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LAURA MAY MCNALL was born in 1872 at Smythesdale near Ballarat, Australia, to Maria Moore and John McNall. Victorian BDM - Birth: 12227/1872. She lived in Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand. Laura May McNall died in New Zealand on 15.1.1881 aged 9 years. Her death was recorded on the TROVE National Library of Australia website (trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper) in the Australasian as: “McNall – on the 15th ult, at Milton, near Dunedin, Laura May, eldest daughter of John and Maria McNall, aged 8 years.” (The Australasian, Melbourne, Vic : 1864 - 1946) Saturday 12 February, 1881, p 26 Family Notices.) Laura’s death is also recorded in the Otago Daily Times 28.1.1881 giving 15 January as the date. See below. She is buried in the Northern Cemetery, Block 130, Plot 2, in Dunedin. The cemetery details give her age as 9 years and date of death as 15.1.1881 at High Street, Dunedin. She was interred on 17.1.1881. There is no reference (that has to date been found) that relates to her death (under this or similar spelling) in the NZ indexes. Therefore a death certificate has not been obtained and cause of death is unknown. (BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS ~ Otago Daily Times, Issue 5919, 28 January 1881)

The Tribune (Hobart) 17.2.1877 (Trove website) has a report under shipping: “cleared out” the vessel Tararua, 564 tons, CW Sinclair, for New Zealand. Passengers – cabin Mrs. McNall, two children and servant. Also aboard were Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Moore.’ (Who may well have been the grandparents accompanying Mrs. Maria McNall and the children to Dunedin. At 3 months of age, Ethel Maud may not have been listed as a child.)

Laura May’s father, John McNall, was Bank Manager for the Bank of Australasia in Dunedin. He had held managerial positions in Victoria and Tasmania in Australia. He left Dunedin for Sydney, and died there in 1905. John McNall is featured in a number of articles in the NZ website, Papers Past, including:

 Lake County Press, Volume 1, issue 9, 26 January 1883 ~ purchase of shares.  Interprovincial, Timaru Herald, Volume XL, Issue 3036, 17 June 1884 ~ gift of silver tea service on his departure from the bank.  Town & Country, Timaru Herald, Volume LX, Issue 2760, 16 July 1898 ~ curious lawsuit relation to a block of land.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: The Tararua was the ship they travelled to NZ on and she was shipwrecked. The Hocken Library at Otago University, Dunedin, has a memorial poster for the total loss of the steamer SS Tararua. http://hockensnapshop.ac.nz/nodes/view/29708 “The Union Company S.S. Tararua, built and engined by Messrs Gourlay Bros. & Co. Dundee in Scotland in 1864, of 563 tons, & 155 hp nominal, struck the Otara reef, to the north of Waipapa Point, and to the south of Slope Point, a few miles north of Toi-Tois, the entrance of the Mataura river, 35 miles from Wyndham, Southland, New Zealand in fair weather off about half a mile from shore at 5 o'clock, in the morning 29 April 1881 with the loss of 131 lives (carrying 112 passengers and a crew of 40 plus live geese and pigs) from Port Chalmers to Melbourne via Bluff/Hobart. She was travelling from Port Chalmers to Bluff. Port Chalmers is Dunedin's port. 'The night was dark but clear overhead; a haze hung over the land, the loom of which could be seen, but no distinguishing features could be discerned'. The vessel was close to shore. Three boats were got out but were swamped. One got away to seaward and one came ashore, landing five or six men. The steamer parted amidships and a large number of those on board perished. The distance from the Bluff to Otara Reef is 26 miles.” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Heather Patchett

Family Tree of Laura May McNall
Image courtesy of:
Heather Patchett

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