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Robert Burns married Isabella Stratton on 16 August, 1853.

They were to have ten children: Thomas 1854, Sarah Ann 1856, Isabella 1858, Mary Russell 1860, George 1862, Robert 1864, James 1865, Elizabeth Mary 1867, Mary 1869, and Arthur 1872.

It is not clear just when Robert arrived in New Zealand, but it was probably in 1846, when the 99th regiment arrived from Tasmania.

The Historic-site--Belmont-Coach-Road has the following account of the building of the Belmont Coach Road, which linked Porirua with the end of what is now Stratton Street in Belmont.

“Who built the road?

The Board's chairman, William Ellerm, who was a baker by trade, built the road along with some local men. These men included Robert Burns (former soldier, 99th regiment), John Francis and his brother Jesse (settlers), William Gosling (labourer), Henry Hart (probably the son of George Hart, a land agent), James Nairn (Wairarapa shepherd), John Scrimshaw (probably the son of George Scrimshaw a soldier 65th regiment) and John Scholes (settler). These men were not professional road builders, indicating that at the time "building roads was probably considered a fairly straightforward, almost prosaic, activity; certainly for retired soldiers".

Cutting the line (removing trees and vegetation to allow construction to take place) begun at least as early as 1871 and it was completed in 1873. The road was 13.4 kilometres when complete and cost approximately £5865 to build. It seems the road was originally built as a packtrack, as its widening was recorded in 1876 to take wheeled vehicles.”

Robert appears on the jury list between 1856 and 1859.


Burns, Robert Belmont Hill. Freehold and household Hutt, Western District, Belmont, 60 acres. Attested by Thos. Mills, freeholder.

In 1868/69 he appears on the electoral roll for the Hutt.

“Robert Burns, Belmont, Lower Hutt, Freehold and Leasehold, Hutt Road, house and land.”

Wellington Independent, 16 April 1864, RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT, HUTT. Wednesday, April 14th, 1864. Robert Burns v. John Stratford Damage, £4 for cattle trespass Judgment for plaintiff £2 and costs 10s.

Wellington Independent, 10 January 1867. LOCAL AND GENERAL NEWS. Government Gazette. A Provincial Government Gazette was published on Friday last, a copy of which came to hand yesterday. It contains a notice that Crown Grants for certain allotments in the Te Aro Pa Native Reserve are now ready for issue to the natives entitled to them that the tenders of Robert Burns for Nos 1 and 2 contracts in the Western Hutt are accepted and that information has been received at the Provincial Secretary's Office of the election of Mr Dennis McKenny, as Chairman of the Ohariu Board of Wardens.

Three of the Burns children were to die while still in their teenage years.

Evening Post, 1 September 1875 FUNERAL NOTICE. The Friends of Robert Burns are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his late daughter, Sarah Ann, which will leave the Hutt Bridge on Thursday, the 2nd September, at 4 p.m. W. BROWN, Undertaker

Evening Post 18 June 1875. FUNERAL NOTICE. The friends of Robert Burns are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of his late daughter, Isabella, which will leave the Hutt Bridge at 10.30 a.m. on SUNDAY, the 20th inst.

Evening Post, 26 January 1891, FUNERAL NOTICE. The Funeral of the late Arthur Burns will leave his mother's residence, Upper Hutt, on Tuesday, at 12 o'clock noon, for St. David's Church, Lower Hutt, arriving at the Cemetery at 3 o'clock

In February 1879 St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Upper Hutt was opened, and Robert Burns played a part in the fundraising for this building.

Upper Hutt Leader, 15 April 1954. PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 75th ANNIVERSARY. If a reputable builder tendered the amount of £339.9.8 to build a church we would say that something was wrong, and if the building was actually erected for that amount we would say that it was a modern miracle. Yet 75 years ago that very thing happened when the main portion of St. David's Church was built. For some time previously services, had been hold in the Rose of Sharon hall, but in September, 1878, plans were made for the erection of a Presbyterian Church in Upper Hutt. Collectors were appointed to canvass in Wellington, the Lower Valley, Wainui-o-mata, Stokes Valley and the Upper Valley. The pursuit of their extensive canvass over country that was poorly roaded is indicative not only of the generosity of the people, but also of their deep concern for the Church of God. The sum of £176 was collected and another £59 raised by a bazaar. Within six months—in February, 1879 —the church was opened, and two years later was free of debt. The section was given by Mr. Brown. Messrs. R. Burns. George Brown (senior and junior), Alexander Sinclair and George Grant, who was the student minister, were the collectors.

Robert Burns died on 11 June, 1886.

Evening Post, 12 June 1886, DEATH. Burns.— On the 11th June, at his residence, Taita, Mr Robert Burns, aged 64 years. Wanganui papers please copy.

Evening Post, 14 June 1886. The Friends of the late Mr. ROBERT BURNS are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will leave his late residence, Taita, on TUESDAY, the 15th, at 2 p.m. J. EDWARDS, Undertaker.

Isabella was to live for another 8 years.

Evening Post, 28 May 1894, Burns.—On 28th May, at her son's residence Blackbridge, Lower Hutt, Isabella, widow of the late Robert Burns, Taita, aged 62 years; deeply regretted

Evening Post, 28 May 1894. FUNERAL NOTICE. The friends of the late Isabella Burns are respectfully invited to attend her Funeral, which leaves her son's residence for the Black Bridge Cemetery To-morrow (Tuesday), 29th instant, at 3.30 p.m. H J. O'SULLIVAN, Undertaker.

Whilst Isabella’s notice gives her place of burial as Blackbridge Cemetery, there is no indication as to where her husband and the three children are buried. It is unlikely that she would have buried in a different place from the rest of her family, and I think that it is very likely that they too were buried at Blackbridge cemetery.

Isabella was a very early settler in the district, having arrived on the Lady Nugent on 17 March, 1841. She was the daughter of Thomas Stratton and Elizabeth Scott, and was born 19 July, 1831 in Dundee. Other members of her family were Thomas, George and David, all born in Perth, and John, born in Dundee. Her brother Thomas does not appear on the passenger list for the ship.    

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