The Story of Geoffrey Thomas Alley…My Great Grandfather.


By Allie Tait.  Fourth Grade.  The Episcopal School of Knoxville.  (I know, I know.  No HR stuff in here.  My 9 year old got her first blog post out.)

Geoffrey Thomas Alley was named the first national librarian for the country of New Zealand in 1964.  Geoff Alley, also known as GTA was also a member of New Zealand’s first national rugby team to travel and compete in Africa and Australia.  Geoffrey Thomas was my great grandfather.  Their home was on the South island of New Zealand near the coast.  “It always seemed like summer” said my great grandfather’s sister, Gwen.  Their home had four bedrooms and four living rooms.  There was  o bathrooms, but there was one tap for cold well water.

Geoffrey was born on February 4th, 1903 in Amberley, New Zealand.  His father was Fredrick Alley and his mother was Clara Buckingham.  His parents had a strong belief in education.  His mother was one of the youngest to attend the first meeting of the National Council of Women.  His brother Rewi was a teacher in China and his sister Gwen was a teacher in New Zealand.  He was home schooled with his siblings because his mother did not want them learning bad habits.

Because there was very little money he left school and home at the age of eighteen to run a farm that was on very bad land.  In 1926 he thought of becoming a priest but decided to become a teacher for adults that lived on very rural land.  He did this from 1929-1937.  In 1937, New Zealand made a country library service and he was chosen to lead it.  He quickly built the services to schools and military

camps.  He then began building national records and book holdings.  In 1945, New Zealand decide to build a national library system and he was appointed national librarian in March 1967.  He then retired on December 31, 1967.

My great grandfather had many accomplishments.  Many people knew him for his success on the rugby field.  He was never really proud of those accomplishments.  Building an entire library system for a country from nothing was his greatest accomplishment.  Between 1967 and his death in 1986 he wrote articles for the New Yorker magazine.  He also helped staring National Public Radio in New Zealand and Canada.

There are similarities between my gat grandfather and I.  We both are independent, enjoy learning, and helping others.  We are different because he never watched television.  We are also different because I don’t ever plan on playing rugby in New Zealand.  We are the same in name and blood but we lived in a different time.  If I could start an online library for New Zealand I would name it after him.

In conclusion my great grandfather Geoffrey Thomas Alley was a person in my family that I am proud to be named after.  He spent his life in a way that made him learn new things every day of his life.  He was also able to be a leader by example by showing that being healthy in your body and in your mind is the best way to live your life.

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Posted on September 29, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you daddy for putting my report up. I did not know you were that proud of me I love you!

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