06 March 2016

Mrs Drake - Mary Corrigall 1898-1987

I found this lovely framed photograph recently in my local second-hand dealers, although I wasn’t hopeful of ever finding out who she was I had to have it.


Luckily there was something written on the back of the actual photo but part of an envelope was stuck over the name:-



So after very carefully peeling it off and googling the few words I could read this is what I think it says:-

Mrs Drake
84 Okahu Rd
Cottom Park

The name of the photographer on the front was even harder to read, but it was with him I finally hit the jackpot:-


As you can see it was very blurred but in the right light I was able to make out the word Schmidt and what I thought was ‘Auckland’. That was when Google came to the party and I found out Herman John Schmidt was a well known Auckland photographer whose glass plate negatives of over 26,000 photographs were found in an old building being readied for demolition in Queen St in 1970, you can read about him HERE.

Most of his photographs have now been scanned and made available online at the Auckland Council Libraries Heritage Images database. They have four photographs of the DRAKE-CORRIGALL wedding including my photograph, how serendipitous is that?

drake-1drake-2drake-3   © Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-WP876a, 31-WP874a, 31-WP875a


Strangely, after researching Mary Corrigall and Charles Henry Drake I found that they were born, lived and died in Omakau in Otago, and that’s where they were married also. It beats me why there is an Auckland address on the back of the photo though, I can’t quite make out the name of the street, Okahu is just a guess because I know there is a street of that name in the Remuera/Orakei area.


Mary Corrigall, daughter of James & Jean Corrigall, and Charles Henry Drake, son of Henry & Clara Maude Drake. were married on the 23 Mar 1921. As 1921 is after the cutoff date of 1916 for the births on the NZBMD website I don’t know if they had any children. Henry died on 22 Apr 1971 aged 75 and Mary on 2 Sep 1987 aged 89, they are both buried in the Omakau Cemetery.


References: ancestry.com.au; NZBDM Online; Papers Past; Auckland Council Libraries Heritage Images and Heritage et AL.


There doesn’t seem to be any children listed for them in other trees on ancestry so perhaps there aren’t any descendants who would love to have this photograph. However, I’m sure there are plenty of other descendants from their siblings, of whom there are many, who would be interested. If you are one of them please do contact me, I would love to pass the photo onto a family member, even a distant one. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

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