Reunited with a precious photo

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Sharon Paulin, of Otautau, holds the photograph of her grandparents' wedding party taken at Mandeville, Eastern Southland, in 1917 (left) and the wedding photo of her grandparents which she already owned.

SHARON Paulin, of Otautau, was completely “bamboozled” when she opened her Facebook page recently and saw a strangely familiar old photograph posted by Historic New Zealand Photos, she said.

On closer inspection, she realised the couple at the centre of the wedding party in the image were her grandparents, Duncan and Catherine McColl (nee O’Grady).

“I opened it up one day and thought, wow, that looks like my grandparents. I had never seen a picture like that but I had a picture of just the two of them [the bride and groom]. I could see the same houses in the background and see the same chimneys.”

Mrs Paulin’s grandfather, Duncan McColl, had emigrated from the former county of Buteshire in Scotland.

His bride, Catherine O’Grady, had emigrated from Galway, Ireland.

Mr and Mrs McColl were married in Mandeville, Eastern Southland, in 1917.

Mrs Paulin’s husband Alan said it was a “complete fluke” that his wife had spotted the photograph on Facebook.

He and Mrs Paulin had been away for the day, so Mrs Paulin had accessed Facebook at a different time than usual, he said.

The discovery also came just in time for a family reunion which will be held at the Otautau Hotel, with Mrs Paulin’s first cousin, Rodney McColl, formerly of Nightcaps, coming down from Rangiora near Christchurch this Easter weekend.

Chris Perriam of Invercargill who found and saved the photo of Mrs Paulin’s grandparents’ wedding party.

The photograph had originally been posted on Facebook almost two years ago by Chris Perriam, of Invercargill, who said he had saved the photograph from being thrown in the rubbish at the end of former Invercargill second-hand shop Bell and Wyatt’s closing down sale.

The image had been randomly re-posted on Historic New Zealand Photos when Mrs Paulin saw it recently.

Mr Perriam said he wouldn’t expect anyone to throw someone’s family photo out.

“I told [the shop owner] what I would do with it, and he agreed I could have it for $2.

“Mrs Paulin was rapt when she found the photo. You can tell it’s the same people, her grandparents. She wanted to pay me for it, but I told her it was hers, take it.”

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