A family history blog

Sidney Stanley Walkley / Ethel Lowe Brewster

A short history of the lives of my great-grandparents Sidney Stanley and Ethel Brewster.

Sidney Stanley Walkley was born on the 3rd February in 1870 in Croyden, a large town in Southern England. In 1891 he was working as a Draper’s assistant. He came to New Zealand in 1894 with two of his brothers on the “Gothic”, travelling in Saloon (first) class. His older brother Herbert was already living in New Zealand and a younger brother came out a few years later. Together the brothers bought and ran a grocery store in Levin.

Ethel Lowe Brewster was born in 1886 in Blenheim where she attended the Borough Girls School. When she was 18 years old she moved with her family to Levin where they became friendly with the Walkley brothers who lived close by. Ethel married Sydney Walkley in 1906. Sidney started a grocer’s shop in Hamua, near Palmerston North, then they moved to Wanganui, then to Marton in 1921, where they also owned grocer’s shops. They were still living in Marton in 1929 during the great depression, after which they started to find it difficult to make a living. Sidney & Ethel decided to move the family north to Auckland. Times were tough, but they managed to obtain a grocer’s shop with a house over the top in Shortland Street, where they lived for 3 years. They then moved to Mt Eden where Sidney was forced to do relief work for a government wage, and then go on to the pension. Ethel took in boarders to help make ends meet. Sidney’s retirement was spent in Auckland where he died in 1938 at the age of 68 and was buried in the Hillsborough Cemetery.

Ethel then moved into a flat in Grey Lynn for 3 or 4 years. When Bill and Dorothy bought their farm at Kumeu, Bill built a small cottage for Ethel close to the house and when the family moved to Orewa he again built a cottage on the Orewa property for her. She spent her later years helping in the Ward household and travelling around the country visiting her extended family. She died in 1975 aged 88 and was buried in the Rosebank Rd Cemetery in Avondale.

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