The Great Wooster Tree

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  8 May 2021

  8 May 2021

  5 May 2021

  14 Apr 2021


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  10 May 2021
Arthur Edward Wooster in Police Court
Arthur Edward Wooster in Police Court
Arthur Edward Wooster in Police court in 1925 after sleeping rough in a park 
  5 May 2021
Kate Brandon and William Veitch
Kate Brandon and William Veitch
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Kate was born in Wanganui, the 11th child of Richard and Lucy Brandon, on the 11th of April, 1882. On the return from a trip to England to visit her sister, Edith and their aunts in Bournemouth, she met William Veitch who was coming out from Scotland to take up farming. He bought a place between Gisborne and Morere but this was sold when they married in 1907.

They had three children, Bill, Richard and Helen. He then bought `Powha', the place where their family grew up. Somewhere around 1919-1920 `Powha' was sold, but it was then the slump came and the farm fell back into their hands. When Bill married and continued on the farm, they moved to Whitaker Street in Gisborne. When William died, Kitty built a small house at 16 Clifford Street to be closer to the town.

Kitty was totally blind for the last four years, and for the last 7 - 8 months of her life as she deteriorated in her health she was cared for at the Chelsea Private Hospital. She died in Gisborne on the 16th of October, 1982, just six months after reaching her 100th birthday. 
  26 Apr 2021
Richard Ballard Brandon
Richard Ballard Brandon
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Jock was born on the 13th of September, 1878 at Nunhead, the last of the family to be born in England. He was a farm hand, who worked at a number of different places. He was more slightly built than Dol.

During WWI, he served in the army in France. Whilst on leave he visited the Aunts, Alice and Minnie and his sister Edith.

On his return to NZ, he worked on several farms around Wanganui. When Millicent moved to 110 Somme Parade, he came to live with the family. His whistling and working the dogs in his sleep caused the family many sleepless nights, so when the family shifted to 16 Hipango Terrace, Millicent converted the garage into a bed-sitting room. He was very happy with the arrangement as he enjoyed being on his own. Breakfast was taken to him on a tray and he had his mid-day and tea meal with the family. He used to leave the family circle each night at 9pm.

He was rather eccentric and caused the teenagers in the family many embarrassments. Jock used to make trips into the Hauturu valley at times. When Jock's health failed and Millicent could no longer cope, he was placed in a rest home, `Hikurangi' and later was at Jubilee Hospital for some months, until his death on the 26th of December, 1959.  
  26 Apr 2021
James and Ruth Brandon (nee Gilbert)
James and Ruth Brandon (nee Gilbert)
From Rev. Brian Brandon

James (Jum) was born on the 3rd of April, 1877, at 11 Cemetery Road, Peckham, Surrey, the 9th child of Richard and Lucy.

He married Ruth Gilbert, the sister of Millicent, at St Lawrence's Anglican Church, Wanganui, on the 20th of April, 1911. There were five children from the marriage, Grace, Lila, Nancy, Colin and Eileen, all born in Wanganui.

He had a moustache as a young man, and one day when he decided to cut it off without telling his family, the children didn't recognise him.

He purchased a farm at Hauturu up the road from Herbert, in partnership with the Turners. At one stage he had a bad accident, cutting his foot with an axe - and had quite a lot of time off from that. He left the farm in 1921, and they bought a 15 acre farm at Okoia, 5 miles south of Wanganui. They were not very prosperous times because of the depression. They milked cows on the farm, and to supplement his income, James worked at the Okoia Dairy factory for some years.

He also did some work at the freezing works in town. James was a more public man than the rest of the family. He was Chairman of the Okoia Dairy factory (South Wanganui). Their farm was sold during the war years, and they moved to a home that was built in 15 Boydfield Street, Wanganui. Ruth was musical, and played the piano and sung in the choir at St. Lawrence's for many years before her marriage. She also taught music.

James died in Wanganui on the 28th of September, 1959, and Ruth on the 17th of September, 1968.  
  26 Apr 2021
Adolphus and Millicent Brandon (nee Gilbert)
Adolphus and Millicent Brandon (nee Gilbert)
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Adolphus, (Dol), was born on the 16th of January, 1874 at Plaistow, near London, the 7th child of Richard and Lucy Brandon, and was just seven years old when his family came out to New Zealand. At first Dol was a milk vendor, then purchased a farm at Hauturu before he was married.

Millicent Mary Gilbert was born on the 15th of August 1881, in New Plymouth, the daughter of Edward and Lydia Gilbert. Millicent had attended Wanganui Girls College, then worked for her father at Gilbert's music shop until the time of her marriage. She was an accomplished pianist and vocalist.

They were married on the 15th of July, 1909 in St. Lawrence's Church, Wanganui. After their marriage they travelled by train to Otorohanga and then on horse-back into the valley. Millicent came to Wanganui for the birth of each of her four children and they were all christened at Christ Church Anglican church before being taken back to Hauturu.

Dol had to break in the farm on his own. He milked cows at Hauturu by hand, and the cream was taken to Awaroa twice a week. He had some of the best stock around by running hoggets on burnt off land that had been over sown, but not applying fertiliser, the land went back. He was a very conscientious farmer. He was a man who was well liked by everyone. They called him `Dol' as a term of endearment.

Partly because Millicent thought the school so inadequate at Hauturu, she decided to move back to Wanganui in 1924. Gwen had already been brought to live with her grandmother Gilbert, and Marianne had gone to Gisborne to live with her Aunt Kit. She leased a small farm for 2 years at Aromoho, milking six cows and making butter to sell to the locals. During the time at Aramoho, the family attended St. Lawrence's Church, Millicent being a member of the choir.

Dol decided to stay on at the farm at Hauturu. He had borrowed money from a bank or solicitors and Bert was the guarantor. When the money was due to be paid back, Dol did not have it, and Bert had to pay the loan. This was of great concern to Dol, and he vowed not to give up the farm until he paid the money back. It was not until money from the estate of the Aunts in England came that he was able to do so, and he at the same time sold the farm.

During the time while Dol stayed on the farm at Hauturu, he came to Wanganui about every three months to spend 2 or 3 weeks with his family. Because he was living on his own he used to go to Herbert and Gertrude's home each Sunday to spend the day together. He loved a good apple pie which was the usual fare. He also came up some week-nights to play cards, usually `500'.

In 1926 she moved from the farm to buy a home at 110 Somme Parade (prior to WWI known as Riverbank Road). This was probably one of the houses that Herbert built as it was next door to the home of Lucy and Richard. To help with finances, Millicent taught the piano. After 1931, when her mother died, Millicent bought out the other members of her family's share of 16 Hipango Terrace, and lived there until their death.

It wasn't until 1953, when Adolphus was 72 years old that he sold the farm at Hauturu and came back to Wanganui. He was a very placid man who never got angry. He had a hobby of making ornaments in his workshop at home. He enjoyed very much the companionship of the members.

Dol was able to continue playing bowls until 3 months before his death aged 95, on 17 September, 1969. Millicent died 8 months before him on 11th January ,1969.
  26 Apr 2021
Fred Brandon
Fred Brandon
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Fred was born on the 6th of November, 1869 at Plaistow, Essex, the 4th child of Richard and Lucy Brandon. He never married. Fred was a carpenter with Herbert in Wanganui. He came up with Herbert to Hauturu and assisted him on the farm, staying there for the rest of his life.

Because he never married, he continued to live with Herbert and Gertrude, and helped out with all the building and farm work. He wasn't always easy to look after, coming in for meals just when he was ready, but she just put up with the difficulty, and gave him his meals when he wanted them. Because he had some funny ways, he wouldn't have been able to hold down a job of his own. He read a lot, and was particularly interested in reading about animals. Then he would try to converse with people about this interest, even if it wasn't really relevant to them.

He was very gentle and would never say a thing against anyone. He was a quiet person, physically very strong and well built. He would sometimes carry big logs on his shoulders for firewood - instead of waiting for a horse. On one occasion when they were fencing 2 1/2 miles up the road, he carried 2 coils of wire to the site, each weighing 1cwt. After Herbert's and Gertrude's deaths, he remained on the farm with Aleck.

He died in the Te Kuiti Hospital on the 3rd of July1964 from pneumonia, aged 94.  
  25 Apr 2021
Grace Brandon and Dr John Ewart
Grace Brandon and Dr John Ewart
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Grace was born on the 12th of August. 1867 at Lower Clapton, the second child of Richard and Lucy Brandon. She was fourteen years old when she came to New Zealand. Although her brothers used to speak very highly of her, she did not travel as much as the other members of the family, and she died before any of her grandchildren were old enough to remember her, and so not as much is known of her.

When she was a teenager in Wanganui she became sick with Tetanus. With no antibiotic in those days, she was so ill, the doctor said there was only one thing left and that was to pray over her. He knelt beside the bed and prayed for her and she recovered. She was never very strong after this illness. She was small and slight in stature.

She trained as a nurse in Wellington Hospital, and was among the first group of nurses to graduate from a new 4 months course in 1988/89 that had been introduced by the Superintendent, Dr Truby King. It was not until 1901 that 3yr training for nurses began.

She was married in 1889 to Doctor John , an outstanding surgeon and superintendent of the Wellington Public Hospital. from 1889 to 1909. They had four children, Lucy, Edith (Daisy), Ian and David, who died as an infant. Ian followed in the footsteps of his parents and became a doctor. She had a number of miscarriages. The family lived in the Superintendent's house in the grounds of the hospital before moving to Willis Street.

Grace died from chronic gastritis and colitis on the 7th of September 1923, aged 56. Her husband, John, lived until 1939. 
  25 Apr 2021
Edward Brandon
Edward Brandon
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Ted was the oldest of the Brandon children, born on the 28th of June 1866, at Lower Clapton. He was one member of the family who seemed to be cut off, or who cut himself off from the rest of the family, and who the family knew the least about.

Apparently, he trained as a boy in England in a stained glass factory and was good at the work. Ted said that other members of the family wanted him to stay in England and to adopt him, but his mother wouldn't allow it. He would have been 15 years old when the family came out to NZ. He worked for many years in Murray's Foundry, Wanganui, engineers and boat builders .

He had a strong association with the Maori people on the Wanganui river. In 1902 he married Mutu Ngamoenga. There were no children of the marriage, and she died at some stage. Then in 1918 he remarried to Sarah Te Mana. They had one child, Daniel. After they were married, Rua, the father of Sarah made Ted leave. He spoke fluent Maori, and could interpret from Maori to English or vice versa without hesitation.

Ted had a very kind nature, but he didn't look after himself or his home very well. In the early 1950's when money from the English estate of Aunts Alice, Minnie and sister, Edith was left to various members of the family, Ted bought a house at Putiki. There Lila Brandon looked after him for a short while, but she found it a hopeless situation. In his old age, a Maori family promised him a home where they would look after him, but it was not long before he was placed in a home in Palmerston North. He died there on the 2nd of September, 1956, aged 90 from pneumonia.  
  25 Apr 2021
Herbert and Gertrude Brandon (nee Twyman)
Herbert and Gertrude Brandon (nee Twyman)
From Rev. Brian Brandon

Herbert, my grandfather, was born on the 27th October, 1868, the third child of Richard and Lucy Brandon. He came with his family to NZ at age 13, where they settled in Wanganui. He had completed his schooling by this time. In his earlier years, he had experience as a builder, and built over 100 houses in Wanganui. His brother Fred helped him.

At some point he travelled, including a time when he was working in the goldfields in Perth. He also made one trip to England before the trip on which he married.

He bought a 1,000 acre farm at Hauturu, an isolated area towards the coast from Waitomo, in 1909. James and Adolphus had already purchased farms in the Hauturu area. He explains his reasons for switching from being a builder to a farmer as the better business opportunities. The land at this time was just being divided up for settling by a balloting system. The Oates brothers, who won the ballot for one of the farms, were not able to continue with it and so gave an opportunity for Herbert.

He paid 1,200 pounds to the owners for their goodwill in developing the land, and by 1914 he had to pay the original purchase price of 8/6 per acre. Only 200 acres of the farm was already felled. The farm was quite isolated, and because the roads were not completed, most of the goods required had to be packed on horseback 8 1/2 miles from Awaroa. From there it was a launch trip down the river and across the harbour to the west coast port of Kawhia, the closest town.

Shortly after arriving at the farm, Herbert observed Halley's comet, and had to explain to some frightened Maoris about it.

Herbert, and his brother Fred worked together to develop the farm, living in a hut at first. The brothers had to operate their own sawmill to hand cut logs into timber required for all building. They also had to fell much bush in order to make more land available for stock.

From early 1909, Herbert began corresponding with Gertrude Twyman, in England. He must have met her on his previous trip to England through his sister Edith, who was a good friend. Herbert urged Gertrude to come out to see NZ, extolling its virtues. But Gertrude did not want to come out because she was looking after her father who did not want her to leave home. But as the letter writing progressed, Herbert proposed to her. Because of the length of time it took the mails to travel and for an answer to come back, it must have taken considerable courage to wait for his reply. When the reply came back `No', Herbert patiently kept trying until eventually the decision was made and he travelled to England to marry Gertrude.

Herbert was 44, when in 1912 he married Gertrude Mary Anne Twyman, six years younger than himself, the daughter of Frederick and Anne Twyman, at Ramsgate, on his visit to England. They had two children, Ray and Aleck.

It must have been hard for Gertrude to come out to an isolated lifestyle of rural New Zealand, after the town life she was used to. Gertrude had a strong Anglican church upbringing. Her faith was very real to her, she had a sense of closeness to the Lord, and she prayed a lot at home on her own and with the family. She had a spiritual ability to sense when she was going to get a letter or when someone had died in England. She used to have regular contact with all the Anglican ministers who came to the Hauturu area who came in to take services. Gertrude also brought with her a gift of singing and a love for music. On one occasion she sang in a service before Queen Victoria. In the valley she was invited to sing at many church and social functions. She could sing classical and opera pieces. She was a soprano, and could reach some very high notes. She sang at Ray and Ruth's wedding. Herbert was also musical and used to play a violin at social occasions.

The family was brought up on music. They had a gramophone very early on with classical singing records. Both Herbert and Gertrude took part in plays that were home grown entertainment for the area.

Because of his previous work in building, Herbert was able to build his own house, though it took him 12 years to complete it. Building had to be fitted in between farm work and helping others with their building. As much of the house as possible was made with Totara, because it was the best timber to work with, resistant to splitting, and durable, and there was plenty of it growing in the bush. He also made his own furniture including an elaborate writing desk, beds, dressing table, and a mantel piece in the lounge, which had glass cases on each side for Gertrude's ornaments. He had an excellent set of tools and was good at drawing up plans.

From when he went to the farm, Herbert planned to use the scenic waterfall on the property to generate power for the farm. He installed it in 1927/28 and it continued to operate until about 1940, just a few years before they were hooked up to the national power grid. It was a 230 volts, 6 amp. power supply which was only just enough to operate either the shearing shed or the house lights on their own, but not both together. There was a big loss of power in the line which was over a mile long.

He worked hard, getting up early in the morning and working until late at night. He was a wiry man, full of energy. In the evenings he would often write letters. He involved himself in the issues of the day, and the needs of the community. He was keen on the Douglas economic theory (Social Credit), and would write to all the Prime Ministers, local MP's, and Sam Craig, the first editor of the `King Country Chronicle'', expressing his views. For a long time he had a battle with the authorities to get the roads extended and improved, especially with a Mr Alf Babbage, a neighbouring farmer and County Councillor for many years. Mr Babbage didn't want the road to go through to Waitomo because of the cost of repairs it would be to the Council. But it was a necessary improvement to Herbert, who wrote direct to the local MP, Mr Walter Broadford, until he got the road widened from the track it was, and then later to get it metaled.

During the depression, all the wool was saved for 4 years, a total of 130 bales. There was very little money from the sale of sheep. Ray and Aleck who had complete studies at that time, both worked on the farm without any pay. In 1934, he bought his first car, a 1933 V8 Ford. It was suitable for the roads, because of its high clearance to get through the mud. The car was delivered to their home, then Ray and Aleck had to drive it to Otorohanga via Te Raumoa to get a license. They didn't do to well in their test, especially with reversing the car, but the official granted them a license in order that they could drive the car home. Herbert never drove the car.

Both Herbert and Gertrude played an important part in the social life of the community of Hauturu Valley. Gertrude was an excellent entertainer, always busy with people who came in. A lot of relations came to stay because they knew she was such a good hostess. She liked pleasing people. She fed the shearers well because she knew they really appreciated it. There was a Maori family, the Tupu Mihi's who did some work on the farm - she would send food to them and bake a Christmas cake for them. She also fed the road gangs who had to live on the job in their tents or huts built of Punga sides and Nikau palm roof.

They were both keen gardeners. Herbert was keen on his fruit trees, strawberries, and rhubarb. Gertrude loved the flowers.

Over the last few years Herbert was ill, but he worked to the last. He died from cancer on November 29th, 1938. Gertrude survived him for some years, continuing to live on the farm. She died of coronary thrombosis in 1955. I remember attending her funeral service in the Anglican church at Otorohanga.
  25 Apr 2021


 ID   Last Name, Given Name(s)   Born/Christened   Location   Tree   Last Modified 
Wooster, Ronald George 
b. 12 May 1919  Brisbane, Queensland, Australia  Great Wooster Tree 10 May 2021
Lothringer, Kurt Ervin 
b. Abt. 1912   Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
Worcester, Juanita Stella 
b. 1887  Omeo, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia  Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
Rule, Horace Richard 
b. Abt. 1882   Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
Rule, Raymond Worcester 
b. Abt. 1918   Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
Worcester, Francis Salisbury 
b. 1910  Broad Arrow, Western Australia, Australia  Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
Bousley, Henry 
b. Abt. 1902   Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 8 May 2021
   Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
Crowl, Alfred James 
b. 1915  Footscray, Victoria, Australia  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
Myring, Violet Jane 
b. 23 Jun 1906  Flemington, Victoria, Australia  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021

 ID   Father ID   Father's Name   Mother ID   Mother's Name   Married   Tree   Last Modified 
 I01684  John Wooster  I01704  Eliza Kelly  13 Feb 1867  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1293960  UNKNOWN  I1288851  Lucy van der Steenstraten    Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1293963  Alfred James Crowl  I1293961  Lucinda Lillian Wooster  6 Oct 1979  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1290112  Clarence Leslie Porter  I1290109  Norma Elizabeth Wooster    Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1293965  William Thomas Henry Trott  I1293964  Muriel Grace Wooster  24 Dec 1938  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1293962  John Francis Watts  I1293961  Lucinda Lillian Wooster  1933  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I1288850  James Joseph Wooster  I1288851  Lucy van der Steenstraten  10 Jan 1910  Great Wooster Tree 8 May 2021
 I12  Thomas Worcester  I275  Jane Cook  1860  Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 7 May 2021
 I1520  Arthur Allan Betts  I1517  May Elizabeth Worcester  1929  Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 7 May 2021
 I1131  Henry Bousley  I1130  Lola Florence Helen Crockett  1930  Thomas Wooster (b. 1806) 7 May 2021