Cleghorn Family Tree

David Weir 1944

David William Cowan WeirAge: 80 years19041985

David William Cowan Weir
Given names
David William Cowan
Also known as
Birth October 16, 1904 29 19
Birth of a sisterEvelyn Priscilla Doreen Weir
March 3, 1906 (Age 16 months)
Death of a paternal grandfatherDaniel “Junior” Weir
November 4, 1907 (Age 3 years)
Address: At his residence in Tahatika
Note: Daniel's family published the following words in memory, for a number of years after his death:
Birth of a sisterAmelda Phyllis May Weir
1909 (Age 4 years)

Death of a maternal grandmotherLydia Louisa Denton
December 1, 1911 (Age 7 years)
Death of a paternal grandmotherHannah Cowan
July 27, 1926 (Age 21 years)
Death of a motherEthel Maria Marsh
1932 (Age 27 years)

Birth of a son
Bruce William Weir
July 24, 1940 (Age 35 years)

Death of a sisterAmelda Phyllis May Weir
May 12, 1948 (Age 43 years)

Cause: Amelda died in child birth of goitre while giving birth
Death of a fatherRobert Weir
July 26, 1954 (Age 49 years)

Note: Dave was a printer by trade, but worked on the railways nearly all of his working life. He first tr…
Death April 18, 1985 (Age 80 years)
Cause of death: Died peacefully in his sleep during an afternoon nap after doing his gardening
Family with parents - View this family
Marriage: July 15, 1903
15 months
17 months
younger sister
4 years
younger sister
Family with Christina Margaret Cheyne - View this family


Dave was a printer by trade, but worked on the railways nearly all of his working life. He first trained as a printer in Balclutha. When the depression came in the early 1930s he was “put off” (made redundant) because he was single. (In those days the general policy for nearly all employees was 'last on - first off', but over riding that was the idea to keep on as many married men as possible, since wives rarely worked.) He therefore went to Invercargill and joined the NZ Railways as a 'Surfaceman'. They were organised into 'Gangs' of about 6-8 and were responsible for track maintenance.

Dave (David William Cowan Weir) and Chris (Christina Margaret Cheyne) were married in February 1934. His pay was that of a skilled labourer, so they could not even contemplate buying their own house, but had to rent. In fact, Dave and Chris had so little money that when they came back from their honeymoon, they had only 1 penny, not even enough for the tram fare home.

Dave was called up for active service on 2 July 1940 and was posted to Burnham Camp just South of Christchurch. His rate of pay is recorded as 8/- a day (8 shillings) of which 6/- was 'alloted' to Chris – the common arrangement by servicemen who were away from home and had to keep the family going. The family first lived at 266 Crinnan St, South Invercargill. When Dave went to camp, Chris, Graham and Bruce went up to Christchurch to live at 290 Cashell St. Graham seems to recall was a shortish stay there when Dave was first posted to Burnham. It may have been only a couple of weeks, after which the family went back to Invercargill to 26 William St. Later, they shifted to 148 Herbert Street where they remained until Dave returned from overseas.

He was posted to Apia, Samoa on 31 October 1943, by which time he held the rank of Sergeant (Small Arms Instructor). He was part of a NZ contingent alongside an American group of around 100. On his return in January 1945, Dave was given his job back, but as a 'Ganger' (Supervisor of a Gang); and in July 1946 was posted to Wairio Western Southland). The family lived there from July 1946 to 1950; then in Thornbury (also Western Southland) until July 1952, then to Petone (Ava) in Wellington (North Island).

An avid gardener (the vegetable garden only!), he grew most that was able to be eaten, often so much, that it was given away to family, friends and neighbors. When living in the country in Southland, it was necessary to have a vegetable garden as there was no greengrocer shop down the road and certainly no Supermarket. As a gardener he was always ready to try new varieties, although they were not as plentiful as today.

He was well known for his generosity and offers of help around the neighborhood, particularly in the early days when young families were starting off their new lives. In his lifetime he played club archery (with bows and arrows he made himself), pool and snooker (although it was as much for the fellowship as the game). He smoked cigarettes, a pipe, sometimes cigars, as did most men, but gave up later in life albeit too late to prevent ill health. He would talk to anyone that walked by and seemed to accept them for who they were.