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Mona Farndon 1914-2011

Posted by SC Comments Off on Mona Farndon 1914-2011

Mona (second from right) with, from lelt, son Peter, sister-in-law Rene Shaw, Lewis Fardon and Sandra Coney

Mona Evelyn (Lisa) Farndon died on 18 August at the Everill Orr Hospital, aged 97. Born at Mt Eden on 25 May 1914, Mona had the longest history of Piha of anyone.

She was born while her father, Jack Shaw, worked at the Piha sawmill and her early childhood was spent at the Shaws’ mill house in the Glen Esk valley, with her brother Ivan. Mona could remember the picnics on the beach, attending the Piha School and the dances in the mill hall where the chidren were bedded down on mattresses.

Mona and her mother Lucy Shaw at the Piha Mill

After the Mill closed, the Shaws had come to love Piha and continued to visit. The family bought a section at the beginning of Glen Esk Road and built a bach which was only demolished about 8 years ago.

Sadly, Jack Shaw drowned in 1937 while fishing off Lion Rock. Mona could recall the traumatic scene on the beach, where the surf club boys built a wooden platform and placed her father’s body on it. Smoke from a fire underneath was intended to revive him but it was not successful.

Mona worked in a clothing factory when she left school then married George Farndon. The couple’s first son was  Lewis and then they had the boy they called the “wonder boy”. John was born 9 years after Lewis and Mona had given up hope she would conceive again. The family’s social life revolved around the Grafton Rugby Club and visits to Piha where they stayed with Mona’s brother Ivan and his wife Rene.

Mona worked hard all her life – when her boys were grown she worked in a dairy at Green Lane, then worked in the geriatric ward at the hospital. She waited in her neice Adele Bridgens’ restaurant, Clowns in K Rd. She worked until she was 66, lying about her age, and continued to apply for jobs into her 70s.  A bright and vital woman, in her widowhood Mona had many admirers and would visit Country and Western Clubs. In her old age she loved shopping, especially at Lynn Mall, and would visit three days a week.

The Farndons continued to holiday at Piha and it always held a special place in Mona’s heart. In 2005,when the Auckland Regional Council installed an interpretation trail in the Glen Esk Valley, Mona was an honoured guest and planted a kauri as a representative of the Mill families.

On Anzac Day 2013 Lewis Farndon and other members of his family placed a wreath to commemorate the men from the Piha Mill who went to WW1.

 

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