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Later Years of the Young Qualtroughs from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough" Pages 48-70

William Qualtrough (Continued) (1840-1919) - "Wiremu' - Waiikato Identity


William had many Maori friends and was affectionately called Wiremu - wonder what they made of the name Qualtrough? The family was present when a monument to the chief Rewi Maniapoto was unveiled at Kihikihi with Rewi himself watching the ceremony from the verandah of the hotel across the road.

In 1902 the William Qualtrough bought a farm at Fencourt, just out from Cambridge. (Now the Fencourt Stud). Realising that a creamery was needed in the district and that the Cambridge Dairy Company was not able to finance it, Willy donated an acre of his land for the project and local farmers provided the labour for the factory to be built.

An old barn on the Fencourt property became the community centre for the district and the Qualtrough girls had happy memories of dances, with music provided by accordion, magic lantern shows and wedding parties to which people came from miles around.

Kate Qualtrough tells the story of a friend who, when off to visit them, met a quail on the road."Where are you going ?" asked the girl and the quail replied in perfect English (said she), "To Qualtroughs! To Qualtroughs! To Qualtroughs!"

The word must have got around - all welcome, ladies a plate -or just a 'flight' of fancy?

At the dances it added to the fun to make up rhyming couplets about those present. From a box of memories comes : "Did you notice there the two Miss Q's who were arrayed in navy blues."

Prior to and during World War 1, William gave permission for the Army to use his land for troop training. A letter in his family's possession is a note of appreciation from Major-General Godley, dated 13 May, 1913. It reads:

".... I desire to express my very sincere thanks .to you for the valuable assistance you have rendered to the Territorial movement in the Auckland District by permitting the free use of your land for manoeuvres during the recent Brigade Camp."

"Exercises in the field, to be of value, should not be cramped and the fact that the troops were able to move about, unrestricted, over a large area of ground, contributed in no small degree to the great measure of success which was undoubtedly achieved and which was almost entirely owing to your generosity."

William's last move was to a smaller farm closer to Cambridge. The property had a picturesque two-story house set among magnificent old trees including magnolias and rhododendrons. Two giant redwoods at the gate were landmarks in the district. Appropriately, it was named 'the Glen

The grandchildren and great-grandchildren can recall Christmas and other family gatherings with tables set outside beneath the flowering and rich-scented magnolias.

When the gentle Catherine Mary died in June 1919, Willy was so grief-stricken that he said to his daughter, Kate : "In six months' time I shall be with her."

And he was. He died December 31, 1919.

They are both interred in the Hautapu Cemetery, Cambridge.

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