Born in South Dunedin in 1899, Phil Connolly worked as an engine fitter at the Hillside Railway Workshops until the outbreak of World War II. On departure for war he was described as 'one of the most prominent members of the Labour Party in Dunedin - a young man with a decided future'. Connolly commanded the minesweepers hms Deodar in the English Channel and hmnzs Moa on anti-submarine duties in the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1943 he was elected to Parliament and represented Dunedin West (later renamed Dunedin Central) for twenty years. He served a total of 27 years as a Dunedin city councillor and member of the Otago Harbour and Hospital boards. From 1957-60 Phil Connolly was Minister of Defence and Minister of Police. He was described as 'an eminent statesman and Minister of the Crown who devoted his life to the advancement of the people of New Zealand' and a man whose 'forthright honesty and unquestioned integrity, together with his wide experience of life, both in peace and war, had combined to make him an outstanding Minister'.
When Rosemary Jamieson was born, her father Phil Connolly was already a Member of Parliament. By the time she was 12 he was appointed a Cabinet minister and the family moved to Wellington. This personal and political biography provides a detailed history of the times, from the unusual perspective of one who had a parent in Parliament. Mother of four and grandmother, Rosemary has a degree in foreign languages and linguistics. She teaches Latin and Classics at two Wellington schools and works part-time on the checkout at a supermarket. Rosemary Jamieson has written for Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, and recently won a prize in the Dunedin Family History Group's essay competition, which was published in Southern Tales: The Lives of Otago and Southland People 1840-2008. She is currently writing another family biography.