Albert Goodman

1877 - 1951

Albert Goodman - Boer War - about 1900

Albert was the third son of Annie and Harry Goodman of Caversham, Dunedin. He was born there on Sunday 6 May 1877. When he was 4, 8 February 1881, he began attending the local Caversham school, possibly because his parents had gone with some horses to Australia. He was withdrawn in June of the same year, and began school again the following January. Eighteen months later he left Caversham School and went to Macandrew Road School.

When he was 22 years old Albert left for the Boer War as part of the Fifth Contingent. At the time he had been working for his father as a groom in Dunedin. Those going to war were expected to supply their own horses if possible, and Albert rode his own horse onto the boat. The 14th Company (Canterbury Section), of which he was Number 1633, set sail from Wellington Harbour on the S.S. "Maori" on 31st March 1900. Records show that Albert was 5 feet 7 inches tall. Albert must have got homesick, for he sailed from New Zealand the day after his eleven year old brother, Frank, died in Dunedin.

There is the first page of a letter from Albert in Africa to his mother:

Bamboo Creek,
June 3rd 1900
East Africa

Dear Mother,

I am writing you this letter hoping you are keeping well and all the rest at home. We left Albany, the last place I wrote to you, and landed in Beira alright and have been on 3 weeks there. I wrote to Father and Harry and told them all the news about that place. We left there to go to this place we are in now and we made a start from Beira in the train with about 43 horses trucks on, and two trucks for the men. We started about 12.15 and had got twenty miles out at 6 o'clock when 5 horse trucks ran off the line and turned over and there are 4 horses in a truck.

The cause of it was a nigger on the line. He was killed stone dead and laying under the wheel of the next truck to the last one that was turned over, with half of his head and shoulder on the line; they never bothered about the nigger, you should have seen us get to work and get the horses out. They were laying all on top of one another. We knocked the top out of the trucks and dragged them out. It was pitch dark, right in the middle of a jungle.

It took us till 10 o'clock and then we put the nigger in a sack and dragged it out of the road, and the Engine went back and got 5 more trucks to come on with the next train. There is one Engine on the front, one in the middle and one on the back, so you can see the back one went back and the others took the train on to here. But there were 23 of us had to stop and put on the 20 horses that were left, with the next train and we had to build a stage so that the horses could go on and we had to smash up all the trucks for firewood, 4 fires to keep the lions away and our rifles loaded with 10 rounds of amunitions.

We got to Bamboo Creek at 9 o'clock next morning. It took us from 12 o'clock to 9 o'clock next morning to go 63 miles.

The Boer War ended on 31 May 1902, during which Albert got "a touch of the fever". Albert returned to New Zealand as a Corporal on the Tagus. Then followed a round of civic receptions for the "heroes" of the Boer War.

Click here to read Albert Boer War Records

Albert began his life long career as a horse trainer. It is claimed he was the first registered horse trainer in New Zealand - however according to Dunedin newspaper reports, it seems his father, Harry, was registered as a horse trainer earlier.

On 2 February 1904, he married Martha Burgess of Shag's Point, Dunedin. They were married in the Dunedin Registrar Office. Early in 1907 they moved to Trentham. In June 1907 Martha disappeared. Albert and Martha were at Lower Hutt when she deserted him. He was unable to find her. She was not to reappear for another ten years.

Minnie Elizabeth Scrimshaw lived at Trentham. She and Albert were among the first residents of Moonshine Road, where Upper Hutt College now stands. Eva Mary (in fact called Mary Eva but known as Dorrie - and sometimes even as Doris) was born in 1909. Frank was born on Friday 4 August 1911 (although he was registered as been born on 5 August). Frank was named after Albert's younger brother - the eleven year old Frank who died in Dunedin the day before Albert left for the Boer War. Rene Mavis (spelt Reney in the registration) was born on 10 November 1912. (At that time, Albert also had a successful horse called Rene!) Roy Albert was born on 11 August 1914, and Keith William (known as Tip) in 1916. All of these were registered under their mother's name of Scrimshaw.

Frank recalled how the Hutt River frequently flooded. Once it came up to the level of their property, for he was sent out to mark the edge of the river by putting a stake in the garden.

In 1913 Albert was in court and finded for breaking a window while under the influence of drink. A while later the wife of the owner of the broken window physically attacked Albert at the Trentham races. Albert responded with swear words which again saw him in court and fined.

In 1915 his stable burnt down at Trentham and he lost a lot of racing equipment.

In January 1917 Albert received a letter from the State Hospital and Asylum for the Infirm at Newington, Parramatta River, Australia. In effect, the letter stated that one of their mental patients - Mrs Maise Goodman - claimed that she was the wife of Albert Goodman of Upper Hutt. They sought verification. Albert was able to show that Maise was Martha, and on 21 October 1918 the marriage was dissolved in the Wellington Supreme Court. That same month, Minnie and Albert were married in the Registrar's Office in Wellington. In 1922 Albert formally adopted his children. Henceforth they were officially Goodmans, although the children had always known themselves as "Goodman".

Albert was a Reserve for the 1917 New Zealand Expeditionary Forces.

On 12 April 1924, Albert took his family from Trentham and left for Nelson. He had bought a pub there. Apparently, while in Nelson attending a race meeting, late at night he was hungry and the pub staff refused to provide meals. He subsequently bought the hotel and dismissed the staff member. The venture cannot have lasted long, because they seem to be back in the Trentham area by some time in 1925.

Albert and Minnie had two children stillborn: a boy in 1925 and a girl, named Margaret, in 1927.

In the book The Wellington Racing Club: A Centennial History by Tony Hilton, he tells how Albert Goodman trained a big team of horses at Trentham. He quotes a John Golder:

Albert Goodman trained a very, very large team for a man named Bellinger. I have only heard this (it has been handed on to me) but Bellinger owned a big string and they were known as "Bellinger's circus". Albert Goodman was the trainer and they frequently walked the horses to the races. If there was a meeting at Otaki or Tauherenikau, the horses would walk to the races. They would leave three or four days before the meeting, hence the nickname.

Albert was one of the first three trainers to move to Trentham when the Wellington Racing Club transferred there from Hutt Park in 1906.

In January 1928 Albert accidently hit a motorcycle on the road at Trentham. Two people lost legs. The court case went on for some time. Buster Foster said that after that Albert was frequently ignored by some people of Upper Hutt.

At some stage the family lived in Nelson and in Gisborne.

His obituary states that "he travelled widely, mostly with horses which he prepared for the late Mr W.H. Ballinger. He was well known in both islands. It was not unusual for Mr Goodman to campaign his team at Wellington provincial fixtures and then travel as far south as Dunedin. He also visited the West Coast and Nelson. When travel by rail was impossible the practice was to utilise a trap and lead the horses."

Albert won the 1922 Thompson Handicap with his horse Printemps. The jockey on this occasion was L.G. Butler - known to the Goodman family as "Uncle Skin". Printemps raced on many courses. He had 169 starts for 28 wins, 22 seconds, and 21 thirds. Printemps earned 6359 pounds during his career.

Black Mint was another successful horse, which Albert had bought for 162 pounds ten shillings. It was a very profitable investment, as Black Mint won 4589 pounds in stakes. At his first start (in 1925) Black Mint won a Trial Plate division at double-figure odds. The return to Albert was more than his purchase price. Black Mint was raced eight seasons, making 173 appearances for 17 wins, 13 seconds, and 21 thirds.

Rose Pink was another successful horse. It started 156 times for 18 wins and 32 minor placings, including a second in Sasanof's New Zealand Cup.

Albert later had other top-class horses. Al-Sirat won the Great Northern Foal Stakes, the C.J.C. Welcome Stakes and the 1945 New Zealand Derby. Bridge Acre, Al-Sirat's older sister, won the C.J.C. Challenge Stakes as a two-year old, and at her first start as a three-year old the Wellington Guineas. Lady Christine, another high-class two-year old trained by Albert, won the Challenge Stakes at Riccarton as well as the 1947 Canterbury Champagne Stakes. She was successful too in the Wellesley Stakes.

He was called "Grandad" by his grandchildren.

On 20 April 1948 Minnie died at Hutt Hospital. She was 62 years old, and is buried in the Akatarawa Public Cemetery. After Minnie died Albert spent some time living with Frank and Doreen in the hotel in Wanganui.

On Saturday 13 October 1951, at his home in Main Road Trentham, Albert died of a coronary. He was 74 years old. He is buried with Minnie in the Akatarawa Public Cemetery. At St John's Church in Trentham there is a stained glass window dedicated to the memory of Albert and Minnie Goodman. The theme of the window is Come Down, O Love Divine.

Albert's obituary concludes: "In the last few years Mr Goodman did not train as extensively as formerly, but he derived considerable pleasure from the win of the three-year old Contraband at Foxton in August. This was his last training success, and fittingly enough he prepared the Treasure Hunt colt for his son Frank."

Albert Goodman - Boer War - June 1900

Albert Goodman - Boer War
November 1900 - In Hospital

Albert's wife Minnie Elizabeth Scrimshaw

Albert's son Frank

Albert's daughter Rene

Albert Goodman - Sydney

The "Tagus" - on which Albert returned to NZ from the Boer War

Albert's Extended Family
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