Family History, Local History: Marge Harré, the early years, Pt 2

The blog post on the 4 December 2013 introduced Marge Harré and her family's involvement with the Roadhouse restaurant in Oratia. The Clark and Gardner families with whom Marge was related, played a leading role in the growth of West Auckland’s brick and clay industry. 'The sons of Louisa (Clark) and John Gardner made bricks in New Lynn. Between 1922 and1925 they made nearly 21 million' (p.15, 'Roadhouse Days').

Louisa (Gan) Clark/Gardner (Marge's grandmother) lived at the Gardner house at Glorit until some of the family moved down to New Lynn in 1898. The house, named Mataia Homestead,  is located on the Kaipara Coast Highway. Gan moved down there a little later, probably around the early 1900s. The photo below is from the early 1930s, when Gan went back to visit the house.

Ref: Gan in hat in front of House at Glorit, from the Harre Family Collection, c. 1930s, West Auckland Research Centre
Marge’s mother, Ellen (Gardner) Miller died 11 months after Marge was born. Ellen’s parents were Louisa (Gan) and John Gardner. As a child, Marge received a limited education due to health concerns relating to TB - the disease which had killed her mother and father while she was young. “Marge was brought up by her Grandmother Louisa (Gan) Gardner [neé Clark] and her Aunts and Uncles at New Lynn.” (p.15, 'Roadhouse Day'). 

The women in this family passed onto Marge their enthusiasm for, and love of cooking. After the birth of her first child, Marge developed TB and wasn’t expected to live. With the support of her family, she survived, and spent the later stages of her illness with her Aunt Gert Bethell at Te Henga.

Ref: Marg Harré in the Roadhouse kitchen, from the display at the West Auckland Research Centre
In spite of the many setbacks and struggles Marge faced in her life, she had a successful career at the Town and Country Roadhouse Restaurant. She was a significant and positive influence on family, friends and colleagues.

After Louisa Clark died, Marge kept her 'Gan’s' hat, shawl and walking stick for the rest of her life. Marge adored Gan. Photos of  Gan’s hat, walking stick and shawl were on display at the West Auckland Research Centre, along with a diary, which was written by Marge Harré’s grandfather, John Gardner during his trip from Britain in 1859.

Ref: Gan's hat and shawl in the display at the West Auckland Research Centre
Author: Carolyn Skelton, West Auckland Research Centre


  1. Found Margery Harre's grave at Anglican Cemetery in Oratia.
    Her headstone name has faded so no dates are visible

    In front of her headstone , I found a simple wooden post , with just the name "Ellen" hand-carved thereon, embossed with a simple cast-iron silver fern. Might be her mother (see notes above)

    On the site next to Margery Harre, is a simple wooden post engraved " Papa Harrre" no dates. Carnations and a few other perennials would suggest recent visitors showing there respects
    Of interest was an unusual fire-glazed brick and a fire-glazed brick plinth found amongst the weeds which were cleaned out. Interesting seeing their association with brick making from that era.


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