Austen Family History

Free Family Chart #1.
Last Updated 22 March 2010.

May Aroha Free
Born, 13 March 1911
Married, Robert Austen Young,
11 August 1935, Auckland, NZ
Died, 15 October 1981, Christchurch, NZ

William Robert Hurworth Free
Born, 24 November 1876
Died, 15 July 1942

William Henry Free
Born, 9 November 1825
Died 25 January 1919
Mary Garde-Brown
Born, 1845
Died, 8 September 1922
Margaret Robertson Sloane
Born, 26 October 1882
Died, 28 October 1974

Walter Henderson Sloane
Born, 11 March 1843
Margaret Johnstone Robertson
Born, 10 October 1843
Died, 3 January 1921

Biographical Details:

May Aroha "Maisie" Free (1911-1981)

Born, 13 March 1911, NZ
Married, Robert Austen Young, 11 August 1935, St. Marks Church, Auckland, NZ
Died, 15 October 1981, Christchurch, NZ

Notes: In the 1920s the Free & Young families lived next door to each other in Queens Avenue Hamilton.

At the time of her marriage Maisie was a well known amateur actress in Auckland.


The wedding of Robert Austen Young and May Aroha Free. August 1935.

Wedding. Young-Free
A wedding of interest to many persons in Auckland and in Christchurch was celebrated last evening between Miss May (Maisie) Aroha Free, elder daughter of Mr. And Mrs. W. R. H. Free, Westbourne Crescent, Remuera, and Mr. Robert Austen Young, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Young, of Cashmere Road, Christchurch. St. Mark’s Church, Remuera, was chosen for the ceremony, and beautiful flowers were used as decorations for the pulpit and alter. They comprised pink starry heath, white lilies and freesias. Clusters of white spring flowers were tied with satin ribbons to the pews. The bride’s aunt, Miss Mollie Sloane, was responsible for the church decorations.
The bride who was given away by her father, wore a gown of pastel peach angelskin brocaded lame. The bodice had a small neck V, and the long sleeves were fashioned full to the cuffs. On the front of the bodice was inset a graduated panel, which from the knees fell in a very full folds and made a sweeping fan-shaped train. Her headdress of ice-white tulle was surmounted with a full wreath of lily of the valley, and then floated in many yards to the end of the brocaded train. She carried an armlet of beautiful white blooms. A decided contrast was emphasized in the frocks worn by the three bridesmaids, Misses Joan Dive, Margaret Free (bride’s sister) and Margaret Young (bridegroom’s sister). They were of turquoise blue ripple chiffon. The bodices, which were gracefully shirred on the shoulders, were made in cross-over style, and had full puff sleeves to the elbows, while the skirts were cut on slender lines and fell into small fish-trains. Wreaths of fresh pink flowers were worn as headdresses, and they carried armlets of blue and pick flowers.
Dr. Edmund Young (the bridegroom’s brother) was best man, and the duties of groomsmen were carried out by Messers. Martin Dawson and Anthony Ball. Ushers at the church were Messrs. Apsley Bathurst and P. Page-Howard. The service was rendered by the Rev. P. Houghton, and the wedding music was played by Miss Freda Lewins.
Following the ceremony a reception was held in the ballroom of Miss Johnson, Omahu Road, Remuera, the hall being a bower of exquisite light foliage and pink blooms. Mrs. Free received the guests in a frock of delphinium blue brocaded cloque, with long velvet sash. Her hat toned with her frock, and was completed with a grey squirrel wrap. She carried a bouquet of cyclamens. Mrs. Young (the bridegrooms mother) wore a smart gown of crimson and gold lame, with a hat to tone. Her bouquet was of cream roses. Miss Mollie Sloane, beige lace and brown hat. The bride’s traveling frock was a black cloth tailored suit and black velvet peaked cap.




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Biographical Details:

William Robert Hurworth Free 'Micky' and 'Micheal'
Born, 24 November 1876, New Plymouth, NZ
Baptised St. Mary's New Plymouth on 7 December 1876
Married, Margaret Robertson Sloane, 1908
Died, 15 July 1942, Auckland, NZ

Receives a Good Conduct prize December 1885 from the Central School Taranaki (Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1885, page 2)

The seriousness of attempting to pass the railway crossing in Devon-street when a train is near was impressed upon a young man named William Free at the Police Court to-day (Monday). It was explained by Sergeant Stagpoole that the porter had to dash his flag in the defendant's face to keep him back. The Magistrate imposed a fine of 20s and costs. (Taranaki Herald, 18 February 1901, page 2)


Newspaper clipping, 2 December 1908 – source not identified

Free – Sloane Wedding

An unusually pretty home wedding took place on Wednesday afternoon when Miss Margaret Sloane, youngest daughter of Mrs Sloane, Marine Parade, Ponsonby, Auckland was carried to Mr. William R. H. Free of New Plymouth post office. The ceremony was performed in the drawing-room at “Dunbar”, the residence of the bride’s mother.

At half-past two o’clock, to the strains of “Lohengrin”, planed by Mrs Thorbourne, the bridal party entered the drawing-room, and stood under a beautiful wedding bell. The Rev. A. Macaulay Caldwell conducted the service. The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr. Dunbar Sloane, of Wellington, looked lovely in a soft white crepe de chine, with a V and panel in front of skirt of tucked chiffon lace, embossed with silk flowers. She wore a soft white tulle veil, arranged over real orange blossoms, and carried a beautiful shower bouquet.

Miss Lassie Sloane and Miss Bessie Watt attended as bridesmaids, and were charmingly frocked in white Indian muslin with pick tucks and French Valentine lace, made semi-Empire, with fichus, and large white crinoline hats wreathed with white daisies. They carried lovely shower bouquets of pick sweet peas, and wore handsome wreath brooches set with turquoises and pearls, the gift of the bridegroom.  Mr. H. Free acted as best man, and Mr Marples as groomsman.

After the ceremony afternoon tea was served in the dining-room and on the spacious verandah. The tea table was artistically decorated with pink sweet peas and trellis of pink silk ribbons, while four tiny wedding bells, with ribbon, were suspended over the table. The Rev. Macaulay Caldwell proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom.

The presents were numerous and valuable. Later Mr and Mrs Free departed amidst rose leaves for Howick, the bride wearing a stylish electric blue striped cloth costume and blue crinoline hat with large pale pink roses and foliage. Mrs Sloane (mother of the bride) wore a black toilette, with touches of white lace; Miss Free (New Plymouth), cream frock, with lace threaded with pale green ribbon; Miss Sloane, white silk and cream skirt; Miss Robertson, black and white floral gown, Misses M. and T. Sloane wore cream and white respectively.

Among others present were:

Mrs T. F Robertson, Mrs Sotham, Misses Tizard, Walker, Hall, Kennedy, Scott, Bellhouse, Mrs and Miss Thorburne, Mrs H. Cooke, Mrs R. Watt, Mrs Oxley., etc.


Obit, NZ Herald (Auckland) 17 July 1942:

FREE, on July 14, 1942, at Auckland Hospital, William Robert Hurworth (Micheal) loved husband of Margaret Robertson Free, of 2 Westbury Crescent, Remuera, aged 65 years. Private Cremation yesterday.

Was a Mason, and worked in the Post Office (telegraph).
In the 1905/6 Electoral Roll he is listed as a Clerk in Taranaki.
In his 1908 Marriage entry he is listed as a Telegraphist.



Children: (picture, left to right, May, Margaret & Fredie)
May Aroha Free (1911-1981)
Margaret Rutherford Free, (1915-1994) Married, 8 April 1939, George Anthony Ball (G A Ball died 11 December 1986)
Frederick Henry Free "Fredie" Born, 4 October 1909 at New Plymouth NZ Died 25 January 1924. Fredie tragically fell 70 feet down the cliffs at Karekare on the West coast of Auckland.




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Biographical Details:

Henry John Free
Born, 22 February 1878, New Plymouth, NZ
Christened St. Mary's New Plymouth on 22 February 1878
Died, 7 July 1940, Auckland, NZ

Little apart from the following is currently known about him. He appears in the Taranaki Crown Land Grants as being granted Section 26, Block II, Upper Waitara on 16 July 1900, and again Section 4, Aria Suburban on 28 November 1905. He witnessed the wedding registrar of the 1908 wedding of his older brother W R H Free to M R Sloane. He listed his address at the time as being in New Plymouth.

And, in Standard 4, in 1889, he was award the 'extra' prize - which is the most popular child in a class who has not otherwise got a prize. Source: Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1889, page 2.

In the 1905/6 Electoral Roll he is listed as a Storeman living in Mokau.

Stage Coach Pioneer

Mr. H. J. Free Passes

Carrying the mail in the early days.

Roads but tracks deep in mud.

By the death in Auckland last week of Mr. H. J. Free, a link with the past has been severed and the writer of these notes was moved to recall much that will be of interest to many people still resident in Te Kuiti and the districts immediately surrounding the town. The late Mr. H. J. Free, or as everyone knew him, Henry Free, came to Te Kuiti from New Plymouth in the year 1908, and immediately afterwards founded the firm of H. J. Free and Co., livery stable proprietors and mail contractors, in the premises now occupied by Te Kuiti Motors, Ltd. In a short time the firm acquired the mail-carrying business of Mr. Bert Lewis who ran daily to Pio Pio and Aria, returning next day. The service was provided means of coaches drawn by six horses, these being changes at Pio Pio, and it will interest many to know that these coaches were made in Te Kuiti by the firm of Rutherford and Wright, Mr. Wright still being resident in Te Kuiti. They were considered as being wonderfully adapted to the needs of the roads of those times, These so-called roads cannot possibly be envisaged by the younger generation of residents, and it needed courage and skill of the highest order to negotiate them, they for the most part of the year being nothing but deep muddy tracks. One of those drivers of these coaches, Mr. Dick Pratt, is still living at Wairere, where he farms and is affectionately remembered by many who travelled on the coaches of Free and Co.

Service to Waitomo Caves,
The firm acquired the business of Mr. C. Kirk, of Waitomo Caves, who ran a service from the Caves Hostel to the Hangatiki station. This service was very popular, being provided by means of a large covered waggonette and six horses driven by Mr. Charles Benjamin. It was a task of magnitude in those days to visit the Waitomo Caves, the roads in that direction being if possible worse than those leading to Aria.

Pioneer of Motor Buses,
Mr. Frees’ firm was never daunted, and long before the roads were considered to be good enough for motors, Free and Co. put on between Te Kuiti and Aria a large passenger carrying bus. It was a De Dion and a magnificent specimen of the motor engineer and bodybuilders’ art. They also about the same time introduced motors on to their Waitomo Caves run. It will be seen that Te Kuiti had amongst its earlier settlers business men of vision, and to those who to-day speed over the roads of the King Country they will never be able to form any idea of what such people as Henry Free had to encounter in those far away days.

Mr. Free had a very engaging personality which stood him in good stead in surmounting the many difficulties encountered.

 Source: King Country Chronicle, July 15, 1940.

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Biographical Details:

Louisa Kate Free
Born, 5 August 1882, Hurworth, New Plymouth, NZ
Christened at St Mary's, New Plymouth on 16 August 1882.
Died, 11 August 1960, New Plymouth, NZ

Very little is known about Katie. The picture (right) is from the group photograph at W R H Free and Margaret Sloane's wedding in Auckland in 1908. On the back of the photograph (written close to the time) she is described as Katie.

Obit from Taranaki Herald 13 August 1960
Free, Kate Louisa – (76 Elliot Street, New Plymouth.) On August 11, 1960, at the Westown Hospital, beloved younger daughter of the late William and Mary Free; aged 78 years. Cremated this day.

Biographical Details:

Mary Gretia Annie "Anna" Free
Born 22 June 1880 in New Plymouth
Christened at St Mary's, New Plymouth on 3 October 1880.
Married Owen Marvell 29 July 1918, at St Mary's, New Plymouth.

Very little is known about Mary.

Received an honourable mention in the 'Hand Bouquet by school children' at the 1893 Taranaki Horticultural Society - Spring show. source, Taranaki Herald, 25 November 1893 page 2.

Appears in the Taranaki High School awards 1896; receiving awards for; Attendance, Latin & French (she was third), and Tennis Singles. source Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1896 page 2.

She may have become a school teacher. As her first year pupil teacher exam pass (scored 608 out of 1100) is published the Taranaki Herald 28 July 1898 page 2. Although, in the 1905/6 Electoral Roll she is listed as a Librarian in Taranaki.

We know from his Will (at National Archives) that Owen Marvell died on 30 November 1955 in Hastings. He was a farmer and left his house and property in Haumoana (near Hastings) to Thomas Waterman Harland and his wife Vola Harland (I'm assuming that Vola is his daughter). He also left (pounds) 2,000 to Margaret Robertson Free of New Plymouth (a widow). The absence in his will of any mention of Mary suggests she pre-deceased him.

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