Rockwood Station Graves (Phillips)

Grave of Mary Ann Phillips (1807-1869)

Grave of Mary Ann Phillips (1807-1869)

Grave of Henry Phillips (1805-1877)

Grave of Henry Phillips (1805-1877)

Rockwood Station Homestead (Open Day February 2014)

Rockwood Station Homestead (Open Day February 2014)

Henry Phillips was the fourth son of Joseph Phillips and Judith (nee Dix). They married on 3 August, 1789, in Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, England. They had 5 children:

Eliza Phillips 1791 –

Frances Phillips 1791 –

Joseph Phillips 1795 – 1865

Henry Phillips 1805 – 1877

Edward Phillips 1810 –

Henry Phillips married Mary Ann Physick on 1 May, 1828 in Holbeach, Lincolnshire. They had 12 children:

John Physick Phillips
1829 –
Married Louisa SMITH, at Rockwood, on 8 April, 1863.

Adelaide Phillips
1830 – 1895
Married Grosvenor MILES (d. 20 December, 1865 – buried Barbadoes Street Cemetery) in England and moved with him to New Zealand. Adelaide died Oamaru (27 March 1895).

Mary Ann Physick Phillips
1831 –

Emma Phillips
1832 – 1919
Married Thomas Henry POTTS in England and moved with him to Canterbury where they eventually built and resided at Ohinetahi, Governors Bay. Potts, who inherited a fortune from his family’s small-arms manufacturing business in England, is credited with bringing the first azaleas and rhododendrons to the Province the seeds of which he selected from Kew Gardens before emigrating. He was one of New Zealand’s earliest conservationists. Many of his plant specimens were moved to and established at Henry Phillips’ property – Rockwood. The couple had 13 children, 10 of which were born in New Zealand, some born at Rockwood itself. Thomas and Emma are buried at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch

Henry Phillips Jr.
24 July 1834 – 19 June 1876

James Phillips
1836 – 11 January 1875

Richard Phillips
1837 –

Charles Edward Phillips
1841 –

Thomas Albert Phillips
1843 –

George Septimus Phillips
1844 – 1920

William Physick Phillips
1845 –

Robert Phillips
1847 – 1847

The Phillips Family Arrive in New Zealand

Henry Phillips and his wife, Mary Ann arrived in Lyttelton, Canterbury, on the Sir George Seymour, one of the “First Four Ships” on 17 December 1850. They were accompanied by 6* (see note below) of their 12 children: Henry (18), James (13), Charles (11), Thomas (8), George (7), William (4). These names and ages are taken from a scan of the original ‘List of Chief Cabin Passengers‘ available on the Archives New Zealand website. There is no mention of their eldest child, John Physick Phillips, nor another son Richard Phillips b. 1837 (Richard may have passed away in early childhood). There is, however, a notice of John’s marriage to Louisa Smith, at Rockwood, in April of 1863, so we can be sure he did make it to New Zealand at some stage.

While in England, Henry Phillips purchased Rural Section (RS) 69 from the Canterbury Association – a 100 acre plot located in what is now the Phillipstown area of Christchurch.

Four days after arriving in New Zealand, Henry sold RS 69 to a John Phillips, a brewer, of Royston, Hertfordshire. John never came to live in New Zealand and some sources say that Henry managed the land for him until 1861. Was there a link between the two Phillips men? It appears so. John Phillips was a brewer.(page 5 ‘The Landowner’). In the 1841 England census, Henry Phillips’ occupation is… brewer. It is certainly the correct Henry – observe his children’s names – John, Adelaide and Emma.

PHILLIPS Henry 1841 census

PHILLIPS Henry 1841 census 2

Furthermore, the Journal of the Brewery History Society has detailed information about the Phillips’ involvement in brewing – worth a read! And, the article makes reference to John Phillips’ Will that states “Will also included property in Canterbury, New Zealand, possibly as a result of his brother Henry’s emigration”. However, I can find no reference in the genealogical records of a brother John – so he is possibly a more distant relation such as a cousin.

So – it certainly looks like there was a family connection with Henry’s Christchurch land sale.

Henry Phillips purchased, retained and leased further blocks of land in Christchurch, and set up home at a farm he named St Martins, now a suburb of Christchurch of the same name. In 1852 he purchased and moved to what is now the Rockwood Station in the Hororata region of Canterbury, adding to it in 1862 with his purchase of The Point (10,000 acres).

Henry lived at Rockwood until his death in September 1877 and he is buried near the black beech forest on a quarter acre of consecrated land within the station’s grounds alongside his wife (see images at top of page). Also buried there are two of his sons, James and Henry (below)

P1010553 P1010546

PHILLIPS Henry obit

*It should be noted that, although the passenger lists state “6 of their children” there is a 7th name  – Frederick – noted as ‘Mr’. There is no genealogical evidence for Henry and Mary Ann having a son named Frederick. However, there is mention of a nephew named Frederick coming to New Zealand with the Phillips family (“A nephew of Henry Phillips of Rockwood, he came out with him and his family in the “Sir George Seymour” in 1850”.) 

Further research into Frederick Phillips suggests he ‘may’ be the son of Joseph Phillips, Henry’s elder brother. While Frederick married in Christchurch in 1858 (to Harriet Morton Ollivier) he is shown back in England on the 1861 census as living with his parents, but married, and listed as a sheep farmer. This Frederick dies one year later in Stamford, as per the genealogical data found for Harriet’s husband Frederick. Harriet remains in New Zealand and remarries. Frederick’s father, also a brewer, appears to have been widowed by the 1841 Census, with several children. Perhaps this is why 17/18 year old Frederick was sent, or left of his own accord, with his Uncle, Henry Phillips, to New Zealand.

Do you have a connection with the Phillips family of Rockwood? Can you add to, or perhaps amend, the information given above? Have you learnt anything new from this blog post?  I’d love to hear from you.



7 thoughts on “Rockwood Station Graves (Phillips)

  1. Enjoyed the read, thanks for another interesting post. It’s a beautiful place.

    Posted by jen Goldsworthy | February 24, 2014, 9:08 pm
    • Thank you so much for this post. It was all new information for me.
      I am a direct descendant – there are a few of us, including of course the family who still farm Rockwood and The Point. Wonder what your sources were?

      Posted by Angela Campbell | March 2, 2014, 12:09 am
  2. Hi Angela – where possible I have only used information that I can back up with sources, and those sources have been linked to in the article. If you let me know which information is new to you, I will try to provide you with the original source of information I have. I also use Ancestry.com to trace family history. Best wishes, Helen @ Hunting Kiwis

    Posted by hleggatt | March 2, 2014, 12:13 am
  3. Thank you for your immediate reply. Seems to me that you are doing a vital job in recording early Canterbury history. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Angela Campbell | March 2, 2014, 12:17 am


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