Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968


In June 1914 having sold my farm at Hawera for the then record price of 90 odd pounds per acre I set out in a special train for nearly a two day trip to Paeroa, with horses, cattle & implements. The rail route at that time was via Marton Junction so the distance was far greater than now. The weather being typically Winter I considered that Jersey calves would very likely get down [farming terminology for collapse of animal, often leading to death – E] in the truck, but fortunately as this one had metal hoops over the top I was able to suspend good quality clover hay in bundles from the hoops. By this means and the kind consideration of the Engine driver who on two occasions when stopping to water the engine, gave me time to run the calves out in to the yard for a drink and quickly reload them all arrived in quite good order.

Mr. Brenan, (Snr). kindly allowed me to use a paddock of his for the night and the following morning I set out for Turua and arrived at my farm of 226 acres without loss. Almost immediately with the support of six other ex-Taranaki farmers I set out to establish the Hauraki Plains Dairy Coy. & became the first Chairman of that Coy. Despite considerable pressure from the big N.Z. Co-op, we proceeded to build on the present site & had the satisfaction in our first season of beating the big company in our pay out for cheese.

In 1915 came the big flood which inundated hundreds of acres of farm land. At Netherton I was grazing cattle on a section just acquired by Mr. Jim Green our Dairy Coy. Sec. except for a small rise at the back - several feet under water. With the help of Ted Clarke we swam the cattle over the fence onto the road nearly 3 feet under water and drove them to higher ground. Hundreds of cattle roamed the roads for days but eventually were drafted with no loss.