Dudley Lean Biography 2000

Dudley was born in Napier, 21 March 1922, the oldest of three sons of Alex and Hetty Lean.

His childhood was spent in and around Hastings and he attended Hastings Central and Hastings High schools.

His favourite subject was Maths.

In 1931 the family was living in Garnett St, Hastings and on 3rd February, the day of the Hawkes Bay earthquake, Alex was away droving. Hetty and the boys had to cope with the chimney ending up in the fork of the plum tree, a cupboardful of preserves in a broken, sticky mess on the kitchen floor and the house generally in an unlivable condition. They moved into a tent in the back yard and cooked over an open fire until the damage could be repaired-a period of some weeks.

As a child he showed sporting ability, being a good athlete, rugby and cricket player and joined the amateur boxing association.

When he left school, he joined the staff of de Pelichet Mcleod, Stock and Station agents, as a clerk, using his mathematical ability. He worked for them for 21 years, excluding his time in the army in World War 2. During his teenage years, he was very involved with the Hastings Baptist church, including their Boys’ Brigade unit and cricket team.

In 1941 he was called up to do 3 months basic army training at Waiouru. They travelled to Waiouru by train and as they arrived it started to snow. Their accomodation was in tents.

In December 1941 when the Japanese entered the War, he became part of the 1st Hawkes Bay Regiment and was sent to Woodville where a camp had been set up at the racecourse. So began a 59 year relationship with Woodville. While in Camp, he became friendly with one of the local lads and when they were supposed to be on all-night patrol would make their way to the mate’s home, have a good feed, bath and sleep and in the morning would catch up with their mates and return to Camp.

On another occasion, their weekend leave was cancelled at the last minute, quite unjustly according to Dudley and his Hastings mates but they left Camp and caught the train home anyway. When they arrived back at the Woodville Railway station on the Sunday night, the Military Police were wating [waiting] for the [them] and his Army record shows he was fined and given extra duties for being AWOL.

He was in camp in Woodville for 10 months, then Linton, Masterton and Waiouru. In 1943 he celebrated his 21st birthday while on final leave and sailed for New Caledonia. He was a poor sailor so it wouldn’t have been an

easy trip for him. In September he sailed for Guadacanal [Guadalcanal] with NZ Ordinance, the returned to New Caledonia in June 1944 and in October of that year returned to New Zealand. He was discharged on 6th November and returned to Twyford, west of Hastings, where his parents were farming and had started breeding pedigree Jersey cattle.

Soon after he met a young Land Girl, June Snowsill who was working down the road at Joyce and Trevor Fourneau’s. They actually met in the judging ring at the Hastings Show. He was apparently keener than her in the relationship developing. She and her friend Lois Alderman agreed to meet him in town (Hastings). The three of them headed towards Westerman’s a department store with entrances on two streets. June and Lois said they had some personal shopping to do and left him waiting outside one of the street entrances. They went into the shop and out the door into the other street and left him there. He can’t have been put off by this because they continued courting, became engaged and married in Hastings 18th August 1945. They travelled to Woodville for their honeymoon and stayed in the Central Hotel. Why Woodville? It was the end of the War, the only available transport was by rail-Woodville was on the rail route; civilians were only allowed to travel 100 miles and Woodville was near that limit.

In 1946, Michael was born but sadly died aged 3 weeks. Then followed Carol, Sharon and Beryl. When Sharon was a toddler they purchased a farmlet at Tollemache Road where purchased a few acres of land and began their “Pamir” pedigree Jersey stud and began showing their own cattle, while Dudley still continued employment at de Pelichet McLeod. During this time, June was a foster Mother to several children, including Peter who has remained part of the family and he and his daughter Alexandra are with us today.

In 1958 the family moved to Twyford to manage the Fourneau family farm-a full time position. In 1962 Martin joined the family and 4 weeks later came to the move to Taranaki to work for Lindsay Morgan at Mangatoki.

The move back to Hawkes Bay in December 1963 was to Waipukurau where Dudley became Grocery Manager for Dalgety Loan. During this time, living in town, Dudley renewed his interest in amateur boxing as an official, as well as supporting his children in their sporting interests.

The desire to get back onto the land increased, and after looking at farmlets in various parts of Hawkes Bay, they brought land at Masterton Rd, Woodville and farmed there until early 1997, when they moved to Gordon St.

From 1970-1982, Dudley worked at the Hawkes Bay Farmers in Woodville, firstly in the office, then as grocery Manager until he reached the age of 60 and could retire to become a full time farmer again.

Fo4r [For] June and Dudley retirement meant a busier life than ever. He was approached by several organisations to audit their books annually. The commitment to the local RSA increased and the opportunities to show their Jersey Cattle continued. They hosted a number of overseas Jersey Breeders and attended Conferences in many parts of NZ.

Animals were always a part of Dudley’s life. They had Australian Terrier dogs and more recently, the Corgis, Holly and Emma. There have always been cats, including a few strays and those needing a home because their owners were moving. He always kept hens but his favourites were the bantams, raising many generations from clutches of eggs. In recent years having a few sheep to fill the deep freeze changed emphasis as he and June developed an interest in coloured sheep and a fine flock are keeping the paddocks grazed on the corner of Gordon St and SH2.

His services to the Jersey Breeders of new Zealand have been Widely recognised. He was appointed an official judge and officiated at a number of A & P Shows and Club Shows. In 1988 he received the Jersey Breeders Distinguished Members’ Award and in 1997 was made a member of the Dannevirke Jersey Breeders Club. The citation states that he first joined the Hastings jersey Breeders Club in 1947, and was appointed Secretary; in 1948 he became Secretary/Treasurer and held that position for 15 years, supported by June and the family. He was also on the Pahiatua Show Committee.

A highlight of June and Dudley’s Jersey Breeding years was being guests at the Ferdon Stud in Otorohunga [Otorohanga] when the Queen visited in 1990 to inspect the Ferguson Family’s herd from which she had purchased a number of animals.

In 1992, June and Dudley travelled to England and stayed on the Royal farm at Windsor, preparing the Royal Herd show team for the World Conference Show, and the Queen took Dudley’s photo.

Over the years, Dudley judged many times at Lamb/calf Days at Taranaki and Hawkes Bay schools.

Racehorses were a great pleasure in his latter years and he was delighted when the Trackside channel was introduced to TV-even more delighted that it was free!! He spent many hours, day and night watching cricket and rugby

as well. As soon as SKY was available in Woodville, he wanted to subscribe- only for the sports channels of course.

It was quite common for him to have the TV in the bedroom on one channel watching sport, the one in the lounge on another channel watching a different sport, while he dashed from one to the other, transistor to his ear, listening to a third sports event that wasn’t being televised.

His transistor radio went everywhere with on the farm with him-to the shed, on the tractor, down to che3ck the cows. He was conveniently deaf when he was listening to the radio so if the family wanted him, the easiest way was to listen for the radio-wherever it was, he wasn’t far away.

One of his greatest social occasions several times a year, was being a member of the catering staff at the Woodville/Pahiatua Racing Club where he happily dispensed the liquid that kept the punters ever hopeful. The May race meeting this year, was his last.

Dudley’s affiliation with the Woodville RSA commenced in 1970. In 1972 he was elected to the Committee and was made Secretary/Treasurer in 1981-a position he held up till his death last Sunday. An important part of that role was to organise the RSA part of funerals for ex-servicemen.

In August 1998, he was awarded Life membership of Woodville and Districts RSA for meritous [meritorious] Service and on the same day his name was placed on the NZ RSA Special Honours List in recognition of outstanding service to NZ RSA for the benefit of ex-servicemen.

Dudley was unusual in that he never held a driver’s licence. June has always done all the driving.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s the children married and made him a Grandfather 12 times and he is now a Great-Grandfather to 4. He was very proud of them all-especially at calf/lamb days and of their sporting and academic successes.

Although not a regular church-goer, he had a regular appointment every Sunday morning at 9am to tune into TV 1 to watch “Praise Be”. If outdoor commitments couldn’t be delayed, he would set the video and watch it later.

Today’s gathering is the second in as many months for Dudley’s family, as his Mother died 20th September, aged 106 years, the oldest resident of Hawkes Bay.

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Eulogy given at Duncan Alexander Lean’s funeral, December 2000

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December 2000

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