Felix WAKEFIELD 
- Born: 1807, Burnham Wick ESS
- Marriage: Marie Felice Eliza BAILLY  about 1832
- Died: 23 Dec 1875, Between Cave Rock & Sumner Hotel Christchurch NZ aged 68
Felix was a Surveyor, he married a French woman while living in Blois with his father. They emigrated to Tasmania to farm, but returned to England about 1848. Several of the children lived near Stoke by Nayland.
Wakefield, suddenly on 23 Dec., at Sumner Bay, Canterbury, Felix Wakefield formerly of Nelson & Wellington.
Papers Plus: Marlborough Express 1 Jan., 1876.
Felix Wakefield, (November 30, 1807 to March 28, 1875), was the seventh child of Edward Wakefield (1774-1854) and Susanna Crash (d. 1816) of Felstead, he was the brother of Arthur Wakefield and Edward Gibbon Wakefield. In 1831 he married Marie Bailley, by whom he had nine children.
When he left school Felix began working with his father and training as a surveyor and civil engineer. This was interrupted, however, in 1826 as a result of the scandal abduction surrounding his brothers, Edward Gibbon and William Wakefield and also his stepmother. When he eventually finished his training he rejoined his father, now in exile in Blois, France. Soon afterwards he impregnated a servant girl, Marie Bailley and was required to marry her. In 1832 the young family emigrated to Tasmania where Felix was employed as a surveyor. Although initially successful, Felix's work did not impress the authorities and such was his personality that when criticized he usually resorted to litigation and argument. As a result of this, he became extremely unpopular and eventually unemployable. Various attempts to recoup his fortunes were unsuccessful and by 1846 the family was destitute. Abandoning his wife and youngest child in Tasmania, Felix took the other eight children and returned to England.
Most of the responsibility for supporting the family fell on his older sister, Catherine Torlesse, and brother, Edward Gibbon, who was himself recovering from a major stroke. But Edward Gibbon was also involved in the promotion and planning of a new scheme for the colonization of New Zealand, the Canterbury Association, under the auspices of the Church of England and he persuaded himself that his brother Felix and his surveying skills had a contribution to make. The plan that Felix drew up for surveying the Canterbury Plains was largely adopted and contributed significantly to the early success of the colony. However it was not easy, as Felix was just as hard to work with in England as he had been in Tasmania.
Eventually relations between the brothers were so bad that Edward Gibbon more or less wrote off his brother's debts, paid him a substantial sum of money, and sent him off to New Zealand. He arrived with six of his children in November, 1851 and immediately began feuding with the agents of the Canterbury Association about the land allocated to him. There were also questions about various sums of money that he was unable to account for satisfactorily. A few months later he leased the store at Redcliffs, installed his children in the care of his eldest daughter, Constance, now twenty years old, and departed for Wellington New Zealand.
In Wellington he met up with another brother, Daniel Bell Wakefield, resumed his campaign against Edward Gibbon, and started a new campaign aiming to have the administrators of the Canterbury Settlement replaced. Then at the end of March, after less than five months in the colony, he returned to London. There he continued his vendettas with such vehemence that he was summoned to appear in court, charged with utterning threats against the Canterbury Association's Land Agent, John Robert Godley. And then, just as precipitately, he returned to New Zealand.
He arrived in Nelson, in 1854, bringing with him two red deer. They thrived in New Zealand and went on to destroy much of the country's native forests. Felix returned to Canterbury where here his welcome was very cool. By August he was again in trouble, this time for attempting to evict the tenant from a building owned by his nephew, Edward Jerningham Wakefield. Shortly afterwards he quit Canterbury, this time taking his children with him and returned to Nelson where they stayed for a short while before sailing once again back to England.
He stayed away from New Zealand for ten years, during much of the time he was involved in litigation over various issues about land in New Zealand. He also served in the Crimean War, acting briefly as an engineer on the construction of the Balaclava Railway. He may also have been involved in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Finally in January 1864 he returned to New Zealand, this time bringing with him a flock of skylarks. He settled in Nelson for a while, tried Canterbury for a period and then moved on to Wellington and then back once again to Nelson where in 1870 he was employed as a post office clerk until he retired in 1874. Wakefield died of a heart attack on 23 December 1875.
His son Edward Wakefield was a New Zealand politician and journalist.
Wakefield Felix (1807-1875).
Engineer, and Canterbury colonist.
Felix Wakefield was born in 1807 in Norfolk, the fifth and youngest son of Edward Wakefield (1774– 1854) and of Susanna, nee Crash (d. 1817). He was educated as an engineer but joined his father who was engaged in the silk trade at Blois, France. There, in 1831, he married Marie Felice Elizabeth Baillie, by whom he had six sons and three daughters. In the early 1830s he became Superintendent of Public Works in Tasmania and later farmed, with indifferent success, near Launceston. He returned to England in 1847 where he assisted his brother, Edward Gibbon, in his colonising schemes. His notes on the disposal of wastelands in colonies were edited by his brother Daniel in 1849 and issued as instructions to the New Zealand Company surveyors. He joined the Canterbury Settlement in 1851 and for the next three years he farmed near Christchurch. In 1854 Felix returned to England, where he was made Principal Superintendent of the Army Works Corps in the Crimea with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. There he built the military railway from Balaclava to Sebastopol.
He returned to New Zealand in 1863, and from 1867 to 1870 acted as secretary to James Bradshaw, the Government agent on the Otago goldfields. In the latter year he published a treatise on horticulture, The Gardener's Chronicle for New Zealand. He died at Sumner, Christchurch, on 23 December 1875. Two of his sons, Edward (1845– 74) and Oliver (1844– 84), attained distinction in New Zealand.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
Image of Felix in uniform, courtesy of Nelson Museum NZ
Sending a cheque for L1 for the Edward Gibbon Wakefield fund, H. S. Woollatt (41 Avenue road, Red Fern) says that his wife and Mrs. E. Ferguson, of 5 Arundel avenue, Millswood Estate, are daughters of John Wakefield, brother of Salvator Rosa and Murat Wakefield.
Ref: Trove The Advertiser Adelaide, SA Wednesday 19 December 1951
Felix married Marie Felice Eliza BAILLY  [MRIN: 617] about 1832. (Marie Felice Eliza BAILLY  was born about 1811 in Blois France.)