In Search of Catherine – ‘the same grimacing and irrational creature as ever …’
Celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
- Date: Thursday, 25 January, 2018
Free. Booking is not required
Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets
- Contact Details:
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Not all women in the 19th and early 20th centuries had happy and successful lives.
Alison J. Laurie Research Associate, in Gender and Women's Studies VUW and Valerie E. Davison knew nothing of the lives of their paternal great-grandparents William and Catherine Lawry other than that they had emigrated from Cornwall to New Zealand in 1864.
The first cousins then began a search to complete the family records - and found a wealth of surprising and startling information, all of which was available from official sources. This demonstrates how even carefully hidden secrets leave a written trail through the records of the state. They found that their great-grandmother Catherine Lawry was committed in 1873 to Sunnyside Lunatic Asylum in Christchurch, and remained in asylums until her death in 1923 at Seaview Lunatic Asylum in Hokitika. Altogether she spent over 50 years as a patient in the lunatic asylums of early New Zealand, never seeing her husband or her 5 children again.
Catherine Lawry's grave at Hokitika, which was located and restored