Monday, July 13, 2020

Thames (NZ): Mining Maps & Plans

Thanks to Dave for the alert regarding a site that specialises in mining plans - the details are below.

NZ Mine Plans
"NZ Mine Plans is a purpose-built database with an interactive GIS webmap. It provides free access to a catalogue of plans for recent and historic mines in New Zealand."
    Yes they are free! And the resolution of the downloadable plans are significant! Not all the plans have as yet been digitised but there are instructions about how copies can be obtained.
    A 'user guide' is available.

How the site works?
I searched with 'Thames' and received many hits for the wider area. Understandably many of them were for the Martha Mine at Waihi.
     I selected the 'Bendigo Mine' at Thames. Looked at the preview, then selected to download the file. At this stage I was asked for my email address - which I submitted. Immediately I received a verification code, that I entered and the file began downloading.


     The plans cover not just the Bendigo Mine, but adjacent ones and their workings. Drives, reefs, adits, crosscuts, different levels are also included.



     I am sure you will not be lost for plans to look at, and hopefully for those of us less familiar with the mine location details, it will help us come to terms with what was happening at The Thames, which included a lot more than just a name on a map!

Using the interactive Map

     
     An easier way to check out the plans is to use the map, zoom into to the Thames area and then select the mine of choice. In the example above I selected the Cambria Mine. If nothing else this feature allows you to explore the locations of several Thames mines.

Other Resources:
Remember also to go back and visit some of the previous sites we have looked at, as they are updated from time to time.

  • Heritage maps available from Auckland Council Libraries Kura website. Use the advanced search option to select historical maps and the area you want to search "Thames"
  • Heritage maps available via the Auckland Libraries Heritage Images site
  • Digital NZ is an easy way to search across many resource providers. Here are the results for the terms "Thames Maps"

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Thames (NZ): Thames remembers the 'Rainbow Warrior'

What do these two have in common - The Karaka Bird Hide and Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior?

  
Left: Boardwalk leading to the Karaka Bird hide, Brown Street Thames. 
Right: The Rainbow Warrior 1985 at Marsden Wharf, Auckland. Source: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/nuclear-free-new-zealand/rainbow-warrior

BACKGROUND

The Bird Hide was officially opened 15th November 1993. It came from an idea by Keith Purnell of Thames, as a way of raising the awareness of the community and council towards environmental issues. The dream became a reality with a partnership, and the help of Environment Waikato. This led to plans being submitted for council planning approval, which was duly granted. Along the way members of the Forest and Bird Society became involved, plus members of the public who lent a hand. 
     An initial grant of $9000 was received from the ‘Rainbow Warrior Compensation’ fund. Altogether the costs were estimated at $28,000.  The vision has left a lasting legacy on the foreshore that is visited by people from all around the world.

 
Left: The Small Gauge Railway track loops around the foreshore reserve near the entrance to the Karaka Bird Hide - named after the Karak Creek located to the south.
Right: The view out to the Firth of Thames from one of the viewing windows in the Karaka Bird Hide.

Below: The simple understated sign that signals the entrance to the Bird Hide.
" Karaka Bird Hide
Royal N.Z. Forest and Bird Protection Society with the
Help of generous donations and voluntary labour built this
Walkway and Hide for your enjoyment; Best viewing 2hrs before - 2hrs after H.W."


WHAT CAN YOU SEE?

Well, you 'should' be able to see some information on the Rainbow Warrior that was bombed while anchored on the Auckland waterfront thirty five years ago - 10 July 1985. 
     "A Portuguese crew member, Fernando Pereira, was killed in the explosions. The Rainbow Warrior had been involved in protests over French nuclear testing in the Pacific. French Secret Service (DGSE) agents were sent to prevent it leaving for another protest campaign at Mururoa Atoll." nzhistory.govt.nz
     You 'should' also be able to see an identification panel for the birds that can be viewed from the hide.
     At present these information / identification panels are 'missing,' removed when the hide was painted. It hopefully is a priority to get these panels returned to the hide!
     There is an article in Coromandel Life Spring 2015, that included a photo of the panels, as well as photographs of the birds that could be seen on the firth of Thames.

Source:  Coromandel Life Spring 2015,

New Zealand was awarded compensation from France for the 'bombing', following a United Nations ruling. Money from this compensation was therefore given to contribute towards the construction of the Karaka Bird Hide at Thames,

Further Information:
Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior Educational resources.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Thames (NZ): Noah Jonassen - Early Sky Jumper from Thames

Characters of Thames
The town of Thames has been home for many famous people, many of those who have made it 'big' are in danger of being forgotten as our older generations pass away.
     Noah Jonassen, 1930s Thames garage owner, is an example of a man from Thames who was renown throughout the country. What for? As a sky jumper - balloonist.

Noah Jonassen's Thames Business
 
Then & Now Corner Pollen and Cochrane Streets. 
Left: 1930s - Jonassen's garage is far center right by the car parked in the foreground. 
Right: The view today via Google Streets.

Around 1921 took over the Motor Power Station (Garage) at the corner of Pollen and Cochrane Streets Thames. The garage offered a wide range of services at the Grahamstown section of Pollen Street.

 

Thames Star 1 April 1921   and     Thames Star 21 November 1934

Achievements
Before Noah Jonassen came to Thames he was 'famous' throughout the Dominion.
    Captain Jonassen as he was known, performed at demonstration events. For example for the 12 December 1907 at Timaru, he advertised a 6000 feet ascent in a monster balloon followed by a parachute jump.
  
Left: Timaru Herald 10 December 1907  
Right: Balloon Ascent at Day's Bay Wellington 9 November 1907. 
Whites Aviation Limited. 1907. Noah Jonassen, 15-1225. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

  
Captain N. Jonassen the "Aerial King" on balloon ascent at Days Bay, Wellington.
Whites Aviation Limited. 09 Nov 1907. Balloon Flights [Pre 1914], 15-1163. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

1929 April 18 Thames Star: Airman's Feat banned read the headlines. Mr Jonassen had been interviewed by the Thames Star newspaper about his ballooning activities. He said “They talk about wishing to establish an air sense in New Zealand, but, as far as I can see, they don’t want to learn anything and they won’t let anyone else touch them.” The paper noted that Jonassen was one of the pioneers of aviation in New Zealand. That he was involved with experimental work long before the war, had built a ‘plane, and taken part in ballooning.
     Mr Jonassen had studied life saving methods for when accidents happened in the air, in particular the use of the parachute. He had recommended the use of a parachute for all pilots to Massey’s government - to which they rubbished the proposal. Ironically it was only later that the value of the parachute was acknowledged. 
     The argument in 1929 was that Mr Jonassen wanted to provide a demonstration to the Auckland Aero Club on the value of the parachute as a safety devise -  the Defence Department subsequently prohibited the display.

1930 February 10 Thames Star: News that Mr Jonassen had applied to the Defence Department for permission to do parachute descents from military aeroplanes. The application was approved, Jonassen was given the green light to go ahead with four exhibition jumps. The first to take place at Hastings. The paper reported that Noah Jonassen "had considerable experience in parachute jumps from balloons" including exhibitions in overseas countries.

BIG PARACHUTE DESCENT. Captain Jonassen (left), of Thames, prior to making a descent of 3000 ft. from an aeroplane at the Hawke's Bay Aero Club's pageant.
NEW ZEALAND HERALD,  22 MARCH 1930

 
Noah Jonassen, balloonist in Thames about 1933 - showing equipment.
LEFT: Whites Aviation Limited. 1933. Noah Jonassen, 15-1224. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
RIGHT: Whites Aviation Limited. 1930s. Noah Jonassen, 15-1228. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

In August 1930, the interest in planes and air travel was growing. People were going on flights in Captain Money's Moth. A special edition of the newspaper was printed and flown to Whitianga in just 25 minutes. Mr Jonassen was involved with looking for a suitable site for an aerodrome and would be available to help with the establishment of an aero club. Plus Jonassen promised to so a parachute jump in the near future.

Mishaps still happened despite Captain Jonassen's experience. He recounted in 1930 that he had once had a problem during descent and ended up breaking his angle. While in his latest jump, he was blown half a mile off target. All part of the experience reassured Noah Jonassen!

Amazing Thamesite
Noah Ezra Obed Samuel Jonassen was born 24 August 1888 at Akaraoa, New Zealand. Married Agnes Maud Wells in 1910 and the couple had three daughters. The family lived in Queen Street, Thames - just north of the Mary Street intersect on the eastern side of the road. Mr Jonassen died at Thames Hospital 17 April 1959 and was cremated at Purewa in Auckland. (Source: Family trees at ancestry.au)
     A true aviation pioneer who called Thames home for forty years.

Further Information
  • Photographs relating to Noah Jonassen at National Library of New Zealand
  • Those Daring Young Men in their Flying Machine: Sandford-Miller biplane flights at Avondale, 1913, on Timespanner Blog 29 September 2008
  • Family Tree on Geni accessed 30/6/2020
  • Ballooning at Te Ara The encyclopedia of New Zealand accessed 30/6/2020
  • Off the Ground - 1, The First to Fly, NZONSCREEN at 11.08 minutes (Photo snip below)
Captain Noah Jonassen - 'The Aerial King'

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Thames (NZ): Another look at the Waiotahi Aqueduct

A quick update on yesterdays post. I came across one of my postcards that gives us a birds-eye view of the aqueduct. What an amazing and imposing structure that dominated the landscape for decades (along with others).


If it was there today, the Waiotahi Aqueduct would be located on the north side of Burke Street - to the right of the building at the far right in the photo below.

A close-up of the 1910-20 view, shows men walking along the structure, maybe doing repairs or checking the integrity of the aqueduct.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Thames (NZ): Mr Whitehead's Grahamstown Postcard featuring the Waiotahi Aqueduct

Another challenge - let us take a second look at a Postcard sent from Thames to Auckland. The goal as always to try and find out a) who the sender was and b) who was the person receiving the card.

The Card & Message



The Message reads:
"Dear Bert,
I am enjoying myself. Hoping you are also! (I might go to Rotorua if Annie can get away).
Love to all. Send me some writing paper ?next ?.W"

Addressed to: Mr A D Whitehead, C/- Abel & Dykes, Shortland Street, Auckland.
The year the card was sent is unclear, but postage is a half penny of Mitre Peak, similar to the one in the 1900 Pictorial set.

Who was Mr A D Whitehead?
It is likely that this was Albert David (Bert) Whitehead, born at Thames 22 December 1882 to William and Eleanor Whitehead. William was the brother of Mathias Whitehead, an early arrival on the goldfield who owned a bootmaker's business for many years.
     In 1905, Bert  Whitehead lived in Lichfield Street Auckland East and was working as a stationer. He married Agatha Garland in 1911 and they lived at 33 Grosvenor Street, New Lynn.
     The occupation of Stationer, completes the picture, for Bert's postcard was addressed to his place of work - Abel & Dykes, Shortland Street, Auckland. Abel, Dykes & Co were a general bookbinding and stationery manufacturing business located in Shortland Street.
     Albert David Whitehead died 16 September 1966 in Auckland.

The Waiotahi Aqueduct
The view in the postcard will be familiar to most readers. On the right is the site of present day A G Price Ltd, while in the lower left corner, is the site of the Hauraki Prospectors' Goldmine Experience.


For those of us less knowledgeable on mining matters, it is often confusing to look at the overhead structures that scattered the Thames Goldfield landscape. Were the structures carrying water from diverted creeks, or from or to a mining site. Or were they tramways carrying ore and waste away from a mine.
     An description of an early overhead structure at the Thames is provided for the Moanataiari Aqueduct in 1872. The culvert from the Moanataiari creek was causing problems, the solution was to take the water overhead, rather than underground. Starting at a point in the creek above the Caledonian Mine, the structure had a 1-in-40 gradient, down Coromandel Street to the beach. The aqueduct was five and half feet deep and built with supports to allow for deepening of the structure as required.
     The Waiotahi Aqueduct (in the photograph above) was another well known overhead structure - the following are snippets on its history.
  • 1882 May 18, a special Borough Council meeting was held to discuss the building of the Waiotahi aqueduct. The contract was awarded to Mr McDermott the tender price was 1170 Pounds.
  • 1882 July 10, concern was raised regarding the engineers plans for the aqueduct, as a set of the legs were located right in the middle of Owen Street.
  • 1882 October 6, Thames Borough Council meeting discussed the delays in completion of the Waiotahi aqueduct and the lack of engineer supervision. Within a couple of weeks the contractors advertised for 20 pick and shovel men to work on the aqueduct project - wages were eight shillings a day.
  • 1882 November 27, culvert work was underway in Owen Street by the Golden Crown Battery, water had flowed along the channel, "instead of wending its way across the flat to the beach as heretofore."
  • 1883, talk continued in the newspapers regarding the completion of the aqueduct.
  • 1884 March 7, the Waiotahi Aqueduct overflowed at the head, which led to a considerable run-off into the lower culvert.
  • 1885 August 14, Mr Climo was given permission to cut into the aqueduct and take water for a nearby sluice.
  • 1886 February 12, repairs had been needed to the aqueduct as the boards had deteriorated. Sadly heavy rain  had resulted in 500 to 600 feet of additional lining boards being washed away.
  • 1894 February 10, tenders were called for extension work to the aqueduct.
  • 1894 June 6, the Waiotahi Aqueduct was causing problems at the wharf end. Water, debris and tailings were running off - the harbourmaster had to organise clearing otherwise ships would not be able to access the wharf.
  • 1896 November 20, there was a proposal to link the Waiotahi Aqueduct to the Cambria Battery tail race for the purposes of flushing.
  • 1897 February 1, heavy rain resulted in a considerable amount of boulders going down the aqueduct resulting in damage to the structure along with considerable flooding on the land below. The following year in 1898, it was estimated after one heavy period of rainfall that 4000 tonnes of debris went down the aqueduct. Reports such as these were common, with the structure often damaged during heavy rainfall.
  • 1898 February 11, urgent repairs were needed along the entire 1122 foot length of the viaduct. This work was completed by November of 1898.
  • 1909 April 23, 2100 feet of planking was repaired and aqueduct's supports were strengthened. The ongoing repairs to the aqueduct were a regular necessity!
  • 1915 November 13, yet again the need for repairs to the structure were needed, this time the cost was 1870 Pounds. Most of the structure was 22 years old, with parts considerably older.
  • 1917 March 3, the great flood of 1917, was too much for the Waiotahi Aqueduct - it completely collapsed at the eastern end causing considerable flooding. Worst hit was the Governor Bowen Hotel, water rushed through the building, until urgent diversions completed.
  • 1922 August 16, tenders were called to remove the Waiotahi Aqueduct structure. (copy below left) By October, there were still no takers for the demolition, so it was decided to sell the timber by auction. (Copy below right)
      
  • 1923 June 20, news that the Waiotahi Aqueduct had been demolished.
ABOVE: The Waiotahi Aqueduct running left to right from the Waiotahi over Owen Street / Pollen Street intersect.
BELOW: The 1917 Flood - extensive damage to the aqueduct at the lower end of the Waiotahi Creek Road.

     Changes continued in the town as old mining structures were removed. In 1924 one old Thamesite returned and couldn't believe that the old overhead structures had been removed. 

Challenge
Keep looking at the old photographs and spot the landmarks, or rather look for the 'lost' landmarks.
     When you see an empty space or allotment, step back and identify what structure once stood on the land. 
     Its also an activity that you can do as you travel around the town today, stop and test yourself - do you know the locations of the old goldmining landmarks?

UPDATE 30 June 2020: Further photo of the Aqueduct

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thames (NZ): Update on Totara Memorial Park Cemetery

Miracles do happen! Wonderful news today that tree maintenance has taken place at Totara Memorial Park Cemetery, with more to come!


ARROW A: 2PUBL-001-0001 to 0020
The plots at the northern end of the 'old' section were looking sad and neglected 18 months ago. Low lying tree branches and a problem of leaf drop meant the headstones were difficult to read and maintain.
    Thanks to TCDC contractors the trees have been trimmed and vicinity cleared. This area is down a small hill, but now the plots once again are a part of the cemetery. 
     The photo below left was taken January 2019, and below right June 2020. The Hetherington plot top left, can now be seen and all in this section can be kept clean from now on.

 

 
Before & After Hetherington Plot 2PUBL-001-0001

ARROW B: TIZARD BLOCK
Another transformation, that was necessary to stop damage potentially caused by broken branches. Trees may look great in a cemetery but left unchecked they often damage many of the plots.
     The before and after photographs of the Tizard Block are below.

 

CHALLENGE TIME
Remember to try and find time to visit your ancestors' graves and clear a few leaves or two!!! If they happen to be at Thames - thank-you for helping us to remember those interred in our local cemeteries.

A touch of colour at the southern end of the 'old' section of Totara Memorial Park Cemetery.
The plot (2PUBL-027-0004) of Lydia Vermont Snelgar nee Dufty.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Thames (NZ): Music in schools - another of John Grigg's achievements

Introduction
The Thames Goldfield was opened 1 August 1867, within months private then public schools were established.  A comprehensive curriculum was offered including singing instruction using a method known as Tonic Sol Fa.
     Tonic sol-fa (or Tonic sol-fah) is a pedagogical technique for teaching sight-singing, invented by Sarah Ann Glover (1785–1867) of Norwich, England and popularised by John Curwen who adapted it from a number of earlier musical systems. 
     A photograph republished in the Thames Star newspaper in 1937, aimed to record for future time an important aspect of Thames education. Special thanks to Dick for alerting me to the report.

Thames Star 20 August 1937 courtesy of PapersPast.
[I will try to get a better copy out of the newspaper]

The background to the photograph
Interestingly, Mr Grigg is not in the photograph, because he was the photographer - yet another skill and hobby of John Grigg's.

"OLD PHOTOGRAPH. NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS. EARLY THAMES TEACHERS. 
     The great interest being taken in the early history of Thames prompted the “Star” to inquire for particulars regarding the photograph which is published again to-day.
     As a result, we are able to publish the following interesting description, and thus preserve for the future one incident in Thames history which may easily have slipped into oblivion: —
     The photograph was taken at the old Kauaeranga School, which stood on the site of the present High School.
     It was taken one Saturday morning about 1887, by the late Mr John Grigg, who had a place of business in Pollen Street in premises now occupied by Edwin Brown and Co. Mr Grigg was employed by the Auckland Education Board as instructor in singing for the Thames primary schools, and on Saturdays, from 12 to 1, he gave teachers of the Thames schools instruction in the Tonic Sol-fa Method. It was after one of these lessons that the photo was taken.
     The teachers assembled every Saturday morning in the old Kauaeranga Boys’ School from 9 until 1 pm. Mr Horatio Phillips, the principal, gave instructions in school method and in drawing; then Mr W J Barlow, drill instructor, took over the teachers for physical and military drill. Mr Grigg followed with one hour for singing.
     The teachers are, reading from extreme left:—Fred Lough, pupil teacher, at back Wm. Elgar Johns, p.t., James Christie, assistant-master Waiokaraka school, later headmaster of Waiotahi Greek school, and Bayfield school, Auckland; Albert Gerring, assistant master, Kauaeranga Boys’ School; others in back row, Miss Wilson, Miss J. Paterson; then in centre, Mr. Horatio Phillips, headmaster of the Kauaeranga School,-, -, -, Miss Crowther, Miss Wolff, W. Hammond, p.t. (back row; in front, A. Chas. Hill, p.t., W. Simmonds, p.t., W. H. V. Hall, Mr. Taylor, assistant teacher at Parawai School. Middle row, from left: Miss Kate Fletcher, -, -, Miss F. Fletcher, Miss Gibb, Miss Ashman, Miss K. Mulvany, Miss Ryan, Mrs. H. Phillips, Miss Colebrook. Front row, from left: Miss Truscott, Miss A. Hall, Miss Murrish, Miss Brown, —, Miss Gibbons, Miss McQuade, Miss M. McLaughlin, —, Miss Goad. 
     One in the back row may be Miss Jessie Heighway. Among the males, Messrs. Jas. Christie, A. Gerring, H Phillips, M. W. Simmonds and Taylor are deceased. Messrs. F. Lough, W. E. Johns. W. Hammond, Chas. Hill, W. H. V. Hall are still living."
Thames Star 20 August 1937 courtesy of PapersPast.

Education at The Thames
Aucklanders were envious of the number of schools on the Thames Goldfield and the attendance records - Often questioning why Thames got so much assistance. The answer being that from the time the town was opened for pakeha settlement in August 1867, one of the things that was pushed by all residents was education. The schools introduced innovative teaching methods, and valued the education of both boys and girls. The examples in the passages above demonstrate the commitment shown by our early teachers to continually strive for better methods, which included attending Saturday lessons to advance their teaching skills.
     You can read more about education on the goldfield in Thames Goldfield Schools by A Barker.

The Tonic Sol Fa System at The Thames
The following are snippets from our local newspapers on the system:
  • 1874 September 23 Thames Star:  When Mr J Sheehan MHR, Provisional Secretary visited the Waiotahi Creek School, the pupils under the guidance of Mr Brown sang several songs - having been taught in the tonic sol fa system. "Mr Sheehan said that if all schools under the Act were as well disciplined and so thoroughly organised, the money was well spent."
  • 1874 September 24 Thames Star: Board of Education appointed John Grigg to teach vocal music in Thames Schools for six months - payment rate 150 Pounds per annum. "The Auckland Board of Education have adopted the Tonic Sol Fa method of instruction in vocal music in the public schools." [Remember schools in Thames such as Waiotahi Creek were already using the method]
  • 1879 May 14 Thames Advertiser:  Mr G A Buttle advertised private lessons for adults wanting to learn elementary Tonic Sol Fa.
                          
  • 1880 January 21 Thames Star: Mr John Grigg advertised night classes for instruction in singing of the Tonic Sol Fa Method. He planned to amalgamate his Teachers' and Private Classes - Ladies and Gentlemen would be charged a small fee.
  • 1880 June 16 Thames Star: Thames High School appointed new Music and singing teachers - not everyone thought the Tonic Sol Fa method was achieving success and the Board was in a agreement to return to the old notation system.
  • 1880 June 21 Thames Advertiser: The paper contained a long 'letter to the editor' from Mr John Grigg, who had taken exception to the comments made by the Thames High School Board regarding methods of singing instruction.  Grigg talked of the merits of using both methods, and the advantages of each. It was never the intention to do away with notation method, but due to time constraints the Tonic Sol Fa Method could and did produce great results. He also quoted the success of the system in many English schools.
  • 1887 December 16 Thames Advertiser: Mr John Grigg resigned as itinerant teacher of music in Thames schools, having had the role for ten years. Teaching staff if the Tararu School who on this occasion thanked Grigg, and he praised their proficiency in the Tonic Sol Fa Method.
My Own New Zealand Home - written by Mr John Grigg of Thames
The Song above is written using the Tonic Sol Fa Method.

An interesting time, new methods versus old, or a mix of all systems. What is impressive, is that these old Thamesites continually explored new methods in education and kept up-to-date concerning developments around the world. 
     Thamesites were indebted to Mr John Grigg, (who died 100 years ago), there is no doubt he provided invaluable music instruction to hundreds of children during his ten year plus tenure as itinerant school music teacher at the Thames.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Thames (NZ): The John Grigg story continued

The previous post covered the lead up to the 100 year commemoration of John Grigg's death at the Thames. On Saturday 20 June 2020, a few of us took up the open invitation to join the Grigg descendants to celebrate the life of this special Thamesite.
John Grigg and his third wife Mary Jane (Henderson)
M Finlay collection

     We were immediately welcomed by the family group. John Grigg was known as a family man, a christian and he would have been proud to see his descendants gathered at his 'old' town.
     The programme started with morning tea & registration - the morning events taking place at the Baptist Church in Mary Street, the church where John Grigg was a founding member.

My Own New Zealand Home
Following family introductions it was only fitting that the highlight was talking about, then singing Grigg's "My Own New Zealand Home". Well known for decades as the unofficial anthem of New Zealand - in particular the song that was sung in schools and at events in the Upper North Island.

M Finlay collection

Presentations
Various family members gave presentations on John Grigg's life. Noting the newspapers were full of advertisements as John's business developed from furniture importer to his beloved music shop - he even spent time as an undertaker. A prolific writer of original music, a music teacher who taught in the district schools, and was a member / leader of many choirs and musical events. 
     Alastair from Stargazers (at Whitianga) was present and gave an overview of Grigg's involvement in astronomy and his remarkable achievements.
     There are even craters on the far side of the moon, named after Thamesite John Grigg!

Where were Grigg's observatories located?
The question was asked regarding the location of John Grigg's observatories. The first was located in Pollen Street behind his shop / house and the second was at his residence near the corner of Pahau and Queen Streets.
 

     The location of the Grigg's first observatory (built about 1884 behind his Pollen Street shop) is exactly marked on an 1889 street map. Today this site is st the back of the Thames 100% shop premises. The co-ordinates are marked below, top left.

     Around 1894, Grigg's residence moved to the south-east corner of Queen and Pahau Streets. The residence faced Queen Street, just north of the Karaka Creek. A snip from a William Price's 1910s photograph appears to clearly show Grigg's observatory on the rear of his section. In the snip below this is the white building in the centre. The 'dome' identifiable, against the white washing at the rear.
Caption: Overlooking Thames township. 
Ref: 1/2-001541-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Memorial window at the Baptist Church
The Baptist Church at Thames has large stained glass windows that commemorate the founding members - John Grigg's commemorative window is on the western wall.

Unveiling of John Grigg's restored grave
After lunch the family travelled to the Shortland Cemetery. Undeterred by the rain and limited access, young and old made their way to the plot on the lower section of the cemetery extension off Danby Street.
 

     A dedicatory prayer and thanksgiving for John Grigg's life was given. Followed by the reading of two bible passages, then a final eulogy was delivered.
     Next came the unveiling of the new plaque / headstone. All the hard work and planning was worth it, the family proud that John Grigg FRAS (1838-1920) will continue to be remembered at his beloved Thames.


CHALLENGE
I must say I was envious to see these Grigg descendants gathered to remember an early Thamesite. 
     How many times have you contemplated caring for, or repairing an ancestor's grave? And not followed through. 
     How many times have you thought a family get-together was needed to commemorate a special anniversary? And not organised it. Thought it was all too hard? 
     Well how about we take the challenge and do something to remember our Thames ancestors, and reconnect with other living descendants!

Further reading on Grigg's astronomy:
Exploring the History of New Zealand Astronomy by Wayne Orchiston 2016.