Sisters at a Glance #2 Catherine (Kate) Moore

By Michele Leggott and Brianna Vincent
Close-up of Photo of Catherine Harris. Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190)

Catherine (Kate) Moore, nee Harris
24 June 1839-5 April 1913

Katie little fatty is like what Ann might have been as a Child, light hair Curling all over her head. (Sarah Harris to sister Emma Jane Hill. Weekeston, New Plymouth, 2 May 1844)

But another time when some friends (the Nairns) wanted to keep the two little girls Kate & Frances they could do nothing with [Frances] and had to bring her home. Kate was all smiles & quite happy with them. (Emily Cumming Harris, Notes on Frances Emma Harris. Nelson, 12 June 1898)

Catherine Harris was named for her paternal aunt Catherine Jane Rendel. She was born 24 June 1839 in Dulverton, Somerset, England, and baptised with her sister Emily in the Parish of St Andrew, Plymouth, 18 March 1840, the year the Harris family emigrated to New Plymouth on the William Bryan. Emily and Kate became teachers in their mother Sarah’s school on Frankley Rd in the 1850s. When Sarah opened a second school in 1859 at the Hurdon Primitive Methodist Chapel near the junction of Elliott and Cowling Roads, Kate stayed at Frankley Road and Emily assisted Sarah at Hurdon. Surviving records indicate that both schools, one for girls and the other for boys and girls, were in operation until the outbreak of war in 1860, when Kate went with her mother and sisters Frances, Mary, Augusta and Ellen to Nelson.

Catherine Harris married Alfred William Moore (1834-1912) in Nelson 4 March  1863. Alfred was a farmer and later a storekeeper who arrived in New Plymouth from England in 1856 and worked on his uncle’s farm in present-day Westown. The Moores’ first child Alfred Henry (Harry) was born in Nelson in 1864.  The Moores returned to Taranaki shortly afterwards and remained in New Plymouth, eventually living at present-day 355 Devon St East, not far from Catherine’s sister Mary Weyergang and her husband August. The Moores had four sons and four daughters. Harry Moore moved to New South Wales in 1883 and established a family whose descendants live in NSW and Queensland. Catherine Moore was widowed in 1912 and died in New Plymouth 5 April 1913, aged 73. Her daughters Constance, Ruth and Grace all lived in Taranaki and were in regular communication with their aunt Mary Weyergang (Havelock North) and cousin Gretchen Briant (Marton). Mary and Gretchen visited New Plymouth in March 1913, perhaps to farewell Kate.

Constance, Ruth and Grace became custodians of family paintings and papers after the death of Emily Harris in 1925. Ruth Moore and Grace Hobbs donated materials to the Taranaki Museum in 1961 which became the basis of the Harris collection at Puke Ariki.

Children of Alfred Moore and Kate Harris:
Alfred Henry Moore (1864-1942), married Emma Florence Willis (1872-1952) in Sydney in 1895. 6 daughters.
Constance Catherine Moore (Concie) (1866-1942), unmarried.
Reginald Townsend Moore (1867-1917). Died in Carcoar, NSW, Australia.
Mary Frances Moore (Fanny) (1868-1896), unmarried.
Hugh Harris Moore (1870-1905), unmarried.
Ruth Moore (1872-1964), unmarried.
Frank Edwin Moore (1874-1963), married Minnie Hill Moon (1878 or 79-1977) in 1902. 1 son, 2 daughters.
Ella Grace Moore (1878-1964), married George Samuel Hobbs (1879-1959) in 1904. No children found.

Photo 1:

Photos of Catherine Harris. Black and White: Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190) and Sue Needham Family Papers.

Two prints, one black & white and the other hand-coloured. Catherine stands, one hand resting on the surface beside her. Her brown hair appears to be partially loose and wavy. She has a thin chain or thread around her neck and a beaded bracelet (one pale and one dark) on each arm. She wears a square neckline shift, covering her shoulders, under her off-shoulder dress with short sleeves. The watercolour has made the dress a vibrant baby blue, added skin tones including a pink flush to Catherine’s cheeks, and coloured the item that Catherine is holding in green and red. In the hand-coloured print  the item looks like an embroidered or knitted rose, Catherine holding the green stem while the red flowerhead rests against the skirts of her dress. In the black and white version, there’s more of a suggestion that there’s an oval above the flowerhead, rather than the single stem. Perhaps the item is a small rose-themed reticule.

Black and white verso: ‘Catherine Harris. Edwin Harris’s second daughter- Mrs Alfred Wm Moore. 1 year old when left England. 3 in family when arrived. 2 girls, 1 boy. Edwin Harris family’

Watercolour verso: ‘Catherine Moore (Harris). Your Grandmother’




The black and white print comes from Puke Ariki museum in New Plymouth and is part of the 1961 donation made by Ruth Moore and Grace Hobbs. The hand-coloured print comes from family papers in Australia, curtesy of Catherine Moore’s great-granddaughter Sue Needham, and has been inscribed to one of Harry Moore’s six daughters.

Photo 2:

‘Formal seated portrait of Catherine Harris, resident of Nelson. Taken by A Fletcher in 1865.’ Alexander Turnbull Library. PA2-0707

Catherine Moore, aged 26, sits in a chair in a pale dress with full skirts, looking directly at the camera. The bodice of the dress buttons up the front with big round buttons. Her long sleeves have a column of ribbing down the side and are cuffed with lace at the ends. Catherine holds a small posey of flowers and wears a thin necklace that goes once around her throat and then hangs down the front of her dress.


This photo was taken by Alexander Fletcher (1837-1914) in 1865 according to Alexander Turnbull Library’s records for the item.

From Nelson Museum:

Alexander Fletcher (1837-1914) was born in 1837 in Gamrie, Banff, Scotland, the son of Neil Fletcher, a merchant, and his wife Janet (nee BLACK). Fletcher quickly established his business in a small but competitive marketplace (approximately 12,000 Europeans and 1000 Māori ). There were at least three other photographic businesses in Nelson in 1861 according to advertisements in the local paper, including Messrs. Oxley and Lane, who operated the Royal Photographic Gallery in Trafalgar Street ; a Mr. W. Davis, taking photographs in Hardy street ; a Mr. W. LANE, PHOTOGRAPHER, HARDY-STREET, opposite the Nelson Club House; and DAVIS AND HOBY, Photographers at the Misses Jay’s, Bridge-street, Nelson. A mere year after his arrival in Nelson, Mr. A. Fletcher was referred to as one of the leading merchants of the town . By November 1862 he had purchased and moved to new premises called the Nelson Photographic Rooms on Hardy Street.


The photo is recorded as being of Catherine Harris but she would have been Catherine Moore when the photo was taken in 1865, two years after her marriage to Alfred Moore and a year after the birth of her son.

Photo 3:

Unnamed Girl in the Family Album, page 13, bottom right

A young girl stands in front of a chair, looking to the side away from the camera, one hand at her side and the other resting on a table. Her hair is mostly down and loosely drawn back behind her head. Her dark dress has a large thick white lace collar, short draping sleeves, and the material of the dress gathers at the front at a band at her waist. Some jewellery is just visible: perhaps a black bracelet or ribbon at her wrist.


Unknown. The photo itself has no inscription, a blank verso, and no original or additional print has been found in our research to date.


We think this photo might be Catherine Harris as a young girl, younger even than the first photo. It is an uncaptioned print in the Family Album on the same page as an unknown portrait sketch and a photo of Frances Harris. Catherine is not clearly identifiable in the Family Album, which seems to favour Ellen, Emily and Frances,  but this young girl looks very similar to the Catherine Harris of the first photo in terms of her face shape and features.

Additional Links / Further Reading

The Emily line in NSW: Moore, Tregeagle, Needham
Sue Needham Writes
Emily reacts to the news of Kate’s marriage in a letter to Francis (1863)

Sisters at a Glance: Navigation
#0 Introduction
#1 Emily Cumming Harris 
#2 Catherine Harris: Here
#3 Unnamed Daughter
#4 Frances Emma Harris
#5 Mary Rendel Harris
#6 Augusta Harris
#7 Ellen Harris

Lead writers: Michele Leggott and Brianna Vincent
Research Support: Dasha Zapisetskaya, Makyla Curtis, Betty Davis

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