Hughes Milk

In 1936 G.W. Hughes Milk Giraffe Farm, Que Que home delivered milk by bicycle

In 1936 G.W. Hughes of  Greenham Farm, 13 miles west of  Que Que, home delivered milk by bicycle

Hughes Milk

Gervas Wylde Hughes, came from a remote Welsh Valley and arrived in Que Que to stay with his broher on the Globe and Phoenix Mine in 1921 at the age of 20.  By 1926 Gervas  took over the 6000 acre farm  Greenham, out on the Gokwe Road, from the Land Department.  He built a hut near Giraffe Spruit and started doing ox wagon transpsort for small workers moving boilers and mining plant.

 Hughes Milk

In 1936 Gervas  and his wife Barbara built a large concrete floored cowshed on his farm where his herd of dairy cows were milked very early every day.  Immediately the the raw milk was bottled and capped and his milkmen set off by bicycle on a short cut path across the river  to town to deliver door to door.  The bicycles were equipped with carriers front and aft to carry boxes of milk bottles. In addition they wore  canvas waistcoats which were sewn with pockets front and back by Barbara to hold still more milk bottles.

All the surplus milk was put through a hand operated milk separator and the cream produced was made into butter and sold to the town baker.

Brick lined silage pits built near the dairy contained maize ensilage for winter cow food.

But in 1942, riding into town one day  to have lunch with friends Barbara was thrown from her horse and died.   Gervas closed the dairy and converted it to a saw mill as part of his wagon transport business.

In time Gervas moved to nearby  Melrose Farm and married Dorothy.  Part of her conditions for marriage were that she would bring out  a nucleus of her English Jersey cow herd.  Gervas built a cow shed and yards for Dorothy’s ‘darling heifers’ and purchased a local Jersey bull.

Early in the 1960’s the dairy was moved to Giraffe Farm.  She continued to maintain a cream dairy for the rest of her life with African assistants to help her with hand milking and separating the milk.  The skim milk was given to farm laborers.

In 1983 she and Gervas were both shot dead  by a thief  at the farm.  That was the end of Hughes Milk in Rhodesia, but his son, Tim, continued the legacy in Australia at  Queensland University Farm at Redland Bay.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the story excerpt from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son.

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