Descendants reunite to celebrate 175 years

Clutha Museum recently hosted the reunion of the Hay family. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Clutha Museum recently hosted the reunion of the Hay family. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
More than 80 descendants of George and Jane Hay gathered to celebrate the settlement of their Scottish ancestors in Clutha 175 years ago.

Hay family members from around the country and overseas as far as London found Clutha Museum a fitting venue for their reunion earlier this month.

"After morning tea and speeches, they cut a cake and toured the museum before continuing their trip [to] Romahapa, where the Hay family settled," museum volunteer and event organiser Jo Bennett said.

Mr Hay (born in 1818) and Mrs Hay (born in 1815), along with their five young children, emigrated from London on September 8, 1848, and arrived in Otago 116 days later aboard the Ajax on January 8, 1849.

They stayed in Port Chalmers for six weeks before making the one-day sea journey to Port Molyneux. 

They pitched a tent and lived  there for two months before moving into the small house of a friend in Romahapa. 

Jane Hay, who emigrated from London in 1848.
Jane Hay, who emigrated from London in 1848.
George Hay, who emigrated from London in 1848.
George Hay, who emigrated from London in 1848.
They bought a property  in Romahapa in 1854 and named it Hilly Park. 

Mr Hay died in August 1876, followed by Mrs Hay on December 31, 1907.

Both were buried in the Romahapa Cemetery.

Their son William continued to run the farm.

"As part of the visit, we developed a booklet outlining the emigration of the Scottish settlers, the journey of the Ajax to Port Chalmers and those from the ship who settled in the district," Mrs Bennett said.

NICK.BROOK@cluthaleader.co.nz