Community Contributed

Herbert Denton

Kete Horowhenua2020-03-23T16:51:22+00:00
Herbert Denton was 6th son of late George Denton who commenced business in Wellington 1863. Bert was born in Wellington December 22 1876.
Date of birth22/12/1876
Date of death12/01/1955
On leaving Wellington College in 1893 he set out on career on the land and spent the next two years in the backblocks at Pohangina with brother Mowbray - Bush felling and roughing it generally.

First visit to Levin February 1 1891, accompanied his brother-in-law WG Adkin to look over a farm in Queen Street which Annie Adkin had drawn a land ballot in 1889. This was a section 42 on West side of Koputaroa Road (Now Denton Road)100m in area. He returned in January 1892 and assisted Mr Adkin for 14 days to "log up" and burn timber on this section.

In 1896, he came to Levin to be employed by Mr Peter Stewart in Queen Street East, a small dairy farm adjoining Waiopehu Scenic Reserve. Mr Adkin had employed Mr Stewart to supervise the work on his farm and to buy and sell any necessary stock.

After 6 months Bert looked about for further experience and started as a "rouse-about" on a sheep station owned by Fernie brothers of Wanganui District.

Two years later he returned to Levin and spent first winter clearing bush for Messrs Powles Bros at top of what is now Gladstone Road, although it didn't exist at that time.

In 1898 Bert started to work for WG Adkin at a starting wage of 5 pounds a month and he continued to work for him for 8 years. In conjunction with this employment he found time to run an adjoining farm of 420 acres which he purchased at 1901.

In 1904 he married Miss Anne Jane (Jenny) Wilson in Wellington and they lived in the house on (Denaby) built for him by Mr GK Douglas. It had 4 rooms with bathroom, scullery, and a trap shed and washhouse. Heart timber was used throughout and the price was 288 pounds.

In those days land was covered with fallen timber. There were no buildings and very few fences. Hard work and long hours were essential but Bert proved equal to the task. This reflected in good results shown by farm today.

It was about this time that races which carry water from Ohau River through the farmlands - Levin flats were opened by RJ Hon RJ Seddon. The wisdom of that undertaking is apparent when one considers the old method of wafering stock by means of wells.

It was unfortunate that Bert lost his wife Jenny in 1911 and he was left with three small children - Enid (1905), George (1907) and John (1911) who were cared for by "Aunt Bowles".

During 1914-18 war Bert served with Wellington Mounted Rifles in Palastine campaign. He was away from June 1st 1917, returned April 26 1919. The farm was managed by Mr Willie Stewart.

On his return he married Shirley Beckett, a teacher at Levin School, on 26 January 1921 at Waimate South Canterbury. Lois (1922) Anne (1923) Paul (1925) Dick (1926).

Bert's ability in practical side of farming extended to administration field and deeply engrossed in national and local farming problems. Keen member of Levin branch of Farmers Union, being its president he held for 16 years. Also on Committee of Horowhenua Agricultural Pastoral Association.

Other interests are sport, music, education and a rugby player in very early days, a member of Levin Football Club when it came into prominence. Club won 3 successive years. Swimming was another interest. He was club official starter for many years. Bowling 1930-1950 and also as President. He was keenly interested in education and was a member of Levin School Committee for some years. Music, he was a member of Choral Society, male quartet and savage club.

Click here to read excerpts from Bert Denton's diary from 1904 to 1954.