Rev Walter Ernest Detheridge DAVIES 
- Born: 11 Oct 1904, Colombo Ceylon.
- Marriage: Alice Emily HANSELL  in 1931 in St James Lower Hutt Wellington NZ
- Died: 3 Jan 1967, Wellington NZ at age 62
Personal Memories by Dr Bob Stewart, great-grandson of Archbishop Churchill Julius. He was formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Human Development of the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and is now Executive Director of Scientific Journal Publishers Limited.
Walter Ernest Detheridge Davies (1904-1967) and Alice Emily Detheridge Davies (1908-1985):
Walter's wife Alice was the elder daughter of Arthur and Polly Hansell, and a Granddaughter of Archbishop Churchill Julius.
Rev. Walter Detheridge Davies, was born in Colombo, Ceylon on 11th October 1904 and was educated at Wesley and St. Clair Colleges there, and later at the Liverpool Institute Grammar School in England.
Before studying for ordination, Walter had an adventurous four and a half years at sea with the merchant service. His voyages took him to Mediterranean ports, the Far East, Africa, around the north of Russia and the United States and to most other parts of the world. He was once shipwrecked.
On May 22, 1922 the British ship on which Walter was serving, The Andree, was hit in the Delaware River in the USA by the then fastest passenger ship flying the American flag. The huge liner was trying to avoid a small rowboat, and hit the Andree, almost cutting it in half and driving it onto dry land.
Coming to New Zealand, he was for some years with the Public Works Department in the Civil Service in Wellington.
He trained for the Anglican ministry at St. John's Theological College, Auckland, and achieved grades 1-4 of the Board of Theological Studies. He was ordained deacon in 1928 and priest in 1929. He was Assistant Curate with Archdeacon Arthur Hansell at St. James Church, Lower Hutt 1928-1933.
My Aunt and godmother, Alice was born 16 March 1908 in Wellington. Her schooling was at Chilton St James, Lower Hutt, where she, along with her sister Gwen, was a member of the first group of students at the school. Alice was Head Girl.
Alice graduated from Victoria University College, The University of New Zealand, with a B.A. in modern languages. There were few women graduates in those days.
It was while he was a Curate at St. James, Lower Hutt, that Walter was to steal the heart of one of Arthur Hansell's daughters!
To get to know each other, Alice and Walter had secret rendezvous meetings at the tennis courts. They married at St. James Church in 1931.
The ceremony was performed by Alice's grandfather Archbishop Julius, and the wedding reception was held at the Vicarage where guests were received by Arthur and Mary Hansell. Gifts for the bride and groom were given by groups such as the Church Vestry, the parishioners, the Sunday School, the Young Men's Club and staff and students of Chilton St. James.
Alice was a loved mother of Margaret, Mary Joy, Matthew and John Barry, who tragically died at 22 months. Also she was grandmother of Penny, Judy, Diana, Richard, Andrew, Joanna, Philippa, Elizabeth, Susan and Rosemary, as well as a great grandmother. She was the matriarch of her family.
Alice worked side by side with her husband in many Parishes - Fairlie, Hokitika, St. Matthews, St. Albans, Oamaru, Island Bay, Ngaio and in Fiji. She used her considerable gifts and talents, for example on the Council and Executive of Mothers' Union, Missionary Committee. She also played the organ and piano.
Alice was a keen gardener. Matthew remembers that his mother used to take samples from her flower garden to transplant and nurture in the next garden during their various moves. Matthew also recalls that Walter grew vegetables which were a boon for the family's meals.
My Aunt Alice was a wonderful Godmother, always remembering my birthday throughout my childhood, and showing a lively interest in my development.
Walter was appointed Vicar of Fairlie, in the Mackenzie Country, in 1933, where his special gifts of engendering enthusiasm, resulted in the building of the Lake Tekapo Church of the Good Shepherd. During his time there the necessary finance was raised to build the remarkable church in its spectacular location beside Lake Tekapo. Many who helped to build the church were high-country shepherds from the slopes of the Southern Alps. The church has remained as a tourist attraction and very special centre of worship. Walter was widely recognised as a "Builder of Churches".
Its plate glass window acts as a reredos, and an inspiring view of the lake and mountains is enshrined. The foundation stone of this now famous church was laid by the then Duke of Gloucester, during his visit to New Zealand.
In 1933 Walter was appointed Vicar of Hokitika. While he was there the new Hokitika Parish Church was built. He was also Chaplain to the Hokitika Public Hospital and to the Mental Hospital. In 1937 he was appointed Vicar of St. Matthew's Church, St. Albans, Christchurch.
When Alice's grandfather died in 1938, Walter was appointed organiser of the Archbishop Julius Memorial Fund. The initial objective of the fund was to extend the chancel in the Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch. The Prime Minister of the day, Rt. Hon M.J. Savage commended the memorial to all citizens of New Zealand. Walter argued that the pioneers of Canterbury had begun the Cathedral and the second generation had added the transepts.
He argued that it was now for the third generation to do its part in the enlargement of the chancel. Walter's efforts as organiser had yielded about 8000 Pounds.
Unfortunately the onset of the Second World War meant that the objectives of the fund had to be changed. Alterations to the Cathedral were finally carried out, including work on a lady chapel, better sound and lighting and a memorial to Churchill Julius. It is to be hoped that this memorial and others in the Cathedral can be retrieved safely after the recent major earthquake damage.
In 1938, he was made honorary Chaplain of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, New Zealand Division in Christchurch. He was also a chaplain to Toc H for ten years.
This was followed by a period as Acting Rector Pro-Cathedral, Suva, Fiji, and as chaplain to Bishop in Polynesia 1941-1942. In Fiji, Matthew (aged 3 at the time) remembers that he filled his father's petrol tank with water at a time when petrol was worth its weight in gold it was so scarce. His father explained very patiently the differences between petrol and water after he had drained the tank and salvaged the petrol. When there was a threat of the Japanese entering Fiji during the war, Margaret and Mary Joy were sent to New Zealand, and Alice, Walter and Matthew stayed behind.
Leaving Suva, Walter then resumed his position as Vicar of St. Matthew's in Christchurch until 1948. He served on the Standing committee for St. Margaret's College Trust Board; was Chairman of the Victory Memorial School Committee and Chairman of CORSO for the diocese of Christchurch in 1949. He was a Freemason for most of his adult life.
Walter was Vicar of Oamaru 1948-54. When in Oamaru, Matthew remembers making gun holsters and belts from leather sewed with his mother's Singer sewing machine. He recalls that there was never a scolding word spoken despite quite a number of broken needles! After starting at Christ's College, Matthew recalls that during one of their visits to Christchurch in 1952, a homemade pork pie went into the Avon River and sank like a stone much to the disappointment of a very interested duck. He said that his mother took this very well especially as it was her cooking.
Her nephew Rev. Winton Davies, described Alice as a special person and friend to many of us. 'She taught us how to accept challenges, to use humour to combat difficulties'. She had 'a wonderful searching, sharp mind, a delightful turn of phrase, marvellous use of words, a fund of anecdotes and stories'.
Walter became vicar of St Hilda's Church, Island Bay in 1954, and it was not long before St. Chad's Church was built in Houghton Valley and the Bata Shoe factory in Owhiro Bay was offered for church services. While he was vicar of Island Bay he made regular visits to the Sisters of the Catholic Home of Compassion, and the Salvation Army home for children - with an extra visit to the old people of the Presbyterian hostel. During Walter's time, the church suffered a minor fire which burned a hole through the side of the church. It was stopped by Fire Officers, and had been caused by a workman using a blowtorch to burn off old paintwork.
Walter was well known to many Wellington people through his work as secretary of the Wellington branch of the National Council of Churches, which he represented on the City Council public relations advisory committee. During the Festival of Wellington he was convenor of the festival's committee, and played a prominent part on committees associated with the New Zealand Billy Graham crusade in 1959.
In his last Parish appointment, Walter became vicar of Ngaio. After a long period of ill-health he was appointed chaplain of Arohata Girls' Borstal. Alice and Walter retired to their home in Raumati.
Walter died on 3 January 1967, and the funeral service was held at St. John's Anglican Church Paraparaumu Beach. Alice died on 1 Aug 1985, and the funeral service was held at St Andrew's Church in Palmerston North.
Walter married Alice Emily HANSELL , daughter of Archdeacon Arthur Lloyd HANSELL  and Mary (Polly) Ellen JULIUS , in 1931 in St James Lower Hutt Wellington NZ. (Alice Emily HANSELL  was born on 16 Mar 1908 in Wellington NZ and died on 1 Aug 1985.)