Two Julias

The story of two women bearing the same name but from two different generations is worth relating. Julia, daughter of John Sullivan, a very early settler on the Mahurangi River and his Maori wife Merehai, was born in 1846. She married a young ship builder from across the river.

A boating tragedy off Casnell island on January 2nd 1869 claimed the lives of her husband and young son.          A strong swimmer, Julia survived and showed great courage, even taking part in the search for her husband’s body. Before that year had ended she had re-married, and as the wife of William Benjamin Jackson she raised a large family including her namesake the second Julia Jackson.

Julia, the daughter, never married and for most of her life was a teacher of pianoforte. Her work entailed travelling long distances on horseback to reach her pupils at Puhoi, Mahurangi and Matakana and she was particularly noted for the adept handling of her mounts. Later she moved to Warkworth where she played the accompaniment to silent films shown in the Town Hall and was organist at the Anglican Church.

Iraihi Kataraina (Girlie) Paul when interviewed in 1986 remembered travelling up the river on the launch “Lavona” to attend Warkworth School and having an hour off to have her lesson with Miss Jackson. An eight-roomed house fronting Percy and Alnwick streets was Julia’s home. It housed a sweet shop where children of the 1930s with a penny to spend could be tempted with an array of confectionery. Its proximity to the school, then situated in Percy St, was perfect for budding pianists or those with a sweet tooth.

Julia Jackson Junior travelled long distances on horse back to teach piano to pupils from Puhoi to Matakana.


Judy Water has been writing articles for over a decade

The ones here are republished by  kind permission of the Mahurangi Matters