William Child Iles 1836-1923

One of the many Englishmen who went to New Zealand to seek fame and fortune in the 19th Century was William Child Iles. William was the son of Nicholas and Charlotte Iles of Fairford. Nicholas Roch Iles was an auctioneer and an agent for the Globe Insurance Company in Fairford. According to Pigot’s 1842 Gloucestershire trade directory Nicholas was also an agent for Mander & Power’s Dublin stout. William was born in Fairford on 26 April 1836 but was not baptised in St Mary’s Church until 21 January 1840. William joined the Army where he became a dispatch rider for Lord Cardigan during the Crimean War. He sailed on 5 October 1859 on the four-month voyage to New Zealand in the ‘Bosworth’. In New Zeland he had a number of jobs including a coach and wagon driver in Invercargill, a farmer, a clerk, and a warder in Dunedin Public Hospital, and a warder in a mental hospital in Otago. Perhaps William had been attracted to this last post because of his family connections with Alexander Iles’s asylum in Fairford. Not all of William’s many occupations were successful as he filed for bankruptcy in 1882 when he was a labourer living in the borough of St Kilda in Dunedin where he also served as Returning Officer for Park Ward of that borough.

William married twice, his first wife Mary Ellen Garthwaite died aged 18 on 4 August 1869 after having been married for just one year. She died of complications the day after giving birth to a daughter. On 11 April 1873 William married Margaret McArthur who had 10 children over the next 20 years. William was a founder member and secretary of the Dunedin branch of the Salvation Army. Margaret died on 4 January 1903 and William died on 15 June 1923. The couple are buried in an unmarked grave in Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery.