Written by George Cone's son, Rex in 1979
About 1900 George Cone's father and mother, Fred and Sarah retired to live in Timaru, in Browne Street. They remained there for the remainder of their lives. Fred died in 1917 aged 77, his wife died in July 1927.
About 1900 their eldest daughter Maria who had married Frank Guilford farmed the land until after a short time, they went to live in Timaru where Frank had a coal yard for a time until they went farming on land on what is now known as Pages Road. The second son Fred managed the farm when the Guilfords left until George leased the land in 1907 when he married Eva Hayman of Willowby.
George and Eva
had two daughters and one son - Pearl who was born in 1909, Elma in 1912
and Rex in 1916.
Elma, the second daughter was born in 1912 and in 1939 she married Walter Beswarick. They have lived in various parts of South Canterbury, Walter working as a wool classer and shepherd. They have one son Ivan.
Rex was born in 1916 and on leaving school, in 1932, he worked on the farm with his father until 1938 when he married Doreen Philp of Winchester and took over the farm at Waitohi. Doreen and Rex had four sons Derek born 1939, Alan born 1942, Malcolm born 1944 and Geoffrey born 1954.
Fred's son George was a hard working, forward looking farm and enterprising farmer and a very good stockman. This was well demonstrated at lambing time in his ability to save and mother-up lambs. In his endeavour to build up capital, he concentrated on wheat farming and on several occasions, he grew over 80 acres of wheat, all sown by mid-May - a big effort with only four horses and a double furrow plough. By 1919 he was well established having bought the farm after leasing it for seven years.
1922, George built a new house of six rooms costing a little over £1000 -
a lot for a house in those days, included was a septic tank and a flush
toilet, the first modern plumbing in the district. 1922 saw the purchase
of a Model T Ford car, replacing the buggy 'which I can remember riding in
as a small boy. The car cost £180 - petrol was 4/- a gallon then and over
the next few years, there were many trips to be enjoyed - regular drives
to Studholme to visit Granfy Hayman and the Hayman relatives in that area,
also frequent trips to Willowby to visit Haere-mai and one memorable' trip
to Christchurch which took 5 hours. I cannot remember the journey home
next day but it was a big event. Another memorable ride was to Mt. Cook to
visit Jack Hayman on my 8th birthday and several trips to the annual
About 1923, George bought his first tractor, a Fordson, the third machine in the district but this was followed by a big change in tractors at this time. Most farmers converted their horse ploughs with the Avis lift for tractor use but George bought an American Oliver plough designed for tractor use which steered by the rear wheel and also lifted by the back wheel. It had a very short mould board which made a rough job compared with the colonial ploughs with the conventional long boards, but it broke up the furrow and made for less cultivation after ploughing. It was typical of George that after he had been using the tractor for a short while, that he began to see ways of improving its use. I remember him saying that the implement would be better used if it was part of the tractor but it was many years before the use of hydraulic cultivator and ploughs came into use.
George was among
the first to purchase a radio in the district. About 1927, we were able to
listen in to the arrival of Kingsford Smith on the first trans Tasman
With the advent
of the header harvester, George was quick to see the advantages and
windrowed 50 acres of wheat in 1936. He had adapted a 10 ft power binder,
one of the first about, for the windrowing but from then on, direct
heading of the wheat was the order of the day. It was about1936 that
certified strains of Grass-seed came on the market, opening up a new
source of income and this was taken full advantage of - seed production
being carried out both on the home farm and also on Clearview as the run
This continued until 1941 when George had married couples in a big way, so the house in Timaru was let and they moved back to Clearview but not for long as in May 1942, George had an accident. The horse he was riding slipped on a steep gully and the result was a leg broken in two places. He was on his own and a long way from home. He crawled about a mile before Eva found him. This led to a long stay in hospital and the end of active farming. A clearing sale was held at Clearview on July 1st 1942, but it was not sold for about two years. It was maintained by being let for grazing and the growing of linen flax on a share basis.
The house in Kitchener Square was sold and a newly built house at 53 Orbell Street was purchased. They lived there for many years. George died in October 1956 aged 76 years. Eva lived on there until 1971 when failing eyesight and health led to the sale of the property and she moved into Glenwood home for some time until a fall left her unable to carry on there. A year was spent in Bidwell Hospital and then a move was made to Talbot Hospital. ( Eva died in June 1980, the last survivor of and the youngest of the 18 children of Tom and Ann Hayman.)
Rex and Doreen
carried on with the farm at Waitohi which they bought in 1945 as the
second World War was ending. In 1958, 140 acres of light land on the bank
of the Opihi River was bought bring the area to 365 acres. This land was
in a very neglected state but a few years clearing and spraying
transformed the area, with most of it being planted in lucerne, this land
proved to be most useful as a wintering area for stock and for growing
winter feed. The clearing and turning this land into a very productive
part of the farm has been the most satisfying and rewarding part of my
During their farming life, Doreen and Rex always milked several cows, the cream cheques usually kept them in groceries and were always a welcome addition to the farm income. Labour was one big problem during the war with so many men being called to the armed forces; the supply of seasonal labour was becoming more acute as time went on. Our main problem was getting a bag sewer for by 1940 we had our own header. On more than one occasion, Doreen took charge of the bag sewing also on several occasions I did the bag sewing and driving myself. 18 acres of linseed was harvested in this way, also grass seed. By 1942, the army set up soldier camps in harvesting areas which was a big help. The only trouble was that the camp truck called for the men at 5.30 pm when there was still many hours of harvesting time left. Another shortage was superphosphate. Supplies had to be ordered months before needed with no certainty that it would arrive when required. In 1945, the war ended and very slowly the shortages were overtaken - farm prices improved with the post war boom and the difficulties of the six war years were over, but the loss of so many lives will never be made good. One of the most pleasant memories of the war years was the good fellowship that was found with the local farmers in the Waitohi platoon of the Home Guard. Parades were held weekly, sometimes for all day - there were many hilarious stories that would take a long time to relate.
1 Derek Rex, the
eldest son was born at Temuka and went to primary school at Pleasant Point
and had his secondary education at Timaru College. In 1955, he started
work as an Automotive Diesel Mechanic with Gough, Gough and Hamer in
Timaru and completed in Christchurch at the Canterbury Branch where he
qualified with his A grade and shortly after this, he was promoted to the
Head Office in Christchurch as Assistant technical adviser in Caterpiller
equipment and later was in charge of in-service training of the service
staff. This required two trips to Melbourne to keep up to date with the
latest developments in Caterpiller gear. During this time, he was involved
with the American Deep Freeze operations in servicing their Caterpiller
equipment. This entailed three trips to the Antarctic to organise the
servicing of their machines. For his service, he was made an honorary
member of the Seebees, the US Navy construction and maintenance force.
Later, when service manager at the Canterbury branch, he was involved in
commissioning the first Diesel locomotives.
1Derek Rex Cone 1st mar: to Wendy. He mar: 2nd Wife Ursula Garvin at Timaru
Their Christchurch born daughters are: (a) Sandra Jane Cone mar: to Darryl
(b) Marie Joy Cone mar: to Brendon2 Alan George, second son was born on his father's birthday, attended Pleasant Point School. He did his secondary education at Timaru College. On leaving College, he worked on the home farm for two years, then he took a job with Roadways Ltd. at Benmore and worked there for a year driving scrappers and bulldozers carting material for the massive earth dam, part of the Benmore Power scheme.
Alan returned home in 1962 as has been mentioned before, when additional land was purchased at Waitohi. Alan married at Timaru to UK born Margaret Kearnes. They lived in a very old house for a few years until a new house was built. Margaret is a very talented gardener and with Alan's help, they made a very attractive home and surroundings. Their Timaru born family:
3: Malcolm Henry went to school at Pleasant Point primary and later to Timaru College and when finished with school, started work on the home farm. Malcolm took a trip to Australia before he married Marion McKenzie of Waimate and they took up residence on the original Cone farm and Doreen and Rex built a home on the land adjacent to the Opihi River. A few years later, Malcolm remodelled the homestead house and turned it into a modern home with a redesigned garden - the fifth generation of Cones to live on the home farm on Cone Road. Malcolm - Occ: Dr of Philosphy, Lecturer Management Dept. U.O. Marian Occ: Head of Otago University Hall of Residence - her parents Father: John George McKenzie; Mother: Clemence Muriel Victoria White
4 Doreen and Rex's fourth son Lester was still-born on May 25th, 1948.
Peter Philp, the fifth son went to school in Pleasant Point and continued
on at the High School there. He went to Timaru College for his U E and
undertook his advanced education at Canterbury University when he studied
Law and graduated LLB in 1977. He then did a post-graduate course for a
Diploma of Law the following year and undertook his post-graduate
study for his LIM at Otago University. He is partner (Dec 1984) with
Taylor, Shaw and Anderson, ChCh.
GEOFFREY mar: (2) DEBORAH MARY HILL
GEOFFREY mar: (2) DEBORAH MARY HILL
GEOFFREY mar: (3) SARAH HOGAN - Their daughter is
Alan and Malcolm continued to farm in partnership after Rex retired and later bought a 750 acre property at Hanging Rock. It is very steep country and is used as a cattle and sheep grazing unit. They had developed a large and successful bull-beef enterprise which they combine with sheep and cropping.
Website address - http://www.winsomegriffin.com//