Waihi Leader - - News -

The Thorn fam­ily em­mi­grated to NZ as a fam­ily from En­field, Cam­bridgeshire by steamer in 1909.

The en­tire ship’s com­pany con­tracted diph­the­ria, with many dy­ing. The only one of the eight chil­dren who had not wanted to come and who clung des­per­ately to her grand­mother on the docks be­fore de­par­ture, Ada, died three days out from Welling­ton.

On the first morn­ing, the fam­ily were bil­leted in a ho­tel in Welling­ton.

On go­ing to pay for break­fast Ben Thorn Sr, (Grandpa Thorn), dis­cov­ered that he had left his wal­let con­tain­ing all the fam­ily’s money, in an­other jacket pocket. Upon go­ing to re­trieve it, he found that the wal­let, and there­fore all the money they had to set up in the new coun­try, was gone. Shortly af­ter that, they were put on a quar­an­tine train and sent north to Auck­land where they con­tin­ued to be kept in iso­la­tion for three months un­til the quar­an­tine was com­plete.

Even­tu­ally, Grand­paThorn se­cured em­ploy­ment as a book­keeper for a large drap­ers store in Waihi, so they made the move there. By work­ing as a book­keeper, and get­ting a sec­ond job as a mine ‘snif­fer’, he even­tu­ally man­aged to get a de­posit to­gether (two pounds 10 shillings) and bought the farm at the top end of Waitete Rd. Grand­mother Hanna-Ada had been raised on a dairy farm in Eng­land and so knew how to milk cows. She started the dairy and milk run, de­liv­er­ing milk around the west end of Waihi.

Prior to the out­break of World War I, Ben Jr was em­ployed as a farm­hand on a farm between Thames and Paeroa.

— Danny Thorn

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