Story: Divorce and separation

Helen Hursthouse

Helen Hursthouse

Helen Hursthouse lived a hard life with her husband John, who drank heavily. She brought up their six children, ran their farm, and made extra money teaching in New Plymouth. After leaving him in 1860 she wrote telling him, ‘Before I left you, I told you that I would forgive you John, but I said then, and I repeat it now, that I never will live with you again, unless you give up all spirituous liquors’ (quoted in Frances Porter, Born to New Zealand: a biography of Jane Maria Atkinson. Wellington: Allen and Unwin/Port Nicholson Press, 1989, p. 134). She had left him with the support of her immediate and extended family.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Divorce and separation - 19th-century divorce and desertion', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 July 2024)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 8 Nov 2018