Photograph [Blanche Buckland Gorrie]; R. H. Bartlett; XHH.1611

From

Highwic

Name/Title

Photograph [Blanche Buckland Gorrie]

About this object

This black and white photograph pictures seventeen-year-old Blanche Buckland dressed in a white gown with ruffles around the neckline. It is possible that this photograph documents the occasion of Blanche’s debut at a debutante ball. These balls were a key feature of the social life of New Zealand’s respectable middle and upper classes. Traditionally, the debutante ball represented the change in a young woman’s status from child to adult and signalled that the young woman was now ready for marriage. Debutantes wore dresses of white and light pastel shades as a symbol of their purity, chastity and virtue. (1)

Blanche was the daughter of Alfred Buckland, one of Auckland’s largest landowners and most successful businessmen. The wealth and success of Alfred Buckland entitled his family to join the ranks of Auckland’s social elite and the family were often present as social occasions such as Northern Club balls and the Pakuranga Hunt Club. Thus, it is likely that many, if not all, of Alfred Buckland’s thirteen daughters were debuted into society.

Two years after her debutante ball, Blanche married Henry Gorrie who was a manager at her father’s farming company, Alfred Buckland & Sons. They had seven children, Blanche, Mary, Owen, Gwen, Donald, Rachel and John. Blanche’s two youngest sons, Donald and John, were tragically killed while serving in the First World War.

(1) Lillie Le Dorre, ‘Dancing Debs: A Study of Debutante Culture in Twentieth-Century New Zealand Culture, 1920-1976,’ 2012, unpublished BA Honours History dissertation.

For more information about the Buckland family and Highwic, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Place Made

Auckland, New Zealand

Maker

R. H. Bartlett

Maker Role

Photographer

Measurements

33 x 21.8cm

Object Type

Photograph

Subject and Association Keywords

Girlhood

Medium and Materials

Photograph and cardboard

Credit Line

Collection of Highwic, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Object number

XHH.1611

Rights

All rights reserved

Susan Morice 05 Jul 2021 08:17 AM,UTC

I'm both Rachel and Elenor Mary ( Nora's ) Granddaughter..Owen I'm sure was not a brother 4 Girls 2 boys

James Buttle 03 Apr 2017 13:26 PM,UTC

On review, I believe this photo is of Alfred Buckland's grandaughter and my great aunt Blanche Buckland Gorrie, daughter of H T Gorrie and Blanch Gorrie (Buckland) who married Hon. Malcolm Algenon Borthwick in 1905. She was born in 1882 and died 1965. I still have interesting memories of Aunt Blanche from when I was a small child.

James Buttle 19 Jan 2016 02:03 AM,UTC

Lovely photo I haven't seen before. I have a painted photo of her about the same time in the family archives. The painting needs to be removed from the frame glass to photograph better.
My grandmother Gwen Buttle (Gorrie) was born Nov 30 1884.

James Buttle 19 Jan 2016 02:02 AM,UTC

Lovely photo I haven't seen before. I have a painted photo of her about the same time in the family archives. The painting needs to be removed from the frame glass to photograph better.
My grandmother Gwen Buttle (Gorrie) was born Nov 30 1884.

Anne 02 Jan 2015 08:05 AM,UTC

Can you confirm Owen Gorrie as a child of Blanche and Henry Thomson Gorrie.What year born?

There is an Owen Thomson Gorrie but he was born 1900 and to different parents but is a cousin of Henry Thomson Gorrie.

Gwen ( some records spell Ewen ) was born in 1884 - registered 1885

This object is from
Highwic   Highwic
Tags

Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.

Share