This information has been compiled from a multitude of sources
by Margaret Peacocke, a great-great-great
grand-daughter of Elizabeth Cooper.
2007 in its
Elizabeth Cooper (Bert Le Roy’s great-grandmother) is the common ancestor of
the Cooper, Paddison and Le Roy families, all of whom were early settlers of Great Barrier Island.
Her mother, Elizabeth (nee Wittington) was a pipe-smoking gypsy. Her
daughter told stories of how her mother, as a child living in England, was
sent out, with the other children, to the Common (parks) to collect sheep’s
wool that had caught on the blackberry bushes. This was then spun into yarn
and woven into simple items that were hawked from house to house.
Elizabeth Cooper was born in Shropshire in 1822. In 1841, she
married a man with the same surname, Joseph Cooper. They had many children,
most of whom were stillborn or died in infancy. In fact, they had so many
children that Elizabeth could not remember the total number.
From studying passenger lists, it would appear that Joseph travelled to New
Zealand with Elizabeth’s brother, William (and his wife, two sons – George &
William – and a daughter) arriving in Auckland in March 1860 on the ‘Blue
Jacket’. Elizabeth and her three surviving children are recorded as making
an ‘assisted’ passage on the ‘Ballarat’ departing from London on 20
September 1865, arriving in Auckland on 6 January 1866. Elizabeth is listed
as ‘wife of Joseph’ and the children are recorded – Ann Maria 19, Samuel 13
and Sarah Jane 9.
The ‘Blue Jacket’ passenger list records the
names Joseph, William and George Cooper amongst other Coopers. We know that
William emigrated with his wife, two sons and a daughter and we know that
Joseph Cooper did not travel on the same boat as his wife & children. As we
do not know the Christian names of William’s wife and daughter, we can not
verify the ‘Blue Jacket’ passengers are members of this family. It may just
be a coincidence that the names match some of those that we know arrived in
New Zealand during that decade.
(More information on the
History Queries page)
The Coopers initially lived in Kawakawa before
moving to Auckland. We know that they were living in Parnell in 1867 because
it was in December of that year that the eldest child, Annie Marie was
married at their Parnell home to Edward Paddison.
Auckland Weekly News
21 December 1867
On December 14 at the residence of the bride’s father by the Rev J Wallis.
Mr Edward Paddison, Farmer, Gt. Barrier, to Anne Maria Cooper, eldest
daughter of Mr Joseph Cooper of Parnell.
Edward Paddison lived on Great Barrier Island, (about 75km from Auckland)
and it was to Karaka Bay on the western side of the island that he took his
Edward was born in 1838 in Lincolnshire, the eighth child (of twelve) of
Joseph and Ann. In England, he was a railway worker before emigrating to New
He made the journey on the ‘Mataoka’. in 1859
with brothers, Alfred and William Edlington and George Stark, a journey that
took 103 days. These men came to work in the copper mine at Miners Head on
the north-western corner of Great Barrier. They lived at a village nearby of
about fifty houses (possibly nikau whare) built on a narrow strip of land
between the beach and the bush.
In 1867, the mining company went into
liquidation. The Company did not have the money to pay the men’s wages but
it did own about one third of Great Barrier Island. Many of the miners and
tenant farmers left the island to look for work elsewhere, but Edward
Paddison, George Stark and the Edlington brothers remained. There are two
conflicting stories about what happened next. One is that these miners
accepted land in lieu of wages owing, while the other suggests that the men
purchased their pieces of land. I suspect that there is an element of truth
in both and the money owing became the deposit for the land purchases.
Whatever the detail, we know that Edward Paddison became the owner of 1,000
acres at Karaka Bay (stretching from the Moor’s at Mohunga to the north all
the way to Port FitzRoy). George Stark spent several days searching before
choosing his 100 acres at Whangapoua and the Edlingtons’ land was at the
northern end of Whangapoua Beach in the area known as Tapuwai.
The Moor’s were tenant farmers of the
mining company supplying food to the mining village. They acquired the piece
of land they had been farming and remained on it until 1906.
The Moor family in 1906 soon after moving
from Great Barrier.
Back row from left:: Sue & Sarah
Front row from left:: Annie, John, Susan & Minnie
Let’s return now to Elizabeth Cooper. Sadly, her husband Joseph was killed
in 1869 in a logging accident. She remarried. Her husband, Mr Gilberd was
older and did not live long. In 1874, when she was 55, she married for a
third time. Her husband, George Stark has already been mentioned as coming
to New Zealand on the same immigrant ship as Edward Paddison and working in
the mine on Great Barrier. So, Elizabeth moved into George’s house at
Whangapoua on the island’s east coast.
In 1879, Elizabeth’s younger daughter, Sarah Jane (known as Jenny) married
Emilius George Le Roy whose family lived in the same street as the Coopers
in Parnell. The newly-weds settled on Emilius’ father’s land at Port FitzRoy
living initially in a nikau whare.
Emilius senior (Emilius Pierre) purchased this land at Rarohara Bay from the
mining company . He offered his son the choice of 50 acres that he owned in
Grey Lynn, a suburb of Auckland, or 313 acres on Great Barrier.
Emilius George chose the latter because the clay soil at Grey Lynn made
farming difficult there.
A Deed dated December 1880 records the sale
of this land from the Trustees of the Mining Company. An account written by
Frances Cooper indicates that the Le Roys were already living on this land
when her family arrived in 1880. Family anecdotes suggest that the Le Roys
moved here after their marriage – July 1879.
Elizabeth’s only son, Samuel also moved to the Barrier, initially living in
Port FitzRoy on a piece of land adjacent to the Paddison’s farm. It is not
clear when he made the move, but he is recorded as being a “settler of Port
FitzRoy” in the 1881 electoral roll. If women had been enfranchised at that
time, Elizabeth and all three of her children would have featured on the
roll as residents of Great Barrier.
So the Paddisons, Coopers and Le Roys are all descendents of Elizabeth
Cooper who lived on the island as Mrs Stark until her death in 1902. Her
husband, George was much loved by all of Elizabeth’s grandchildren and
1881 Electoral Roll
|Le Roy, Emilius
Blind Bay, Lot 148
Blind Bay, Lot 149
Great Barrier, Lot 123
Comments from readers on the Cooper Family.
I am currently researching
some of the Barrier families, and found "The Cooper Family" history
on your site to have some incorrect conclusions in it.
I agree that Elizabeth and her three children came on "Ballarat" in
1866, but also found that Joseph was in England with them all at the
time of the 1861 census (I can send a copy if required), therefore
probably did not come to NZ on the "Blue Jacket" with some other
Coopers in 1860 and return to England virtually straight away.
I note in your "History Queries" page that someone else has said
that Elizabeth's brother came on a different boat to the "Blue
Jacket", and that they did not know when Joseph Cooper came. My
guess would be that Joseph Cooper came by himself on the "Surat" in
1864, but this is only a guess.
Please make contact if you have information to add or comments