Friday, May 27, 2016


New information found today in the Thames Star newspaper confirms the naming of the street adjacent to the Shortland Cemetery. It was known by many as cemetery Street, but this was found to be not so desirable. The Council in 1976 agreed therefor to change the name officially to DANBY STREET in honour of Mr Stan Danby.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thames (NZ): TCDC new Cemetery Search by SURNAME

Continuing on from the previous post:
When using the new Cemetery database, you will have noticed that entering a SURNAME in the top search box doesn't always give you all the possibilities. Also, if you enter only part of a person's name they will not show.

For example...if I enter "DOUGLAS BARKER" there are no results. Change it to full name "DOUGLAS OWEN BARKER" and a result appears.

Thanks to Graeme for finding out how to get a full SURNAME SEARCH for all TCDC cemeteries.

Steps to finding all names of a given SURNAME:

1. Click the LAYER list on the left-hand side (like stack of 3 papers)

2. Left click on down arrow at end of CEMETERY NAME SEARCH, click on OPEN ATTRIBUTE TABLE

3. Go to map area and left click the drop down arrow to right of OPTIONS. Select FILTER. A new box opens, select ADD FILTER SELECTION.

4. There are different Search options. Choose SURNAME. Then type in the surname you are searching and click OK.

You can also add more search options by clicking ADD AN EXPRESSION add first names or combinations. But this is just an extra, stick to basics first till you have found your way around this complex search engine!!!

5. Now you will have some names in the bottom table. To get full list click on FILTER BY MAP EXTENT. I now have 24 Surnames to scroll through - to view any double left click the chosen name and they appear in the main map area.

6. Downloading A CSV file of your search result. Click on first name in the list, then scroll down to the last. Holding the SHIFT key, left click on the last in the list. Go back to the OPTIONS button and click the Drop arrow - Select EXPORT SELECTED TO CSV. Sample of a file below.

Keep experimenting and I'm sure we will find ways to make this process easier!!!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Thames (NZ): TCDC new Cemetery Search

If you are like me, you will have been struggling to make any headway with the new TCDC cemetery search.  I was using Internet Explorer 10, but found that when I got to Step 5, all the options were not showing. Experimented using GOOGLE CHROME and hey presto it works! So if you are not seeing all the options you may need to use an alternate browser - there are several alternatives. Special thanks to the very helpful receptionist at TCDC who helped me through these here goes:

1. You may start at the Cemetery information page

Scroll down to Search our online SMART Maps Cemetery viewer and click

2. Click on the cemeteries photo  (see right what it looks like)

3. The opening screen, a map of the Coromandel Peninsula will open and you are at the cemetery search site.

4. Far left hover over the symbol that says LAYERS (like stacks of paper), click on it and tick all the options
5. At the top middle of the page is the SEARCH BOX with "FIND ADDRESS OR PLACE"
Click on the drop down arrow and select NAME SEARCH
As you start typing the FIRSTNAME you will see all the 'possibles' and can select one at any STAGE. I used MARIA BARKER. Interestingly if you just enter a surname they do not all appear, but using firstname then surname you will see all the names.

6. Now DOUBLE-CLICK on the plot highlighted in orange. The pop-up box has changed and has arrow at top, also information about cemetery and plot can be seen.
7. For more information you can use the right arrow (ie for this search there are 1 of 4)
Then click on SHOW RELATED RECORDS at the bottom of the pop-up then see further burial, age details etc...

8. Now the feature I missed most was being able to see the actual satellite image of the cemetery to help with location. To get this view click the FOUR SQUARES (Basemap Gallery) underneath the top search box. Select New Zealand Imagery.
Now you will have a SATELLITE Image in the top right inset box, click on the MAXIMISE SYMBOL and you will now see I have an aerial view indicating where Maria's grave is.

Hope that helps and allows you to experiment and find perhaps easier ways of using the new search facility.

***New post 11 May 2016 that searches by SURNAME to give full list***

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


More names have been added to the WWII ROH list for Thames.
This is but a start, so if you find or know of other men and women from the Thames area who died during WWII - please let me know.

Check the latest names at the WWII ROH Page.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thames (NZ): WWI Military Cross

The names of men from Thames who are known to have received the Military Cross are documented in the book Gold Mine to Firing Line:
DALDY, Robert Henry 4/1222
MORPETH, Robert Nicoll 12/295
SERPELL, Samuel L 3/2874
TINGEY, Edward 16/515
WILKES, Thomas Mark 24/6

After the book was printed we also found that Robert Vincent HOLLIS 12/365, who lived in Thames after the war (and died at Thames), was also a recipient of the Military Cross.

Another find has led to the realisation that we have many more World War One soldiers and nurses yet to find. A 1958 Thames Star article dated 4th February, headlined "Runaway boy from Thames completes fifty years of solid service." Mr Alexander McRae FORBES had gone onto serve fifty years with the stationery firm Leighton Ltd in Auckland. Along the way serving with great honour in World War One and being awarded the Military Cross; while also later becoming a Justice of the Peace.  In 1958 Mr Forbes recalled his school days at the Waiokaraka School and the punishments dished out by Headmaster Isemonger. He went to school with the Verrans, Caseys, Ryans, Finlays and many others well known in Thames.

"As a barefoot boy of 13, he ran away from the confines of his then home in Thames, Mrs [K]ates' Grahamstown boarding house, and stowed away on the old Wakatere." The year was 1907, he obtained a job at Leighton's, who insisted he go back and get his family's permission! Forbes only break was then for the war.

FORBES' service in WWI.
Alexander McRae FORBES Born 15 January 1895 -

The photo on the right is from the Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph and caption reads: 12/3218 Lieutenant Alec McRae Forbes.

Citation for Military Cross: 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, on 29th September 1918, in the attack east of Ribecourt. He commanded the left front company of the battalion, and when a gap occurred between him and the troops on his left side, he filled it with his reserve platoon. Largely owing to his initiative, five 7cm guns, one 4in. howitzer, one 6in. howitzer and two naval guns were captured. After reaching his objective, he pushed forward to reconnoitre the company front as far as the Canal. His work throughout being most praiseworthy.'

The Cenotaph has extensive background information on Alexander including that he was "Aide-de-Camp to the Prince of Wales during the Somme Battle and Aide-de-Camp to Major General Sir George Richardson (after the war).

A remarkable story about a 'runaway' from the Thames.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thames (NZ): Streets of Thames book

A new booklet with straightforward information on the development of Thames Streets.

FULL TITLE: Streets of Thames, The A to Z of Streets past and present

68 Page soft cover, A4 booklet with photos throughout and colour as per available image. Published Feb 2016.

Covers an A to Z of Thames Streets from the goldfield opening August 1867 to present day for Thames.

Includes history, maps and resource suggestions for researching Thamesites who lived at Thames.
Includes pathways and steps around the town.
Basic info designed to give you a starting point when researching your Thames families, or just someone interested in the development of a town.

Available on Trademe Auction site.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

THAMES (NZ): New memorabilia - postcards and bookmarks

How will The Thames be remembered in another 50 years, or less? As we enter an age where everything is digital and many value hard copies less and less - its fun to make some 'new' memorabilia of the town and it's history. I have put the challenge out to a few other groups to have a go and design something for their organisations.
POSTCARDS - Collage of Then and Now (left) and Then & Now (right)



BOOKMARKS of different locations, some before and after, others use the collage method of mixing photos together to help visualise how the town looked in the eyes of our old Thamesites.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thames (NZ): Memories, Memorabilia wanted for TV Show

Wow....Exciting news for those of us who love Thames History.
Maybe you can help, participate, share some memories...
Read below for the full story how you can contribute to this upcoming TV show:

"Top Shelf Productions are working on a brand new factual TV series about revitalising small town museums and historical sites around New Zealand. The series will screen on Choice TV next year.
There are more than 500 heritage sites and museums in New Zealand with over ninety percent of them in desperate need ...of help. Usually run by local volunteers, these caretakers of our history are not only struggling for funds, but struggling to get people to see their exhibits. The show's presenter will visit these small towns and with support from the local community, they will help revitalise each site’s collections and reveal some of New Zealand’s most fascinating forgotten stories and treasures.

The first episode will focus on the Thames Historical Museum, and will work collectively with the museum on an exciting new exhibit. This will be a display for Ted Egan’s beautifully carved scale model collection of early Thames buildings. They are looking for locals to help tell the stories of these buildings to help bring them back to life! Did you have a relative who worked in or help build one of those buildings? Do you have an item that belonged to the building or even old photographs? If you know of any fascinating stories of these early buildings or have some association with them, Top Shelf would like to hear from you!

Some of the buildings in the collection are: Royal Hotel, Phoenix Brewery, Old Court House, Scrip Corner, James Mackay’s House and Hansen’s Haunted House.

If you would like to see the full list of models, are interested in contributing stories, photographs or other information, or know of someone that Top Shelf should get in touch with,
please contact Justine

Facebook page:  for Heritage Rescue TV Show

One of Mr Egan's amazing models - this is the Baillie Street Thames Hospital built 1900. It is in eastern foyer of Thames Hospital. This is similar to the models that Top Shelf Productions will be using to tell the history of Thames heritage sites.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thames (NZ): Thames nurses with a military connection

There is a new book available that contains information on our Thames Nurses who served in the military service. This covers the years 1915-2015.

The title is: 100 Years  New Zealand Military Nursing, New Zealand Army Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps 1915 - 2015. The book is written by Sherayl McNabb. It builds on a previous title "New Zealand Military Nursing" that was co-written with David Corbett in 1990.

Considerable information and photos that cover the history of military nursing. On the front cover is one of 'our' Thames trained nurses, Clara Hawkins. Clara returned to the hospital after the war, where she completed a couple of years as Matron of the Thames Hospital. In the top photo (right), Sister Clara Hawkins is seated in the front row, first on the left.

For more information go to Sherayl's website:
New Zealand Military Nursing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Thames (NZ): W H REED Early Grahamstown Photographer

Its not everyday one comes across a photograph from early Thames, so imagine my delight in being given a copy of this early photograph card. Initially you may think its just an unknown cricket name, but what other secrets does it hold. The card has a hard backing and measures 6.5 by 10.5cms.
There were many cricket teams on the Thames Goldfield, groups of individuals and business groups formed cricket teams. The men are posed for a group photograph. Is the man in a suit the team manager or business sponsor?
When was the photo taken? W H Reed as the back of the card reveals - was a photographic artist in Grahamstown, Thames. Mr Reed died in 1878, so this card is before that date.
What do we know of W H Reed? In 1865, Reed was a photographer in Shortland Street, Auckland. The Thames newspapers are online from 1874, and Reed appears in them performing concerts, selling instruments and working as a tuner. Reed is active in the social scene performing at numerous entertainment programmes. An example in the Thames Star 21 December 1875, where he was performing some of his own local songs for which he was renown for. He was also playing a wide range of musical instruments.
At this time in 1875, Mr Reed's skill as a photographer was noted in the local papers. He had taken and presented photographs of the Wesleyan Women's Bible Class. Then in the Thames Advertiser,  9 October 1876 W H Reed was advertising his business as a photographer. "The newest and best thing in Photography."
In 1877 Mr Reed made the news for taking a photograph of  painting.
"We have seen a very good photograph of the oil painting done by Mr Calder of Paeroa, of the Gorge and the Ohinemuri river. The photograph is the work of Mr W. H. Reed, and gives an excellent representation of the picture, being about 8 inches by 6. The details are truthfully set forth, as is also the back ground, and it is an excellent work of photography, and much credit is due to Mr Heed. We hear that a copy of the picture will be given to every subscriber to Mr Calder's Art Union, whether he be successful in drawing the big prize or not, so that subscribers will have something for their money." Thames Star, 25 January 1877 
During the 1870s Mr Reed appears to be either managing or working from the Academy of Music. Applications made to the borough council have his name as the applicant and contact. Then in May 1877 Mr Reed advertised in the paper that he was resuming his photographic business in Brown Street - the details of where he had been are not given.
In January 1878, Mr Reed was singing with Miss Leef at Tauranga. Miss Leef was a well known singer of Auckland, whom he married on 13 March 1878. "Mr W. H. Reed, of the Thames, has tied in the connubial knot with Miss Leaf, the Auckland nightingale, this morning. They have gone to spend the honeymoon at Waipawa." The couple performed in musical programmes around the Wanganui area before returning to Thames a few months later. (Thames Advertiser, 25 July 1878)
In September 1878, it was with deep regret that the people of Thames learnt that Mr Reed was again leaving the town. Thames Advertiser,  18 September 1878:
"The Thames is about to lose another useful citizen in the person of Mr W. H. Reed, the talented musician and photographer of Brown Street, Mr Reed is about to enter into business as a musical instrument dealer in Queen Street, Auckland, succeeding to the business now conducted by Mr Turrell. The Thames can ill afford to lose such a useful as well as gifted musician as Mr Reed, who has always been foremost in offering his valuable services in aid of tiny' charitable object, or to assist in amateur entertainments got up on the Thames, Mr and Mrs Reed have likewise sustained a very prominent part in the choir of St George's Church for some time past, and here their valuable assistance will be greatly missed."
Mr Reed had intended to return to The Thames for visits and business, but the unexpected happened.
Mr William Henry Reed died in Auckland on 23 October 1878, his obituary appeared in the Thames Star 25 October 1878:
"A painful feeling was caused on Wednesday night by the circulation of the report that the relatives of Mr W. H. Reed had received a telegram stating that he was dead. The news proved to be true. Yesterday's Herald contains an obituary notice of Mr Reed's death, but beyond that he died "on October 23, at the residence of his father-in-law (Mr Robert Leaf), Parnell," no particulars are given. Mr W. H. Reed was well known on the Thames as a photographer, and as a musician and singer of ability, possessing talents of a versatile character, and being especially happy in hitting off local topics in songs of his own composing. Only a few weeks ago Mr Reed purchased a business in Auckland, and at the time of his death a notification appeared in our contemporary's columns stating that he was about to visit the Thames on business. His death was very sudden - after a few days' illness, we understand, and the cause was an acute attack of dysentery. Mr Reed will be much missed in a large circle of acquaintances. Whether in entertainments of his own as a professional, or when giving his services in the cause of charity, he was always appreciated, and his unexpected demise will be sincerely regretted by all who knew him, and by none more than those for whom he has so often exerted his powers in this district. Mr Reed was to be buried to-day, and as he was a member of Lodge Sir Walter Scott, members of the different lodges in Auckland were invited to attend the funeral. "
A closer look at Mr W H Reed's cricket photo
(Courtesy of G Farquhar)