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The Southern Hemisphere Descendants of Peter Paul John Zohrab

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Peter Thomas Henry Gordon Zohrab was probably named after Major-General Thomas Gordon, in gratitude for the latter's kindness towards Peter's cousin, Dr. Paul Zohrab.

Another possible example of "gratitude-naming" in the Zohrab family is the naming of Dr. Johannes Zorab's two eldest children.

Lt.-Col. Dr Johannes Manuk Zorab, at some stage, became Superintendant at Brussa Medical School. The only known "Brussa" is in Turkey, and there is no known documentation as to whether he ever even went to Turkey. However, his distant relative, Lady Fanny Blunt, mentions in Chapter One of her book, "My Reminiscences," that her father, the British Consul in Brussa, initiated a plan by the Turkish Sultan in about 1840 to build a hospital in Brussa. Fanny's uncles John Zohrab and Dr. Paul Zohrab, as well as her cousin General Sir Edward Zohrab Pasha, also had links to Brussa, so it is quite possible that it was the family connection which got Johannes a medical job in Turkey.

This is confirmed by a proposed solution to the mystery of why he gave middle names to his two oldest children which referred back to close relatives of Fanny Blunt:

  1. Leonard Kars Zorab, possibly named after James Ernest Napoleon Zohrab, who was decorated by the Turkish Sultan for his contribution to the Battle of Kars;

  2. Major Dr. Arthur Batoum Zorab, possibly named after Lady Adela Holmes (nee Zohrab) and/or her husband, Sir William Holmes, who had once served as British Consul in Batoum

Possibly, Mary Sandison (nee Zohrab) had died by the time Dr. Zorab's eldest son was born in 1878, and her husband had died in 1869, so he named his sons after surviving members of that branch of the family, in gratitude for their help.

Peter was, at various times, an interpreter, accountant, Hokitika Borough Inspector of Nuisances, auditor, valuator, election agent, newspaper publisher, auctioneer, builder, farmer, Secretary of a Licensed Victualler's Association, and international trader. In addition, he acted illegally as a court lawyer, until cautioned by a judge!  According to Google Books, he is also referred to in Hattersley (1950) as the "farmer and sportsman who had run the Durban races...."  The same book also says that he had sent samples (apparently of liquor) to a London merchant, Ingram Travers.

Born in 1817 or 1818 on the Mediterranean island of Malta, he was a son of Peter Paul John Zohrab and elder brother of Edward John Paul Zohrab. According to Lady Patricia Maddocks' book, he was probably educated in in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, where his maternal grandfather and maternal aunt lived (the latter at the Yew Tree House), and he married Marianne Walker there in 1840 .

Peter, with his wife and three surviving children, travelled in July 1850 from the UK to Durban, South Africa on the "Ballengeich", and he was granted land on the Umhloti river. He became part-owner of the Natal Times. He imported beer produced by Edward Zohrab in London. A fourth child, Lillian, was born in South Africa in 1852. On 15 November 1852 he boarded the "Hannah" in Port Natal, with his wife and at least some of his children, and sailed to Port Philip (Melbourne, Australia). He worked there as a builder and auctioneer.

He is mentioned in Chapter 14 of J.B. Cooper's "History of Prahran" (which is now a suburb of Melbourne) as being a Moses-like figure in a local church community. He was also a community activist in secular matters, and is described as follows in Chapter 5 of the same book:

Peter Zohrab, the pioneer secretary of Prahran municipal movements, was a man of parts, of 40 years, square shouldered, with black moustache, running into side whiskers, a large nose, and well-set eyes, half-hidden with spectacles. He spoke quickly, his matter was good, his manner assertive.

The first winner (in 1861 and again in 1862) of the Melbourne Cup was a horse called "Archer", which is described as "William Tell - Maid of Oaks by Vagabond - Gem from a Zohrab mare". However, there appears to be no connection with the Zohrab family, since the horse Zohrab's father had been imported by one Charles Smith.

Peter later moved to the South Island of New Zealand, following his son Constantine Edward Zohrab, who had been attracted by the goldrush there.  Peter is mentioned in 1863 Otago Daily Times articles, and in 1864 owned the hotel Belvidere (which burned down in 1865, under another owner), in Duncan St, Dunedin, according to the following webpages: http://home.st.net.au/~ailsa/hotellicencees-dunedin.htm and http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=ODT18640420.2.14&srpos=77&e=-------100--1-byDA---0Zohrab--.  According to Tod (1984), the only person who was ever a licensee of this hotel was George Greenfield.  There was a Government Notice in the Otago Daily Times of 15 April 1864, listing Peter Zohrab as applying for a Publican's License for that hotel, so perhaps he was refused a license and that was the reason he sold the hotel.

He appears on the 1867-1868 Electoral Roll for what is now the Dunedin suburb of Roslyn (address: Pine Hill Road, North-East Valley).  Then he appears on the 1868-1869 Electoral Roll for the Westland Boroughs, with an address in Hamilton street, Hokitika.  He lived in Hokitika for many years, working as Borough Inspector of Nuisances, amongst other things. His son, Percy, is mentioned as having been the acting Clerk of the Court of Goldsborough, on the West Coast of the South Island, in 1877.  Another son, Constantine, seems to have moved to Wellington in 1868, or by 1869, at the latest.

According to the West Coast Times, Peter must have known at least one of the following languages: Italian, German and Polish, because in 1879 he and a man called Meyer travelled to Jackson's Bay to interpret for speakers of those languages. Italian was probably the language that Peter knew, since he was born on Malta -- in which case he might have known Maltese and Arabic as well. While he was there, the Hokitika Borough Council voted to deprive him of his job as Inspector of Nuisances, deciding that it should be a Police function. The Council decision was apparently reversed, because it called for applications for his job after he resigned.

He must have got his job back, however, as he continued working in that capacity for some time afterwards, and resigned in December 1880 on the grounds of ill health. Peter then moved to Wellington, in the North Island of New ZealandHe died one month later, in January 1881, at Pirie St., Wellington, and was buried at Bolton Street Cemetery

Peter and his wife had ten children, of whom two died in infancy.  The first four were born in England, one was born in South Africa, and the rest were born in Australia.

His wife, Marianne, died in Brougham Street, Mt. Victoria, Wellington, in 1884 and was also buried in the Bolton Street cemetery.  Their son, James Leslie Zohrab, died at Pirie St., Wellington, in 1888 and was also buried in the Bolton Street cemetery.  Another son, Walter Willoughby Zohrab, was also buried in the Bolton Street cemetery. 


(photograph courtesy of Tom King)


Their daughter, Clara, married William Kayll, and this couple's son, James Kayll, became well-known as an Anglican minister, criminologist, prison reformer, and (briefly) mayor of Mt. Eden, in Auckland.


Reverend James Kayll

Reverend James Kayll


Here (below) are the other main Southern Hemisphere Zohrab personalities included on this website at present:


Edward Goodwin Fortescue

Balfour Douglas










Family Tree

Facts & Photographs



Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

12 October 2015