Edward Jollie - Reminisces 1841-1865

10. Francis Jollie

Captain the Honourable Francis Jollie

I will now give a brief sketch of my brother Frank’s movements since I left him at Nelson in 1849.

A short time before I left, he in common with other Nelson landowners, had received compensation from the New Zealand Company for the long delay in supplying them with rural their rural land.  This compensation was given them in land, and Frank’s share was five hundred acres lying adjacent to his fifty acre section at Thackwood.

I was my brother’s arbitrator in this matter, Mr. Domett acting on behalf of the Company.  Our claim for five hundred acres was at once agreed to as quite reasonable and Frank was then possessed a very rich and valuable property, which he kept in his own hands for three or four years.

He then sold it for less than half of its value, and having bought a thousand sheep from Mr. Duppa, he took up a run in the Timaru District at Peel Forest, (1)  placing his sheep on thirds with Mr. Sam Pike for a term of years.

(1) Francis Jollie purchased the 27,300 acre Peel Forest Estate in 1853 and stocked it with 1,382 sheep in January, 1855.

He then went to England to see his friends again, and after a year or two’s absence returned to Canterbury about, I think, the end of 1858.  In the same vessel (1) as fellow passengers to Canterbury were a widow, Mrs. Cooper, and family, who were going to join a son of hers, Edward Cooper, who had been settled in Canterbury for some time.

(1) The vessel was the Clontarf, which arrived at Lyttelton on the 5th of January 1859.  Aboard were Georgina, Charlotte Sarah, Arthur Robert and Mrs. Jane Cooper.  Also occupying a first class cabin was John Barton Arundel Acland, Jollie's neighbour at Peel Forest.

During the voyage, Mrs. Cooper and Frank became engaged and a few months after landing they were married at Riccarton Church. (1)   A short while afterward the eldest son Lieutenant Cooper R.N. died of consumption.   Arthur Cooper, the youngest son, a nice lad of eighteen years went to the north of New Zealand, where he was employed in the Māori Wars, from which, in a year or two, he returned and was then articled to a surveyor.  He however had contracted drinking habits in the wars and after living an unsatisfactory life for some years, he died two or three years ago. (2)

(1) They were married by the Reverend Croasdaile Bowen on the 28th of May, 1859 at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Upper Riccarton.

(2) Arthur Robert Cooper died at Peel Forest on the 7th of June, 1878, aged 34.

The other two children who accompanied Mrs. Cooper to New Zealand were daughters, the elder, Georgiana, married Mr. Mellish (1) who was Resident Magistrate at Kaiapoi and who afterward succeeded Mr. C. Bowen as R.M. at Christchurch.  The other daughter Charlotte married Mr. Clack, a Cumberland man, who had settled in the neighbourhood of Peel Forest.

(1)  Captain George Lilly Mellish (1834-1881). Resident Magistrate at Picton 1865, Kaiapoi 1868, then Christchurch from 1874.

Soon after his marriage, Frank and his wife went down to Peel Forest to live, (1) Edward Cooper became his manager of the station, and until their marriage the Misses Cooper lived with them.

 (1) The fourteen room homestead (above), completed in 1859 from pit-sawn Kahikatea off the property, is little changed.

At the General Election of 1860, Frank was elected as member for the Gladstone District in the General Assembly.  I did not come forward for any district as I intended to visit England after my marriage.

During this year (1860) Lee and I disposed of all our interest in the Parnassus Station, both sheep and land; as much as eighteen thousand acres altogether.  This had only been done at the cost of a large sum of money, which Lee had to borrow at an interest of ten per cent.

Mr. Anstey was the purchaser.  He paid a pound a head for the sheep on the station and a pound an acre for the purchased land.  In all the purchase money came to about £30,000.  Our debts were about £13,000, so Lee and I had £17,000 to divide between us in an equitable manner in proportion to our several interests in the run.  This division we made ourselves and I believe to our mutual satisfaction, my share being about three quarters (1) and Lee’s a quarter.

(1) Jollie’s profit was equivalent to more than forty years salary for the Chief Surveyor of Canterbury; in less than two decades he had accrued capital of about $600,000 in 2008 values.



Grandson of the founder of the Carlisle Journal and eldest son of the second Francis Jollie, he was born at Brampton in the County of Cumberland.

Nelson Agent of the New Zealand Company from 1842 and a Member of Parliament from 1860, he was appointed Colonial Treasurer in 1866.

At the age of forty-four he married a Clergyman's widow, with four children, whom he had met on a return voyage from England.

Francis died on the 30th of November 1870 at his Peel Forest Estate, near Geraldine in South Canterbury.  His widow died three years later at the extant Collin’s (Occidental) Hotel in Latimer Square, Christchurch.

Excerpt from his Timaru Herald obituary

“Besides, being known as an honest politician and a hard working public servant, Mr. Jollie's worth was recognised in another field.  As a political writer his value was known, and the columns of the Nelson Examiner in former years used frequently, we believe, to have the services of his facile pen, and we ourselves have to acknowledge many contributions to the columns of the Timaru Herald.

The deceased gentleman represented a type now fast passing away; that of the old colonist, who has seen and taken part in the many vicissitudes incidental to the struggles peculiar to a young Colony.  For twenty-eight years the late Mr. Francis Jollie was an active participator in most of the events, political and other, that have taken place in New Zealand, and his vigorous and clear mind has left an impression on them which will not be readily eradicated.

It is no figure of speech to say that Mr Jollie’s loss will be acutely felt, and it will be many a long day before his place, as a thoroughly conscientious public servant, will be adequately filled.

We believe that the approximate cause of Mr Jollie’s death was from the effects of a sun stroke, which happened to him some time since, aided by the action of some internal disease, under which he had for a long time suffered.”