Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 40, September 1996

Information supplied by Ken Sutton

In 1926 Ken Sutton completed his Standard 6 year at Waimata School and left to work fulltime on his parents' farm in Ford Road. At the age of 13 he worked alongside his father cutting and clearing scrub, converting the land to pasture. Their small herd of cows were hand-milked and the milk supplied to Waihi residents.

Mr Sutton's next move was to a farm in Woodlands Road, in 1932, where he began the task of clearing his own land. He built a slab cowshed and hand-milked his own herd of 20 cows. He spent years eradicating weeds, as did all the young farmers starting on the land in those years. There were high losses of young stock, later found to be due to cobalt deficiency in the soil. Mr Sutton remembers the lack of vets in the early years. The only person who knew a little was the stock inspector at the saleyards.

In 1943 Ken Sutton married and he and his wife, Joan remained on the farm until retirement in 1974. Mrs Joan Sutton recalls the lack of electricity and dealing with loads of washing with her petrol driven washing machine and using her wood stove. Earlier Mrs Sutton had stayed with her grandparents in Waikino when the Mine and Battery were the main source of employment and she remembers how busy Waikino was in the 1920s. Both Mr and Mrs Sutton have seen a life-time of change in Waihi from when the town was dependent on gold mining, followed by other industries which have come and gone. Mr Sutton feels the town has now gone full cycle and the mines are helping the town's economy again.