In the meantime, life and business had been continuing on the Rama Rd farm. There were two houses on the property – the original homestead and a house for the sharemilkers. Both were lived in.
The will allowed for Dawson’s niece, Rhoda Lenora Lister, to remain living in the homestead until her death. She had moved in as Dawson’s housekeeper after his wife, called Madge by the family, died in 1952.
The will clearly stated that Rhoda did not have to pay for any maintenance on the property, that the land continue to be farmed by sharemilkers and she be given an annual allowance of £400. That became $800 when decimal currency was introduced in 1967.
“The will didn’t allow for inflation,” Donald says, explaining how the advisory trustees had tried to increase her allowance. But Rhoda fended for herself.
Donald says she had a “marvellous garden” and she sold flowers. She also took in upholstery work to make extra money. Rhoda had a relation, Robert John Inverarity, who played test cricket for Australia. “We offered her money to fly to Australia to see him play, but she turned it down.”
Rhoda stayed living in the Bashford family home until she went into a Hawera rest home, and then on to Taumarunui, where she died. The last payment given to her by the Bashford estate was in 1996.
After she left the farm, the homestead was sold for removal. However, when the movers began taking it away, they discovered it was so badly deteriorated underneath it was only fit for demolition. It was pulled down instead.