FRANCIS HENRY* GUILFORD was born April 23, 1900 to parents FRANK and MARIA GUILFORD at Waitohi Flat, Temuka, and he died November 17, 1978 in Public Hospital, Timaru and was cremated at Timaru. Henry married MAVIS ANONA PELVIN February 27, 1935 in St Alban's Church, Pleasant Point, daughter of ARTHUR PELVIN and ROSEANNA HUMPHRIS. She was born June 19, 1912 in Waimate, and died December 14, 1988 in Public Hospital, Timaru.
Henry's parents started their married life by farming the Cone land before they moved to Timaru. Henry attended the Waimaitai and Marchweil schools and in 1912, his schooling days over, left to help his father take milk to customers by horse and cart from their farm at Pages Road, Timaru.
The Guilford family sold in 1916 and bought at Cattle Valley (Raincliff Rural No 8) and here that Henry's life's work in farming began. Henry spent several years helping on his father's farm, joined by brother Fred before, at age 17, he went to the Mackenzie country rabbiting. The lure of high prices for skins and over abundance of the rabbit and his skill with the rifle is evidenced by early photographs of lines of rabbit skins outside his tent. The life soon palled and he spent several years working on dairy farms in the North Island.
There was an opportunity to lease
a farm next door when he returned, and Henry worked this in conjunction
with his father Frank. Just over the hill in Middle Valley, "Chasleton"
owned by John Brownlie for nine years, came on the market in 1928. This
was situated next to the Raincliff Forest with a house and woolshed and
Henry added the adjoining 333 acre block "Middle Hope" next door. The name
"Middle Hope" was dropped and the combined area was called "Chasleton".
This was the start Henry was looking for and in spite of the depression
years, he established himself very well with sheep, cattle, and some
The difficulty with education led Henry immediately after the war to lease and shortly after, buy "Te Puke" on Nixons Road 4 miles and 500 feet above the township of Fairlie. "Te Puke" means "The hill" which was a large limestone outcrop and this later had Barwood's limeworks on it - the rock being crushed and spread as farming fertiliser. The house was very large with seven bedrooms but was covered in corrugated iron - durable in the often harsh weather conditions but not aesthetically pleasing. Here their youngest daughter Allison was born and the family lived at Te Puke for 27 years before Henry and Mavis retired to Timaru in 1972.
During his farming years Henry was among the more progressive members of the community. He had a very inquiring mind and was keen to try the latest technology and explore new ideas. An equable nature and good humoured approach made him a delight to know. He was among the first in the district to use aerial top dressing and vacuum silage and grew some tremendous crops of Montgomery red clover seed.
At Te Puke, dipping was revolutionised by his installing a rotary sprinkler eliminating the old unpleasant method, the labour intensive emersion of sheep in a trough to prevent ticks and lice.
Henry was a shrewd judge of land and it is significant that both his farms included the better soils of the district. Together, he and Mavis made two overseas trips and took a keen interest in farming affairs on both occasions. Henry was one of those people born into farming who, while enjoying and making a success of it, was always frustrated by the intellectual limitations which the life style imposed. He relished the stimulus of debate and was always looking for new horizons. He would have made an outstanding academic but there is nothing like a mob of footrotty ewes or ten hours on a tractor to quell such mental energy. Some people are destroyed by such frustration but Henry's sense of humour and family commitment kept him in good shape.
The mile-long straggle of 2000+ sheep before and after winter, traversing the 14 miles of road between farms and taking a whole day in the process was to be avoided, especially if you were a motorist travelling in the same direction! The school bus "the Biscuit Tin" with the children's arms encouraged to hang out the windows and bang the sides to hurry the sheep from their path, who by Allandale mid-way, after their early start, had settled into a slow methodical meander with the occasional stop for grass along the wayside. Someone walked in front to close farmer's roadside gates or divert sheep from taking another route and at the back, Henry followed up with tractor and trailer to carry the stragglers who got tired on the way and the ever-perceptive dogs Boss and Fog, just two of a long line of excellent dogs who could sense exactly what was needed to herd strays back in line. There was no woolshed at either the Middle Valley farm although one was built about 1960, or at "Te Puke" - sheep were shorn at a neighbours.
Electricity came to Middle Valley about 1956 - farmers helped to put in the poles and had to guarantee a more than adequate level of usage yearly. Henry installed a generator for power at "Te Puke" about the same time for despite seeing the lights of Fairlie twinkling in the distance four miles below, it was not until then that instant light was achieved by the push of a switch. Gone the years of candles, the hiss of the Colman and Tilley lamps with their delicate mantles and petrol irons and heaven help those who read late - the last one to put out the light, switched off the tell-tale diesel motor thumping in the distance! Luxury was achieved - a fridge, freezer and washing machine. Both houses by now had undergone major renovations - "Chaselton" was demolished - taken back to 2 bedrooms and completely rebuilt. The "Te Puke" home got its large decks replaced, was reroofed and modernised - roughcast was plastered directly over the iron. Henry had made a Swiss chalet with the snow capped mountains behind.
For added income Henry went stripping browntop, and at Te Puke, grew linen flax for the factory at Fairlie. Paddocks were cultivated for turnips, swedes and choumollier for winters were usually severe and could come any time between May till late September when spring lambs lay on the hearth to be thawed back to life. Prolonged snow and root crops for stock were supplemented generously by lucerne hay bales and silage harvested in over the usually extremely high summer temperatures.
1952 was the boom year for the sheep farmer - wool reached
£1 for a lb of wool and Henry imported a Desoto station wagon from America
- his pride and joy. How quickly it use and power was recognised as dogs,
farm equipment and other stores were stowed in the back!
Children of HENRY GUILFORD and MAVIS PELVIN are:
i. FRANCIS RICHARD (DICK) GUILFORD, b. August 08, 1935, Fairlie; d. August 09, 1943, Cattle Valley, Fairlie. Burial: Timaru Cemetery.
ii. WINSOME DAPHNE GUILFORD, b.Timaru, married NEVILLE GRIFFIN at St Stephens Church, Fairlie, son of CLARENCE GRIFFIN and DOLLY NEWSHAM, born at New Plymouth.
iii.BRUCE JOHN GUILFORD b. March 27, 1940, Fairlie; d. June 27, 2001, Fletchers Rd., Rangiora.. Cremated at Harewood Crematorium, Christchurch, Ashes Fairlie He married JEANETTE ETHEL MACDONALD November 03, 1962 in Timaru, daughter of HECTOR MACDONALD and STELLA MILLAR. She was born in Timaru. Children of BRUCE GUILFORD and JEANETTE MACDONALD are:
iv. HEATHER ROSE GUILFORD b. November 13, 1942, Fairlie; d. May 15, 1992, Kermedec Island.Burial: Whangarei Cemetery married JURGEN ROTZEL May 18, 1963 in St.Stephens, Fairlie, son of RUDOLPH ROTZEL and HILDEGARD STEIN. He was born in Dessua, Germany. Thier children are:
v. ALLISON ANONA GUILFORD, b.Fairlie; married LLEWELLYN EDGAR SAMUEL AMON on February 28, 1975, Timaru; Llew was the son of EDGAR CHARLES AMON and EDNA ALICE MAY WATSON and was born August 13, 1945, Hamilton; d. November 09, 1999, North Road, Dunedin where he was cremated.
Ref: "The Raincliff Story"
Heather Rotzel; Neville, Lloyd and Winsome Griffin;
Allison and Llew Amon;
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