Jessie Roberta Hodges (nee Shanks) – The Early Years

12 Jessie Roberta Shanks


Jessie was born at Peel Forest Station, South Canterbury, on 14 September 1896.  Her mother, Jessie Whetton, was a young kitchen hand at the station. Her father, Robert Johnston Shanks, was a farm labourer.

Soon after her birth, Jessie was sent to live with a foster family in Dunedin – the Sarneys.  The family included Mr and Mrs Sarney and their three daughters, Louie, Dot and Maggie.

In April 1989, aged 93, Jessie was interviewed by her daughter Grace about her early life in Dunedin.  Below is a selection of extracts from the transcribed interview, along with early photos of Jessie and other family members.

New January Mrs Sarney

Shanks June

Shanks March

Shanks February

New April Tabernacle

Shanks May

Shanks July

Shanks August new new

Shanks September

Shanks October

Shanks November

Shanks December


For more information on the life of Jessie Hodges. her descendants and other family, friends and associates, click on the links below:

Binning Benjamin Whetton (1846–1924) was Jessie Hodges’ maternal grandfather. Read about his life and family here.
Who was Dorothy Miles?  Find out how Dorothy Miles is related to Jessie Hodges and the wider Dunedin Hodges family; and what happened to her.
Harold Hodges / Agnes Haig wedding reception photos, 6 November 1954.  View more than 60 newly discovered photos of Hodges, Shanks, Haig and MacCallum family members and friends who attended this event.
Dora’s Ninetieth – The Speeches – On the last Sunday of December, 2012, a family party was held at the Harding’s farm to celebrate Dora David’s (nee Hodges) ninetieth birthday.  Click here to see some of the amusing birthday speeches given by family members in honour of Dora.
Shanks at Mount Peel – Jessie Roberta Hodges (nee Shanks) was born at Mount Peel Station on 14 September 1896.  The station is located 30kms north of the inland South Canterbury town of Geraldine. Click here to see photos of Mount Peel Station and nearby Peel Forest, taken in September 2016.
Elsie Blythe (nee Hodges) – Early Memories – Elsie talks about growing up in Dunedin, her childhood interests, schooling and work, and why she eventually moved to Wellington.
Photos of the Week: Descendants of Alfred and Jessie Hodges have been emailing ‘photos of the week’ to each other irregularly since 2009.  A selection of 40 of these family photos are shown here.
Mid-twentieth century Dunedin: Courtesy of the Dunedin City Council, view photos of the city and suburbs taken in the 1960s and 70s.


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