Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 14, October 1970

Mr & Mrs James Silcock

(With the sudden passing this year of Mr. and Mrs. Silcock, Paeroa lost two of its oldest and most respected citizens almost on the eve of their Diamond Jubilee of their Wedding - (29-6-1910). The Historical Society owes them a great debt of gratitude, both for writing articles and for checking notes which were quite beyond the personal memory of anyone else.

Mrs. Silcock, (nee Rachael Edwards), who predeceased her husband by a few days, was the first child of the marriage of Mr. Edwin Edwards and Miss Emily Parry which was celebrated in Paeroa and announced in the Hauraki Tribune of 1-1-1886. The family had retained a copy of this issue and we thankfully acknowledge their gift to us of a photostat copy of the paper.

"MARRIAGE, EDWARDS - PARRY. At Paeroa on Sunday 17th December, by Rev. F.C. Evans, Edwin Edwards, eldest son of Edwin Edwards, of Denmark Park, London, England to Emily, youngest daughter of Joseph S. Parry of Wellington".

Mrs. Silcock's father published the first issue of the "Ohinemuri Gazette" in 1891 and she herself was interested in Journalism besides playing a prominent part in many organisations. She was the last surviving member of the family of four, the late Mr. Win Edwards who was Mayor of Paeroa for many years being one of her brothers.

Mr. Silcock at the age of 87 was Paeroa's "grand old man". He was born here in 1879 and soon after leaving School became associated with the Northern Steamship Coy. Practically all his working life was spent with the firm, mostly at Paeroa where he became the local agent and in fact "everything" connected with River Shipping in the days of the "Waimarie" and the "Taniwha". Apart from this, three years were spent at the Hokianga Office and there were periods of War Service.

At 18 years of age Jim Silcock joined the Hauraki Voluntary Service and in World War I was appointed Platoon Commander with the 7th Reinforcements. He was placed on home service after a serious operation but was Captain Adjutant at Featherston military camp for 3½ years before being sent overseas for demobilisation duties. During the 2nd World War he was Captain and Com. of the local horse guards.

A keen sportsman, Mr. Silcock was a member of the 1902 team which started the West Football Club, when the present Thames Valley Rugby Union, (which he helped to form in 1922) was known as Goldfields. He played for some years and captained this team which was one of the best provincial sides in N.Z. owing to the many miners in the area. He was a trialist for the 1905 All Blacks when George Gillet was chosen. After 40 years continuous association with football he had served in every official post, and was honoured with life membership. Mr. Silcock helped to form the Paeroa Athletic Club and was the first President. He also served for 12 years on the Paeroa Borough Council as chairman of the domains committee and played a leading part in the establishment of the baths. About 64 years ago he joined the Loyal Jubilee Lodge and was the oldest member in the district. Mr. and Mrs. Silcock are survived by their four children, Jim (Kerepehi), Connie (Mrs. Broadmore, Wellington), Jack (Hamilton) and Sheila (Mrs. Harrison, Melbourne), 12 grand-children and 1 great-grandson.

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The death in a motor accident of MISS JEAN MILROY brought sorrow not only to her own people in this district but also to the Maori people of the wide areas in which she had worked for many years. Jean's early home was in Mackaytown, with which she was deeply identified and throughout the years she never failed to return to spend time with her sister Grace (Mrs. Morran), her brother Jack, their families and her many friends. She was always an enthusiastic Bible Class Leader and after two years as a Probationary Teacher at the Karangahake School in the 20's she entered the Auckland Teachers' Training College, but her subsequent life work among the Maoris tells us why she was so mourned and honoured at her passing.

Miss Milroy entered the work of the Maori Mission in 1938 when she accepted an appointment as a teacher at isolated Maungapohatu in the Urewera, where conditions were extremely primitive and where she became an honorary missionary. When the school was closed in 1944 she was appointed to the full-time staff of the Mission and served as a reliever in several areas until 1945 when she became teacher and missionary to the Kawerau district Here her roots went deep into the community where she served for 20 years until being transferred to Waihou (via Whakatane) in 1965. The final five years until her untimely death on April 28th 1970 were rich and full in spite of the initial depressing conditions.

A vibrant and alive person, Jean gave herself unstintingly to her work, her enthusiasm matched by her devotion, common sense and exceptional intelligence. Great demands were made of her but she never complained of hardship and the Maori people became "her people". Missions held in the parishes under her care were some of the most successful in the whole Synod. She could be forthright in the face of wrong or injustice and although not trained in a theological institution no one gave more concern for the flock under her care, either physically or spiritually. Faith and works to her were inseparable.

Jean's interests went far beyond local horizons and many community movements will miss her sensible and visible support, among them the Whakatane and our own Historical Societies. Yet our tribute is small compared with that of her Maori people as demonstrated at the most moving Tangi held in her honour on the Ohope Marae when both Maori and Pakeha of various denominations paid their deep respect to Jean Margaret Milroy.


It is with deep regret that we record the death of Maurice Beattie, a very helpful member of Paeroa Society's Committee, and husband of our valued Treasurer, Mona Beattie (nee Spinley). He was born in Paeroa, one of the ten children of the local constable his sister Nellie of Hamilton now being the only survivor. Maurice was educated here and as a lad served with several firms (F.J. Wells, F.C. Blyth, and Grey & Menzies) before joining the Farmers Auctioneering Co. as a stock agent in Morrinsville where he married. After 33 years he returned to Paeroa where he was employed for 16 years by G.W. Vercoe & Co. Ltd. and met heavy demands on his time and service.

Subsequently Mr. & Mrs. Beattie took over a shoe store in Normanby Road and played a very full part in local affairs. At the time of his death Mr. Beattie was a member of the Paeroa Borough Council having served for 11 years. He was known for his fair mindedness and willing co-operation and is greatly missed in the town where he supported every good cause. He was elected a life member of the Hauraki A.& P Association in recognition of his long service.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Beattie, her daughter Marion (Mrs. Maurice Smith of Hikutaia, mother of three children), and her sons Allan and Lionel. They are all a great credit to their parents and Paeroa is proud of them. Lionel who is the youngest has followed in the footsteps of his Grandfather. He served with the Peace Keeping Force in Cypress, married in England and has one son. Now after several quick promotions (Auckland and Wellington) he is Sergeant of Police at Masterton.

Allan, who was Dux of his Schools here had an outstanding University career and after graduating B.E. and practising his engineering profession be was granted a Scholarship which entitled him to spend a year at a French University. This was followed by several years in England. He was always a keen footballer, and continued to play for Universities. For the last two years he has been in Johannesburg on large scale construction work, but came home for a month during his father's illness. The Historical Society is indebted to him for an outstanding address on the complicated early history of South Africa, helping us towards a better perspective of that country's problems.

Mr and Mrs Silcock of Paeroa at family wedding - 1969.

Mr and Mrs Silcock of Paeroa at family wedding - 1969.

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 14, October 1970
Mr and Mrs Silcock of Paeroa at family wedding - 1969.