Mr Denis Heenan, a quiet-mannered and charitable-minded ‘old-identity’ died yesterday at his residence, Cumberland Street.
He was born in King’s County, Ireland, and after receiving a good education went farming. As a lad of twenty years he came out to Otago by the ship Mary, arriving in April of 1849 and found employment on Mr Valpy’s farm at the Taieri, where he worked for about a year, and then went to Wellington, being for the space of a year engaged in school-teaching at Lower Hutt.
Attracted by the good news about the gold finds in Victoria, Mr Heenan went across and worked as a digger, making some money, with which he embarked in the carrying trade. After a ten year’s stay in Australia he came back to Dunedin and built the British Hotel in George Street, holding the licence himself for about a year when he let the hotel and took up a small farm in the North-east Valley. Some ten years of this life satisfied him and he shifted to town, taking the produce store in King street that the late Francis Meenan went out of. he finally retired from business in 1882.
Whilst living in the valley he was made Chairman of the local Road Board. That was the only public position he ever held, so far as we remember, though he once aspired to represent Leith Ward and nearly became a City Father. The cause of death was creeping paralysis following the complaint known as shingles.
Mrs Heenan died eleven years ago and one of he sons James died a little while back after returning invalided from South Africa, he having been a member of the Fourth Contingent.
The surviving members of the family are Mr W D Heenan (in Ross and Glendining’s office), Mrs D Ivory (of Dunedin) and Mrs B. R Simpson (of Tinaru).
Source: Evening Star, Otago, New Zealand, 21 October 1904. Page 6
Further information: Denis Heenan is part of family group 133. To discover more about this family click here