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Weteriana House
50 Langdons Road
Christchurch 8053

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PO Box 931, Christchurch 8140

P. (03) 366 6049   I   0800 266 639

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The Saga of the Probert Trust - Wesley Historical Society

The Saga of the Probert Trust


John Probert, Pioneer Settler

A Curious Interlude and its Significance

John Probert and His Will

The Day of Small Things

Resources Over-strained

Progress and Frustration


Probert did not attract much attention from the general public during his lifetime. He was not a public figure ambitious for office. He would have been known as a competent and trustworthy citizen, reasonably well to do, but he did not seek the limelight.

As noted above he married in 1842 but there were no children. The couple lived frugally as pioneers had to do if they were to make the most of their opportunities. He was both hard-working and shrewd, and he lived to a good age. As a result he prospered. We find him picking up properties here and there at bargain prices. As he grew older he concentrated on this, probably doing his own repairs. One can imagine that such a man, set in a modest and somewhat puritanical way of life, would have little taste or aptitude for a more generous style of living.

He was a foundation member of the Pitt Street church and a loyal Wesleyan. Whether he had deliberately taken to heart Wesley's injunction, "Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can," he certainly exemplified it. For many years he sent money home regularly to his sister in Manchester. He found the passage money to bring his brother W.G. Probert with his wife and children to the colony and to offer him a start in the new land. He reckoned that his brother had 'cost him over two thousand pounds' above what he had passed on to the children. Two thousand pounds was a lot of money in those days, a fortune almost to a working man. Not long before his will was made he had conveyed to his Probert nephews and nieces and to Mrs Probert's relations property valued in the aggregate for tax purposes at nine thousand pounds and he gave to each of Mrs Probert's grand-nephews a house and land.