THORN FAMILY HISTORY
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