Mary Jane Bennett

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Mary Jane Bennett née Hebden (1816 – 6 Jul 1885) was the first official lighthouse keeper in New Zealand, and the only woman to ever hold the role.

Hebden emigrated to New Zealand in 1840 and was soon married to George White Bennett. In 1852 he took the position of lighthouse keeper at Pencarrow Head.[1] Following the death of her husband in 1855, she continued to operate the lighthouse. In January 1859 a proper lighthouse was built and Bennett was officially appointed as keeper.[2] Pencarrow Lighthouse was the first permanent lighthouse in New Zealand.


  1. ^ Ministry for Culture and Heritage. "Mary Bennett". Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Ellis, Ellen. "Bennett, Mary Jane". Te Ara Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 24 April 2011.