Thursday, 20 October 2016

'Celebrating Women' Opens Friday

The 'Celebrating Women' display opens at 10am, Friday, 21 Oct. Entry is a gold coin donation. And also at the courthouse is the annual patchwork exhibition which is a gold coin donation. Both exhibitions will be on from 10am to 4pm through Labour weekend. After that, we go back to our usual hours, Sundays, 2pm to 4pm and also by request. The Women's display runs through until Christmas but could extend if enough interest is shown.

Thanks to all who have supported us by loaning items, writing snippets, and letting us copy photos.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 14 October 2016

WDFF Names

WDFF emblem on the Otautau branch centennial tablecloth
They say that this tablecloth never missed a meeting! So it is fitting that it is a part of the Celebrating Women display that is coming up soon at the museum. And more importantly, it deserves to have its 92 members' names written in full.

The members' names stitched around the edges only had the first initial and surname so we are trying to fill in the first names! We have about 90% so far. We've asked local people who were a great help. We've consulted the electoral rolls of 1949, 1954 and 1957 to fill in the blanks, and that was a very great help. Only about 10 more women to go. Here is who we are trying to pin down:

Allan, V - someone suggested Vivien  but no one with V first or middle name in the electoral rolls for 1949, 1954 or 1957
Beck, J - someone suggested Janet or Jeannie? Which one? Jeannie lived in Aparima. Janet lived in Wairio.
Beck, M - the 1949 electoral roll has a Mary Jane Beck, Otautau, widow but is this her? No M Beck in later rolls.
Brown, Betty (Elizabeth?) - no B Brown in 1949, 1954, or 1957 electoral rolls
Collie, E - there are two E's - Elizabeth White Collie at The Ridges, Otautau; and Elizabeth Jane Collie, Otautau 
Dahlenburg, Molly (or Margaret?) - two M's - Margaret Ann Dahlenburg, Main St, Otautau, married; or Margaret Mary Dahlenburg, Waikouro, Otautau, married.
Kennedy, J - someone suggested Jean, but there are only Janes in the electoral roll: Jane Kennedy, Knutsford Rd, Otautau, domestic; and Jane White Kennedy, Mary St, Otautau, widow.
Millar, D - someone suggested Dorothy  but could be Doris Mary Millar, Mary St, Otautau, married; or Dorothy Marie Millar, Aparima, Otautau, married.
Mudge, M - surname not in the electoral rolls for 1949, 1954, or 1957
Smellie, M - someone suggested Marion - but which is her? Marjorie Ellen Smellie, Merrivale Rd, Otautau, married, (ER 1957); or Esma May Smellie, Otautau, married 
But we what we'd really like is to find the minutes for the 1950s of the WDFF Otautau Branch. If you know of someone who has them, please get in touch! Time is running out!


Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Coming Soon: Celebrating the Women of Otautau and Districts - Past and Present

Come and be inspired and amused by both the famous and infamous, the characters and histories, the tragedies and triumphs - of those brave women who have gone before us, and those making waves who are still present among us.
NOTE: among the displays are the 'Robertson School of Dance' albums - full of records, photos, programmes and more.
These have been kindly loaned to us indefinitely by Valmai so that ex-students and parents can have access to view them and to request copies of items.
Opens Labour Weekend. Gold coin donation. Otautau Museum in the old Courthouse, 146 Main St, Otautau.
For more information, contact Suz Best, 027-211-4675, or send email

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Women's Right to Vote

Forty-seven Otautau women signed the petition for the right to vote in 1893. As far as we know, the petition never reached Ohai, Nightcaps, Wairio, Aparima, Wrey's Bush, Gladfield, Ringway, Fairfax, Isla Bank and the rest of our corner of the world.

Thanks to these ladies and many others around the world, the cause of women's rights is still a flame that burns brightly.

Acheson, Jane
Blatch, Ellen M
Cameron, Margaret
Cameron, Catherine
Campbell, Catherine
Carmichael, Marie (Strathmore)
Clothier, A L. (Louisa Alice Clothier?)
Cotter, Ellie. F. 
Croft, Annie 
Cupples, Jane (Strathmore)
Cupples, Jemima (Strathmore)
Forbes, Margaret 
Forbes, Mrs
Forbs, Isiballa
Gaines, Alice 
Gardiner, Jessie
Gilchrist, Annie
Greenslade, Jessie 
Hill, Annie
Hill, Elen
Hogan, Mary T
Johnstone, M. P.
Ketteg, Mrs Anne
Keveney, Catherine
Lawson, Jane (mother of Jessie Gardiner)
Lee, Jane (Riverton?)
Lindsay, Barbara (Strathmore)
Manson, Mary
Matheson, Louisa Catherine
McAfee, Margaret
McDonald, Florrie
McLaren, B. S.
McNeil, Catherine
Morrison, Jane
Norman, Elizabeth
Pankhurst, Jessie (Riverton)
Parmenter, Isabella
Price. Elizabeth
Railton, Mary
Rogers, Emily
Shaw, Jane
Sinclair, Sarah (Eastern Bush)
Smith, Jessie
Swap, Alexandra
Thomson, Mary
Walker, A. (Charlotte Agnes?)
Wohlmann, Rebecca

As ever, we are interested to get photos of these women to continue remembering their good deeds. If you have a photo or a story of one of these women, please drop us a line.

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Women of the Otautau WDFF

Were you in the Women's Division of Federated Farmers?

The WDFF Otautau Branch formed during the tough economic climate of 1930. Their brief was to make life a bit easier for the farming women and children of the district. Soon came the Second World War where they provided aid to the troops overseas.

In 1956, they celebrated the Southland centennial by creating an embroidered tablecloth honouring their own members. This year is the 60th anniversary of this unique piece of women's history. There are 91 names embroidered on it in very simple letters. We hope you will help us identify who they are.

Affleck, R
Allan, A
Allan, M
Allan, V
Anderson, O
Ashley, S
Ayson, E
Ayson, E M
Baird, C
Baird, R
Barnett, J
Baxter, M
Beck, J
Beck, M
Braxton, H
Brown, B
Brown, M
Brown, M J
Burnett, J
Campbell, M
Carran, H
Chisholm, C
Clayton, R
Coats, K
Collie, E
Collie, F
Collie, M
Coster, A
Coulter, E
Coulter, R
Dahlenburg, M
Donnan, M
Duncan, L
Fisher, H
Flett, A
Flett, M
Flett, M J
Gough, I
Gould, E
Grant, C
Grant, W
Gutschlag, M
Hamlin, M
Hedley, M
Hogg, O
Humphries, A
Irwin, R
Kennedy, J
Kennedy, N
Laurie, J
Lindsay, A
Lindsay, A L
Low, C
Mackay, A
Mackie, M
Maley, E
Manson, M
McBryde, M
McKenzie, S
McPhee, K
McWhirter, P
Millar, D
Mitchell, M
Mudge, M
Muir, I
O’Driscoll, M
Paterson, A
Richardson, A
Robson, G
Ryan, G
Ryan, M F
Ryan, M S
Shaw, C
Skeggs, O
Smart, J
Smellie, I
Smellie, M
Smith, G
Smith, M
Smyth, M
Smyth, S
Sproat, J
Swap, M
Taylor, C
Thomas, F
Trotter, K
Walker, D
Walker, F
Wesney, L
Wright, G
Young, V

The Otautau Branch closed in 1980 and since then we have been given a few remnants of their work. The tablecloth has been in protective storage for well over 10 years - far too long! Our new Collection Manager, Suzie Best, plans to feature it in the 'Celebrating Women' display which is coming up in October.

If you know the names of these women or have any photos that you'd like to share, please get in touch with Suzie: ph 225-8286, cell 027-211-4675 or by email.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.