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Henry Wight PURDIE. 1843-1927

BIRTH: Old Parish Register Edinburgh 15 June 1843 p. 347
William Purdie MD residing No 15 Union St, St Cuthberts Parish and Elizabeth Robertson his spouse had a lawful Son born on the Thirteenth day of May Eighteen Hundred and Forty Three. Named Henry Wight.
Copied from FHC Film 1066692.

MARRIAGE: Press Clipping, Otago Daily Times, Aug 30, 1872. p.2. "On the 28th August, at Viewmount, the residence of the bride's father, by the Rev. John Williams, assisted by the Rev. F.W. Isitt, Henry W. Purdie, surgeon dentist, Christchurch, third son of William Purdie, Esq., M.D., to Eliza Mary, eldest daughter of Thomas Dick, Esq.

DEATH: 5 May 1927

BURIAL: He was interred at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Lot 14/22/2.

CEMETERY RECORDS: NZGS J02-22 Sht.144. No.5893. "In loving memory of Henry Wight PURDIE 2nd son of Dr. William PURDIE of Edinburgh & Dunedin. 13 May 1843 - 5 May 1927. Entered into life." Photographs of grave taken by C.L Purdie.

Station Manager: Cottesbrock Station ( 35,000 acres), Strath Taieri, Otago
Dentist: Christchurch, Canturbury, New Zealand.

Advert. - Lyttleton Times, 7 Sep 1872 - "Mr. H. Purdie Returned to Christchurch and has resumed business at his rooms Cashell St. opposite the Press Office".

RESIDENCE: The 1875/6 Electoral Roll shows PURDIE as at Leasehold Town Sec. 879, offices, south side Cashell St west. The 1880/4Q period, resident at Armagh St. - Occupation: Dentist. 1885 until about 1892, the family home was in Helmores Lane. After about that date they moved to Carlton Terrace, which is now Shrewsbury St and the part of Bealey Avenue from Papanui Rd to Tonbridge St intersection.

Residence, Christchurch: Carlton Mill Rd. Home, A copy of a Photograph. Also at Armah St (Wises Directory, 1880-1)

Land: Certificate of Title, Vol. 204, folio 45, Canterbury Land District. Dated 17 December 1902. Area of 1252 acres in Blk. VI, of the Selwyn SD., being Rural Sections: 29661, 29662, 29767 (total 520 acres, 29663, 350 acres, and 37013, 382 acres.

Biography: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1903. Vol. 3 Canterbury. MacDonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies. p 251.

Dentistry: Brooking, T.W.H. 1980. " A History of Dentistry in New Zealand." New Zealand Dental Association.

J.P. Armstrong of Dunedin, H.W.Purdie of Christchurch, John Deck of Invercargill, and Alfred Smith of Auckland and Whangarei, also seem to have been competent and progressive dentists. Between them these men trained a significant number of very able second-generation dentists, whether their own sons or outsiders. p.27.

Herbert Rawson and Audley Merewhether of Christchurch circularised dentists to form a New Zealand Dental Association in February 1889.

The inaugural meeting of the new association was held in Wellington between 1 and 3 July 1889 at Rawson's home. Alfred Boot and Frank Armstrong represented Otago, H.W. Purdie attended on behalf of Canterbury dentists, J Greenwood came at the prompting of fellow practitioners in Wanganui, Rawson acted for both Wellington and Auckland dentists. Auther Hoby and R.C.Bulkley of Wellington also attended. Boot was voted to the chair.

The following day a deputation was made up of Boot, Rawson and Purdie to consult with Sir James Hector regarding the advisability of amending the Dentist's Act. This interview was held on 3 July.

Profession: Manager of his Father's Run, Cottesbrook Station in Strath Taieri, near Middlemarch until it was sold in 1866. (It was here that he became engaged to Mary Dick, but did not marry for 6 years). He then went Melbourne Australia, to learn a profession

He became a dentist having finished trained under a Mr Boot of Dunedin, and established his practice in Christchurch. He was a very private man and did not become involved in politics.

Purdie was a keen gardener and was one of the founders of the Rose Garden, Christchurch Botanical Gardens, Christchurch. This garden was designed by his close friend, John Young a horticulturalist of some repute.

His later life is rather unknown, at one part he lived with his son, Edward and when Ted went into the forces he managed the farm for a short period, then appeared in Sandringham, Auckland. In his later life he stayed in New Plymouth until his death.

Purdie managed his father's Run, Cottesbrook, near Middlemarch, Strath Tairie until it was sold in 1866. Refer his letters attached.


Two letters are held by C.L.P., written by Henry Wight PURDIE (aged 23 years) to his brother William, written from Cottesbrook Station.

Cottesbrook Station
Jan 26th 1866
Dear Willie

I received your kind letter about ten days ago. I hope you are liking your new place better than you did & that the change has done you good, but I hope you will soon back to town again as they miss you very much. I began shearing last Thursday week but the weather is so broken that we have only had one whole day. The new shed is a great improvement on the old place we can get working properly. The sheep are beautifully washed this year very nearly as clean as some I have seen washed in hot water. The first day we were shearing we were at work by five in the morning & did not leave off work till half past nine at night pretty long hours. I have got one of the best shepherds in the country James Elliot in place of Bennett. Alex King is going up to the [Unit?] at the back of the round hill I have got his hut up so he goes up soon as the shearing is over. I am also putting a hut up for Jim King at his boundary as the sheep are very bad for going with Stronack's & he is to far from his work. I am putting up a kitchen at the back of this house so that I will have the whole house to myself & I expect to have Jane up soon & perhaps someone else. I am much happier now than I was, since my conversion & more confident with my lot. I have a service every Sunday evening but as you said it is very hard when with my older friends to behave constantly with my profession of a Christian but God is always near to help those who ask his assistance. Oh Willie if I was only sure of you how happy I should be.

I am going to town as soon as Mr Parsons comes back to be baptized along with Mary, Bobby & Elie Dick & a lot more who are waiting for his return I wish you were amongst them but I have no doubt you soon will be. Fred Harper wishes to know if you will sell your filly & foal for twenty pounds please let me know as soon as possible.

Believe me to
remain your loving
Brother Henry Purdie


Cottesbrook Station
Feby 8th 1866
Dear Willie

You will no doubt wonder why I have been so long in writing to you but you see I have been to town as you no doubt heard, I thought that I would be able to have come & seen you before now but I could not get I have been so busy. I suppose you have heard that the run is to be sold on the sixth of next month if you look the daily times you will see the advertisement it is also advertised in the Melbourne papers there are a good many buyers in the market & I think it will sell well it is a great disappointment to me but I have no doubt it is ordered for the best.

Now Willie dear I am going to tell you a little bit of news I do not know whither it will please you or not but I suppose Jane has told you already if not it is this I am engaged to Mary Dick with the consent of all interested did you expect this. The marriage will not in all probability take place for six or seven years a long time to wait is it not but I have got to begin life in some new sphere again & have only myself & God's help to assist me as I can not expect to get anything from Papa or Mr Dick as neither of them have over much for their present wants

I am going to Melbourne in the first place to take a years study & I think I will learn some profession but what I do not know yet. I am going to draft & mouth the sheep next week & then I am going to town again & I will come up & see you then. Harper has taken your mare at twenty pounds. Harry's foal brought the same price in town as I sold him for, he is carrying a meat basket now.

Willie I wish you would write longer letters & tell more about yourself especially to Mama & Jane they feel it very much the shortness of your letters they think you do not care about them at all. A good many of your friends were asking after you when I was in town.

Now dear Willie I must say good by to you as I have to write to Mary Dick & Jane & May God bless you & prosper you & lead you to his fold as he has done for me & believe me to

remain your own loving


Henry was 22 years 8 months old at the time he wrote this letter and he married on 13 May 1843, 6 years later after qualifying as a dentist.

Our thanks to Dell Purdie of Rotorua NZ for this information.



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