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Object: Portrait of Adolph Goldfinch and family

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of Adolph Goldfinch and family
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 1917, Wellington
Medium summary black and white glass negative
Materials photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Technique black-and-white photography
Format half plate (1/2)
Credit line Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number B.044503

Adolph Goldfinch, service number 45853

This studio portrait shows Private Adolph Goldfinch with his wife Ann (nee Annie Moore) and four children.

Adolph declared that he was 43 years old when he attested for military service at Taumaranui on 5 January 1917.  This was not true - he had in fact been born on 21 October 1859, at Wellington.  The doctor who performed his medical examination must have been a little sceptical, as he noted that while  Adolph stated his age as 43, he had grey hair.  However, Adolph was accepted, and trained with 'B' Company of the 24th Reinforcements and embarked from Wellington  for England on  5 April 1917.  He was first based at the Sling training camp, then Lark Hill and returned to Sling in April 1918. According to family stories, Adolph had a theatrical bent, and the Army found useful employment for him as an entertainer in the training camps.   In July he was found unfit for service and went to the convalescent depot at Torquay. He finally left England  on the return voyage  to New Zealand on 7 November 1918. 

Adolph was discharged from the NZEF on 15 January 1919 as 'no longer fit for War Service', due to being overage and his rheumatism.

Prior to the war Adolph had been a self employed labourer. He appears in ‘Papers Past’ several times for his contracting business and also for bankruptcy in 1895.  

Adolph was married three times, although his second marriage does not appear to have been officially registered.

His first marriage was to Mary Edith Robinson in 1878 and they had ten children. His second wife was Mary Tremain Day and they had four children. It appears that these are the children in this photo but the woman is probably Mrs Ann Goldfinch who  Adolph had married in Taumaaranui on 15 January 1917.  Adolph Goldfinch's name appears frequently in the court pages in ‘Papers Past’ for failure to send children to school. Between 1906 and 1908 he was sentenced 3 times to 1 month's  imprisonment with hard labour for disobeying maintenance orders.

Adolph died at Hamilton on 3 June 1927, the cause of death being given as embolism of the heart. .  

I know who this is

The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.

In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.

Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.

Contact us
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.

To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.