William Torkington

Mother:	Sarah Ann Collins (1820-1901)
Father:	Joseph Torkington (1821-1872)

Born:	31 Jan 1844
	Ashton Under Lyne, Lancashire, England.

Wife:	Eliza Hollis (1843-1879)

Marr:   3 Jul, 1867
        St James, Hurst Brook, Lancashire, England.

Emig:   1886
	"The Ionic"

Died:   13 Mar, 1923
        Buried Whangateau Cemetary, New Zealand.
William (``Fiery Bill'') had been doing well in England, but four of his kids died (Alfred 1871-1877, Agnes 1872-1875, Edith 1877-1878, William 1879-1879) and his wife too (16 Mar 1879), he decided to emigrate. He took his surviving sons (Herbert Arthur 1869-1928, Harold 1874-1968, and Joseph 1876-1936) to New Zealand on "The Ionic" in 1886.

He ended up living in Joe and Minnie's house on Ti Point.


He enquired about land for sale. He walked to Ti Point, and then to Mangawai, then back to Auckland and bought several blocks of Ti Point. They set up their first camp, a tent, under the Puriri down by The Bay. [Tent: probably not remains of a Maori whare, which might have been down by the creek somewhere -bt]

Bill worked in the forestry across in Whangateau, a carpenter and bricklayer by trade. He was an expert tradesman, reputed to have built the Royal Palace in Tonga (where he met the Batties). He worked on the Kauri Timber Company factory in Customs St., Auckland. It probably disappeared around 1939, Americans taking over the site and building great big warehouses.

Alvin can remember Uncle Harold describing going out fishing (location unknown, somewhere between here and Takatu) and throwing out the lines, and before the sinkers had hit the bottom, the line would go live with snapper and they'd pull it up again. ``It was just as though Davey Jones was down there with a basket, hooking them fish on as fast as you could lower a line down.'' 50-100 snapper, just like that!

Ted says that Bill, before he left England, had 17 houses (with tenants). He was quite a well-respected builder, we think. Then his kids died and finally his wife, so he threw up his hands and left. He would have been quiet an asset in NZ, knowing not just building but also how to manage other builders. He'd been around quite a bit (the US, for instance), but for some reason he chose NZ. His brothers and sisters left too, some going to the US. The person he left to mind them, however, took the money and let it all go. Another Torkington brother apparently bought land up at Dome Valley. Arthur and Lizzie, who left for South Africa, still retained the farm on Ti Point, a block of land that was one of three Bill bought for his sons.


If you have any questions, please feel free to drop Nat <nathan AT torkington.com> a line.

Last modified by Nat