Friday, August 5, 2016

THAMES (NZ): Shortland Cemetery Biographies - Walter Alfred COOK

Driving up Danby Street, a grand new structure stands above the aged headstones at Shortland Cemetery. On closer inspection it is not a new tombstone, but a memorial seat, in honour of Walter Alfred COOK.

Alfred was an amalgamator to the Kuranui Company, and had been employed by them for six years. He had a grownup family, his wife Martha had died the previous year. Walter Alfred Cook was just 43 years of age when he was killed in the mining related accident.

The inscription on the plaque at Shortland Cemetery reads (photo below):
In Loving Memory of Walter Alfred Cook
My Great Great Grandfather born 1823 Scalded to death 24th January 1874
When the boiler exploded at The Kuranui Battery
Loving Husband of Martha, Who was called home 11th May 1873
And Loving father
God’s Greatest Gift Is Remembrance

On the Tararu Road today there is a yellow Lion's Club Heritage sign that marks the area where the Kuranui Battery was located. Said to be the first steam battery with six stamps, that later increased to twenty. "Built to crush ore from the rich Shotover Mine and later from many other claims."

In the early hours of 24 January 1874, occurred what was described as one of the worst accidents to occur on the Thames Goldfields.  Three men died as a result of injuries received when the Kuranui Battery boiler collapsed – Alfred Cook, Richard Watson, and Matthew Paul.  The three men were seated in front of the boilerhouse when “suddenly a low rumbling noise was heard, and then with a frightful hiss the steam and fire burst out of the furnace full on the unfortunate men, who were driven back by its force with great violence into the yard.” Taranaki Herald, 28 January 1874.
Mr Cook was dangerously injured and Mr Watson severely scalded but appeared quite sensible. Mr Paul was walking about. The men were taken to Thames Hospital, where little could be done, and all three men died within seven hours of the accident.
The funeral of Messrs Cook and Paul was held on 25 January 1874, with over 600 people in attendance. When their coffins were removed from Thames Hospital, a crowd had gathered outside to farewell the men, as the procession made its way to the Shortland Cemetery. Auckland Star, 26 January 1874. The men were buried in Plots 81 and 83 respectively. The shaded location in the photo below, gives the approximate location of the graves of Alfred Cook and Matthew Paul at Shortland Cemetery, Thames.
The Kuranui Boiler Disaster led to the passing in 1874 of the Inspection of Machinery Act. A full report of that event is in an article written by Anne Stewart Ball, entitled From Disaster - One of First Pieces Safety Legislation in NZ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

THAMES (NZ): Shortland Cemetery Biographies - Edmond Twohill

The grave of Edmond Twohill stands upon the hill at Shortland Cemetery along with several of his children. The Twohill family, remembered on the Thames Goldfield for their years at the Brian Boru Hotel, corner Pollen & Richmond Street. Edmond Twohill the owner and landlord of the Brian Boru, was from County Cork (Ireland), he died 21 September 1896 aged 62 years.

The hotel was then managed by his wife Catherine, children and descendants until 1974. The hotel was rebuilt following fires in 1904 and 1905; the hotel building we know today was opened in 1906.

The hotel, is today the Brew Café and Bar.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thames (NZ): Thames Olympians

With the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio, it raises the question:
Have any Thamesites represented New Zealand at an Olympic Games?

Good news, we have at least one!
Maurice (Moss) Lane Marshall (12 January 1927 – 16 May 2013), was Olympian No 70. He attended Thames High School 1940-1944. "At the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland he won a bronze medal in the mile run and then participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in both the 1500 m and the 800 m."

In his last year at Thames High School, Marshall helped the school to win a senior relay event.
The team went to Hamilton in Headmaster Mr Hoult's car, as there were train restrictions because of the war. The team won several awards, including the Country Championship. They also won the Senior Relay - when Marshall took over the baton the team was lying third, but he ended up first by 15 yards. In the 1944 Athletics team, photo (right), Moss Marshall is in the centre. (Source: Thames Haurakian 1944-1945, Thames High School)

Mr Marshall was headmaster of Southwell School in Hamilton for sixteen years and a street in Hamilton is named in his honour.  "In the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honours, Marshall was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to education and sport." Source:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THAMES (NZ): Tararu Cemetery at Findagrave

At last! I have added all the missing names to the collection at Findagrave for Tararu Cemetery.

If you are not aware of this site it is a free and excellent way to add a memorial for your ancestors.
  • You can add background information, headstone photographs and portraits.
  • You can lay flowers with captions for your family member/s.
  • You can request photographs of graves, which will be taken by a team of volunteers.
  • If the grave entry has been made by someone else, you can get permission to manage that entry.
  • also utilises the databases in its searches.
 ABOVE: Front page for the Tararu Cemetery at Findagrave
BELOW: You can search names or browse all entries. This is Charles Ludwig's.

A bonus of this site, is that it is a way of connecting family researchers, allowing you to see who is researching the person buried or remembered at a particular cemetery. If you leave flowers for an entry and add a caption, you may find some new relatives!

How did I enter the names?   I added names based on the old NZSG transcription available via, while checking names alongside at the TCDC online Cemetery search site. To add death dates, I searched the name at New Zealand BMD online. In many cases there were discrepancies in spelling of names, burial dates, and monumental inscriptions. I checked newspapers in many cases to confirm details. Still I know that there will be still variances, but it is a start!

If any of the entries I have made, are for your family me and I can transfer the control of the entry to you to alter/correct as you desire.

Check out the Tararu Cemetery site at Findagrave.
***Shortland Cemetery and Totara Memorial Park Cemetery are also online at Findagrave***

THAMES (NZ): Famous visitors to The Thames

The Thames was a popular destination for thousands once the goldfield opened in August 1867. During the years to follow many famous people came to see the famous gold town. Three such people were: Miss Jean Batten, Mr Zane Grey and Sir Kingsford Smith. Read about their visits in a new article in
The Treasury Journal.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thames (NZ): NURSES OF THAMES Version 4 Booklet now available

Version 4 of the booklet on Thames Hospital Nurses is now published and has lots of new information, names and photographs.
Summary of Contents:


A History of Registered Nurse Training at the Thames Hospital


1 - 3 INTRODUCTION: Thames Hospital History
4 - 8 NURSING BEGINNINGS – New Zealand & Thames
70 - 72 References & Endnotes
73 - 94 Appendix One: Nurse Graduate Photographs
95 - 103 Appendix Two: Register of Nurse Graduates (by Surname)
103 Appendix Three: Miscellaneous Nursing Register
104 - 105 Appendix Four: Graduation Day Summary
105 Appendix Five: School of Nursing Graduation Prizes
106 - 109 General Index
110-111 Autographs & Memories

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.