Thomas and Amy Kay came to their farm in Swanson from Ellerslie in June 1916. Their property was on Main Road, (now known as Waitakere Road). In later years Kay Road was named after them, but in those days was referred to as “the back road”.
Weather conditions were far from idyllic when they moved, the horses and wagons were unable to get up muddy Waikumete Hill, so much of their furniture, including Mrs Kay’s much loved piano, was left on the roadside till the following day.
Thomas Kay farmed the 50 acre property, with his son Alan, until his death in 1926.
Haymaking was a memorable experience. Local farmers, the Mettam Brothers, Charlie Crowe and Noel Green would share the task of building the haystack. There was no baled hay or haylage (round bales in plastic) in those days.
Noel Green’s two magnificent Clydesdales were especially popular with the Kay children who loved riding on these gentle giants.
Alan’s wife Margaret Kay slaved over a coal range cooking a hot dinner for the workers, which was then carried over the paddocks. The dinner was finished off with strong billy tea.
In the long hot summers, creek water was carried up for baths and for washing clothes in the old copper. In those days there were no giardia worries.
Third and fourth generations of Thomas and Amy still live on the original farm and the old house. Over the years each generation has been active in leadership roles in both scouting and guiding.
Thomas Kay was one of the original settlers who proposed the building of the Anglican Church — St Marks in Swanson. Succeeding generations have continued to be actively involved in the little church.
(Notes from Lois Tallet nee Kay 20th October 2003)
Rugged Determination, p139-140
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