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An Irishman in New Zealand

An Irishman in New Zealand

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Posted Thu 5 Mar 2020 2:50 AM
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New Zealand
Posts: 7
Group: Community Member Last Active: Mon 6 Jul 2020 11:09 AM Visits: 168
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Some 16 years ago a Shakespeare's Birthday book came into my life. On MARCH 04 18161 was the birth of the owner Thomas Leslie Crooke. His parents the Rev Milward Crooke a Chaplain to the Armed Forces during the Crimean War. His Mother Emily Crooke ( whose family home is now The County Arms Hotel in Birr Offaly. Both his parents
 were from Birr Moor Park County Offaly. Thomas matriculated Edinburgh University 1882 as a Surgeon. Worked at the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary. Sailed the seas as a ships surgeon and in 1899 arrived and settled in Christchurch NZ as Senior Medical Officer at the Christchurch Hospital. He retired in to private practice in 1910 until his death in 1943. He married Janet Emily Smith daughter of Edward A Smith Royal Navy. During his life he amassed some 800-900 autographs in his Birthday Book. One in particular a great female Irish Poet Susan L Mitchel (Langstaff) Dec 05 1866 -1926 MARCH 04. who was engaged secretly to one of his brothers Military George Douglas Crooke( who died at war). From his immediate family to relatives, Edinburgh Colleagues, Medical Military, Musicians Poets Authors Artists Master Mariners to Tea Planters. Thomas Leslie Crooke March 04 1861 - 1943. Now 159 years ago. Thomas is interred in the Linwood Cemetery Christchurch NZ. A man whose life deserves to more than a headstone in one of our cemeteries. I feel privileged having his life through the Birthday Book in the palm of my hand and  many stories which could be told of those whom left their autographs. Nurses like Matron Lucille Pringle " The Pearl" and best friend to Florence Nightingale and Matron Frances  Elizabeth Spencer, Artist Captain Edwyn Frederick Temple ( Crimean War), Commodore Thomas Shailor Weston  Master S.S Ruahine whom Dr T L Crooked sailed the seas with on many epic journeys.The Irish family of Browne's whose son an Irish Composer died in WW1 and held Rupert Brooke as he passed away to stories of Harry Storey a great tea planter hunter in Ceylon. 
Dr Thomas Leslie Crooke  Surgeon Musician and was the family Doctor to my great grandparents form Ireland County Offaly Kinnitty and County Derry in Christchurch NZ.
I hope MARCH 04 is of some interest to many. From Shane Patrick Duffy Christchurch NZ.

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Posted Thu 5 Mar 2020 9:35 AM
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Hi Shane,

That is an amazing book to own! Both Susan and Thomas' lives were such remarkable lives, filled with exploration and discovery, but also of going against established grains and contributing their talents to society in their own way, worlds apart.

Susan was of course good friends with William Butler Yeats and George Russel and her relationship with the latter, both professional and personal friendship, lasted her entire life.

George Crooke, her fiancé, died before they were married, and she herself suffered from tuberculosis.

And Thomas' himself came from an illustrious family as well, his great-grandfather was Bernard Shaw.

How did you manage to acquire this book, do you have any links yourself to any of the wonderful names in it?

Warm regards,
Cornelia


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