Amy was born in Cheshire, England but by the time she was four her mother and five siblings had all died. She emigrated with her father, John Briscoe, to the Chatham Islands and was sent to board at St Mary’s Convent in Ponsonby where she received a good all-round education.
In 1885, aged 20 she married 36-year-old Richard Hellaby, a butcher, at St Marks Church Remuera. Over the next 17 years she supported her husband’s expanding meat business and cared for their six children. In 1900 they assumed responsibility for William and Rosina Hellaby’s five children, when their parents unexpectedly died.
Richard Hellaby died in 1902, and widowed at 38, Amy found herself responsible for both families and the business. She also supervised the completion of Bramcote (now Florence Court in Omana Avenue), where she looked after her father after his second wife died. She was a courageous and independent woman and a natural leader. She was the second woman to be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 2000, having died in her 92nd year in 1955 at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Epsom.
Amy Maria HELLABY