Sarah Elizabeth Tobin, 1867 – 1930

Sarah Tobin was the wife of the long serving vicar of All Saints Anglican church, Burwood. She was a well liked and active member of the community.

Life in New Zealand

Sarah was born in 1867 in Limerick, Ireland and was the daughter of John Browne of Limerick. She was educated in Dublin and at the age of seventeen she arrived in New Zealand with her sister and brother-in-law. She lived with them at Waiuku until she married Rev Cecil Tobin and then she moved to Paparoa. They then moved to Amberley in North Canterbury where they spent eighteen years. The next and last parish they moved to was Burwood and Sarah continued to lead a busy active life, especially during the war years.

Living in Burwood

Sarah, eleven years younger than her husband was popular with the Burwood parishioners. She spoke with a lilting brogue and was said to be very charming. She helped raise funds for the parish by making vast amounts of marmalade, which was sold in the annual sale at the church to help swell the funds.

An organisation known as the Girls’ Friendly Society was founded at Burwood by Mrs Tobin and she taught them scripture, embroidery, home nursing, and cooking. She also founded the Burwood branch of Mothers’ Union, and the Ministering Children’s League. She was also an enthusiastic supporter of St Saviours Orphanage.

Four years before her death Sarah developed a serious heart problem that saw her having to withdraw from her many social and community activities. She died in 1930 and is buried with her husband in the churchyard at Burwood All Saints Church.


  • The Press, Obituary, 17 November 1930, page 2.
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