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Ada Payne was born on the 11 October 1881 at Kakaramea, the daughter of early settlers, Edwin and Elizabeth Payne nee Coutts.


Ada was never one to be hemmed in by long skirts and the narrow confines then forced on women of her generation. As a young woman she received a good education, played provincial tennis (for which she wore short dresses), "gambled a little" at cards, pursued various crafts with success, and attended political meetings.


After finishing her schooling at Wanganui Girls College, Ada wanted to become a schoolteacher.  Her parents had not approved of the idea, however, so she attended a dressmaking school in Patea, and later learned cooking, budgeting and the domestic arts from her mother.  At Patea, in 1907 she married Alfred Craven Jones, known as Jack, and the attributes she had learnt stood her in good stead when she shifted to Hurleyville with her husband in 1910.  Ada became as good as any man in assisting Jack to break in the land and set up their 950 acre sheep farm.


Until 1938, when the farm "went electric", she cooked on a coal range, did the washing by hand, made butter and milked a cow for domestic needs, as well as helping out with farm work.  Until 1926, when the Jones bought their first car, she rode by horse into town to do the marketing and in 1931 - when the bottom dropped out of the wool prices - she and her husband switched to cows, milking a herd of 42 for a few years to keep going.


The road to their farm was "10 miles of mud in winter and 10 miles of dust in summer," and to go beyond their farm they had to use a narrow bridle track.  Ada valued the challenge of building up a successful farm and bringing up a family, and especially enjoyed the friendship of people in the close-knit Hurleyville community.  "We were in Hurleyville for 50 years before my husband died, and all our neighbours were wonderful" she said. "There was rarely a cross word among any of us. All had helped each other whenever help was needed."


After her husband's death, Ada moved to Ngaere to live with her daughter Rita Macartney and died in Stratford on the 26 June 1980 aged 98 years.



Interview "Daily News" 17 Nov 1973

E A Jones, Eltham (son)