Given names: 
Mrs R. D.
Given address: 
Sheet No: 156

Notes provided by Helen Edwards, who has carried out extensive research on the women who signed Sheet 156, including mapping where they lived. Download pdf of this research here.

Mary Smith, nee Gillies [Mrs R. D. Smith, Belleknows] (No. 19)

Address: Granville Terrace, Belleknowes. Age in 1893: 27

Mary Gillies was born in Roslyn on 1 November 1866, and was christened at First Church. She was the second child of Isabella McLean, born in Morayshire, and John Gillies, a cabinet maker from Stirling, Scotland, who married in Dunedin in 1863. In the same year, John bought land in Michie Street from James Kilgour, at a time when Roslyn was ‘covered with flax, scrub and gorse’, according to his obituary. John died in 1935, aged 98, and the family was still living at 20 Michie Street in 1951, when Mary’s sister Isabella died at the age of 73. The house was demolished soon afterwards.

In 1891 Mary Gillies married Robert Dunstan Smith, an upholsterer, in Dunedin. Robert was born in Dunedin in 1862. Mary and Robert first appear in Stone’s directory in 1894, living in Granville Terrace, Belleknowes. At that time Belleknowes was a developing area on the northern boundary of the Borough of Mornington. It is unlikely that the canvassers tramped over several paddocks in search of one signature, so the chances are that they found Mary while she was visiting her mother at 20 Michie Street with her four month-old baby.

Little Cecil McLean Smith was actively involved in both World Wars; he served overseas for nearly four years in WWI, and was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Force in WWII, serving in the Wellington Regiment. In civilian life he became Chief Inspector of the State Forest Service and a highly-regarded director of the Botany Division, D. S. I. R.

Mary and Robert moved to Maori Hill, where Robert became a golf professional, possibly involved in the manufacture of golf clubs. They moved to Timaru about 1928, but were back in Maori Hill, Dunedin, when Robert died in 1938, aged 75 years. Mary died in Timaru in 1957, aged 90 years. They are buried in the Anderson’s Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

Personal communication from Robin Smith, a great granddaughter of Mary Smith.

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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