Austen Family History

Young Family Chart #1.
Last Updated January 2010.

Robert Austen Young
Born, 19 January 1910, Dunedin, NZ
Married, May Aroha Free,
11 August 1936, Auckland, NZ
Died, 16 April 1985, Christchurch, NZ

Henry Aiken Young
Born, 5 June 1874,
Greymouth, NZ
Married, 30 April 1907, Westport, NZ
Died, 3 December 1950

Robert Austen Young
Born, 9 September 1842, London, UK
Married, 21 August 1873
Died, 27 September 1922, Auckland, NZ
Elizabeth Reid Aiken
Born, 27 May 1850, Nelson, NZ
Married, 21 August 1873
Died, 1 June 1910
Ruth Gillow
Born 1878
Married, 30 April 1907, Westport, NZ
Died, 1963
Edmund Gillow
Born, 10 May 1837
Married, 1870, Invercargill, NZ
Died, 11 September 1931, Wellington NZ
Mary Hilder Kingswell
Born, 8 December 1851, Tasmania, Australia
Married, 1870, Invercargill, NZ
Died, 27 May 1924, Wellington, NZ

Biographical Details:

Robert Austen Young (1910-1985)

Born, 19 January 1910, Dunedin, NZ
Married, May Aroha Free, 11 August 1936, Auckland, NZ
Died, 16 April 1985, Christchurch, NZ

A good biographical background is printed in "Brief Encounters - Some uncommon lawyers", Glyn Strange, 1997, Clerestory Press, ISBN 0-9583706-1-3. Pages 49 to 53.

Newspaper coverage of RA Young & M A Free's wedding is grouped with M A Free.

The picture to the right are the brothers Edmund G. Young (left) & R. A. Young (right)

E G Young's Biography (dated July 1986) of
Robert Austen Young
Born 19 January 1910 at Dunedin. Died 16 April 1985 at Christchurch. Secondary education 1924-25 Hamilton Boys High School, 1926-25 Christchurch Boys High School – School Monitor. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Territorial Army 1925 – while still at School. LLB Canterbury University College 1932. Commercial solo legal practice Christchurch 1933 and later in partnership with Hugh Hunter under the name of R. A. Young Hunter. As a barrister featured in many notable Supreme Court trials. Executive member Canterbury & NZ Law Societies. Co-owner with Claude Evans of Gold Band Taxis Christchurch. Long serving member & Chairman of Heathcote County Council. President of Cashmere Tennis Club (and Patron), member of Christchurch Transport Board. Director of, and legal adviser to, International Harvester Company and other companies. Director of Maui Gas and N.Z. Broadcasting Corporation Channel 2 Television. For many years Steward and committee member of Canterbury Jockey Club and past owner of several race horses of average ability. NZ University ‘Blue’ in Tennis and captain of a NZ University team to Australia in the 1930s. Major in 2nd N.Z.E.F. Pacific Theatre in World War II – 1942-1944. In active legal practice until his death in 1985. He married May Aroha Free of Auckland on 11 August 1936. In the 1920s the families of Free & Young lived next door houses in Queens Avenue Hamilton. At the time of her marriage May ("Maisie") was a well known amateur actress in Auckland- she died in Christchurch on 15 October 1981.

Below, (left to right) Beatrice Diane Maxwell (nee Chamberlian), R.A. Young, Maisie Young (nee Free)

Maxwell, Young, Free

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Above: 1875
Below: early twentys?

Biographical Details:

Henry Aiken Young "Harry" (1874-1950)

Born, 5 June 1874, Greymouth, NZ
Married, Ruth Gillow, 30 April 1907, Westport, New Zealand
Died, 3 December 1950.

Robert Austen Young (see above)
Edmund Gillow Young (1913-1988)

Mary Elizabeth Young (1916-1922)
Margaret Ruth Young (1921-)

Obituary, The Press, 4 December 1950
The death has occurred of Mr Henry Aiken Young, senior Stipendiary Magistrate of New Zealand for nine years. He was 76.
Mr Young had a long and distinguished legal career in New Zealand, South Africa and Western Samoa. He was born at Greymouth in 1874, and educated at Nelson College and Canterbury University College. In 1898 he was admitted to the Bar at Westport and carried on practice there until 1902, when he was appointed Public Prosecutor in Transvaal, South Africa. For two years he held that position and for another five years he was a magistrate.
Mr Young returned to New Zealand in 1909 and was appointed to the Bench, from which he retired in 1942. He served in Dunedin, Central Otago, and Hamilton, before coming to Christchurch. For 16 years he was senior magistrate in Christchurch, and in 1933 he became senior magistrate of New Zealand.
Mr Young retired from the Bench to carry on the legal practice of Messrs R. A. Young (his son) and H. W. Hunter, both of whom were serving with the armed forces during the war. In 1944 he took up a temporary appointment as Chief Judge of the High Court of Western Samoa.
Mr Young was a keen footballer as a youth, and represented Canterbury College and Buller at Rugby.
Mr Young is survived by his widow, two sons, Mr R. A. Young and Dr E. G. Young, and one daughter, Mrs Colin Austin.


Grey River Argus, 24 March 1903, page 2
Under date Feb 5, the Transvaal Government Gazette notifies the appointment of Mr Henry Aitken Young as public prosecutor of the Wakkersstrom district. His brother, Mr Harben R Young, C E, is in charge of a 117 mile section of railway, now in course of construction, and another brother, Mr Joseph Chamberlain Young, who left New Zealand with the second contingent and subsequently became head clerk in the Military Railways Construction Department, is now Inspector in the accountant branch of the same service. The three gentlemen are sons of Mr Robt Young of Westport, and nephews of H W Young, Esq, the well known civil engineer and architect of Greymouth.


E G Young's Biography (dated July 1986)
Henry Aiken Young
, Born 5 June 1874, in Westport NZ Died 3 December 1950 in Christchurch. Married on 24 April 1905 (by Rev T R Bart) Ruth Gillow, daughter of Edmund Gillow an engineer in Westport. Secondary education at Nelson College then LLB at Canterbury University College 1895. Played Rugby for University 1st XV and also member of the 1st Buller representative team in 1895 which defeated Nelson by 6 points to nil. Practiced law in Westport until 1902. Then appointed Crown Prosecutor in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. Two years later to Magistrate in Pretoria. Returning to NZ to marry Ruth Gillow in 1905 and back again to South Africa. Appointed Magistrate in NZ in 1909 and eventually retiring from the bench in 1942.


  • Queenstown 1910 to 1915,
  • Gore 1916,
  • Dunedin 1917 to 1919,
  • Cambridge 1920,
  • Hamilton 1921 to 1925,
  • Christchurch 1925 to 1950.

Resigned from the bench in 1942 to take over his son's legal practice (R. A. Young & Hunter) as both partners were in the army overseas. In 1944 he was appointed temporary Chief Judge of the High Court - Western Samoa. From 1945 to 1947 he traveled thoughout NZ as Chairman of the Post & Telegraph Appeal Board

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Biographical Details:

Robert Austen Young (1842-1922)

Born, 9 September 1842, London, UK
Arrived NZ, 1863, Westport.

Married, Elizabeth Reid Aiken, 21 August 1873
Died, 27 September 1922, Auckland, NZ


Henry Aiken Young (see above)
Harben Robert Young "Uncle Bob" (1875-1955)
Joseph Chamberlain Young "Joe" (1877-?)

Emily Young "Aunt Emmie" (1878-1961)
George Austen Young (1880-1903)
Andrew Davidson Young (1884-?)
Howell Preston Young "Uncle Bija" (1885-?)



"Early New Zealand Engineers",
F. W. Furkert, 1953, Pages 302-303

Young, Robert Austen (1842-1922), was born at Camberwell, London, on September 9th, 1842. He served a pupilage under William Scott, Architect and Civil Engineer, of Dundee. In 1864 with his brother Henry he emigrated to Canterbury in the sailing clipper Brothers Pride. He was employed for some time on survey work in and near Christchurch. He carried out the original surveys of Addington. He and his brother Henry followed the lure of gold to the West Coast and for some time the brothers worked a gold mining claim at Hau Hau, near Hokitika. In 1886 Robert was surveying roads, bridges and water-races on the West Coast. He was the first engineer to the Westland County Council. In 1871 he was Assistant Engineer in Westland under General Government for seven years, carrying out road, water-race, railway and harbour surveys under C. Y. O'Connor. His brother Henry then joined him and they worked together for many years. From 1878 to 1884 he was a partner with his brother Henry, the firm being the first engineers to the Westport Coal Company. They designed and constructed the Denniston Incline and the branch railway and sidings from Waimangaroa to the foot of the inclines. The firm were also contractor's engineers for part of the Nelson Creek water-race, Grey-Brunner Railway, and the Westport-Ngakawau Railway. During the period 1878-1898 Robert was engineer to the Westport Borough Council. In 1898 he was appointed engineer to the Westport Harbour Board and Resident Engineer to the Public Works Department and supervised the surveys and construction of part of the Buller Gorge Railway from Westport to the nine Mile Ferry. In 1907 he retired from the Public Works Department but continued as engineer to the Westport Harbour Board until September 30th, 1913, when he retired from active work. For time afterwards he acted as consulting engineer to the Tauranga Harbour Board. He was elected A.M.Inst.C.E in 1889 and M.Inst.C.E in 1908. He died on 27th September, 1922, at Auckland.

E G Young's Biography (dated July 1986)
Robert Austen Young Born 9 September 1842 in Camberwell. Emigrating to Westport NZ with his brother Henry William Young in 1863. Married Elizabeth Reid Aiken, 3rd child and 3rd daughter of George and Janet Aiken of Greymouth on 21 August 1873 (by Rev I McIntosh) at George Aiken's home at Tainui Street Greymouth. In partnership in engineering with his brother Henry William (see above) was engineer to the Westport Borough Council for 22 years and in 1895 engineers to the Westland Harbour Board. The Young Brothers designed and engineered the Denniston Railway Incline. Completed in 1880 and declared to be one of the outstanding engineering projects in NZ and achieving world acclaim. 13 Million tons of coal were carried by the incline before its closure in 1967. Five ton laden trucks descended rapidly by gravity. Pulling the empty trucks up on the return journey. The wagons were controlled by the hydraulic brakes at the top of the incline. The total drop of the incline was 1700 feet and its length 53 chains.
Note: Henry William and Robert Austen Young married Aiken sisters from Greymouth. And a 3rd sister married Frederick Wright - a farmer of Springston and hence the relationship between the Young and the Wright families. (Photo here)

Below, the Denniston Incline, circa 1880-90s, the people at the bottom of the photogapth are not the Young brothers. (source: ATL, PA1-o-435-50)

Below: Locomotive and carriages on railway line Waimangaroa, circa 1880s

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