Passing of an Early Settler


Otago Daily Times

Issue Date

29 August 1923


Julius Vogel & William Cutten






In the death last month of Mrs James Allan, so long known in connection with Hopehill, East Taieri, another of the links with the pioneer days was snapped. Born in Stockport, England, in 1829, Mrs Allan arrived at Dunedin with her father, Mr Richard Sutcliffe, her step-mother, her two sisters, and her brother, in the good ship Ajax, in January, 1849. The family remained in Dunedin for two years, and then removed to Christchurch; but in March, 1850, Miss Jane Sutcliffe had married Mr James Allan, and so remained in Dunedin. Mr Allan was then in partnership with Mr James Smith, well known afterwards as Mr Smith of Greenfield, in a business in Dunedin, and it was not till 1853 that he moved with his wife and two children to Hopehill, where Mrs Allan made her home till after her husband's death in 1891. Since that event Mrs Allan lived in retirement with different members of her family till she settled with a daughter in Mogiel about 23 years ago. For the past seven years she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Romahapa, and her death occurred there.

Her life at Hopehill was a full and busy one, and during that period of nearly 40 years she proved herself a worthy helpmeet of one of the finest of our pioneer settlers. Hospitable, generous, kind, unsparing of herself when duty called or help was needed, Mrs Allan is remembered by men and women all over New Zealand and the name “Hopehill” is a word which unlocks the doors of many hearts that treasure memories of the old days. Many a man who made his first start at Hopehill and later did well for himself remembers with gratitude the kindly treatment he received from Mr and Mrs Allan, and some who have found the ways of life hard are perhaps even more ready to acknowledge how good a place Hopehill was “in the old days.”

Even till near the end of her long life Mrs Allan delighted to speak of the joys and sorrows, successes, and failures of the old times, and the old times cast a glamour over memory till joys and successes, triumphs and happiness far outshone the hardships of the pioneer life.

In all good work Mrs Allan took great interest. With her husband she was one of the first members of the East Taieri congregation, and to the end she took the greatest interest in its work, and in the wonderful advance it has made since the days when the Rev. Mr Will had to journey on foot all over the district.

Often, in a a chat about the old times, names familiar enough in the past would come up, with some remark from Mrs Allan about them. Teh Rev. Dr Burns, Captain Cargill, the Rev. W. Bannerman, the Rev. W. Will, Dr Purdie, Dr Manning, Captain Ellis, Bishop Nevill, and many another made Hopehill a calling-place in their journeyings from the days when the Main South road was but a track for a bullock-sledge till at last the coaches were superseded by the railway.

Mrs Allan's family was comprised of eight sons and four daughters, of whom Mrs J.C. Thomson (Dunedin), Mr R.S.Allan, C.E. (Dunedin), Mrs James Allan (Hawera), Mrs E.H. Burn (Romahapa), Mrs G.E. Woodhead (Milton), and Mr H. Allan (Portobello) still survive. There is also a large circle of grand-children and great-grand-children.