Hannah Dawson was born in Dunedin to English immigrants from Buckinghamshire. The eighth of 12 children, four of her siblings died during a measles epidemic in 1874. In 1896 she helped found the Anglican Mission to the Streets and Lanes in Greys Avenue, Auckland.
One of four women missioners, she dedicated her life to assisting the clergy in five inner city parishes working with the poor in slums, visiting the sick, providing food and clothing for the destitute and visiting the goal, hospital and Costley Home for the aged poor.
In 1906 she was voted Superior or Mother of The Order of the Good Shepherd (as the Mission then became), a role she continued until her death 42 years later. The same year the sisters opened a creche for children of working mothers which ran until the 1950s, having been built with funds from John Logan Campbell.
In 1919 she was awarded an MBE for her special War effort among families of soldiers. In 1924 she took over management of St Mary’s Home, Otahuhu. She continued to be active in many organizations concerned with women and children, her professional expertise being widely recognized. After an illness of some weeks she died on October 13 1938. Hannah Dawson 1863-1938 is buried in Block B, Row 03, Plot 30B.
Hannah Alexandra Dawson (Mother Hannah)
Block B, Row 03, Plot 30B.