Woodbury Cemetery, South Canterbury, New Zealand.


Photo taken 28 August 2013

South Canterbury

Location : To get to the WOODBURY CEMETERY, drive north from Geraldine and take the first turn left on to the Woodbury Road. The cemetery is approximately 6k up this road on the south side of the Woodbury Domain, Woodbury.
Plot map. 194k Opens in another window. 
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This is a very well kept cemetery. It is completely surrounded by mature trees, mainly 'Oregon'. The grass is always mowed regularly. This cemetery is one of the cleanest and most peaceful places to visit. The Woodbury Cemetery is administered by the Woodbury Cemetery Committee, a group of people elected from the small farming district of Woodbury

   Photo taken 20 October 2004, springtime, by Garry Toomey.

The Woodbury Cemetery is not attached to any church. Garry Toomey, transcribed the Woodbury Cemetery during the year 2003 after seeing the very dilapidated 'plan and Sexton's book'.  The transcription up to date.  We update it frequently. To transcribe a cemetery like this takes days plus triple the time placing the information into a database. After attempting with pen and paper and a strong wind Garry found using an old hand held tape recorder the best solution and revisiting the cemetery on several occasions to record a block or so at a time.  There are 577 recorded graves or memorials and there is room for the cemetery to accommodate approximately 1000 graves.

October 2004


This Guide was compiled from the actual headstone inscriptions with additions from the Sexton's records.

During my research I discovered that another Geraldine resident and retired School Principal, Mr Noel Horgan was also conducting a similar project, his research being from the original Cemetery Plan and 'Sexton's' Book. On comparing my list of known graves with the Sexton's list, there were almost 40 discrepancies found. These related to headstone inscriptions, which did not relate to any references in the Sexton's book. Later research revealed that many of these were for 'Ashes', which had been placed in or added later to a grave, or in some cases a 'Memorial Plaque'. We compared our efforts and with additional information supplied by Mr Paul McNicholl, an archivist, were able to continue and construct what must be a true record of the Woodbury Cemetery. Noel's research achieved a complete list of ALL graves. This included graves yet to be sold, graves already sold, graves occupied, and details such as grave depths and any other information required by the Cemetery controlling authority. My research was only concerned with the lists of occupied graves. 

'Block' and 'Plot' numbers gave grave locations as they were recorded from the 'Original Cemetery Plan'. This plan was very complicated and to find a specific grave using these numbers was very difficult without a copy of the 'Plan'. As a result of these findings, the Cemetery Board decided that a new and more consistent numbering system be devised. This has been now completed and the database now shows the new numbers. 

In the Transcription list, the graves are numbered as -
e.g. 3/40. 3 is the Block number and 40 is the Plot number.
An '*' after a Plot number indicates that there is no headstone.
A 'C' before a number refers to the Cremation Memorial.
The four graves just numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4, are on their own to the East of the 'Big Tree'.

A project such as this involves a lot of research. I would like to thank Paul McNichol for making available a chronological list of deaths from his extensive database of funeral notices compiled from the 'Timaru Herald'. He was able to supply names and dates from 1889 as listed in the newspapers from that date.

I would also like to thank Noel Horgan for his help in this project. There were many discrepancies in names, dates, locations and spellings all needing attention. Noel patiently sorted through them and helped me put them right.

Garry Toomey
New Zealand

Timaru Herald Tuesday 22nd February 1887 pg. 2

Timaru Herald,
23 June 1888, Page 2
A concert was held in the Woodbury schoolroom on Thursday evening in aid of the funds of the Woodbury Cemetery Board. The programme arranged was most attractive, but the attendance was small. Mr Middlemis occupied the chair, and after stating the object of the board, briefly introduced the several performers. The Misses Dean opened the concert by an overture, their playing being warmly applauded, Miss Dunlop's song "Where is Heaven" was sweetly rendered, and later on she took part in the duet "The crookit bawbee" with Mr Aitken, their voices blending well together. Miss Dean pleased the audience well by her rendering of The brook," while Mrs Fergusson scored a success with "Braw, braw lads." Mrs Thomson, in "Scenes that are brightest," sang very faithfully. Mrs Hammond next followed with "Ask me again," and then Miss Miller sang "Rothesay Bay," and had to respond to a most unanimous encore. Later on this lady sang "Love not." The old loch," by Miss Nellie Dean was a very pleasant item. Miss Andrews gave "Katie's letter" with such feeling that she had to answer to the warm applause accorded her. "Afterwards," by Mrs Greaves, was pleasingly given. Mr Thatcher sang "The Englishman," and later on "Why rouse the British Lion," and being vociferously applauded, responded with The Blatherskite." Mr Musgrave sang "All the world's a stage," and on the second part "Again, again, and again," with banjo accompaniment, and being encored, gave Duckfoot Sue." Scotch airs on the cornet were well played by Mr Coventry. Mr Fergusson touched the feelings of the audience with his reading "The gambler's wife," and Mr Aitken was loudly applauded for his recitations "The yarn of the Nancy Bell," and "Horatius." The concert was brought to an end by singing the National Anthem.

Timaru Herald, 30 July 1897, Page 3 Woodbury
A meeting of the Woodbury Domain Board was held on Monday last. Present  Messrs Thacker (chairman), Cormick, and Wooding. Before commencing the ordinary business of the Board, the chairman feelingly referred to the loss the district had sustained through the deaths of Messrs G. G. Tripp and Allen McDonald, and other members spoke in eulogistic terms of the. qualities of the deceased gentlemen, both as public men and private individuals ; and it was decided to write to the relatives of each, sympathising with them in their sad bereavement. A deputation was received from the Woodbury Cricket Club, requesting the Board to plough, level, and lay down in grass 70 yards square in the centre of the Woodbury Park. Messrs Dean and John Fifield described the nature of the work required to be done. It was decided that the work be done, and the secretary was instructed to call for tenders immediately. The secretary was also instructed to write to Mr Joseph Fifield, stating that owing to the Board having decided to plough the park they would not be able to let him graze it after the 2nd August next. On the chairman's report it was decided to strengthen the fence at the main entrance. A small account to the Woodbury school committee for trees planted by them in the cemetery on Arbor Day was passed for payment. The Board then rose. The same members afterwards sat as a Cemetery Board. The chairman reported that the fence along the bye road was now in a tumble-down condition; and recommended that repairs should be taken in hand at once. It was resolved to call for tenders for having the work done. A letter was received from Mr C H. Tripp asking for several plots in the cemetery close to those already held by him. Two more plots were granted, but the number applied for could not be granted as there were no more surveyed m that particular part of the cemetery. Mrs Tripp asked permission to plant trees around the borders of the cemetery, and it was agreed to, provided that none be planted too near the graves. A small amount due to the sexton was passed for payment, and the Board rose.

Star 23 November 1897, Page 3
Gazette Notices. Notice appears in the. Gazette that Messrs F. R. Flatman, J. Wooding, J. Thatcher, H. F. Brown and J. Webb have been appointed members of the Woodbury Public Domain Board. Messrs J. Wooding, J. Thatcher, H. F. Brown and J. Webb have been appointed trustees for the Woodbury Public Cemetery.

Check the for historical New Zealand newspapers images online including the Timaru Herald   1864 -1920

Ashburton Guardian, 29 August 1903, Page 2
Distressing Case of Suicide. We regret to report that Mrs Thomas Evans, of Woodbury, who has been in ill-health for some time past, committed suicide on Thursday night by shooting herself with a double-barrelled gun. The deceased had been married, about two years, and had one child. She was a Miss Rutherford, of Timaru, before her marriage, and until her illness was of a cheerful disposition, and was very much respected by all her acquaintances.

Sounds like post-partum depression. Mary Robertson Rutherford married Benjamin Thomas Evans in 1901. She gave birth to Hector Thomas Evans in 1902. Mary, born in 1879, was the daughter of  Emma Louisa and William Rutherford who had the following children: 
1876 Charles William
1878 Stella
1879 Mary Robertson
1881 William
1883 Ethel
1887 Douglas George
1889 John Thomas

Ashburton Guardian, 4 November 1913, Page 1
Funeral Notice. The friends of the late Sarah Maria Flatman are respectfully informed that her Funeral will move from the residence of her daughter, Mrs J M Wiliainsor, Winters Road, Allenton, on Wednesday, 5th November, at. 8.30 a.m. (by Motor Car), for the Woodbury' Cemetery.

Ashburton Guardian, 25 March 1913, Page 6
March 24. 1 A boy, aged 10, named Cecil Fifefield [sic], running down hill near Woodbury, could not stop, and fell against a rock. He fractured his skull, and died in the Geraldine Hospital.

Timaru Herald Saturday 19 November 1898 page 1
Funeral Notice
The friends of the late William Hanson are respectfully informed that his funeral will leave his late Residence, Woodbury, on Sunday, 20th instant, at 2 p.m., for the Woodbury Cemetery. Friends are invited to attend.
H.P. Herdman, Undertaker

Woodbury Cemetery. Opens in a new window.NOTICES  from the Timaru Herald
24th August 1917 (Note: On the headstone Catherine is spelled with a C.)
The friends of the late Mrs Katherine McLeod are respectively informed that her funeral will leave Mr Walter Scott's residence, Woodbury for the Woodbury Cemetery tomorrow Thursday at 2pm. 

- In Timaru Herald 27th August 1917

On Tuesday last, one of South Canterbury's early and much esteemed pioneers, in the person of Mrs McLeod, wife of Mr Murdock McLeod, passed away at Woodbury. The late Mrs McLeod originated from Southerlandshire, Scotland, and was born in the year of 1844. In 1866 she was married to Mr Murdock McLeod, and set sail for sunny New'Blue Jacket' passenger list page. Zealand in the old sailing ship "Blue Jacket". Mr and Mrs McLeod landed at Lyttelton, and were engaged as a married couple on the Opawa station by Mr Seath. After two years of service they shifted their quarters to the Pareora Gorge, the journey being made in a bullock dray. They were engaged by Messrs Matheson and Spencer, and remained in this district for some five years, enduring many hardships. In 1874 they opened the old stone hotel at Albury, and it was while engaged in running this then well known hostelry that an enormous flood from the river close by nearly washed them away. Mrs McLeod's second daughter was the first child whose birth was registered in the Mackenzie county. After spending four years at Albury they settled for some eleven years at Pleasant Point, and following this made their home at Orari Gorge Station, remaining there until the estate was cut up for closer settlement. Since then the late Mrs McLeod lived with her eldest daughter, Mrs Walter Scott, and was there until the time of her death. The late Mrs McLeod left three daughters, Mrs W Scott, Mrs C Scott, and Mrs B Cooling, and three sons.

- Timaru Herald 13th August 1918
At Mr H.W. Scott's residence, Woodbury on August 11th, Murdock McLeod senr. Died in his 86th year. At Rest.

The friends of the late Murdock McLeod senr. Are respectively invited to attend his funeral which will leave Mr H.W. Scott's residence, Woodbury today (Tuesday) August 13th at 2pm for the Woodbury Cemetery.
M.A. Weaver
Funeral Conductor

Murdoch McLEOD - Head Shepherd

Murdoch McLeod was one of the earliest head shepherds at Orari Gorge Station. He was born in 1832 in Tongue, Sutherland, Scotland, to William and Ann McLeod and was christened 11 December 1832 in Durness, Sutherland, Scotland. Murdoch's father William had two brothers and one sister. Murdoch, a shepherd in Scotland, married Catherine Munro at St Andrews Church, Tongue in 1866 and sailed to New Zealand on the "Blue Jacket" July 18 1866. He and Catherine arrived in Lyttelton on 14 October 1866.

They travelled to Opawa Downs, Albury and worked there as a married couple. After two years they shifted to Pareora Gorge by bullock dray. they were engaged by Messrs Matheson & Spence and remained in this district for five years, enduring many hardships. In 1874 they opened the old stone hotel at Albury. While engaged in running this well known hostelry an enormous flood from the river close by washed them away. After spending four years at Albury they settled for some eleven years at Pleasant Point running another accommodation house. Following their time in Albury they made their home at Orari George Station, where Murdoch was head shepherd for many years.

Barbara Harper wrote about the family in her book "Kettle on the Fuchsia." Murdoch and Catherine had a family of six children, sons William, Hector and Murdoch Jnr., and Daughters Margaret, Johanna and Annie. Their second daughter Johanna's birth was the first registered in the Mackenzie country. William's son Laurie also worked thee in later years. Murdoch died 1918 and sis buried in the Woodbury Cemetery along with Catherine, Hector and Murdoch Jnr. Contributed to the SC branch NZSG Sept./Oct. 2007 newsletter by Aliceson Scott.

Ashburton Guardian, 13 October 1914, Page 5
An inquest was held at Geraldine on the death of Ernest C. Shaw, the son of a Woodbury farmer, and a member of the Territorials, aged 19, he went out on Sunday with a pea rifle and did not return. On Monday his body was found in some shrub, shot through the heart. Some indications showed that deceased had slipped down a steep bank, 12 feet high. A verdict of accidental death as returned.

Timaru Herald Death and Funeral Notices

August 1897 CORMACK. On August 25th, at Woodbury, Alexander Cormack, aged 52.
CORMACK - The friends of Margaret Cormack, Woodbury, are requested to attend the funeral of her late husband, which will leave the residence on Saturday, at 2 o'clock, for the Woodbury Cemetery.

November 1898.HANSON - The friends of the late William Hanson are respectfully informed that his funeral will leave his late residence, Woodbury, on Sunday 20th instant at 2pm for the Woodbury Cemetery. Friends are invited to attend.

February 1898 MURRAY - The friends of the late Mrs Murray, Woodbury, are respectfully informed that her funeral will leave the residence on Tuesday March 1st, at 3.30pm.

October 1896 Funeral Notice:
SHAW - The friends of Mr James Shaw, of Rangitata, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of his late wife, which will leave his residence at 12 o'clock on Saturday 17th inst, for the Woodbury Cemetery. P.D. Herdsman, Undertaker.

Timaru Herald, 20 October 1896, Page 2
The funeral of the late Mrs James Shaw, of Rangitata, took place on Saturday last and was attended by a large concourse of friends and relations, the deceased lady being highly esteemed by all who knew her. The cortege was one of the longest seen in the district, numbering m all about fifty vehicles and twenty horsemen. The deceased was interred in the Woodbury cemetery, and the funeral service at the grave, which was conducted by the Rev Mr Todd, was of a most impressive character.

Timaru Herald, 10 December 1912, Page 7 MRS. MAURICE STACK  [In 1868 Maurice Stack married Margaret Lowery]
In the Woodbury cemetery yesterday the last rites of friendship were paid to the memory of a sterling early settler in South Canterbury, Mrs Maurice Stack, who passed away after a comparatively brief illness in Timaru on Friday last. For five and thirty years or so, her husband was well known as a farmer in the Fairview district, and Mrs Stack was an excellent helpmeet. Her name, as many will remember, appeared for many successive years in the prize lists of Timaru Shows as chief prize-taker for butter, and trophies won by the excellence of her exhibits formed quite a notable collection. Moreover, no farmer's wife in the district had a higher reputation for hospitality a trait that doubtless had been cultivated by a sojourn of some years in the Mackenzie Country. The late Mrs Stack came out to Lyttelton a young unmarried woman in the Blue Jacket about 1867 or 1868, and then down to Timaru, where she saw the Great Fire of '68. After marriage, Mrs Stack went with her husband to Haldon Station, Mackenzie Country, then held by Messrs Smith, Dennistoun and Wallace, and after spending about four years there. Mr and Mrs Stack began a successful career on a farm at Fairview from which they retired to live in Timaru about four years ago. The deceased's only surviving child is daughter, Mrs F. Flatman, of Woodbury. The funeral took place at Woodbury.

July 1897 WEBB - The friends of Joseph Webb, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of his late wife, Jane, which will leave his residence, Woodbury, at 2pm, on July 31st, for the Woodbury Cemetery. P.D. Herdman, Undertaker.

December 1898. Death: WEBB. At Timaru, on the 7th of Dec., 1898, Ida, the beloved daughter of Mr. Joseph Webb, Woodbury, aged 24 years.

Otago Daily Times Monday, 4th August, 2003
STEVENSON, James Edward (Jim) -
On August 3, 2003, peacefully, at home, surrounded by his loving family; in his 81st year. Dearly loved husband of Merle, loving Dad of Robin and Adrienne, Rosemary, Sandra and Hubert, Kevin (Red) and Bronwyn, Grandad of Sonia and Jason, Nathan and Maggie, and Angela; Nick, and Kiri, Jamie, and Leisha, and Jody; Colin and Kathy, Hayden and Rachel, Nicola and Kelvin; Kelly, Rachel, and Tim; Great-grandad of Luke, Max, Jacob, Kobe, Olivia, Gracie, Jack, Katie and Sam. - Jim's funeral service will be held in St Thomas Church, Woodbury, on Wednesday, August 6, at 1 p.m., thereafter to the Woodbury Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be left at the service for Geraldine St John. Messages to 222 Talbot Street, Geraldine. - Geraldine Funeral Services Ltd.

Simpson, Arnold Henry (-1998, Woodbury) ; Obituaries
New Zealand Beekeeper, Aug 1998; v.5 n.7:p.4
National Library, Index New Zealand

Clippings from the Timaru Herald regarding the death of Mr T. P. Wooding (1838-1900)
Timaru Herald, Monday 13 August 1900

Timaru Herald, Monday 13 August 1900 pg2

Monday 13 August 1900  page 2

Thomas P. Wooding headstone taken at 1.30 pm, after a frosty morning in July 2010 by M.T.         Timaru Herald, Wednesday, 15th August 1900, page 2     

Thomas Percival Wooding was born on 7 March 1832 in the village of Turvey, Bedfordshire, England. In 1856 Wooding emigrated to New Zealand aboard the ship 'Joseph Fletcher', arriving at Lyttelton, and settling in Canterbury. He worked for a time as a foreman on the formation of the Papanui Road, Christchurch, and later farmed in the Kaiapoi district, living in the village of Woodend. In 1875 he bought the property later known as 'Woodland Grange', Woodbury. Much of the breaking in of the farm was done by Wooding's eldest son, Joseph, who was later assisted by his brother Tom, who was eight years his junior. These two later became partners in a well-known Canterbury threshing and contracting business, Wooding Bros., of Woodbury. Thomas Wooding died in 1900 and his wife, Hephzibah (1838-1903), who was also from Turvey, in 1903. Ref. Wooding family tree, 1832 - 1972. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 89/103.

Sir Basil Malcolm Arthur, 5th Bt. was born on 18 September 1928. He was the s/o Sir George Malcolm Arthur, 4th Bt. and Doris Fay Wooding.
Doris Fay Wooding is the d/o of Joseph Wooding. Joseph Wooding lived at Woodland Grange, South Canterbury, New Zealand. He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) 

AFFLECK, Verdun Henry James:#8383, Sgt, WWII, 20th NZ Btn, Infantry HQ, Truck Driver. Died May 15 2017 in his 100th year. Buried at Woodbury Cemetery. Aoraki Funeral Services Timaru, F.D.A.N.Z.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project 

'Died in the mountains'  

Snow on the foothills. 'Snow on the foothills.' Shows the four peaks are as follows:  Devils Peak 1,587 m, Fiery Peak 1,525 m, Waihi Peak 1,478 m, and Tripp's Peak 1,653. Two of the lesser hills are called Mt. Edith and Mt. Catherine after Tripp family members. Four Peaks has always been a glorious scene coming up Woodbury Road, left photo. 28th August 2013.

28th August 2013. We had a cold blast last night and the snow was down when I went to Geraldine....beautiful. Four Peaks from the Geraldine Flat Road, right photo. I couldn't resist! The snow was a treat as yesterday the hills were bare. Not so good for the wee lambs though. M.T.