Given names: 
Given address: 
Arthur St
Sheet No: 157
Central Dunedin

Biography contributed by Katherine Blakeley

Mary McDonnell was born about 1841. She married Peter Treston in 1864 in Victoria, Australia.

They came to New Zealand shortly after their marriage and settled in Dunedin. They had a total of 12 children; two died in infancy.

In 1872 Peter, who had been working as a greengrocer, was declared bankrupt. Seven years later, his seven youngest children were before the court as neglected children. He had been before the court several times on drunkenness charges.

Mary had been in the hospital for a month and 'since then the father had utterly neglected his children'. When the police went to the house to arrest the children on warrant, Peter 'who was the worse for drink, refused to unlock the door'. The father was sleeping in one bed with four of the children and the other three were on a sofa. The only food in the house was some bread crusts, a little tea and sugar.

The children had little or no clothing on them. They were admitted to the Caversham Industrial School until 1884.

Mary must have recovered her health as she returned home and had a further two children.

When she signed the suffrage petition, she was living with her family in Arthur St. Her daughter Annie also signed the petition. 

Mary died on 16 March 1896 and Peter died in 1910. They are both buried with their family in the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin. 


BDM online NZ
BDM Victoria
DCC Cemetery Records
Family Search 
Otago Nominal Index
Papers Past

Further reading

Caversham Industrial School (Te Ara)

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

'Mrs Treston', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 26-Nov-2018

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Mrs Treston

What do you know?