Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): Totara Memorial Park Cemetery at Findagrave

An update that I have added over a thousand names at the Totara Cemetery Find A Grave site. One grave recently added to Totara Cemetery was for Rev Father Dignan, catholic parish priest from 1912 to 1936.

This site is accesible to anyone for free, and as a member (free) you can add information and link memorials to others. Lay some virtual flowers and remember loved ones known and ancestors you have never met. It also is searchable as part of Ancestry, so increases the chance of people finding members of their family tree.

So maybe you can find time to add a few names or add some information, or just find a relative and leave them a bunch of flowers :)

Click the Links to checkout Shortland, Tararu and Totara Cemeteries.

If you find any errors use the edit on each memorial or contact me or the 'owner' of the memorial direct.

 The majority of RSA graves should also now be entered at the Find A Grave site.

Remember for further research check out the Cemetery page; and remember that The Treasury has headstone photographs and information on most burials.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWI Nurse Sarah Jane Hetherington

While efforts have been made to find all the nurses from Thames who served in World War One, it was inevitable that we may only have found but a few. While it was easier to find those who trained at Thames Hospital, what about the number who may have trained at other hospitals in New Zealand and overseas?

The latest Thamesite to be found is Sarah Jane Hetherington, the daughter of Samuel and Rebecca Hetherington of Queen Street, Thames. Sarah's father Samuel had the iconic drapery store that stood proudly in central Pollen Street for nearly one hundred years.

Miss Hetherington was born 15 August 1869 at Thames, and attended Mrs Alexander's private school before entering Thames High School (roll No 50) 19 September 1881. Sarah stayed at the school until 15 December 1885.

From the New Zealand Nursing register that was published in the New Zealand Gazettes, it shows that Sarah completed her four years nursing certificate and the London Hospital and her Midwives qualification in 1909. Miss Hetherington returned to New Zealand and was registered in 1910, where she then worked at Wellington Hospital as Sub-Matron April 1910 to 1917. (Gazette copies below)

 Sarah Jane Hetherington proved a little more elusive to track as a military nurse, given the fact that she attested in England. Details of her service are recorded on Sherayl McNabb's website on New Zealand Military Nurses and in her book "100 Years New Zealand Military Nursing New Zealand Army Nursing Service-Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps 1915-2015".


Staff Nurse Hetherington attested 4 August 1917 in England, no 22/432 in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service. (snippets from war file above, full file at New Zealand Archives). New Zealand Cenotaph record also available online.

Hetherington was Sub-Matron at the Victoria Military Hospital Ward in Wellington - it was with sadness at the end of March 1917 that she was farewelled to go overseas.

Miss Hetherington went to England and worked at the New Zealand Hospital at Brockenhurst.
In the Kai Tiaki, 1 January 1918, there was news from abroad. “Miss Hetherington writes from Brockenhurst, where she is stationed as masseuse, having signed on for that useful branch of the N.Z.A.N.S. She says there is so much of this work that is almost impossible to cope with it all. When not busy with her massage work, Sister Hetherington is glad to help in the wards with the nursing."
Shows No.1 Ward at Brockenhurst, No.1 New Zealand General Hospital. The room is decorated with foliage. Two nurses attend patients. There are beds along each side.
From caption on reverse: Masseuse at work with electric battery.

Source: Masterton Library Archive
On the 1st February 1920, Sarah Jane was placed on the Territorial list. Later working as Matron at the Cashmere Sanatorium in Christchurch. Sarah Jane later lived in Wellington before moving north to Takapuna, Auckland. Miss Hetherington died 28 June 1954 aged 84 years, and was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery.  (Death notice and obituary below - Thames Star 29 June 1954)

 
Miss Hetherington's name appears on the Honours Board for the NZ Returned Army Nursing Sisters Association (Auck) Inc (photo above)


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thames (NZ): New book from The Treasury

Due to be released next month is a new book from The Treasury (The Coromandel Heritage Trust) in their True Tales Series.
True Tales of Thames is 289 pages of stories (102 stories) and the price will be $35.00 plus postage.

The ‘launch’ of the book takes place Sunday 20 August 2017 at The Treasury. The book can be pre-ordered or purchased from that day onwards.

Previously released titles are:
True Tales of Waikino and Waitekauri
and
True Tales of The Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard
Both are available at The Treasury.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Thames (NZ): Tararu Cemetery Closed due to storm damage

Sad news as the 150th Commemorations are due to kick off. Descendants will not be able to access Tararu Cemetery in the near future. For awhile now the storms have been causing havoc and trees have fallen. Leading to the latest lot that are blocking driveway and access to the damaged steps.

TCDC Media release:
The wind and rain of the last few months have taken their toll on the historic cemetery on State Highway 25, just to the north of Thames.

Two trees at the top of the cemetery have fallen across graves and the root systems are unstable. Rock falls, slips and falling branches also pose a potential hazard to visitors.

There is also a large tree across the access at the bottom of the staircase and the access way itself has been badly washed out.

Until the debris can be cleared and the hazards put right, we're asking people to avoid entering the cemetery. We've put a barrier at the foot of the access way and a sign asking people to keep out. We don't yet have a timeframe for when we might be able to reopen the cemetery to the public.

Tararu Historic Cemetery dates from shortly after the proclamation of the Thames goldfields 150 years ago. The first recorded burial was in August 1873 and there are nearly 1,000 registered burials there. It was in use for more than 100 years and the land is maintained by our Council.

Source: TCDC

Thames (NZ): Central Thames 1909

I am always fascinated by the few photographs that were taken from Una (Karaka) Hill that looked down over the township of Shortland and more particularly Block 27. Several branches of my ancestors lived in the area from early 1870, my Grandmother was born at Hill Street, and I have lived in the area for the majority of years.

By 1909 the remainder of the flat area was fully settled, and slowly the hill areas were being settled. No doubt the delay for many was the obtaining of a suitable land lease to allow for a more permanent habitation.

The Auckland Weekly News 30 September 1909, featured a view over the town. (see below)
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19090930-9-3
Above: Mount Pleasant centre left. Running lower left to top right is Hape Road, Hill Street running along the lower portion of the photograph.
Below: Sealey Street runs from lower centre to the sea, with the Karaka Valley far right and Irishtown.
 

Above: 1909 Full view looking down over the old Block 27 and Shortland Town of Thames.
Below: 1980s postcard of the view from Una Hill.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery

Do you ever feel that the town or powers to be just don't understand the value of Thames Heritage?
There are days when I just feel we are wasting time planning events for the elite, when important historic places and landmarks are ignored and/or given very little attention.

Take a look at the entrance to our historic Shortland Cemetery. Hope you weren't planning on visiting during the 150th Commemorations..come equipped with gumboots and a good walking stick!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thames (NZ): Fifty years ago 1967

While thoughts are with the opening of the goldfield nearly 150 years ago, there was a lot happening in Thames as the town awaited their centennial commemorations in 1967.

The year started on 1st January 1967 with a celebration of Captain Cook's visit to the area, a massive re-enactment was held at the Shortland Wharf.

Then in February the town was reminded of it's vulnerabilities with yet another flood. There was the usual flooding around the town and several boats were badly damaged at Shortland Wharf.

ANZAC Day April 25th, there was a large turnout of War Veterans who marched down Pollen Street to the War Memorial Cenotaph in Mary Street.

In May, the Thames South School held their reunion, while the following month (June) saw the opening of the new Parawai School.
 
The town was in a state on development and advancement with old buildings such as Koefoed's (corner Pollen & Willoughby Street) demolished. New streets and parks were developed and named. Bowen Place was named at a new subdivision at Parawai, and Margaret Place at Moanataiari. The new sports ground on the foreshore (created from reclaimed land) was named Danby Field.
 
The new subdivision on reclaimed land at the Moanataiari was proceeding, with roads and amenities well established.
Next thing on the agenda was planning for the big centennial commemorations. The memorial cairn site was chosen at the south end of town and building was begun in July 1967.

Now fifty years later, the town prepares for the next commemorations for the 150th anniversary of the Thames Goldfields.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thames (NZ): Decimal Currency Fifty Years ago

What are your memories of the change to decimal currency in Thames and New Zealand?

If you were at school, there were endless lessons on the change and how the new denominations matched our old currency.

The excitement the first day was everywhere. Like many of my friends we couldn't wait till lunchtime and a trip to the nearby dairy for our lunch order. Everyone excited about the change and new coins that they received!

Children weren't the only ones who needed teaching. Local banks held education days for businesses. The Thames Star had been doing their bit to prepare the town with regular updates. They printed photographs of how the two sets of coins would be in-circulation during the initial introduction period.

The Bank of New Zealand (photo below) held evenings to instruct business owners how to complete normal banking transactions such as deposits to fit the new decimal currency format.



The new coinage was secretly delivered to Thames banks on the 31st May 1967, in preparation for the big day. The Thames Star was not even allowed to publish a photograph of the event until the 10th July. With the new coinage the cost of a pint of milk was four cents; and a loaf of bread was 11 cents.
Source http://www.downies.com/aca/auction306/aca/images/lots/306/2692.jpg

Friday, July 7, 2017

An exhibition not to be missed is being held at the Bella Street Pumphouse during August.

A photographic Survey that was carried out during 1973-75 of Thames and Townspeople by John Fields. A few of these photographs are available online at different museums.

Saturday 5 August to 6 October 2017
Sat Sun Mon Wed Fri 11am to 5pm
Tues Thurs 4 to 7pm
Admission $10

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Thames (NZ): Karaka (Una) Hill 150 years Then & Now

Not many sleeps now until the 150th Commemoration of the Thames Goldfield. The landscape changed overnight as miners hunted for gold. The land cleared for mining, but every bit of timber was also needed for housing. Boats were kept busy bringing supplies from Auckland and beyond.
 Then & Now: The Una Hill from Mining Days to Present Day

Many claims were dotted over both sides of the Karaka (Una) Hill, with important batteries such as Bull's, which was located not far from the house in the 2017 photograph above.
Below are some maps showing the claims in the area. The first from the 1868 Mining Illustrated Map, and the lower from Downey's book on the Thames Goldfields.