New Zealand Swale Family Reunion, 2006


Revised Sunday 20 November 2005

In approximately early 2004, Tom Swale of Nelson promoted the idea of a Swale Family Reunion, to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was, after all, more than 40 years since the last substantial reunions were held, in 1962 and 1963, at Limehills in Southland. While the idea had wide support, there were problems with implementation. In other words, Brian wasn't keen to do it on his own.

In late August 2005, following some encouragement from Margaret McCammon (nee Swale) of Dunedin, Graeme Swale and Brian Swale met in Christchurch, sorted out a basic framework for a re-union, and have considerably improved on it since. Margaret and her husband Brian, are also an essential part of the team. As at mid November 2005, following responses to the mail-out of about 1,070 letters and registration forms, we have decided to continue to plan for the reunion.
So, it is all go !!

Added on 9 August 2006.


On Wednesday 9th August (yesterday) the Reunion Committee - Margaret and Brian McCammon, Graeme Swale, and me (Brian Swale), met to balance the income from the paid-up registrations against the costings for the events, and plan the daily proceedings in more detail.

The great news is that despite final registrations being fewer than we had hoped for, there are enough that the reunion will go ahead. We can do it.

There is an excellent cross-section of the family coming, and a trickle of new registrations is still arriving in the mail box, so it can only get better.

If you know of any family who might decide to come along with a little encouragement, do give them a call. A few more would be great.

It is going to be an enjoyable function, without doubt.


Group photographs will be an important part of the reunion. Because the most durable and good photographic records that we can make are old- fashioned black and white silver-halide prints, it is proposed to take a set of these on medium format film. Please consider being prepared to purchase some of these for posterity. Those old and treasured prints that some of us have are this kind, and a set of good labelled prints, to hand on to posterity, will form a valued resource for the future generations.

We don't have final prices yet.

There will also be colour prints available, probably from a good digital camera. These do give a quick result. However, neither the prints nor the digital "negative" on CDROM, are durable. In fact, looking forward even as little as 20 years it is doubtful if machines will even exist that will be able to read current CDROMS. Not to mention 100 years from now.

The only exception I know of regarding durability of colour prints, is to have them made using ultra-pigment ink-jet prints which use fine-ground mineral pigment, as used in oil paintings. These have estimated lives of 80 - 100 years and perhaps more. They cost more.

Standard chromogenic colour prints are not all that durable.

We are giving serious consideration to having the photos mounted on card, with the names of the people printed underneath, just like good school photos. Then, in 100 years' time, provided the images are OK, there shouldn't be the amount of head-scratching as regards identity, that has taken place over the last year.


If any of you have ideas or comments on aspects of the reunion, we welcome feedback by return mail to this address; Brian Swale     Tel: (0064) (0)3 326 7447


Added on 4 January 2006. It is clear from the photo of the 1962 re-union (now on-line), that the focus then just happened to be on people who lived in Southland ( obvious exceptions were Ivy Stanton from Christchurch and her brother Jack Swale from Dunedin) and mostly descended from just a very few of the first children. Missing in total or large part are the Arthur, Smith, McKenzie, Sutherland, Bell, Ralph Swale (Thomas descendents), Thomas Curtis Swale, and William Henry Swale lineages.
There is a good chance that the re-union will be more inclusive this time round. However, it is worth noting that in 1962 they managed a muster of 84 people, including babes in arms. Wouldn't it be great if we could double that number at the event this year!

This is primarily to be a reunion of the descendants of Ralph and Thomas Swale who, came from Leckmanton farm at (and now absorbed into) Exeter city in Devon, England. They came to New Zealand in the 1850's, leaving behind their parents, and two sisters who never married and who lived into their 90's in Exeter. Ralph (the younger) came out first, and a year later Thomas and his very new bride followed. It was to be about ten years before Ralph tied the knot - with Jane Shand.

Riccarton Raceway events centre (note the change) in Christchurch is now the proposed venue at this point in time, and the dates remain set for the weekend of 6 - 7 - 8 October 2006.

We propose to have attendees link up initially in major family lineages, of which there may be as many as 20, and the intention at this point in time is to organise at least the first day around such lineages so that we can make first contact with our closest relatives. We think that by being organised this way, everybody will get more from the event, and it will be more memorable as a result.

Please remember that even though your particular relationship with the family name "Swale" may seem too remote to be interested in, for many people there will be many relatives present who belong to much closer lineages. As I write this, I am thinking especially of those people in the Arthur, Smith, Jones, Couch, and related familes of whom there are many. Those sets of familes have lots of people in, and as far back as early 2005 I had indications of about 65 families who intended to come to this event if (at that stage) it ever came to fruition. In this context, 65 families is NOT a small number !!

If you would like an initial idea of the structure of the extended family, please click on this link which will show you some images which are laid out in family-relationship outline order. We are still looking for people who are prepared to act as focal points for the lineages over the weekend celebration. Your phone may ring !!

Other matters.

  • We propose having group etc photographs made, and made available to buy.
  • Perhaps we may have a photocopier available to help with sharing of documents and photos.
  • Hopefully it will be possible to share digital family records.
  • Possibly some facility for the viewing of historic items of special interest.
  • At least one major dinner.
  • Other activities to provide variety within the context of family matters.
  • Display screens with photographs and the family tree for each major lineage.
  • A means to update family records.
  • And of course the main idea is to renew family friendships, meet family, learn about family, make family friends, and have a great time.
  • We have booked Twiggers, the events centre at Addington Raceway. They can cater for at least 400 in very good surroundings for this kind of event. If there is a change to venue, you will be notified.
  • How fit are you? How about a dance?

If you have ideas you think would contribute to the success of this reunion, please e-mail or write to us about them forthwith !! We will consider them.

This page, and others linked from it, will change from time to time, so please call again.

We posted the letters in mid October 2005, and had most replies back by 1 November 2005.
Please note that receipts will be issued for all deposits paid to us (see the letter) but in order to keep postage costs down, you will be given your receipt in your package of material when you register at the re-union. We won't post out all receipts.

Contact with the Committee may be made as follows:

Email contact is Brian & Margaret McCammon  Tel: (0064) (0)3 488 3828
Email contact is Graeme Swale     Tel: (0064) (0)3 942 9078
Email contact is Brian Swale     Tel: (0064) (0)3 326 7447

If you know extended family members who might be interested in coming to this reunion, please advise them. We want to know !!

Brian Swale,
140 Panorama Road,
Christchurch 8008,
New Zealand.
Tel: 0064 3 326 7447
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List of names

Wanted list

Some UK Swale information