Topic: Buchanan Place (TDN 19/01/2019)

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Buchanan Place 

Buchanan Place in Hāwera is one of the few streets in the district named after a local woman.

Janet (Jessie) Buchanan was born in Australia in 1868 and moved to Hāwera in 1878 with her parents. After her father died she moved into town with her mother and sister. They built a home at 301 South Road, where she lived until she died in 1966.

Jessie was a wealthy woman, inheriting money from her father and uncle. She was a generous benefactor and her support helped the establishment of the Hāwera Community Centre, the Presbyterian Church and many other local projects.

Her most notable achievement was the establishment of the Buchanan Trust, which she set up with her sister Kate just after the outbreak of World War Two. Its purpose was to help ex-servicemen and nurses (and their widows or children) living in South Taranaki who suffered from temporary or permanent disability as a result of their wartime service. By 1948 the trust had helped 860 such people in the district. Her work as a philanthropist resulted in her being awarded an OBE in 1956.

Apart from her community work Jessie was well known for playing the violin in Mr Higham’s Ladies String Orchestra and her interest in sheep dogs. She was a regular attender of the Egmont Sheepdog Club trials and the Egmont A & P Association shows.

She was also a keen gardener and developed a large garden at her home on South Road. She was selected to be one of 12 Fellows of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. Fittingly, two years after she died the Jessie Buchanan Memorial Rose Garden was opened at Hāwera’s King Edward Park.

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