Given names: 
Given address: 
Armagh Street
Sheet No: 195
Central Christchurch

Biography contributed by Rosa Opie

Fannie Lilly (nee Garlick) was born in 1844 and emigrated with her parents to New Zealand in 1859, when she was 15. Her father Thomas had been one of the chief officials in the Royal Observatory and both he and Fannie’s mother were middle aged when they moved to New Zealand.

Eight years after Fannie arrived in New Zealand she married William Lilly. The got married on 1 August 1867 at the Durham Street Methodist Church. William was born in Monmouthshire, England in 1842. He early on entered the engineering trade and had plans to travel around the world. Soon after he travelled to New Zealand on a boat called The British Empire, he met Fannie and decided he would end his travelling there.

Fannie and William had seven children throughout their marriage, but sadly their third daughter Flora and only son also named William died very young. They had five other daughters who were called Mary, Annie, Elsie, Ethel and Casey.

Fannie had many fond memories of living in Christchurch. The city grew up around her and she got to watch the foundation of the Cathedral being laid, and followed the building of it to the very end. But William and Fannie did find their life difficult at times. William worked in different parts around Canterbury and was away from home for considerable amounts of time.

The Lilly’s celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 1937. Fanny passed away on 8 March 1939 in Ashburton, and William on 5 June 1938. They are buried together at Bromley Cemetery in Christchurch.

Fannie Lilly and William

Fanny Lilly pictured with her husband William Lilly. Taken for their golden (70th) wedding anniversary. Source: PapersPast

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Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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'Fannie Lilly', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2018

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