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Great aunts of the family

Thora Stace

b. 1920, Wellington NZ

m. Laurence Melsop, May 1970

Norman’s older sister, Thora currently lives in New Zealand


Aileen Mary Stace

b. 14 Mar 1895 in Manawatu, New Zealand

d. 19 Aug 1977 in Wellington, New Zealand


Norman’s aunt Aileen Mary Stace was born on 14 March 1895 at Stoney Creek, Manawatu, to Thomas Walter Stace, a farmer, and his wife, Harriett Matilda Bannister. She was the youngest of eight children. After catching tuberculosis of the spine as an infant, her back became hunched and her legs paralysed, and she received no formal schooling. Clever and artistic, she taught herself a great deal and read widely. She enjoyed the arts, especially ballet.

Aileen’s mother died in 1912, and from 1914 she lived with her father in Wellington until his death in 1921. She then went to live with her sister, Linda Girdlestone, and her husband, Cyril, in Nikau Street, Eastbourne, moving into her own cottage in their garden around 1926. She never married.

She died on 19 August 1977 at Lower Hutt. Afterwards, the Eastbourne Spinners continued to meet, and they gifted examples of her knitting to the Dowse Art Museum. Atalanta went to the Southward Museum Trust.


Mabel Jessie Stace

Mabel Jessie Stace (1881-1966) was an aunt of Norman’s. Mabel married Gordon Aitken on 8 August 1910.  Their son, Hollis Stace Aitken (aka G Aitken - perhaps Gordon?) was born on 30 September 1910. [9] 

Two days two days after he married Mabel, Gordon was transferred to Napier[11].

Gordon was killed at Chunuk Bair (Gallipoli) during WWI on 8 August 1915.  

Following Gordon's death, Mabel married Frederick John Sygrove in 1919.  Together, Mabel and Frederick had four sons,  Frederick Sygrove (13 September 1917 - 2002), Scott Stace Sygrove (23 April 1920 - 2008), Peter Stace Sygrove (11 February 1922 - 2002) and Robin Sygrove.  

Aileen Mary Stace


Florence Venables Hall (1897 – 1987) was Corinne’s oldest sister, born in England. At the age of 23 she married Robert Grabham in Sydney. They ran a farm in northern New South Wales, but unfortunately the farmhouse burnt down while they were on holidays. She wrote to her parents, who moved out from England with their daughters Jean, May and Corinne. 

By 1932 she was living in Perth, Western Australia, where she made a number of watercolour paintings.  In 1957 she emigrated to New Zealand. 

Perth from South Perth, 1932



Paintings by Florence include:



Camp Site

Watercolour, signed lower left, 26 x 32 cm

Perth from South Perth 

Watercolour, signed and dated 1932 lower right, 35 x 30 cm

Moored Boats Meelup Bay

Watercolour, signed lower right, 20 x 26.5 cm

Portrait of Flora Bobone

Pencil, signed and dated 1938, lower right, 28 x 23 cm

Old Fremantle Bridge 

Watercolour, signed lower right, 26 x 24 cm

Trilli (Portrait of Flora Bobone)

Pencil, signed and dated '1938' lower right, 36.5 x 28 cm


Watercolour, signed and dated '35 lower right, 17 x 22 cm

Boscastle Estuary, Cornwall

Watercolour, signed, 36 x 48 cm

River Fishing c. 1930's

Oil on canvas, unframed, 35 x 25 cm

Paper Barks, Swan River

Watercolour, signed, 26 x 32 cm


Watercolour, signed

By the River Applecross Wa 

Watercolour, signed lower left, hand written title, 29.5 x 35.5 cm

Landscape with Gum Tree

Watercolour, signed, 25 x 20 cm

The Edge of the Beach 

Watercolour, signed, 38 x 39 cm

The Maitai Ford

Watercolour, signed, 38 x 28 cm


By the River Applecross WA

Old Fremantle Bridge

Portrait of Flora Bobone, 1938


Annie Hall

Annie Hall (1860 in Sligo, Ireland - 1929 in The Hague, Holland) was Corinne’s eldest aunt. She married a Dutch artist, Jan Theodore Toorup who was half Dutch and half Javanese (Indonesian). 

They had a daughter Annie Caroline Pontifex Toorop (1891-1955), nicknamed Charlie. 



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