ANZAC Day 2015

Remembering 100 years ago

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


Thomas: Charles: Herbert Edward Henry: Colleen Margaret:

Colleen Margaret (1929-2009)

Colleen was born on 4th May 1929, the eldest daughter and second child of Zeta Tui (nee Miles) and Herbert Edward Jessep of ‘Alaska’ farm near Methven in Canterbury.

Colleen had two brothers, Bruce and Robert (Bob) and a sister Claire.

After attending Methven School, Colleen attended Christchurch Girls High School as a Boarder.

On leaving school, Colleen worked for a year and then took up Nursing training in Christchurch.

In 1949 at the age of 20, Colleen married John Tucker Francis Ford (Frank Ford) of Ashburton, who, like his father before him, was a stock agent.

Their first home was on Racecourse Road in Ashburton, but Frank had a yearning to be a farmer and it wasn’t long before they moved onto leased land at Marsden near Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island.

Six children were born in quick succession during this time, 4 daughters survived, Mary Jane, Susan Margaret (1951 – 1993), Helen Jane and Jillian Robin. A surviving son, Richard John, was born later.

In 1959, Colleen and Frank moved to Oxford in Canterbury.

In 1960 they purchased a sheep and cropping farm on the river flats of the Kakanui river at Five Forks in North Otago.

In 1963 they moved to Totara near Oamaru and purchased a large house and 10 acres of land. By the 1970s both daughters were married and Colleen, Frank and young son John moved to live in Nelson.

Colleen was widowed in 1990 when Frank passed away suddenly.

She continued to live in Nelson until she passed away at the age of 80.

Thomas: Charles: Herbert Edward Henry: Bruce Edward:

Bruce Edward (1927-2010)

Bruce Jessep was born on 11th November, 1927, at the Rugby Nursing Home in Christchurch, to Zeta and Herbert. The family lived on the farm at Alaska in Methven. Bruce went to Methven Primary School, then St Andrews College in Christchurch during World War II. He had to leave school to help his father on the farm due to Herbert’s ill health as a result of being gassed in WW1.

In 1950 Bruce took over the Peak Hill Pastoral Lease from his father Herbert, who had won the ballot in 1912. Within a year Bruce had paid off his mortgage, married Eileen and bought a Chevvy car.

Eileen and Bruce had three children – Karen, Pamela and Donald.

Karen was born in 1953, Pam in 1954, and Donald in 1956.

In 1972 Peak Hill was sold, and the family moved to Methven to farm Creekdale at the foot of Mt Hutt.

In 1992 Bruce and Eileen retired to Methven township, where they lived until 2008 when they moved to Cameron Courts in Ashburton.

Bruce was very community minded and was a member of many organisations throughout his life, including Mt Olympus Ski Club, Lions, Historical Society and Hunts Association. He was Master of the Christchurch Hunt for 12 years.

Bruce Edward Jessep passed away in 2010.

Thomas: Charles: Herbert Edward Henry: Robert Miles:

Robert Miles (1933-2011)

Robert was born to Herbert and Zeta Tui Jessep (nee Miles) in 1933. Robert (always called Bob) was educated at Methven Primary, Christchurch Boys High School and Canterbury University. He studied at Lincoln Agricultural College, achieving B.Ag.Sc.

Bob managed the Alaska property, 8kms from Methven, for the Estate of Herbert Jessep, with his mother Zeta in residence. In 1960 Bob purchased 583 acres of Alaska from the estate.

In 1962 he married Jane Aiken. They had four children, Paul, Bridget, Wendy and Michael.

Bob purchased 283 acres of gorse, broom and pine trees, which he bulldozed and developed for resale.

In 1971 Bob purchased 1000 acres at Winchmore, which he and partner developed into an intensive border dyke irrigation property with two houses.

After the sale of the Winchmore houses, Bob purchased a 400 acre property previously owned by his father and managed it as the company Alaska Farm Ltd.

Bob sold Alaska Farm Ltd to his son Paul and Bob and Jane retired in 2004 to Mays Lane, Methven.

Bob took on many roles in the community – President of Jaycees, Primary School Committee, Treasurer of the Presbyterian Church, Methven Lions Club, Chairman and Treasurer of Methven Heritage Committee.

Robert Miles Jessep passed in 2011.

Thomas: Charles: James Simon: John Cecil: Nevill John:

Nevill John (1940-2013)

Nevill John Jessep was born on 2nd April 1940.  He was the eldest child of John (Jack) and Iris Jessep.  He was born in Wellington and christened at St Mary’s Church in Karori.

It was also in 1940 that World War II commenced and life was hard.  Jack and Iris purchased a small bungalow in Miramar and from this home raised five children in somewhat difficult circumstances.  There were three girls and two boys in the family – Nevill, Eleanor, Nanette, Janine and Dennis.  The three girls shared a bedroom and the sunporch at the front of the house was closed in to provide a bedroom for the boys.  The two boys shared this room.  Nevill was fourteen years older than Dennis so this was not an ideal situation.

Jack Jessep worked in various roles.  He was an accountant at the Port Line Shipping Company and later operated a grocery store in Berhampore, Wellington. This was hard work and the story is told of how the family inherited a mah jong set in lieu of payment for goods.  Nevill often spoke of these times and the strong work ethic has been handed down to the next three generations.  As a young boy Nevill mowed the local doctor’s lawns.  He funded himself through university by working at Taubmans Paints and also working in the wool store at Kaiwharawhara.

Iris was a wonderful homemaker coping in a very small home.  Her kitchen was extremely tiny (almost like a back porch). Despite this she entertained a great deal and the Sunday family midday dinner was always three courses with a choice of hot or cold dessert or both.  This was followed by a massive dish wash (no dishwasher) and no sooner had that finished it was time for afternoon tea with another huge array of food.

Nevill attended Miramar Central School which was situated right next door to the family home.  As a young lad he apparently had a sense of mischief.  He was in the boys’ choir at the Anglican Church until he put an upturned drawing pin on the choir mistress’s seat.  His services were then dispensed with.  He was also involved in amateur theatre until he pulled the curtain down on himself and ruined the performance!

He was, however, a diligent student and also a very good hockey and tennis player.  He attended Rongotai College and then went on to university.  He considered being a lawyer but was not encouraged to do this because apparently someone with the name of “Jessep” had been stood down from the legal profession.  He worked hard at university completing his degree in History.  This was followed by a year in Auckland at Teachers’ Training College.  While in Auckland he made some good friends, some of whom he was still in contact with at the time of his death.

After completing his teacher training he returned to Wellington where he took up a position at Rongotai College followed by a live- in position at Rathkele College which is a boarding school in Masterton.  At the end of 1970 he met a friend of his sister Eleanor.  Her name was Bernadine and he married her in 1972.  At that stage he returned to Rongotai College, followed by a position at Mana College.

Over the next six and a half years Bernadine and Nevill had five children – Craig, Paula, Ian and twins Anna and Clare.  Sadly Paula was killed in a tragic road accident in 2011.  Between 1972 and 1995 the family resided in Wellington, Rotorua, Taranaki.  These moves were made so Nevill could advance in his career. In 1987 he was appointed principal of Waitara High School in Taranaki.  This was a challenging position and in 1995 with many changes happening in the New Zealand education system he decided to resign.  The next move was to Hamilton where he did some relief teaching and other work which was available to him.  His final employment was at a local service station where he enjoyed contact with people.

In 2012 Bernadine and Nevill decided to return to Rotorua where they had enjoyed living before.  The family were now in various places and Nevill loved Rotorua.  While staying at a hotel while looking for property in the district Nevill walked out from the hotel, looked at the lake and said “We have come home”.  Rotorua was his favourite place.  Unfortunately he lived only nine months back there before he died after fighting a courageous battle. Nevill John passed away on the 24th August 2013.

It is hard to “paint a picture” of Nevill but the following are quotes from his eulogy and also from a letter received from a very old friend who now lives in England.

“Nevill as you know was educated in the formal sense with his degree in History.  However as you will know, a degree really is just a ticket to a working life and it is the beginning of your education.  Nevill never stopped learning, he was an avid reader and this made him so politically aware, and that made in our cohort for great discussion on how the country was being run and how it should be run.  Nevill’s opinions were highly respected because it came from a fundamental understanding of the outcomes that could ensue from varying social and political strategies.  History which was his area of special expertise gave him insight which others of us lacked.

Being an educator is a very special calling in life and Nevill epitomised the best characteristics required to be a leader in his profession.  I was often with Nevill enjoying an ale and past students would come up to us with a cheery ‘Hello Mr Jessep” and thank him for what he had done to enrich their lives.  The respect in which he was held extended beyond the students, who of course are your best critics as a teacher.  Nevill was a successful educator because he was totally dedicated to delivering the best education to those he taught.  His was a no compromises attitude to education.  He was a credit to the teaching profession.”

“I recall Nevill himself as always exuberant, an incredibly good listener who considered other people’s views before responding.  In the time I knew him he never once expressed any rancour, unless in light hearted humour.  He livened up our home with his spirited naturalness, good humour and verbal zeal and intelligence. Such little money he had was there to be enjoyed and I learned the same habit from him.”

The foregoing words I trust have to some small extent “painted a picture” of Nevill.

He was very much a man for the family, generous and hardworking and appreciating the simple things in life. He was interested in gardening, music, reading, walking, card games including bridge, travel to new places and socialising with family and friends.  His rise in career status was not for respect or honour but so he could support his wife and family and this he did to the very end. He loved his family deeply more than he could ever express.

On the memorial card which was distributed at his funeral were the words:

Humble, Honest, Hard working, Sense of Humour, Hospitable

Thomas: James: Alfred James: Alfred Donald: Donald James: Dennis James:

Dennis James (1949-2014)

Dennis James was born on the 18th February, 1949 in Randwick, Sydney, New South Wales, the first son of Donald James and Beryl May.  His name perfectly aligned with his father’s initials, D.J.Jessep, beginning a line of  D.J.Jessep’s.  The family moved north to Queensland when Dennis was 3 months old, living at 181 Mount Joy Terrace, Manly.

He went to Manly State School and it is here that Dennis learned to play the drums after joining the school band.  He would practice his drum playing, even at the dinner table, which was often countered by a different fanfare from his mother and father.

When he left Manly State School to attend Wynnum State High School, he left his drum behind for the school.  Dennis never gave up on playing the drums. Even without a drum he would demonstrate to his children how to play with his fingers on a table or any other surface.

Growing up in Manly, Dennis got a job to deliver the local newspapers.  He would also help his father open the newspaper shop on the Manly Railway Station. His bicycle was a racing bike. It had curled handles which positioned the rider low and forward.  One day his friend Sydney was having a ride of Dennis’ bike but applied the front brake and as a result he did a slow motion forward flip. Dennis was not so happy about that and demonstrated to Syd how to apply the brakes correctly.  Syd had another go but did exactly the same thing.  Dennis said nothing and shook his head.

In 1963 Dennis joined the Air Training Corps and later he joined the Citizen Military Forces which became better known as the Army Reserve.  His father, grandfather and great grandfather all served in the military during the wars.  Military life was not for Dennis and he left the CMF after serving the initial intake.

His first car was a faded blue Austin that needed some repairs but it never completely made it onto the road. There was also a joint venture with a red hotrod with Sydney. Dennis by this time had left school and was working as an Apprentice Moulder at a foundry in Wynnum. This paved the way to his first real car, a green VW beetle.  Unfortunately the beetle did not win an argument with a larger car and Dennis was back on his bike for a short time.  His new pride and joy was a Hillman Imp.  Dennis became best mates with Arthur Stead – they shared a passion for their cars and when Arthur married his sweetheart Judy, Dennis was best man, a favour returned by Arthur when Dennis married.

Dennis first met his future wife Wendy on the 31st May, 1968, when accompanying his friend Barry Tucker to the speedway. Barry was dating a young lady named Lexy who happened to ask her friend from work, Wendy, on a ‘double date’. Just over a year later Wendy Fae Deighton and Dennis were married on the 12th July 1969 in Ipswich, Brisbane.  The couple moved into a small flat at Bulimba.

Not long after they welcomed their first child, a daughter, named Carmel Fae.  Dennis was working at MLC selling insurance by this stage and they saved a deposit to buy their first home.  By 1972 they had purchased their first home at 13 Constitution Crescent, Alexandra Hills.  Here they welcomed their second child, a son, named Dale Justin – continuing the Jessep line and following the D J Jessep tradition.

Dennis made another significant friendship with a gentleman named Robert Newman, affectionately known as ‘Uncle Bob’. The pair were kindred in spirit and spent many hours together philosophising and contemplating life, and playing chess. Both families spent time socialising together and the friendship continued throughout most of Dennis’ life.

Following Wendy’s father’s sudden passing, the family moved to Ipswich.  During this time their family expanded again when they welcomed another daughter named Leith Alayne.  Soon after they moved to Yeerongpilly where Dennis was a driving instructor for Andy’s driving school.

During the 1974 floods, Yeerongpilly was affected by the wide spread Brisbane flooding and the family could see the water rising on one side of the train lines. Dennis and Wendy lived on the road on the opposite side of the railway line and had to remain vigilant throughout the night in case they had to evacuate.  Fortunately the water didn’t come over the line and they were not flooded.

Another addition to the family, a daughter named Kylie Richelle was born, completing the family. Dennis had then started working at McPhees Transport as a truck driver and  shortly after the family moved to Carole Park.  Here Dennis continued to work hard with several enterprises on the go to provide for his family.

By 1978 the family was on the move again, Dennis had commenced working at the Austral Pacific fertiliser plant (Incitec- as it was later known).  His father Donald was working as the gate security guard for a time.  Travelling from Carole Park to Gibson Island, Hemmant each day was taking its toll (particularly after a night shift) so they purchased a home at 163 Melville Terrace, Manly.

Here the children all followed their father’s footsteps and attended his childhood school, Manly State School. All 4 children participated in the ‘Fife & Drum’ band that Dennis had been a part of in his childhood. The girls all played fife and Dale played drums.  Kylie was elected Band Captain during her service to the band.  Dennis was proud of the fact all his children had an involvement in the band and was always on hand to film and photograph them in their many public performances in Anzac Day Parades and Spring Parades over the years.

In 1980 the family moved to 12 Allara Street, Manly, directly next door to Dennis’ parents.  This was also his Grandparents’ house.  The children continued to follow in their father’s footsteps and also attended Wynnum State High School.  Dennis, as always, worked hard still continuing shift work at Austral Pacific but also beginning new ventures – a lawn mowing run, water drilling and computer store.  Finally, wanting to be his own boss, Dennis left Austral Pacific and bought a convenience store at Wynnum North. The family remained at Allara Street for almost 16 years and it was during this time the children moved out, married, and were starting their own families.

In 1993 Dennis and Wendy first became Grandparents when their grandson Perry was born and then in 1995 a granddaughter Frankie. 1996 welcomed 2 more grandsons Kailen and Jaread and later in 1999 Laura-Belle was born.

Eventually the Allara Street house was sold, and Dennis had purchased another business ‘Queensland Furniture Restoration’.  Dennis realised his passion for timber furniture.  They rented for a time in Thornlands while they searched for their semi-rural dream, which eventuated with a block of land at Coominya.  After building their house at Coominya, Dennis continued his work with timber – building a shed outfitted for the restoration & building of new furniture. He also started building solid timber kitchens for a time.

Business was starting to slow down by New Year’s 2005. The family congregated at Dale’s home in Kingstown to bring in the New Year together.  Dennis visited the Kingstown General Store and discovered it was on the market. The wheels starting turning….

So in 2006, ready for a new adventure, Dennis and Wendy parted with their Coominya home and ventured into ‘Blues’ territory to take over the Kingstown General Store where they quickly became valued members of the community.  Kingstown is a very small town with limited facilities, and were turned down by the council when an application to build public toilets was submitted. Dennis soon became involved in the Kingstown Development Group and was instrumental in a successful bid for council approval for the building of much needed public toilet facilities. During this process he appeared on ‘A Current Affair’ being interviewed by Brady Halls about the need to build these facilities in Kingstown.

In an effort to lure their parents back to Queensland the girls decided to expand the family again, resulting in the births of grandsons Aiden, Corban, Riley & Tyler. Then Christmas 2013 saw Dale became a Grandfather – ‘Poppy’, after the birth of Sari’s daughter Leeah, in turn making Dennis a great-grandfather.

Throughout his life Dennis always strived to support his family and give them a comfortable life and as a result he rarely only had one job.  He might be selling MLC insurance during the day and driving trucks at night. Taking holidays from one job to then work at another. The list of jobs was recently tallied to over 24.  From mowing lawns to truck driving Dennis did it all.

His philosophy and strong beliefs pushed him always forward there was never any looking back. He once said that we exist to complete challenges, if we fail, the same challenge will be given to us over again until we succeed. Once we complete the challenges we will move on.

Dennis was given the ultimate challenge and he didn’t ask for the details he just focused on moving forward to overcome the challenge. His body may have lost the battle but his spirit completed the task and moved on.

Dennis James Jessep passed away on the 28th June, 2014.

Thomas: James: Alfred James: Alfred Donald: Donald James: Lorraine May:

Lorraine May (1946-2011)

Lorraine May was born on Tuesday, 19th May, 1946 in Sydney, New South Wales and was the first child of Beryl and Donald.  Her father was ex RAAF and one of a line of Military service in his family.  Lorraine’s mother was the daughter of a school headmaster so it was no surprise that Lorraine was an “A” student and had a talent in writing and organising.  She was involved in many school activities and also joined the Girl Guides.

After leaving Wynnum High School, Lorraine’s first job was at the Brisbane Weather Bureau as a punch card operator.

Maybe it was the military background of her father or the grand marching band music her mother played that provided the influence for Lorraine to join the Australian Marching Girls, but I think it was the fact that Lorraine just loved to march.  Whatever the influence, Lorraine was determined to do her best as she did for anything she was involved in. She worked her way to become the leader of her team and led them to be state champions and then to compete in the National Titles.

The Marching Girls teams were grouped into age groups.  Age 7 to 12 were the Midgets, 12 to 15 Juniors and 15 and older were Seniors.  The girls generally progressed through these and by the time they became Seniors often left when they married.  Some dedicated to the sport became instructors and Lorraine did just that.

Now an instructor one of her teams, the Cavalaires (midgets), did very well in the local and state championships. Not content to be on one side Lorraine looked for likeminded veterans to form a team and that team marched in 1982 at the Commonwealth Games.  By this time Lorraine’s daughter, Jennifer, was also marching in a team and also marched in a display at the Commonwealth Games Opening.

Family was important to Lorraine and her children meant everything to her.  She was blessed with 4 children but sadly her first, Deborrah Lorraine was only with her a short time and passed away soon after birth.

Lorraine was completely behind her children and whether it was winning State Championships in Marching or the Australian Youth Ballet, she was there to support them.

As her family grew up and started families of their own, Lorraine was able to focus on an old love and began breeding dogs.  She had many breeds over the years from Shetland Sheepdogs to Bernese Mountain dogs.  Her dogs regularly won ribbons at dog shows and she bred a number of Champions and Grand Champions.  Lorraine was involved in many clubs and was trained as an instructor in obedience which led to her being able to understand the “Alert” traits dogs have.

Like her mother, Lorraine was a diabetic and discovered that her close companions could sense her insulin levels.  They would alert her to these serious levels and allow her to take action before it became life threatening.  This was significant because adults can often miss the signs while children with their active life were even more at risk.

Lorraine’s pride and joy, her Japanese Chin “Saki” was not only an Australian Champion but became Australia’s first fully accredited Hypo Alert Dog.  This was the beginning and Lorraine helped a number of families by placing a puppy with the family and training them together allowing the parents to recognize the alerts and allowing the puppy to be certified as an assistance dog.

Lorraine was the founder of HALO Hypo ALert Oz Service Dogs.  This has the potential to change the outlook for a number families who now have, as Lorraine put it, “A Guardian Angel” to help manage their Children’s Diabetes.

Lorraine passed away on the 14th August, 2011.

160 Years ago Today

On this day 160 years ago, the Caroline Middleton finally docks in Hobart after three months at sea.  The Jessep families have to wait another few days to finally leave the ship and step onto solid ground Down Under.  This was the beginning and the start of the events that will lead to so many accomplishments by their descendants.

Today we celebrate their fortitude and pioneering.

Thomas: William Thomas: William: William:

William  (1915-)

William Jessep was born on the 20th May, 1915 in Waverley New South Wales, and was the first son of William and Mary[1].  William had three older sisters Jessie, Gladys and Edna.

William married Thora May Gilleland in 1938 and they settled down in Waverley to raise their family[2].  A few years later William was born, making him William the fourth.

William (3rd) joined the army on the 26th October 1942 at Bondi Junction, New South Wales.  His service number was NX130417.  William was discharged with the rank of gunner from the 53 Australian Anti Aircraft Regiment on the 14th December 1945.[3]

[1] Registrar General, The Federation Series (1889-1918): Birth, CD-ROM ( Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1993), William JESSEP [23962].

[2] Registrar General, Between the wars Index (1919-1945): Marriage, CD-ROM ( Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1995), William JESSEP and Thora May GILLELAND

[3] ” Military Service Documents,” Digital Image, Australian Government Agencies, National Archives of Australia ( Viewed Jun 2009), William Jessep; citing Series B883: Second Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1939-1947, 5617836; Search only supports Key words not Unique barcode. Use Series number to narrow search..

Thomas: William Thomas: William: Jessie Mary Ellen:

Jessie Mary Ellen (1901-1974)

Jessie Mary Ellen was born in1901[1] in St Leonards, New South Wales, to William and Mary. Jessie was their first daughter.

Patrick Francis Clare married Jessie Mary Ellen in 1928 and the couple settled down at 43 Henrietta Street Waverley.  Patrick was working as a milk carter.

In 1943 they moved to 28 Bourke Street, Waverley and by 1966 they were living at Mataran Road, Warnervale where Patrick was working as a truck driver.

Patrick passed away in 1967 and Jessie passed away in 1974.


[1] Registrar General, The Federation Series (1889-1918): Birth, CD-ROM ( Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1993), Jessie M E JESSEP [26378].