemetery, Sefton. Op.cit.

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

How to cite this page

'Helen Vallance', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Jun-2018

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