George Family

George FamilyJoseph George, (son of Geryes Boulos Fakhri,) from Becharre, Lebanon, and his wife Nurr (Nora Romanos) came to New Zealand in 1900 to join his brother Michael (along with his wife Josephine Luddos,) and sister Christina (along with her husband Joseph Hannah,) who had made the same journey a few years earlier.

Behind them in Lebanon, Joseph left his parents and three sisters, Barbara, Yesmen and Soraya. Joseph and Nurr arrived in New Zealand with one child named Mary, but after settling in their new land, went on to have another 10 children namely; Anne, Kate, Margaret, Jean, John, Joseph and Jessie. Sadly three other children, Christina, Michael and Paul died as young children.

Initially Joseph leased a small acreage of farm land at Te Waewae, west of Invercargill. However, by 1913 he had done sufficiently well to purchase a 112 acre farm in Kahauika near MacLennan, south of Owaka in the South Otago Catlins area, where he remained until 1934. To supplement the farm income he worked as a logger and saw-miller helping to clear the native forest in both areas.

There are many tales of happy memories for a large number of the Dunedin Lebanese community who had travelled down to the George’s farm during this time. They were welcomed with generous hospitality and enjoyed lots of pleasant times on the farm.

However, during the 1930s depression farming became difficult and unprofitable, and these troubles, accompanied by a deterioration in Nurr’s eyesight due to diabetes, combined to prompt Joseph to the sell the farm and move north to the city of Dunedin where there was by this time a sizeable and supportive Lebanese community.

Today (2006) there are 329 direct descendants of Joseph, whilst his brother Michael’s descendants number 285 and their sister Christina has 68 descendants, many of them still reside in Dunedin.

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