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This is the first instalment of an extensive archive, collected and complied by four generations of Kiwi Falconers - numbering half a dozen large ring-binders, detailing the Family & Descendants of William Falconer from his arrival in New Zealand in 1860 which we will be uploading as time permits. The archive includes a 41 page History of Oamaru 1860-1861 published in the North Otago Times in 1889 in addition to family trees, photographs and biographical details.

William Falconer 1836-1891

William Falconer (06 March 1836 - 11 May 1891) was the tenth child, and eighth son, of Thomas Falconer, (30 November 1795 - 19 April 1855) and Helen Redpath, (6 December 1799 - 7 October 1868), who were married in 1818 and resided at Bonnington, Edinburgh, Scotland.

William Falconer, aged 24, arrived in New Zealand at Dunedin on 27 April 1860 on the, 1854 Glasgow built, iron clad clipper Storm Cloud via Australia. He spent a few months in Dunedin before proceeding to Oamaru on the coastal ship Geelong arriving on 15th June 1860.

William trained as a blacksmith in Scotland and is likely to have plied his trade near Edinburgh at Falconer's Corner. He was the second of his family to emigrate to New Zealand, an older brother, John, having arrived in September 1858. Over time five other members of his family also emigrated to New Zealand including his mother in 1864.

On arrival in Oamaru, William spent about two weeks looking over the district and then returned to Dunedin to collect blacksmith's equipment he had ordered from Australia, this being unavailable in Dunedin. Upon his return to Oamaru he set up a blacksmith's shop and built a dwelling place on France's block near the beach.

Upon further development of the town and the relocation of the town centre in 1861, he rented a smithy's shop in a more central position, shifting there in August 1861.

In October 1861 a Vigilance Committee was formed to serve as a local body to manage the affairs of the district. William was a member of this committee, which among other things, was instrumental in establishing the first school in Oamaru.

In January 1862, with the sale of more sections in the town, he bought a section well positioned for his business for the sum of for £160. On the site he built a blacksmith's shop moving into it in the latter part of 1862. It was said that the village politicians settled all matters of local and state difficulties around the forge fire of William Falconer .

In 1862, he and his brother John sat on a committee set up to establish a Presbyterian Church in Oamaru and William became a member of The Oamaru Town Board upon formation in 1862. He remained on this Board for his duration as a resident of Oamaru adding to his local body responsibilities when in 1863 he was elected to the School Committee.

In 1864, on 12th August, he married Julia MacNamara, around about the time he sold his blacksmith's shop in Oamaru to Reid & Robertson and shifted to Otepopo - Herbert, about 14 miles south-west of Oamaru, where he established another blacksmith's business. He continued in this line of trade for several years. In 1873 he was Captain of the Otepopo Volunteers. He was also a member of the Waiareka Roads Board and Chairman of the Waiareka Licensing Committee and served on the Otepopo School Committee.

In 1875 he bought a farm at Enfield in the Windsor Valley - Endsleigh Farm - where he lived until his death. He took a great interest in politics, both local and general, and at one time was spoken of as a candidate for the Waitaki seat in the House of Representatives. In 1891 William was killed in an accident with a horse and dray, aged 55 years - see the memorial newspaper article and transcript of the inquest into his death.


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