Moving tale of cruelty

Surf bathing at one of the popular Christchurch seaside resorts: A Sunday morning scene on New...
Surf bathing at one of the popular Christchurch seaside resorts: A Sunday morning scene on New Brighton Beach. - Otago Witness, 18.3.1914. Copies available from ODT front office, lower Stuart St, or
Some sidelights on the work which women are sometimes called on to do on a farm were given in the Hawera Magistrate's Court today, when a farmer's wife proceeded against her husband, for persistent cruelty to her and her two children and for (1) a maintenance order, (2) a separation order, and (3) a guardianship order.

According to the evidence the parties were married six years ago, and they went to live on a farm at Patea. For a time matters went on smoothly, but subsequently trouble arose, the complainant saying that the defendant insisted upon her assisting with the milking. She had to do her own household work in addition, feed the calves, and chop the firewood. Witness used to go into the shed between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning, when she milked from 25 to 30 cows out of a herd of 112.

Witness had to milk the same number of cows in the evening, and did not finish until nearly 8.30. She had too much to do, and had often complained of having to work in the cowshed, but her husband only retorted: ''You will come if I want you.'' Witness was milking up to the night before her first child was born and three weeks later she was in the shed again. Later on, the defendant put in milking machines, and then she had to strip over 40 cows.

Witness complained that she had to borrow money to come to Hawera to be confined for her second child and while there she received ''pocket'' money from her mother. She had only received £1 in pocket money during the six years of her married life. On one occasion the defendant had made trouble about her asking for a shilling to buy a hat, remarking that she could do without it. Her mother made most of the clothes for the children, but had never been paid for them.

A labourer, who five years ago was share-milker with the defendant at Patea, said there were then 80 cows on the farm, and that the complainant was the best milker in the shed. She used to milk about 25 cows - a quarter of the number to be milked - and when witness's wife was sick she milked another quarter, for which he paid her 12s per week. He gave the money to her husband.

The defendant, in the course of his evidence denied cruelty. He admitted that he had spoken to her about the dirty condition of the children, and he had frequently been obliged to sponge them. He further admitted that he had money and could pay for maintenance, but he objected because she had left him without excuse. The case was adjourned.

• Mining in Reefton has been rather dull during the past three years, chiefly through labour troubles, but now there is every prospect of things running smoothly under the last Arbitration award, which gave the men a substantial increase of wages all round.

The speculating public is turning its attention to this field for quartz reefing and dredging ventures, while the companies that are already established here are preparing to sink their main shafts to enable them to carry on development works at a lower level, thus showing the faith they have that reefs on this field live to greater depth.

The following are some of the shafts that are to be sunk - Energetic, present depth 2200ft, sinking 150ft; Big River, about 1500ft, sinking 150ft; Inglewood, 300ft, sinking 300ft; Blackwater, 700ft, sinking 150ft.

The Drake shaft at Merrijigs has a present depth of 320ft, and a contract has just been let to sink a further depth of 300ft, at 7 a foot.

- ODT, 13.3.1914.

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