Monday, January 24, 2022
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From Cabra in County Down to Gore, New Zealand

MOST migrants forsaking these shores for New Zealand found neither fame nor fortune, but simply the better life they sought.

One such was David Mark, who left County Down for New Zealand before the Great War and features in the revamped Ulster New Zealand Trust Museum at The Ballance House, Glenavy Road, Lisburn.

The museum and event centre is open again every Sunday from July 4 onwards.

This unique Ulster New Zealand Trust facility is on the home farm of John Ballance, the NZ premier, who played a pivotal part in two world firsts – Kiwi women gaining the vote and New Zealanders enjoying a welfare state 50 years before the UK.

David Mark was born at his Aunt Teresa Clarke’s home in the townland of Lisnasliggan, Annaclone, between Rathfriland and Banbridge, County Down, in 1885.

Reared on his mother’s (Rose Travers) farm in Islandmoyle, Cabra, Newry, County Down, David left for New Zealand in 1910 and settled at Gore on South Island to work with teams of farm horses.

In the early 1920s David decided to visit Northern Ireland, where he met and married a widow woman, Mrs Susan Flaherty. David and Susan, with her two daughters, Teresa and Molly, then set up home in Gore.

Over the next decade David and Susan added another five NZ born daughters, Susan, Rose, Nellie, Nora and Emily, to their family.

From the late 1920s up to the early 1950s David worked as a storeman in Flemings Oat Mill, Gore, writing home to cousins about days past in Cabra and events in NZ.

The letters along with photos are now in the IT enhanced new display at Ballance House.

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