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Little tribute to Ann Bird at 256 Trafalgar Street – it not only looks great, but it’s a really interesting bit of our history!

Nelson locals may have locked eyes with a rather formidable woman recently in the form of Mrs Ann Bird, who peers out from a striking window decal in the centre of Trafalgar Street. Thanks to the work of MakeShift Spaces the empty windows of the former House of Travel centre have been given a makeover, and we’re very proud to have been invited to be a part of this.

Ann Bird, widely credited as the first European woman to step ashore in Nelson (in 1842), took over the Bird Butcher Shop after her husband’s sad death in 1850, which she managed successfully (and even expanded) over a period of 40 years. Her achievements as a businesswomen in the male-dominated industry of the time are impressive, especially considering her position as a working solo mother with five children to feed!

The photos of Ann and her shop, taken from the Museum’s collection, provide some insight into the ruggedness of her life in those days, and you can hear more about that – and stories of other intrepid women – in a talk on colonial women in business by Catherine Bishop at the Museum this Tuesday, 5.30pm (1hr). More here:

So, next time you’re in Nelson’s town centre take a walk down Trafalgar Street and doff your hat for Mrs Bird, one lady who deserves the utmost respect.

Credit: Nelson Provincial Museum

Credit: MakeShift Spaces

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