Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 42, September 1998


By Dorothy C Bagnall

Valentine and Lydia (Chadwick) Kitching took their family from their home in Nottinghamshire, England, to Adelaide, South Australia, on the "Cromwell", arriving in July 1849.

Their fifth child, Thomas (christened Tom) was born in 1843 at Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts, and on 16 March 1866 he married, in Adelaide, Edith Elizabeth SAUNDERS. Their first two sons were born there; Percy John (1867) and Leonard Chadwick (1869). The small family must have come to Auckland about 1870 - just in time for Mrs Kitching! She was carried off the ship straight to a nursing home, where their third son, Edward James was born. The fourth son, Lionel Thomas, was also born in New Zealand.

Edward married Jessie Evans, and in the 1896 Electoral Roll their names appeared:

Kitching, Edward, Fernleigh St., Draper, Residential.

Kitching, Jessie, Fernleigh St., Wife, Residential.

I have been told that Edward went as teacher to Karangahake, soon becoming an accountant for the New Zealand Talisman Gold Mine.

Edward and Jessie had two children, Vernon Chadwick and Doris Muriel. Vernon, according to Edward's second wife, Dorothy, was a very fine violinist, and a very clever young man. He was studying in London during World War I, when he suddenly went missing. His father made strenuous efforts to trace him, both from New Zealand and during a special visit he made to London, contacting hospitals, the War Office, etc. Nevertheless, no trace of Vernon, nor a record of his death, could be found. A tragedy for his father, who had to conclude that his son was one of the many victims of the War.

Doris did not marry, but died young, as the death notice in the N.Z. Herald of 16 February 1927, signifies:

"Kitching. On 12 February at the home of Miss M Evans, Adelaide, South Australia, Doris Muriel, beloved and only daughter of Edward and the late Jessie Kitching, late of Karangahake, Thames, in her 23rd year. - By cable."

Edward and Jessie lived at Karangahake for a number of years. In the Paeroa and District Centennial Book (1875 - 1975) "From Gold to Green", M J Cotter has the following paragraph on page 28, "A short distance from the Talisman Manager's house, the Company built another large residence on almost the exact spot where James Mackay and the hundreds of prospectors stood and heard the Ohinemuri goldfields declared open by Warren Frazer on the famous morning in March 1875. The siting of the home afforded its new occupants, Mr and Mrs Kitching, a truly magnificent view. (Editor's note: This house was known as "Fernleigh".) The steep bluff above which it stood dropped away into the Ohinemuri River, and on the other bank were the bowling greens and tennis courts." It was here that Jessie passed away: N.Z. Herald, Friday 24 December 1915.

"Kitching. On December 22, at her late residence, Karangahake, Jessie, the dearly beloved wife of E J Kitching, after a painful illness, borne with loving patience. The funeral will leave the residence of her brother, Frank Evans, 55 Esplanade Road, Mt. Eden, for Waikumete, this (Friday) afternoon, at 2.30 pm. Service 2 pm sharp. Friends please accept this intimation. By request, no mourning."

In the 1905-1917 P.O. Directories, was the entry: "Kitching, Edward Ernest James, J.P. Karangahake."

In 1920, Edward went on business to Japan, where he met Dorothy Florence Bunton, who was staying there with her brother, living in Japan to teach Marine Insurance to the Japanese. Edward and Dorothy fell in love, and he went back with her to her home in London. They were married in Putney in 1921. Returning to Japan, they lived in Tokyo (they were there during the big earthquake of the 1930s), and later to Kobe. They were in Japan for 17½ years, Edward selling metals for Broken Hill Associated Smelters of Australia, and the British Metal Corporation of London. Eventually they returned to London in 1938, and lived in Kensington.

On 31 December 1945 at Putney Hill, London, Edward passed away, aged 75 years. He had been ill for 13 months. His body was cremated.

His widow, Dorothy, came to New Zealand about 1954, having had difficulty getting on a ship after the War. At the age of 93, she was living in Meadowbank Home, Auckland. I met her there, and found her a gentle, lovely person, who gave me such a lot of this story of Edward Kitching, a first cousin of my grandmother, Lydia Chadwick (Lamb) BAGNALL