Agnes Gertrude KEEGAN
25 June 1882 Manuka Tahi, Akaroa, Bank’s Peninsula, New Zealand
26 October 1882, St Peter’s Church, Akaroa, Bank’s Peninsula, New Zealand
Birth of Siblings
Death of Sisters
Agnes’ sister Sarah Annie KEEGAN died in 1888 when Agnes was six years old. Her sister Jessie KEEGAN died in 1893 when Agnes was 11 and when Agnes was 14 her eldest sister Alice KEEGAN died on 9 January 1897 aged 28.
Akaroa Borough School
Born blind in her left eye. Wore a glass eye.
Death of Father
Agnes’ father Patrick KEEGAN died 7 May 1897 aged 75.
LTCL – Trinity College of London
Some time between 1897 and 1905 Agnes moved with her two sisters Ellen (Nell) KEEGAN and Helena Caroline KEEGAN to the Hawkes Bay area in the North Island.
1905 – 1906 at Horoeka, New Zealand
3 April 1907 St Peter’s Church, Akaroa, Bank’s Peninsula, New Zealand
Birth of Children
Jessie HALLAM was born 25 September 1910 Palmerston North, New Zealand
Claude HALLAM was born 25 September 1910 Palmerston North, New Zealand
Geoffrey HALLAM was born 11 February 1912 Paeroa, New Zealand
Constance HALLAM was born 24 June 1915 at Paeroa, New Zealand
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Paeroa, New Zealand
1911 at Botanical Road, Palmerston, New Zealand
1914 at Hill Street Paeroa, New Zealand
The Six O’clock Swill
Agnes Gertrude KEEGAN would have likely witnessed ‘The Six O’clock Swill’ in Manawatu-Wanganui in 1911, a time when bars in Australia and New Zealand were ordered to close at 6pm nightly.
Moved to Auckland
1919 – 1930 at 3 Flower Street Auckland, New Zealand
Death of Husband
Agnes’ husband William Herbert HALLAM passed away 25 October 1924 in Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 50. They had been married for 17 years.
1935 at 52 St Leonard’s Rd, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand
Death of Sister
Agnes’ sister Helena Carline KEEGAN died 22 February 1935 in New Plymouth, New Zealand when Agnes was 52 years old.
Death of Mother
Agnes’ mother Sarah KEEGAN nee DOBSON passed away the same year in 1935 in Auckland at the age of 86.
Death of Brothers
Joseph (Frederick) KEEGAN died 25 February 1945 in New Zealand. Christopher Michael KEEGAN died the same year. Agnes was 62.
1946 – 1949 at 16 Mark Road, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
Death of Brother
Agnes’ brother Patrick KEEGAN died 13 October 1947 in Auckland, New Zealand when Agnes was 65.
1954 – 1957 at 476 Richmond Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Death of Sister
Agnes’ sister Ellen (Nell or Nellie) WHITTA nee KEEGAN died 22 May 1960 in Palmerston North, New Zealand when Agnes was 77 years old.
1963 at Willoughby Street, Paeroa, New Zealand
29 June 1968 at 4122 Great North Road, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand aged 86.
2 July 1968 Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
HALLAM, William Herbert 23 June 1874 – 25 October 1924, Agnes Gertrude 25 June 1882 – 29 October 1968, Norman William 15 May 1938 – 16 November 1950, Owen Geoffrey 26 February 1940 – 18 August 1951, Elsie Coral 10 June 1909 – 6 December 1987, Geoffrey 11 February 1912 – 28 February 1990. Always remembered
Agnes Gertrude KEEGAN – Story contributed by Patricia Wood
Agnes Gertrude KEEGAN (my maternal grandmother known as Nana), was born in Akaroa on 25 June 1882. She was 10th in a pioneering family of 12, and was step-sister to my paternal grandmother Helena Caroline KEEGAN. Her parents had a small farm and also attempted to run a timber mill in partnership with another family. Thought times were hard financially, and the family finally went broke, and were also among tough families who lost their hard earned cash in the local pub, yet Agnes always looked back on her Akaroa years as very happy ones. It sounded as though the families were very close-knit as a community, really helping one another. The only fact of her childhood that I have, is that after her mother had milked their 17 cows by hand, she used to go door-to-door selling milk to the early pioneers. That seemed to be her particular family task.
Her father Patrick, (if he was her father), was aged 61 when she was born. Her mother was 33, but Agnes’s father died when she was only 14. She remembered fondly his long white beard, and that he used to take her by the hand and walk long distances. She knew the THOMAS family well in Akaroa, and loved to recall the days with my grandfather Joe.
About the time that some of the THOMASs shifted up to the Hawkes Bay building road, and buying farms, some of the KEEGAN family also journeyed up there, perhaps in search of work. Agnes’s brothers Pat and Mike were among these migrants. Pat went as far as Bay of Plenty, while Mike set up an oxen-pulling business in Hawkes Bay.
So three of the sisters, Agnes, Nell and Lena (my other grandmother), went to live in Palmerston North. Nell met and married Stan WHITTA who was with the THOMAS family at Horoeka, Lena married Joe THOMAS also at Horoeka and Agnes met and married Herbert William HALLAM, an Englishman who was a surveyor designing roads that could well have been the ones that the THOMAS brothers were forming.
While Lena and Nell held their weddings in Dannievirke, Agnes was married to Bert HALLAM at St Peter’s Church in Akaroa on 3 April 1907. However they settled in Palmerston North as their first child (my mother) was born there in 1908.
Agnes and Lena were very close, and both were music and singing teachers. They sang duets together as soprano and alto, and raised money for various patriotic causes. They were constantly involved in concerts together, and an evening was happily spent if singing together around the piano.
by 1911 or early 1912 Agnes and Herb had moved to Pair where he was involved in designing roads at the time that the Hauraki Plains were being formed. By this time they also had a son, Claude born 25 September 1910 in Palmerston North and then Geoffrey, another son was born in Paeroa on 11 February 1912. They lived in Hill Street for about 3 years and Agnes became involved with the music and choir in the Methodist Church. They moved on to Auckland where eventually Constance was born on 24 June 1916. The family home was at 3 Flower Street, Mt Eden, Auckland. Today it is just an industrial area. The family later moved to Shackleton Road, Mt Eden.
Disaster hit at an early stage in Agnes’ marriage as her husband Herbert died of double pneumonia in 1924 leaving her with four children whose ages ranged from 8 to 16. There was no welfare system at that time, and Agnes was forced to find work. She earned her LTCL at music and did what she could to earn a living teaching piano and singing, while Jessie left school and found a job in the city. She taught at the Lewis Easy Building in Queen Street which was probably New Zealand’s most leading music tuition centre and retail outlet at the time.
Agnes was born blind in her left eye, but somewhere early in her life she had been given an artificial eye. This was a glass eye rather like a marble, and which she took out at night and placed by her bedside! In the morning she held her eyelids apart and popped it in, much to the horror of those of us who were her grandchildren!! When she got older, sometimes it was in crooked, so that she seemed to be looking in two directions at the same time.
In spite of hardship, and living out a long life as a widow for most of which she had no home of her own, Agnes (always known as Gert), maintained a hearty sense of humour. She would throw her head and laugh as loudly as any in the room, and loved to reminisce. She was indeed a rmoantist, and great at fantasy. She took great delight in telling us grandchildren bedtime stories, but always without a book. She simply just made them up. She would sit on the bed and ask “What will our story be about tonight?” And if we answered ‘rabbits’ she would invent a story that would go on and on and have any child rapt in the adventures of it. She would have made a marvellous author, but to my knowledge did not write any books.
When I was about eight years old, I stayed with her (Nana) for the first time. She was living with daughter Connie at 8 Mark Road, Mt Albert, as Connie had also lost her husband at a very young age and had two boys Bruce and Neil, who were one older, and one younger, than me. I remember that while the boys went to school, and Connie went to work in a fruit shop, Nana took me for rides on the trams, she took me to the movies for the first time in my life – not once but twice, she took me on the Ferry over to Devonport and back, and also took me on a tram to my other cousins at Glen Eden. Then she marched me down Queen Street in the big city, showing me which side of the crowd to walk on, and let me spend some money in Woolworths, McKenzies and McDuffs. I now understand something of what it must have cost her for all of these treats, but no way did she give any indication at the time.
In the evening she and Connie made many, many jars of strawberry jam, using fruit that was not fit to be sold where Connie worked. It was also the first time I had ever tasted strawberry jam.
Agnes indulged in anything musical (yes, she also took me on the tram on Sunday morning to Uncle Tom and the Sankey Singers). She went to live theatre as often as she could, and eagerly followed the careers of our country’s best singers.
Agnes had no lack of self esteem about the eye but would laugh and say “well, guess which one is looking at you” and on her next visit to the bathroom she might think to make an adjustment.
She spent most of her long life living with Connie, though stayed brief periods with my family on the farm and with other relatives. She always arrived with lollies in her black bag – something I eagerly awaited, and which we did not have at home in those days.
Though having been a staunch Methodist, and sung and led Methodist choirs for many years, somewhere along the way Agnes became an ardent theosophist, well before the days when this new age kind of thinking was even known. She believed that all paths went to Heaven, and avidly read Hindu writings, Mao Tse Tung, the Koran, and many heavy books of different philosophies and of astronomy. Reading was a favourite pastime along with crochet. She attended heavy debates on these subjects. Though such a romanist in her children’s stories, her personal reading was very heavy, and she could hold a good conversation on any subject.
In later life, as her good eye failed, she became associated with the Foundation of the blind, and even lived in the Blind Institute at Parnell for a while. Here she learned a little braille.
She also suffered extreme rheumatism in old age. Her fingers became gnarled and crippled, yet to keep her circulation she continued to crochet, though eventually having to use wool and make larger articles, such as knee blankets, instead of fine crochet she had done all her life.
Her love of music never waned, and if I was practicing piano leaving out, for example a B Flat, she would have to get out of bed and come and point out the needed correction.
Agnes Gertrude lived to the grand old age of 87 years, in spite of a very long widowhood, and with no home of her own for most of that time. She was finally put into a rest home in Auckland, where she died on 29 June 1968. Though she had a long, lonely life, she never appeared to be unhappy with her lot. She was cremated and her ashes buried at the Waikemute Cemetery, Henderson, in Auckland.
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Birth Index 1840 – 1950
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Birth Certificate
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand, City and Area Directories 1866 – 1954
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, Akaroa, Borough School, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume XXIV, Issue 2111, 15 December 1896
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1905 – 1906 Manawatu-Wanganui, Pahiatua
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Marriage Index 1840 – 1937
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1911 Manawatu-Wanganui, Palmerston
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1914, Waikato, Ohinemuri
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1919 Auckland, Auckland East
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1928 Auckland
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1935 Auckland, Mt Roskill
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1946 Auckland, Mt Albert
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1949 Auckland, Mt Albert
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1954 Auckland, Ponsonby
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1957 Auckland, Ponsonby
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1960, Auckland, Hauraki
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, Australia and New Zealand, Find a Grave Index 1800s – Current
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, New Zealand, Cemetery Records 1800 – 2007
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, Web: Global, Gravestone Photograph Index 1265 – 2014
9.0 KEEGAN, Agnes Gertrude, Headstone Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand