Monday, June 11, 2018

Thames (NZ): Dickson Park Motor Camp c1990

A postcard that I have just found, is of Dickson Motor Camp around 1990. Maybe you stayed at the camp around this time and can tell us more about your stay and the facilities.

What can we see? The camp manager's house far left, then four cabins (brown buildings). Looks like ablution blocks at the top of the picture, with perhaps more cabins to the centre right. The building lower right, query is that camp kitchen or more cabins? Lower left the camp swimming pool and recreation area.

Google maps Current View

Previous articles on the camp cover the history of the area:


Friday, June 8, 2018

Thames (NZ): Aerial postcard

Aerial photographs provide us with a snapshot of the town and in particular a chance to see the changes that have occurred. Glance at the postcard above and start to identify the following: Streets, buildings that have now gone, areas that have changed. What year was the photograph taken?

STREETS: From left to right running vertically we have Queen, Pollen, Mackay, Rolleston and Sandes Street. Lower left, the south end of Baillie Street can clearly be seen with a line of trees adjacent to the St Francis School grounds.

BUILDINGS: Lower left the large Campbell Industries property can be see, with the long gone Warwick Arms Hotel in the left corner. The St Francis School still has the old school block at the corner of Mackay and Willoughby Street, along with the St Brigid's Hall. In the centre is the Thames High School, the Gymnasium is there, along with the old A Block. Check out South School, lower centre, and you will see the old infant block on Grey Street. (see lower photo)

RECLAMATION LAND: On the far left, reclaimed areas are relatively undeveloped, except for the Moanataiari near the upper part of the photograph. The present Goldfield Shopping area is still bare land. (marked 1 below) Don't get me started on the mangroves, or rather the lack of them!

ABOVE: 2. Warwick Arms Hotel (corner Pollen and Grey Streets). 3. St Francis School and St Brigid's Hall.  4. South School Infant Block.

When was the photograph taken? The High School Gym opened in 1973, Goldfields Mall in 1989. The Warwick Arms Hotel was demolished in the late 1970s. The Catholic School Block was demolished in 1986. One telling demolition is the old Thames South School Block, this was carried out in 1975. This last event allows us to say the photograph was taken between 1974 to 1975.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thames (NZ): Grahamstown revisited

A further look at some of the latest releases at Auckland Libraries 'Sir George Grey Collection'. The photograph taken c1870.

While the views may have been seen before, the quality of the photographs make them worthy of another look.  The road directly in the foreground is Pollen Street, while the one running lower left to the sea is Albert Street. The street runs right to the first major wharf, usually known as Curtis' Wharf. 

Top right you have the enormous Pacific Hotel, and on the north side of Albert Street the Wharf Hotel - later known as Park, then lastly traded as the Lady Bowen Hotel.

Top left is a glimpse at the Wesleyan Church at the end of Cochrane Street and then the Holdship Timber Wharf.  Just a glimpse at the busy business district that surrounded Albert and Brown Streets.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-6-1
The view below looks south, from further along Pollen Street. Spot the Pacific Hotel to get your bearings and identify the intersection of Brown and Albert Streets. The lower right corner is the intersection of Pollen and Williamson Street. The roads are so clearly marked, nothing more than dirt, packed hard until the next rain storm which turned them promptly to mudpools.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-4-1

Look now to the photograph below and, use the landmarks above to understand the location. See the two houses with the verandahs (above centre right and find them in the photograph below. They are centre left).  The road on the right leads from Golden Crown Street, up to Owen Street and then to Brown Street in the distance. The town of Graham's Town aka Grahamstown is the bustling metropolis of the goldfields.  What an amazing goldfield town, that in 1873 would become part of the Borough of Thames.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-21-1

Monday, June 4, 2018

Thames (NZ): Popeye's Corner, Whakatete Bay.

Lost Landmarks are something we often remark on. Without doubt one of the most popular and loved landmark of recent times was the Popeye figure that was in the house-window at the north corner of Whakatete Bay, Thames Coast.

The 'Popeye' character that stood in the window of Mr Wood's house for many decades.
Photo courtesy of the Doug Campbell Collection.
In the last year for instance, whenever there is a flood, people ask, "What's it like at Popeye's Corner?" Sadly this corner takes a battering and it is not uncommon for the sea surges to cover the road.

On a happier note, children (now adults) recall that a trip down the coast was never complete without a glimpse at "Popeye" waving in the window, and if you were really lucky the owner would also be present beside the cartoon icon!

Times change, the ownership has changed and all signs of 'Popeye' are gone, but the name and memories remain!

Mr Milton Wood, standing outside his house at Whakatete Bay.
The man behind 'Popeye" was Mr (Lewis) Milton Wood, the son of Claremont (Clarry) Africa Wood, and grandson of William Wood, an early shopkeeper on the Thames Goldfield.

Milton attended Tararu School for a short while, before leaving for Auckland in 1902. He was a soldier in World War One (#74259), a letter carrier in Devonport on enlistment. He was part of the 38th Reinforcement Medical Corps that left on the Remuera 5th June 1918 for Liverpool, England. Wood was finally discharged 24 October 1919, after having served in New Zealand and overseas.

Sadly Private Milton Wood, is yet another WWI soldier we have not included previously in the Thames Register, if anyone knows of any others, please can you let me know, or contact Kae via The Treasury.
Totara Memorial Cemetery RSAL Plot 0423

Mr Lewis Milton Wood passed away 23 August 1991 at Thames and has a plaque in the RSA section of the Totara Memorial Park Cemetery.

Out of interest, just north of the main section of Whakatete Bay where Mr Milton Wood lived, was Wood's Bay. The family owned houses in the bay, and hence the small beach and cove became known by the family name.

ABOVE: 1920s view of Wood's Bay. BELOW: Google maps view of the bay 2013.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thames (NZ): WWI ROH Commemorations May-June 1918-2018

One hundred years ago, the war in Europe continued on, and on...

The Thames Men who were Killed In Action or were classed as a war death May to June 1918 were:
6/05/1918 In the Field, France; MORTON Charles James51760; Private 2nd Batt AIR
8/05/1918 In the Field, France; INNIS Ernest James62324; Private No 2 NZ Entrenching Bttn NZEF
8/05/1918 In the Field, France; MAXWELL William David48796; Corporal AIR 2nd Entrenching Batt
15/05/1918 Thames, New Zealand; NEVILLE Claude Clarence19/199; Sapper NZETC
3/06/1918 In the Field, France; WILTON Stanley Peter47613; Private 1st Batt AIR

For Full list of WWI ROH CLICK HERE

Charles James Morton was born in Thames, the only son of Charles and Ellen Morton of Sandes Street, Thames. Charles attended the Kauaeranga Boys' School, after leaving he worked as a plumber for Mr N Pearse. Morton spent sometime with the Canadian and Australian Tunnelling Companies. He was with the Auckland Infantry Regiment when he was wounded in action and died a day later 6 May 1918 of gunshot wounds.

Ernest James Innis was the son of Arthur and Annie Innis of Wharepoa. Ernie was farming there when he enlisted in 1917. He was only in the field for two months when he was Killed in Action 8 May 1918.

William David Maxwell was born at Thames in 1895. The son of Peter and Mary Maxwell, he attended the Kauaeranga Boys' School and onto Thames High School in 1910. William was a keen sportsman. He was a civil servant in Wellington when he enlisted in 1916. Maxwell was Killed in Action in France just one week after arriving on the battlefield.

Claude Clarence Neville was born in Australia and served with the New Zealand Tunnelling Company. Claude was visiting Thames when he died on 15 May 1918, and was interred in the Shortland Cemetery, Thames.

Stanley Peter Wilton was the son of Frederick and Emma Wilton, born in 1895, he attended Kauaeranga Boys' School until 1908. He went onto work for the Waihi Gold Mining Company. While in Europe Wilton spent some time with the Australian Tunnelling Company. Stanley was with the Auckland Regiment when he was Killed in Action 3 June 1918 at the Somme, France.

Further information:
From Gold Mine to Firing Line, Editor Meghan Hawkes, The Treasury 2014.
WWI Resources at The Treasury, Thames

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Thames (NZ): Rose & Crown Hotel, Graham's Town

A 'new' treasured photograph has been posted in the Sir George Grey Collection at Auckland Libraries, and shows another previously unseen/identified hotel.

The view is from the top of Upper Albert Street, looking down on the intersect of Albert Street and Pollen Street, then along Pollen Street. The 'new' hotel is lower centre, and given the location SHOULD be the Rose & Crown Hotel. To the left (over the road) is the Fountain Hotel at the intersect of Campbell and Pollen Street.

 The information below is from my booklet on the Hotels of Thames.

The full photograph below shows part of Grahamstown, then on to Shortland Town. Main landmarks are: Government buildings in Queen Street (centre, far right), The Thames School, Kirkwood Street (upper centre, porch on left end), Smale's Folly, aka boarding house (long building top left), and the St George's Hall trading as Cruikshank, Smart & Co, Pollen Street (two storied building centre left). Meandering Karaka Creek can be spotted top left of the school.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-3-1

Friday, May 18, 2018

Thames (NZ): Alpine Hotel at Tararu

Do you ever get lost in where to go next for inspiration? Well its been one of those days. Then along comes a message from Keith at Auckland Libraries to checkout some new photographs on Thames.

Well the first one I look at reawakens the need to do some further Hotel research - as a new photograph reveals some new information.

The Alpine Hotel, we knew was at the Tararu Junction...supposedly somewhere along the Tararu Road. Well we now have a photograph to go with the little previously known.

A two storied building up the Tararu Creek area. You will note the very low head room in the upper story that was very common for Thames hotels. It was often noted in the various hotels, that you would have to bend over once you got up the stairs. While in the case of the Alpine Hotel, the high pitched roof would no doubt have given some head clearance.

Open from at least 1869, the Alpine Hotel was the venue for mining meetings, which were regularly held at the premises. There was also an Alpine Goldmining Company in operation at Tinkers Gully up the Tararu in 1869. Hotels were often named at the Thames after nearby mines, so whether this was the case for the Alpine Hotel, has not yet been confirmed.

By 1873, John Milne was the license holder for the Alpine Hotel, at a time when the annual fees for the hotels in the remote areas were reduced. Milne had his annual license fee reduced to 20 Pounds at the June Licensing Court hearing.

In 1874, the hotel was put up for auction or removal. It was described as having nine rooms, which were lined and papered, as well as having a double chimney. That is the last heard of the Alpine Hotel at Tararu.

ALPINE HOTEL - ?R Johnson Proprietor
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-2-1

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thames (NZ): Two 'New" Church Buildings May 1868

Not long after the Thames Goldfield opened, preachers of various denominations flocked to the Thames. Services, informal and formal were held in the open, in private halls and residences. Talk of the bible was not new to the area, with the Mission Society established at Parawai near the the Kauaeranga in 1837.

Hotels were quickly erected along with hundreds of shops. It was in May 1868 that the Presbyterian and Church of England church buildings were both opened. The Presbyterian Church a simple structure that sat on the brow of the hill above Rolleston Street, on the south side of Richmond Street. A building that was quickly put to use as a school during the week when not being used by the church community. (lower photo - top left) The United Church of England  which became quickly know as St George's Church was first located on Rolleston Street, just north of Sealey Street. (lower photo - foreground right)

Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-3681-84
The Presbyterian Church building was opened 3 May 1868 at Shortland Town, Rev James Hill was the preacher. Described as fronting Karaka Hill, later called by mining settlers the Una Hill. It was said to be a plain building 56 feet by 28 feet, 46 rows of seats that could seat 300 people. New Zealand Herald 6 May 1868.
The opening service for the St George's Church, Shortland took place on Sunday 24 May 1868. Church sources have the building opened 5 May 1868. The Ven Archdeacon Lloyd presided at the first service, at what the paper described as an edifice 60 feet by 30 feet. The evening service had to take place at an earlier hour due to lack of lighting.
Full report in NEW ZEALAND HERALD, VOLUME V, ISSUE 1413, 28 MAY 1868
The St George's first church as many will know, resides today north of their later building, having been moved to that site (and turned over the years).
The first St George's Church far right, adjacent to the Hospital driveway. The present church to the left.
Now the present congregation of St George The Martyr Anglican Church, are celebrating 150 years on the goldfield with a service in that 'first church' - 13 May 2018.

The Pewsheet gives details of the service to be held 13 May 2018.

St George's Church Hall - from the Thames Hospital Carpark 13 May 2018.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thames (NZ): International Nurses Day

Nurses across the country today, 12 May, have been remembering Florence Nightingale's birthday which also now marks International Nurses Day. There have been demonstrations around New Zealand, with nurses asking for better conditions.

Sadly somethings never change, and nurses over the decades have fought for better pay and work conditions. While researching for a photograph of the last graduation class at Thames School of Nursing, I came across a photo of interest that appeared in the Thames Star 14 February 1989.

Back in 1989, Nurses made headlines by striking for better conditions. A last and desperate measure to get their voices then heard.

There was a 24 Health Sector strike, workers at Thames voted to join the collective action. Miss Robertshawe was Chief Nurse and the time and Dr Ian McPherson Acting General Manager.

Volunteers came to the hospital to help with basic patient care. Strikers placed a notice over the hospital sign by the Mackay Street entrance "No Vacancies Nurse Strike." (photo above)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Thames (NZ): Early photographs of the Thames Goldfields.

We can sometimes be under the illusion that photography didn't exist when the goldfields opened in 1867. We question why there are not more photographs of those first decades? There will no doubt be lost photographs, over the years people may have thought.."who would want to look at those?"

Anyway thankfully to repositories like the Auckland Library, the Sir George Grey Collection continues to throw up some amazing resolution images. Below are a selection of new scans that are available for free online. Remember if you do use these in publications, contact the librarians as a courtesy and get formal confirmation. They do appreciate this, and it allows them to see where the images are reused.

Karaka Creek 1867
When the first miners settled on the goldfield, the majority were sited on Block 27. This was generally marked as south of the Karaka Creek to north of the Hape Creek. It then varied as to whether this was east of Augustus Street or later Rolleston Street. The photograph below is labelled as Karaka Creek 1867.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159G
Hunt's Claim
The famous Shotover Claim that launched the goldrush 10 August 1867. Just ten days after the field was officially open, a group of men discovered gold! The rush to the Thames began in earnest.

Photo Description: Hunt's Claim at Thames (the Shotover Mine at Kuranui Creek) , Dr Sam? standing half way up the bank with another man and child (right), Mrs Sam? one of the two ladies standing right. The discoverers of the claim - George Clarkson, W A Hunt, William Cobley and John Ebenezer White, may be among the others in the photograph.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159J
Golden Crown Claim
The Lions Club Heritage sign for the Golden Crown Mine is located on the boundary of the Hauraki Prospectors Association property at the Moanataiari. It reads: "Golden Crown Mine 1868-1886. Another Great Bonanza that produced in excess of $7 Million Bullion (Gold and Silver). The original shaft reached 123 metres. Led to the discovery of the Caledonian Mine.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159D
The Big Pump
Set up in 1873 and worked until 1900, the Big Pump was used to pump the water out of the Deep level mines. Located just past the intersect with the Moanataiari Creek Road today, it caused a stir a few years back when part of the road collapsed above the remains of the old structure. Further information in an article in the Treasury Journal by David Wilton.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159A

Tararu Creek
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159C

These are just a selection of the latest additions to the Sir George Grey Collection, which in  includes the Thames photographs by R H Bartlett.