Generations of Fitzroy children have walked along Barriball Street on their way to the local school. The road is named after an early settler and landowner in the area, Henry Barriball. Fitzroy School was established in 1882 and, appropriately, the first lessons were held in an empty house on the Barriball farm.

Henry Barriball, his wife Mary and two young sons arrived in New Plymouth aboard the Timandra in 1842. Six more children – three sons and three daughters – were born after their arrival. The family settled on a block of land at Bell Block until the outbreak of war in 1860 forced them back to the safety of New Plymouth. Barriball was then given title to 53 acres (21 hectares) in Fitzroy courtesy of a Crown grant. The land encompassed an area bounded by the Devon Road (now Devon Street East) to the sandhills at Waiwhakaiho.

As well as developing the farm, Barriball joined forces with fellow settlers John Honeyfield, William Hoskin and Romulus Street to form the Provincial Meat Company. However, the company was dissolved in 1869, and it was announced that in future the Devon Street shop would be known as Barriball & Son.

Barriball gradually sold off parcels of his Fitzroy land. The final 6 ½ acres (2.6 hectares) and homestead were bought by the auctioneer and land agent William Courtney, in 1883. Courtney later subdivided the farm, along with other parts of the suburb, into the layout we know today.

After Barriball sold the Fitzroy property, he purchased a 62 acre (25 hectare) farm on Egmont Road for £550 and it was here that he died on 15 August 1885, aged 86.

For some years afterwards, advertisements appeared in the local newspaper for "Barriball's celebrated strain" of carrot seed, a testament to his agricultural know-how.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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