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SWADLING, DORIS ELIZABETH GERALDINE

 

Doris Swadling was born in December 1904 at Kaponga, the only child of William and Sarah Geraldine Swadling nee Linbrick. William Swadling had taken up some of the first land in Kaponga in 1882, and was first chairman of the Kaponga Town Board, and is regarded as the "father of the town".

 

Doris's parents both died while she was a small child and at the age of five years came to Hawera where she was brought up by an aunt, Miss Elizabeth Swadling.

 

Educated at Hawera Main and St Cuthbert's School, Auckland where membership of the school orchestra was the beginning of a lifelong interest in music, Doris was not only an accomplished flute and oboe player for the Hawera Orchestral Society, but a generous benefactor of music in Hawera.

 

It was a gift from Doris that first bought instruments to establish instrumental music in Hawera schools, a gift from which stemmed the Hawera Schools' Band and Orchestra that gave the opportunity of musical education to very many children in their school years. This fund was made anonymously and it was many years before its source was revealed.

 

As a staunch adherent of the Methodist Church, Doris was equally and unobtrusively generous. When Wesley Hall was built she provided the fund to complete the building with a stage. She was also acted as a Sunday School teacher.

 

Doris was district organiser for the Mission to Lepers and worked energetically for the British and Foreign Bible Society and Dr Barnardo's Homes. She had also been a steward at the Egmont A and P show for many years. Her driving was described as an "accelerating" experience.

 

During the depression many people had reason to be grateful to the two Miss Swadling's, whose visits with gifts of food were as unobtrusive and kindly as were all their good works.

 

An indication of her future life is shown in a letter sent by Lady Godley to the 10-year-old "little Hawera flower seller". By selling spring flowers, Miss Swadling had collected 30 for the fund for the wounded at the Dardenelles engagement in World War One, and Lady Godley's letter was a personal thanks for this effort.

 

Doris Swadling died on the 22 June 1960 and is buried at the Kaponga cemetery with her parents.

 

 

 

Under her will, youth, cultural and charitable organisations, mainly in South Taranaki, benefited to the extent of 6000. Apart from a small private bequest, the residue of the estate of approximately 50,000 is held in perpetuity and the income earned on the residue is used as follows:

 

(a) One-third to grant scholarships or bursaries or other assistance to persons who wish to become farmers and who are under the age of 21 years. Preference to be given to people resident in the Taranaki Province.

 

(b) One-third of the income to be used for the advancement of musical education in the Taranaki Province to persons under the age of 21 years.

 

(c) One-third of the income to be used to advance the Christian religion in the Taranaki Province by making of grants to agencies of the Methodist Church in New Zealand.

 

Miss Swadling asked that her farm lands be retained as long as possible. The farm lands consist of a 100 acre farm at Palmer Road, Kaponga. The farm had been left to her by her father, William Swadling. In 1992 the farm produced 21,600 kgs of butterfat at an average of 534 kgs per hectare.

 

SOURCE

Obituary "Hawera Star" 23 June 1960

Letter from The Public Trust Office