Topic: Swadling Street (TDN 25/11/2017)

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Swadling Street 

In December, 1957, a meeting of the Kaponga Town Council was held to rename the streets of Kaponga. Knowledgeable about the history of their small town, they decided Kapuni Road would now be known as Swadling Street.

It was named after William Swadling, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1879. In 1882 he purchased bush-covered land near the fledgling township of Kaponga. Swadling set about clearing and farming the block, which was on Palmer Road. He married Sarah Limbrick and the couple had a daughter, Doris.

In 1905 the Kaponga Town Board was formed. Swadling was elected the first chairman. He was suddenly very active in public life, elected to positions on many public bodies in the area, and private companies in Taranaki. At his sudden death in 1912, aged 52, an obituary noted him as “one of the best-known and most respected men in the district.” He was considered, ‘the father of Kaponga’. Nearly 400 people were at Kaponga cemetery for his service.

His wife Sarah had died some years previously and Doris inherited her father’s successful farm. Doris was also very public-spirited, volunteering her time and donating money to various causes. She died in 1960. In her will she set up a trust and asked that the farm be owned and maintained for as long as possible by the trust. She requested that profits from the farm be used to fund education in agriculture and music in Taranaki.

The Doris Swadling Trust, administered by the Public Trust, exists to this day, a direct link to an influential man in Kaponga’s earliest days.

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