Robert William Botting:
Patriarch of a New Zealand Botting Family

Marriage ...... to Jane Dungey

Jane Dungey was born in Cornwall in the late 1820s. She emigrated to South Australia in 1840 on ‘The Waterloo’ with her parents John and Catherine
Anne Dungey, and seven siblings.

On 11 November 1843 Robert William Botting married Jane Dungey at St. Johns Church in Adelaide.

One of Jane’s brothers Joshua David married Jane Botting the sister of Robert William Botting, about 1845 (there were no children from Joshua and Jane’s marriage).

...... and Family

Robert William and Jane Botting in reading their Bible must have listened to God speaking through the Book of Genesis, where He said “.... be fruitful and multiply upon the earth....”. They were faithful to His command as sixteen children were to be born to Robert William and Jane


during the next 20 years. By the time their fourteenth child, Garibaldi, was born Robert William was aged 42 and his wife Jane was 31 years of age.

About Garibaldi (Gari):
Garibaldi when aged 5 ½ years was to leave South Australia and travel with his mother and the children to New Zealand to join his father and eldest brother in Naseby.

On 20 August 1884, aged 24, he married Mary Elizabeth Moore in the Mt Ida Parish, Naseby. They were to have a family of seven daughters and one son. All except one of the children were born in Naseby.

In 1900 Mary moved to Dunedin to ensure their children received a good education. Garibaldi was away from home much of the time farming. Mary died December 1930.

Garibaldi retired to ‘The Grange’ a lovely homestead still standing in Opawa, Christchurch. He died in May 1943.

Garibaldi was remembered by his children as a gentle and loving father with a lovely singing voice. He was a devoted reader of the Bible.

Hard times

In 1844 a severe financial depression hit the Colony and the Botting Brothers’ business suffered. Robert William and Jane moved to Morphett Vale, which is to the south of Adelaide, and where Robert continued in the building trade. The South Australia Almanack of 1847 listed Robert William Botting as “Carpenter and Joiner of Morphett Vale”

Their first child Catherine Anne was born there on 14 April 1844, followed by their second child Frances Jane on 5 July 1845, third child William John on 24 September 1846, fourth child Eleanor on 28 January 1848 and fifth child Christina on 14 May 1849.

In 1848 Robert William turned his hand to butchery and in 1849 established a shop in Morphett Vale.

Several years later Robert and Jane and their family of five returned to Adelaide where Robert established a butchers shop in Gouger Street near their home. Their sixth child, Robert Peter, was born on 20 January 1851.

The lure of gold in Victoria

The Bendigo goldfield in Victoria was the next stop for Robert William and his family. The lure of gold held Robert and his family there for at least two years. Their seventh child James Frederick was born in 1852 and was the first white child to be born in the Bendigo goldfield.

Farming on Hindmarsh Island

Robert William and Jane returned with their family to Adelaide where their eighth child Frederick Ritchard was born on 4 June 1854. They then moved south to Hindmarsh Island at the mouth of the Murray River where they took up farming. A further eight children were born here. In 1856 their ninth child John Francis, followed by their tenth child Sarah Frances on 20 April 1857, their eleventh child Henry later in 1857, their twelfth child Peter Pomeroy Dungey on 4 August 1858, followed by their thirteenth child Francis William on 22 November 1859.

On 18 December 1860 Garibaldi the fourteenth child was born, followed by Mary Ann Elizabeth the fifteenth child on 2 June 1862.

Back to Morphett Vale ...... and then to Adelaide

The family then moved back to Morphett Vale. Mary Ann died nine months later on 27 March 1863 by which time Jane was expecting her sixteenth child, Leopold Henry Thomas.

It is thought that after the birth of Leopold (Leo), Jane and the children returned to Adelaide and worked in the butchery at Gouger St, where Robert Peter (now aged 12) helped his mother and likely gained his first interest in the trade. He and later eight of his nine sons were to become butchers and establish shops in Naseby, Dunedin and Balclutha. This interest in the trade has continued down through later generations.

The beginnings of a New Zealand Botting Family

Prior to the birth of Leopold Henry Thomas at Morphett Vale on 22 August 1863, Robert William and his eldest son William John now aged seventeen crossed over to NZ leaving Jane to care for thirteen children aged between three and nineteen. Such was the attraction of gold and other opportunities in Otago that Robert William and son William John were never to return to live in South Australia, although it is thought possible they and other members of their family could have returned later for brief periods, for business or other reasons.

The arrival of Robert and his son William at Port Otago, Dunedin, in 1863 marked the origins of the Robert William Botting family in New Zealand.

Having first landed at Dunedin they then travelled further up the eastern coast of the Island to the mouth of the Waikouiti River. We are uncertain if at Dunedin they transferred to another vessel for that journey north, or travelled the track along the coast. However, it was from Waikouiti that their expedition inland would have begun.

It is believed that Robert William shipped a wagon and bullock team from South Australia. If they had sailed to Waikouiti this cargo would have been transferred onto a ‘lighter’ or barge and brought to the beach for unloading in shallow water, although it was common practice to let bullocks, horses and stock swim ashore. There the bullock team would have been yoked up and prepared for the long overland journey to The Maniototo, an expedition that would have taken Robert William and his son William John about a week.

On arriving in The Maniototo, Robert William was convinced by the locals to slaughter his bullocks because of a shortage of meat in the district. This was likely the beginning of Robert William’s butchery business in the Naseby area as he was soon providing meat deliveries by horse and cart to the miners in the Hogburn Gully goldfields. The miners had poured in shortly after gold was discovered in the Hogburn Creek by William Parker in May 1863. Hogburn was later renamed Naseby.

Robert William established the ‘Mt. Ida Butchery’ in Leven Street in 1865. This was the first of four Botting family butchers shops to be in business in Naseby during the following years.

Garibaldi and Peter Pomeroy Dungey Botting were to each operate shops, Garabaldi’s shop being situated at the corner of Tay and Derwent Streets. Peter Pomeroy’s shop and residence were located in Derwent Street.

The Journey inland to The Maniototo.

To reach Naseby from Waikouaiti in 1863 Robert William Botting and his son William John would have travelled over ‘The Pigroot’ and down onto the Maniototo Plains, from where they likely headed first to Ranfurly and then on up to Naseby.

The route over The Pigroot had not long been opened up. Only five years earlier, in 1858, had James and William Murison explored the Shag Valley and surveyed and built the road over The Pigroot Saddle.

Parts of The Pigroot were extremely difficult for the bullock wagons. The drivers (known as ‘the bullockies’) were renowned both for their skill with the whip and for their encouraging ‘language’ to the bullock teams! Fog was very common over undrained areas of the road and surrounding swamp lands so that in order not to stray from the track a rider had to keep to the wheel marks made by the wagons ahead. At times the road was cut axle deep by wagon traffic. On the steeper hills sometimes three teams were yoked together to pull the loaded wagons. It was said that “To stand behind them and watch the pitch and toss of the top-heavy loads was to expect a capsize every minute”. The route was gradually upgraded and eventually became the safest and easiest route for the early settlers to take from the coast to the Maniototo Plains, and beyond.

In 1864 the road from Dunedin to Waikouaiti was ready for use. Cobb & Company took over the contract and ran coaches twice weekly from Dunedin up the Shag Valley to the Pigroot Hotel, where passengers transferred to other coaches for destinations further inland.

A horse drawn wagon train
on the sodden Pigroot track near ‘The Brothers’.

‘The Brothers’ are well known landmarks alongside today’s sealed highway.

According to the "Mt Ida Chronical" Robert William Botting sold the ‘Mt. Ida Butchery’ to a Mr. De Latour in 1871. The business was bought back by Robert William in 1873 and operated by Robert Peter Botting then aged 22.

During the frantic ‘gold rush’ years Naseby grew to a busy township of nearly five thousand people. At one stage the population consisted of about three thousand Europeans and two thousand Chinese. It was well served by a large school, local hospital, courthouse, a number of churches, as mentioned four butcher’s shops, and a sports field with an ‘English’ tree lined setting.

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