Sunday, 9 November 2014

IN MEMORY: Dorothy Mary (Hart) Wood (1913 - 2008)


Dorothy was born in 1913. Dorothy Mary Hart preferred to be known as "Marielle"

Marielle loved sport. At Boarding School she was Captain of the Hockey Team. The Silver Cups that lined the shelves in her home were testimony to the Team’s success. [Upon seeing the very many Silver Cups a visitor, knowing that her husband, Lionel, had been an excellent sportsman in his youth, may have been disposed to think they all were won by him. It was only upon examining the inscription on each cup that one realised, in fact, the vast majority were actually won by Marielle]. The best way that her Teacher had of ensuring that she knuckled down to her academic studies was to threaten to keep her in and miss her beloved sport.

Marielle was an excellent Tennis-player and it was on a Tennis Court in India that she first met Lionel, her future husband, while he was at that time a Lieutenant in the Dorset Regiment.

They were given a full Sword of Honour at their marriage in England. During the War Years [WWII] she knitted clothing for the soldiers. After the War, together with the family she joined her husband in Austria where he was commanding Troops.

There were constant invitations to Social Events. During their time in Millstatt the British Government commandeered a large Villa in which the family were to live together with a full Staff of servants to run the large house which spanned a small road so that an archway ran underneath the house allowing cycle traffic to pass. General West was house-guest during that time. The house had many beautiful chandeliers and a great Ball-room. The Ladies and Gentlemen would arrive on social occasions in all their finery [with the children looking over the banisters as the guests arrived]. The next family residence was in Vienna.

Upon returning to Sussex in England it soon became apparent that another move was inevitable. Marielle’s husband was awarded the OBE and appointed to the War Office in London so the family moved to Claygate in Esher, Surrey.

In 1956 Lionel & Marielle received an invitation & attended the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Later Lionel took over the position of Public Relations with the rank of Brigadier and he was awarded the CBE at Buckingham Palace just prior to the family leaving England, bound for New Zealand.


After arriving in New Zealand in 1957 and settling with the family in Milford on the North Shore in Auckland the first thing Marielle did was to single-handedly set about redecorating the entire house, painting and wall-papering every room.

Marielle had many talents. She played the accordion and she also composed some music. She had attended Art College and she painted small watercolours. In New Zealand she attended China Painting Classes and painted a number of delightful scenes. She carved miniature orchestral instruments out of Plaster of Paris using single strands of her own hair for the strings of the violin.

She learnt to Spin doing all the processes from the raw fleece to the finished product. She sorted the wool, washed the fleece, carded it, spun it and plied it. She loved working with wool and she continued to knit and crochet well into her nineties, even when with arthritis she could barely move her fingers and she also had very poor eyesight. She wrote many little humorous poems and she wrote a number of short stories drawn from her life experiences.

She was a keen gardener and always when moving house it was the garden she attended to first. Whenever she was looking at a new property she ensured she had with her a compass to check the angle of the Sun.

Together with one of her sons she bred show birds and then learning that people didn’t know what to do with their birds when they went on holiday she ran a Budgie Boarding House from home. Inevitably there were some birds that needed extra attention. Marielle would set about ridding them of the dreaded life-threatening red mite. She had a special ‘hospital’ cage that could be kept at an even temperature to care for sick birds and invariably with delight the owners noticed the remarkable change of their birds to good health on their return.

She set about purchasing spare sections of land in Albany and when she had acquired three or four adjacent sections she first cultivated a small part of the land and grew vegetables, allowing the neighbour's sheep to roam on the remainder. She soon began to draw up a plan for a new house to be built there. Since Marielle had always lived in very large houses throughout her life the plan she drew just got larger and larger! The house was duly built in 1965 by family friend Len Sigglekow.

When Lionel and Marielle moved to Glenfield which was to be Lionel’s last home before he died Marielle joined the Salvation Army and became a Regular Hospital Visitor. She wrote a small book to encourage others to visit hospitals, the proceeds of which went to the Salvation Army. She also chose to leave a legacy to the Salvation Army.

Marielle moved again after Lionel died but to a house in the same district. She died at the age of 94 and was Cremated at Albany Crematorium in Schnapper Rock Road.

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