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Thomas Sidey (1863 - 1933) and Helena Sidey (c1865 -1966)

Caversham's leading citizens, the man responsible for Daylight Saving

Thomas SideyThomas Kay Sidey was born in a humble farm cottage at Corstorphine in 1863. But he grew up in 'Corstorphine House' the mansion built in 1864 after his father made a fortune carting supplies to the goldfields. He enjoyed the best education Dunedin could offer and began practising as a lawyer in the early 1890s. Despite his wealthy upbringing he was deeply involved in the community affairs of Caversham. He served as a councillor and mayor, was superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday School for forty years, and involved with lodges, sporting and gardening clubs.In 1901 working class Caversham elected him to Parliament. Sidey was a slight man with a quiet manner. He was frequently lampooned, particularly for his 1909 proposal to introduce daylight saving over the summer months. It took him until 1927 to have this passed into law. He survived all the changing fortunes of his electorate for 27 years. His constituents knew they could rely on him to champion their causes, large and small. In 1903 he married Helena Baxter, an accomplished singer and artist who had won prizes for chemistry at Otago University. She had spent five years at the Otago Medical School, before catching scarlet fever from a patient decided her against becoming a doctor. After her marriage Helena Sidey was active in Plunket and the Kindergarten Association. Together the Sideys were Caversham's leading citizens. Thomas was knighted in 1930 and died three years later. Lady Sidey survived until 1956.

Helena Sidey(Photographs, Sidey Family History, Otago Setters Museum Collection)

 

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