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Last updated: 20 April 2011

Manson family

Collection | Ref # ARC-0677 | Held by Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hakena

What is it?


Manson family


Simmers, James Manson

Level of description:



0.1 linear metres

Reference number:



James Manson of Thurso, Scotland, first came to New Zealand in 1858, helping build First Church in Dunedin. After striking over working conditions, he and a friend returned to Scotland. James Manson then travelled to Victoria, Australia, where he worked as a carpenter for 16 months before returning to Scotland. He married Elizabeth Sutherland and they migrated to Invercargill in 1863 on the 'Sir William Eyre.' They brought a pre-fabricated house with them. James Manson worked as a builder on his own account and later worked for Robert Tapper, Invercargill timber merchant and ironmonger. In 1874 Manson founded his own ironmongery, later known as J. Manson and Sons. James and Elizabeth Manson had seven children - William, Esther, Barbara, Elizabeth, Alexander, James and John George.

Scope and contents:

The collection includes a notebook kept by James Manson, mostly recording details of his building and iron work. There are also 21 glass plate negatives of photographs taken by William Manson, James Manson's son. These date from around the 1890s and include photographs of Invercargill and Queenstown views, Manson family and friends, and a number of farming scenes, most relating to hay making. Also included are a computer disk with copies of the photographs, some family history notes and a copy photograph of the prefabricated house.

Dates covered:

1858 - 2008

Access conditions:

Partial restriction : The glass plate negatives are in cold storage and must be requested at least 24 hours prior to viewing to allow for acclimatisation.

Finding aids:

Listed on Hakena, the Hocken Collections archives and manuscripts catalogue.

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Associated with:


Dunedin · Invercargill · Queenstown

People & organisations:



Pioneers · Iron industry and trade

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