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Settled . . . David and Annie Gray Dorward immigrated to New Zealand in 1880. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/NOESA

In the 1800s, many people immigrated to New Zealand looking for a better life. When David and Annie Dorward made the journey, they were quick to settle into the Oamaru community. With assistance from New Zealand Society of Genealogists Oamaru branch committee member Beryl Miller, Ruby Heyward brings the Dorwards’ past story to the present.

It is a classic story of boy meets girl, then boy and girl get married, have three children and move to New Zealand from Scotland.

David and Annie Gray Dorward were both born in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland in the mid-1800s, where they married on November 25, 1874.

Mr Dorward worked as a journeyman baker and Mrs Dorward (nee Smart) was a handloom weaver.

The couple had three children before they hopped on the vessel Geraldine Paget with 385 other passengers and set sail for New Zealand.

It could not have been an easy journey for Mr and Mrs Dorward, whose three children were all under the age of 6.

They arrived in Wellington in June 1880, then lived in Whanganui for a short time before making a permanent move to Oamaru.

The couple had another five children in the seaside North Otago town, all of whom attended Oamaru North School, now known as Te Pakihi o Maru.

Mr Dorward picked up a job as a flour miller at J and T Meek’s Grain Store, where he worked for 37 years.

According to the 1881 New Zealand electoral roll, the family lived in Ouse St.

By 1911, they had moved to Usk St before shifting to Reed St.

In 1934, the couple celebrated their diamond anniversary and received a congratulatory message from Lord Bledisloe, who was New Zealand’s governor-general from 1930 to 1935.

Mr Dorward was very active in the community and did Friendly Society work.

He was one of the original members of the Druids Lodge of Oamaru and the Meadowbank Bowling Club, of which he was an active member for about 10 seasons.

He was also an early member of St Paul’s Presbyterian Church and was a member of its choir for 14 years.

Mr Dorward died age 88, in 1936.

In 1948, Mrs Dorward was celebrated as the oldest member of the church.

She died that same year, shortly after celebrating her 99th birthday.

The couple is buried in Oamaru Old Cemetery.

The Oamaru Mail is working with New Zealand Society of Genealogists Oamaru branch committee member Beryl Miller to shine a light on the people behind the glass in the North Otago Early Settlers Portrait Collection.