Topic: Hubert James Cooper (1892-1971)
This piece was written by Hubert's daughter Alma who married Noel Lansdale. Alma wrote it for Katikati Historian, Ellen McCormack, possibly around 1998.
Looking strange? see an archived version here
Mr Cooper was born at Opotiki where his father was teaching until he moved to Bombay with a family of four boys and two girls. Hubert had to ride to Pukekohe High School until he progressed to the Auckland Training College at the age of 16yrs. He started teaching at Matapouri, North Auckland when he was only 18 years old. Was married in 1914 and then took up a position at Glen Massey School.
Owing to back trouble he was not called up for war service until 1918. The war ended soon after and he was sent home to his family suffering from the 'Flu which many died from at the time. Fortunately he made a good recovery.
Mr Cooper was appointed to No. 1 School at Katikati in October 1919, after a short teaching position in Cambridge. The Katikati School building consisted of 1 room divided by a curtain. He had one assistant. The school grew over the years and he retired from teaching at about 1929. Mr Cooper then bought a Dairy farm in Katikati as he thought cows would be easier to manage than children even in those early days.
The property consisted of 100 acres (50 acres first obtained then later another 50 acres) on the Main Road just up from the Katikati township. Later some land from the farm was sold to the N.Z.D.C. to build the New Casein Factory in about 1945-46. The paddock in front of the the old homestead is now known as Diggelmann Park. The remainder of the farm is now all residential. The block of decorative flats tucked behind the telephone exchange are called 'Cooper's Flats' after Mr Cooper.
Mr Cooper was involved in many organisations:
Secretary of the school for many years.
A Member of the Tauranga Hospital Board where he attended regular meetings.
Helped to organise the forming of the St John Ambulance and served on the committee.
Session Clerk of the Presbyterian Church for many years and often took services as a Lay Preacher.
A member of the Domain Board. He grew Pohutukawa trees which he planted at Anzac Bay, Bowentown, where people now enjoy the shade in hot weather.
Farming was not easy in the Depression years. Prices for butterfat and stock were poor and with the old fashioned implements it was hard work. Man handling sacks of fertilizer into the horse drawn topdresser was slow work compared with the tractors and machinery of today. Harvesting was an ordeal, especially if the rain came before it was properly dry. Sometimes it was only fit to burn or sweep under the trees. Much of the hay was turned by hand so there was a good supply of hay-forks. A gang of men built the stacks and a good builder needed to make sure it was not going to slip over. We remember seeing a big stack on fire on a neighbours farm which must have overheated on account of the hay not being dry enough. Sometimes a hole would be cut into the middle of the stack to let out the heat.
In the early 1950's owing to ill health Mr Cooper decided to sell the farm and retire to a house and small block of land across the road from the farm, which he had Sharemilkers on for about 5 years before it was sold. He had enough land now to keep him busy for the rest of his days.
Mr Cooper died in July 1971 survived by his wife and four daughters. The eldest and only son of the family lost his life tragicaly in February 1971.
by A. E. Lansdale (nee Cooper) - Eldest daughter.
The children of Hubert James and Edith Margaret Cooper:
Ivan Ewart Cooper (c1917-1971).
Alma Edith Cooper (1918-2002) who married Noel Lansdale.
Joyce Aspden Cooper (1919-2005) who married Elkin Balfour Carey.
Gretta Louisa Cooper who married Mr Binet.
Katherine May Cooper (1924-1998) who married Ewen Leslie B. Merry
This page was archived at Perma cc April 2017 https://perma.cc/y673-pwe8