History project took 15 years

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YVONNE O’HARA

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

After one chance remark, 15 years and hundreds of hours of research, Gaylene Flamank, of Patearoa, has published her book about her husband’s ancestor, Henry Flamank.

Mrs Flamank’s book Goldfields Harvest – an Otago story of the life and family of Henry Flamank – preacher-farmer-father will be launched at an afternoon tea and celebratory gathering at her home and at the Patearoa Bowling Club on Sunday.

She is expecting about 50 people to attend, with the oldest person coming from Oamaru.

She said Henry Flamank lived in Hyde in the late 1880s and was a minister as well as a farmer.

The idea to research and write the book about Henry Flamank was as a result of a comment made by her father-in-law George Flamank, when they visited Serpentine Church in 2002.

He said his great-grandfather had preached at the isolated church and that sparked her interest in the pioneer.

While the book was about the man, she also wrote about the “typical struggles and issues faced by early gold miners in the area at that time”.

Henry Flamank eventually won a ballot allotment of land at Hyde, where he farmed to support his family while continuing his ministry in the Maniototo and Strath Taieri areas.

He was on several community committees, including the Hyde school committee, which was instrumental in getting a school established and hiring a teacher for the area.

Mrs Flamank spent 15 years researching the book, visiting libraries and talking to older family members.

“They were delighted.

“The next generation is disappearing quickly and it is important to get their stories written down.”

As a result she found a whole other branch of the family that had moved to Australia.

“It was a great way to reconnect with family.

“My son Samuel is the youngest son of Barry, youngest son of George, youngest son of Clifford, youngest son of Oscar who was the youngest son of Henry Flamank.”

“I also want to acknowledge the input of Jim Sullivan, of Patearoa, who is an historian and who really encouraged me to wrap it up and finish the book.”

She is considering exploring the history of her side of the family as a possible future project.

People who are interested in the book can contact her on flamanks@xtra.co.nz.