Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thames (NZ): Halloween 1888 at Thames

Yes, Thames did celebrate Halloween during the 1880s. We often hear today, why celebrate Halloween? We never have before...well that is not the case. Granted the emphasis was different than todays sole 'trick and treating' theme, but nevertheless it was Halloween.

St George's Church Hall at centre of photo, behind it is the St George's Church. To the left is the Thames Hospital and the Baillie Street entrance.

On 31 October 1888, at the St George's Church Hall, 350 people gathered to celebrate the old Scottish tradition of Halloween. The event was organised by a committee of the following ladies: Mesdames Pitkethley (senr), Smith, McAndrew, Moore, Bowie, Murdoch, Gibb, Wilson, Wells, Fletcher, Corbett, Cooke, McGregor, Anderson, Davis, Brown, Mulligan, and Miller.

This was traditionally the name given to the evening before the festival of All Hallows or All Saints which was on 1 November each year. In England and Scotland the traditions varied and the superstitious elements were more aligned to the Scottish Halloween. (Part of article on right. full report in Thames Star 1 November 1888)

In subsequent years, the Thames Burns' Club continued to celebrate Hallowe'en. Some years it was a Social and others a full Halloween Ball.

The Hallowe'en Ball 1895
The Thames Scotchmen's Annual Night Off. PLAIN AND FANCY FACES AT THE BURNS' CLUB BALL.
Source: Observer, Volume XV, Issue 880, 9 November 1895, Page 3

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thames (NZ): The Church of Christ, Thames

The Church of Christ has always had a special place in our family, with my Grandmother being a faithful member during her life in Thames.

It was great to find a history of the church online:
The Thames Church of Christ Life & Advent held its first meeting in the Oddfellows Lodge Hall, in Richmond Street on Sunday 23rd July, 1882 and later worshipped in the former Munster Hotel on the corner of Pollen and Richmond Streets—diagonally opposite the Brian Boru Hotel. In 1922 it moved to Sealey Street and in 1978 moved again to its present home in Parawai Road, opposite Reservoir Road. (Further info and full article - click here)
Above 75th Anniversary from the above source
Below: 1947 view of the church, Sealey Street Thames

The details of the first meeting in the Pollen Street Lecture Hall (old Munster Hotel) can be found online at Paperspast. This was on 9 November 1884. Two hundred and thirty people attended the service, with numbers boosted for the later public address. The evening consisted of singing and addresses. Names mentioned were: the Chairman (Mr E. R. Taylor), Messrs White, Steed (Thames), Wilcox, Walker, Cropp (Thames), Carr, Aldridge, and Squirrell. Mrs Adlam provided the excellent tea. The Auckland visitors were very impressed with the hall, and the irony that it was once a hotel.
Thames Star 8 November 1894

The church is now located at Parawai Road, Thames. The old site in Sealey Street is at the back of the Imperial Hotel - Mitre10 garden centre.

Further information:
The Treasury at Thames has copies of some of the early Church Records 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thames (NZ): St Brigid's Catholic Church, Grahamstown

Let this be a reminder to all family researchers to revisit and revisit your resources. At the time we may think we have exhausted our use of a piece of paper, file, census, photo etc. Gather all your items paper or digital and see if anything new helps you on your history and genealogy journey.

Why am I saying this?  Well for years I have seen a photo of a hall at the north end of Pollen Street. I just assumed it was one of the many lodges that were dotted around the town, even having researched the street directories I had brushed over its significance. It wasn't till a fellow researcher queried what I knew about the catholic church in Queen Street (thanks Graham), the penny dropped and realised that this was the Grahamstown Catholic Church.

It has taken a week and lots of questions to confirm that the correct name for the church was the St Brigid's Catholic Church located at Queen Street, Grahamstown/Thames. It was then that I looked in my photo file and found a panorama of Thames that has buildings identified and sure enough there it was...double confirmation.

In 1879 the MARRIAGE took place for Hutchinson & Scheidler.
Hutchinson—Scheidler.—November 27, at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Grahamstown, by the Rev. Father O'Reilly, Samuel Meagher Hutchinson, only son of John Hutchinson, Esq., of tbe City of Dublin, formerly Librarian of the Dublin Library, and nephew of Alderman William Meagher, of the same City, to Margaret, eldest daughter of Mr Martin Scheidler, of the Thames.

Above: The St Brigid's Catholic Church on Queen Street, 1947
Below: a view looking north on Pollen Street, the back of the church is marked with an arrow (middle far right)

The church continues to appear on Street Directories until c1955. The church building was nearly destroyed by fire on 14 December 1954 and eventually had to be demolished. Around 1956 a new house was built on the site. The property as it is today, is in the photo below.

2012 view of the location of the St Brigid's Church.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thames (NZ): Dr George Lapraik, a dedicated Thames GP

Thames has had several doctors who have stayed in the town and given many years of dedicated service. One such man was Dr George Lapraik. A General Practitioner who served the town for twenty years, as well as his country during World War One.

There is a new article on Dr Lapraik in The Treasury Journal.

Dr Lapraik was active in the Thames community, including being a member of the Thames Hauraki Rifles, (photo courtesy of The Thames Museum).

George Lapraik was born 6 January 1864 in Glasgow, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1897. He came to Thames in 1899 and stayed until 1919. Dr Lapraik died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis on 6 May 1933 at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton.

Read the full articles in The Treasury Journal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thames (NZ): 100 Years ago - 23 October 1914

What was happening in Thames one hundred years ago? Below is the news that featured in The Thames Star Friday 23 October 1914.

Obituary for Mrs INGLIS
DEATH: Mrs Jane Thorpe INGLIS, relict of the late James Inglis had died the previous day at her home in Cochrane Street, Thames. Jane was 74 years of age and she was buried at Shortland Cemetery, Thames.
The Wakatere was due to leave at 6pm for Auckland. Or you could catch the Waimarie from Auckland at midnight and go to Kopu, Turua or Paeroa.
Shortland Fish Market had a wide variety of meat for sale – Pig’s Heads 1s 6d each; Pickled Tongues 6d a lb; Cooked Trotters 2d each.

Need some concreting done? Contact L R Gray at the corner of Bowen & Clarence Street.

Need a Happy Home? Coakley’s Groceries is the place to go on the corner of Pollen & Willoughby Streets.

Thames Bowling Club was holding their opening day the next day at 2.30pm sharp.

ThamesMiners’ Union were holding their annual combined excursion by train to Te Aroha on Monday 26 October. Tickets were Adults 2/6 and Children 1/-. Contact W H Lucas, the secretary for tickets.

Thames Rowing Club had held their AGM the previous evening and Dr Lapraik was elected President. Commodore was Mr A Myers MP.

The St Francis Tennis Club opened the previous day at the Cochrane Street Courts. Rev Father Dignan played the first ball for the season 1914-15.

There was to be a big concert in the King’s Theatre on Tuesday in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund.

Germans expelled.  The Allies expelled 5000 Germans from Bruges…The Germans on Sunday ordered a strong force, mostly youths under 20, to cross the Yser at all costs. They failed in their task and their losses are estimated at nearly ten per cent.

Thames Sewing meetings had started the previous night at St James’ Hall – the object was to make and provide clothes for the poor of England and Belgium.

A large map was published to show operations in France and Belgium.

A serious situation for the Thames Drainage Board. The companies paying for the pumping had written to the board and explained they could no longer pay, hence pumping should stop. The Board agreed that pumping of the deep levels should stop once all machinery had been removed.

Mining News. The Occidental Consolidated was dues to crush some ore, a few dabs of coarse gold were picked out when breaking down the reef this week.
The St James' Church (right) and (left) on Pahau Street, the St James' Hall where the Thames ladies were holding their sewing bee meetings in 1914

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thames (NZ): Bird-in-Hand Hill Panorama c1940s

Just a little filler, while I'm occupied with some oral history abstracts for the Coromandel Heritage Trust Oral History Recorders at Thames.

The three photos below are taken from Bird-in-Hand Hill and Irishtown area, Thames. Virtually the boundary line of the old goldfield towns of Shortland and Grahamstown, which ran down Karaka via Pahau Street to the sea.

Photo One: Looks over the Karaka Road to Block 27, where the miners originally were given the right to camp on the days when the field opened in 1867. The Una Hill is on the centre left, with the Kauaeranga area beyond.

Photo Two: Looks south, down the roads of Rolleston Street (left) and Baillie Street (centre). A portion of Baillie Street has been closed, to allow expansion of the Thames High School campus. The large two-storied building in the centre of the photo (on left hand side of Baillie Street), is the Nurses' Home (later known as the old Nurses' Home).

Photo Three: Looks south-west over the old Shortland town, Thames. The Thames Hospital campus dominates the centre left, with the St George's Church towering above. To the right of that on the corner of Mackay and Mary Streets, is the Thames Men's Club, the home built by Reverend V. Lush.

Suggested Sources of further information:
Old photographs, postcards and Street Directories are available at The Treasury, Thames.
Street Directories also available via
Hunt for photos at: Auckland Libraries, National Library of New Zealand and via Digital NZ.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thames (NZ): Update for Henry A Severn and the 1874 Transit of Venus

An update on an update! Yes another photo relating to Henry Severn and the 1874 Transit of Venus. (see Past blog entry)

A wonderful photo thanks to 'Kete West Coast' and the Buller, Grey and Westland District Libraries. Just another example of the need to look far and wide, you never know where these treasures will turn up.
The attached info reads:

Caption: This image was possibly taken at Thames, and shows the telescope used to (hopefully) track Venus.  Surnames include TYLER, WARD, VEITCH, SPENCER, GORRIE, those on the right-hand side of the image are illegible due to fading.

A report - THE TRANSIT OF VENUS.  - is in the newspaper - Thames Advertiser, Volume VII, Issue 1915, 10 December 1874, Page 2

There is some interesting discussion on the photo at the Kete West Coast site.