Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Thames (NZ): Looking for photos of Thames?

In the past, I have always recommended that people look first at Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Collection. While the hundreds of photos of Thames remain at that site, I have been wondering why no new ones have been uploaded over the last month.

The answer is that the Kura site is now where you will find new photo uploads.
There are interesting new views of Thames, although not accurately labelled. Remember, staff appreciate comments and corrections.

Photos of Thames 1960s
Houses and farmland on Thames coast, c1962
Jack Gyde Collection at Kura, Auckland Council Libraries Record ID 931-083
A great view over Totara subdivision during the the 1960s - yes and not Thames Coast as the main caption states on the Kura website. The picture description does give the correct description.

Another view in this series looks north-east towards Parawai.
Houses and farmland, c1962
Jack Gyde Collection at Kura, Auckland Council Libraries Record ID 931-082
Now, the above photo is a hidden gem, as it shows clearly the beginnings of all the subdivisions and roads at Parawai, from Herewaka Street to the Booms subdivision. Look at the close-up view below, (or go to the website and zoom in) and spot all the earthworks in process. While the age is given as c1962, Parawai School is already established, so the photo was taken from 1967 onwards.

View towards Parawai, and developing subdivisions late 1960s.
In the photograph below, there are still more 'treasures'. The Herewaka Street subdivision is underway; while there is yet another flood - the Parawai Flat around the Kauaeranga River are underwater late 1960s.
Muddy Road and floods, Thames, c1962.
Jack Gyde Collection at Kura, Auckland Council Libraries Record ID 931-084
Guess Where this is?
We will finish with this beauty! The area is almost unrecognisable today? Have you realised where it is?

The District Homes at Tararu 1960s.
The Thames Hospital Board Farm takes up most of the photo, with the District Home lower left.
A closer look below of the District Home.

Here is the full view of Tararu in the 1960s - looking over Victoria Street.

Coastal Housing at Tararu near Thames.
Jack Gyde Collection at Kura, Auckland Council Libraries Record ID 931-114

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Thames (NZ): Missing people at Butt's Corner, Pollen Street c1870

Just a quick post about 'ghost' figures or rather figures that appear as a blur in the early photographs of the Thames.

Now to one of my favourite (often revisited) photographs taken from the corner of Pollen & Grey Streets. Shortland Town (Thames).

Captain Butt's iconic Shortland Hotel, that stands to this day, although remodelled and rebuilt many times.

The street is a mess, typical of the streets on the Thames Goldfield - once the rain came they turned to a mud and bog.

A closer view, and you can spot the markings along the wall, particularly near the main entrance. I have heard all-sorts of explanations: Flood markings, horse rubbings, dirt from the road and so on.

A glance today, and I saw the photo in a whole new light. The blurs now clearly (in my eyes at least) men standing outside the Shortland Hotel. The 'blurred' effect that they must have got sick of waiting and moved!? Anyway thats my new version of the 'ghostly' blurs outside Butt's hotel. 

There are other examples we have looked at in previous blogs. Maybe you can find some more examples of "ghostly" images at The Thames?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thames (NZ): Finding / Making Panoramic Views of Thames

Do you love looking at photos of the old Thames Goldfield?
Trying to recognise landmarks and where the photo was taken?
May be you have a favourite photographer? Maybe it is Henry Albert Frith.

Did early photographers take Panoramic Views of the Thames? There are examples where you see a wide angled view of the town, then find the photographer in question had taken several images to later 'join' them together.

There are two photographs by Frith of the Tookey Flat area, that are a great example of a photographer standing and taking an image - then turning to take another.
  • Take a look at Photograph One that showcases the Kuranui Hotel. Have you ever seen a similar view, that could include the view to the right (south) towards the Waiotahi and Grahamstown.
Photograph One - Thames Gold Field
  • Now lets look at Photograph Two, that features the Prince Alfred Hotel situated on the flat, west of the Moanataiari Valley.
Photograph Two - Prince Alfred Hotel

  • Did you spot anything in the above photographs that could be a common point, a shared view that would allow a wider panoramic view to be constructed. 

    Snip from Photograph One (left) and Two (right)
    • Using the buildings above as a joining point, here is what a panoramic view /wider view looks like of the Tookey Flat / Moanataiari area.
    Combined view of Photograph One and Two (Above colours unchanged and Below a sepia view)

    Homework! Take the challenge. Look for photographs of Thames - find ones that can be combined to give a wider view of the town. This may help you identify landmarks and be able to see the town through the eyes of our ancestors.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2020

    Thames (NZ): Newspapers on the Thames Goldfield

    Perusing old newspapers is one of my favourite activities. While websites like Papers Past (New Zealand) rivals anything available around the globe, followed by Trove in Australia - nothing surpasses the opportunity to read the real thing!

    In the New Zealand Memories magazine Issue 141 December / January 2020 is an article on Newspapers at the Diggings by Ian F Grant. Thames and the Coromandel area newspapers are discussed. Between 1864-1898 there were 87 goldfield newspapers - 28 in the Coromandel area. Grant remarked on the number of papers that were dailies, Thames for instance had [at least] five! Many of these goldfield based newspapers didn't last more than a year, influenced highly by the success or failure of the goldfield.

    Newspapers in New Zealand
    The author mentioned above has published a book that covers the history of Newspapers in this country. Lasting Impressions: The Story of New Zealand's newspapers 1840-1920 by Ian Grant (available at Thames District Libraries and for sale at Carsons Bookshop).

    Lasting Impressions is a social history that places newspapers and their vital importance in New Zealand's development as a nation in the context of life in the communities they prospered or failed in. There are detailed descriptions of the beginnings of the newspaper business in New Zealand, the papers that spread throughout the country close behind the first settlers, the daily press's leap of faith, the proliferation of provincial papers, early twentieth century challenges, and the difficulties faced by World War One newspapers. For the first time in a newspaper history there are also sections on the burgeoning weeklies phenomenon, the distinctive goldfields press and the numerous Maori newspapers. Source: Carsons Bookshop

    Chapter 31 (Pages 465 to 472) 'At the Coromandel' reviews papers in the wider area, but there are many mentions of Thames newspapers throughout the book.

    Newspapers on the Thames Goldfield
    Before the goldfield had its first newspaper, people relied on getting copies of in particular the Auckland papers, which no doubt were delivered via the many ships servicing the Firth of Thames. Those of you researching early Thames will find Auckland's Daily Southern Cross and the New Zealand Herald, kept everyone up-to-date with the latest news locally, nationally and abroad.

    Apart from publishing newspapers, the following companies offered a full printing service. The business advertisements stated they were able to perform jobs such as: publishing mining reports, printing forms and making labels, making invoices, producing catalogues and any other printing tasks as required by the customer. Thames Printing firms that are not listed below are: P Griffin 1870s (Brown Street), Daniel Archibald 1870s (Richmond Street), Henry Wood 1870 (Brown Street), and William Coubrough 1870s (Davy Street).

    The following are Newspapers that were published at Thames pre 1900:

    Evening Mail / (Thames) Evening Star / Thames Star

    Started by William Shaw in 1869 as the Evening Mail and then published as the Thames Evening Star and The Evening Star.
    Masthead The Evening Star 16 April 1874.

    Left: Evening Star Office 1890s, on the left opposite the Saxon Mine in Albert Street. 
    Above Right: Mr William McCullough, long serving Newspaper Editor / owner of Thames

    In 1870, James Hopcraft and William McCullough were in-charge of the newspaper and were located in Willoughby Street, Shortland Town. Later the Evening Star Office was located in Albert Street, near the intersection of Pollen Street in Grahamstown. In 1893 the name of the paper was changed to The Thames Star. 
    New Masthead The Thames Star 15 July 1893.

    In 1912, McCullough took over the Thames Advertiser and it merged with the Thames Star - an iconic Thames newspaper that continued into the 1990s.

    Thames Advertiser and Miners' News
    Masthead Thames Advertiser 1 April 1874

    This was the first newspaper published on the Thames Goldfield, 11 April 1868. William Berry was an early editor of the paper, which was owned by William Wilkinson (1838-1921) and Claude Corlett (c.1836-1906). Initially published three times a week, it then became an important daily newspaper.

    Corlett moved onto the Thames Guardian, while Wilkinson had several different partners which included Alfred Horton who later had the New Zealand Herald. Wilkinson sold the paper in the 1880s and it was purchased in 1912 by William McCullough who owned the Evening Star.

    Masthead Thames Advertiser 2 January 1899

    Thames Exchange

    The Thames Exchange was a monthly Newspaper / periodical that was printed at the Thames Advertiser office. While initially monthly (2 October 1874), it was then published fortnightly, the owner was Mr J D Wickham. A review in the Thames Advertiser 5 October 1874, described the paper as "covering the news of the day and comments on local events are served up in a pithy, pungent form, which can not fail to be appreciated."

    On the first anniversary, 1500 copies were distributed free to the subscribers in the district. (Grant page 467) In January 1879, Wickham who had merged the Thames Exchange and the Thames County Chronicle established and published a new Auckland Journal - the Auckland Free Lance.
    Thames Advertiser 2 October 1875.

    The Despatch, Thames & Ohinemuri Observer

    This publication was published by the Evening Star, a weekly newspaper that started 25 February 1875. (Grant page 466) It is unclear how long the paper lasted, the last advertisement in the Evening Star is on 6 April 1875.
    Evening Star 12 March 1875.

    The Thames Guardian and Mining Record
    Masthead The Thames Guardian 7 October 1871

    On the first day of publication (Saturday 7 October 1871), the paper outlined their stance on certain matters; including politics, free trade and native issues. The paper was started by Claude Corlett who was previously with the Thames Advertiser  - he left in 1870 and started up this new daily paper the following year. 

    The paper described itself in advertisements as an Independent and Liberal newspaper. The office was located at Davy Street / Albert Street in Grahamstown. The cost of the paper was twopence and it was sold via a variety of agents: Messrs Walters (Brown St), Carter (Brown Street), Jefferson (Pollen Street), Hall (Coromandel), Stevenson (Tapu), Upton & Co (Auckland), Greville & Co (Sydney), Gordon & Gotch (Melbourne), and Street& Co (London).

    In September 1872, the paper finished publication. "The plant was sold to the proprietors of the Hawke’s Bay Times and Corlett moved on to the Christchurch Press, which he managed for a number of years." (Papers Past) The last edition online is Volume 1 Edition 290, Saturday 31 August 1872.

    Times and Thames Miners' Advocate

    In 1868 William Shaw started the Times and Thames Miners' Advocate. Like many businesses on the goldfield, it prospered but then foundered. A 'Wharfdale' printing press had been used, originally bought by Shaw for 1200 pounds, on bankruptcy it sold for a mere 280 pounds. (pg 115, Grant) Jeremy Hartnett,was also involved with Shaw publishing this paper.

    Closing Comments

    Newspapers provided a vital link for the wider Thames Goldfield community. Even more important than local news, the papers were a window to wider New Zealand and the world. The readers devoured all the news they could get, and appear to have been well versed in a wide range of topics.

    Newspapers at The Thames were published initially a few times a week, then daily (except Sunday) - and there are two known titles (Journal / Periodical)* that were published  weekly, fortnightly and monthly.

    While publications may have been owned by the same people (in different partnerships) the titles included:
    You will find the book Lasting Impressions: The Story of New Zealand's newspapers 1840-1920 by Ian Grant a wonderful read - to skim over or go back and read sections in depth.  Quaint stories about pigeons flying to Auckland to deliver news of latest gold finds for the next publication! The main players in the newspaper industry are featured throughout the book and once again we can see that many of these men were at, or passed through the Thames during their careers.

    While the opening statement from Grant's book / article states Thames had five newspapers - it is clear from the above list that if one were to count change of names then the figure rises to at least EIGHT 'newspaper' publications in the early days of the Thames goldfield (including the periodicals*).

    Mr McCullough (Hat / white beard - centre left), and staff of the Evening Star newspaper.

    Grant, Ian F. Lasting Impressions: The Story of New Zealand's newspapers, 1840-1920. Fraser Books 2018.
    Papers Past: Newspapers and their summaries.

    Sunday, January 5, 2020

    Thames (NZ): Shortland & Grahamstown on the Map

    While the blog has featured maps in the past, the search for those specific to Thames is always of interest when trying to identify past and present locations.

    There is a new book at Thames Library that looks at the development of maps related to Aotearoa New Zealand. Signing the Trail by John McCrystal is a magnificent book, although the weakness being the emphasis on the South Island...or maybe I was just hopeful for more related to The Thames!

    Be prepared and have  a good magnifying glass handy when reading this book - otherwise you will find it impossible to peruse the information written / marked on the maps.

    It was the cover map that intrigued me the most. It is
    J. Stuart Reid's Bradshaw guide [cartographic material] : sketch map of New Zealand. The map is labelled 1885 and shows railways, coach roads, steamer routes.

    In 1873, the Thames Borough had been formed, principally from the merging of Shortland Town and Grahamstown. Yet on this Bradshaw Guide map the towns of Shortland and Grahamstown are still marked.
    Part of the Map:

    Searching for Thames Maps
    • Search via the National Library and enter terms such as "Thames Goldfield"
    • Search via DigitalNZ and enter required area of interest such as "Thames map"
    • You may get duplicates, but search directly at sites such as: Sir George Grey Collection at Auckland Libraries.
    • For maps from more recent time, The Auckland University has an amazing number of high resolution maps for download.
    • Land Information New Zealand has an information page on 'finding maps'.
    • The Treasury Archive & Research Centre, Queen Street Thames has a large number of maps principally relating to the Goldfield.
    • The Thames Coromandel District Council have online SMART Maps portal that allows the researcher to view a variety of different base maps, while exploring the TCDC area.
    This is just a few of the online sites where you can find great maps of the Thames area - if I have missed your favourite, let me know and I'll add it to the list.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2020

    Thames (NZ): News Years Honours - any Thamesites?

    Just a quick shout-out regarding the New Years Honours List 2020.

    I didn't recognise any Thames names (born / lived here), but if you did...can you let me know.

    Remember, here is the historical list we have gathered so far:

    Monday, December 30, 2019

    Thames (NZ): Jacarandas add colour around the town

    Let me start, by saying I am no tree expert, merely a gardener with too many camellias! There is one tree though that has always captured my imagination, as a young child I played for hours in a mighty tree - it was a Jacaranda. Now I don't know quite when the invasion happened, but it is a delight to travel around the town at present and see an abundance of Jacaranda trees in full bloom.

    History of the Jacaranda at the Thames
    A search of the newspapers at Papers Past shows one result in the Thames Star dated 21 May 1937.

    A mention was made of a magnificent specimen of an Australian Jacaranda at the Thames Hospital entrance.
    THAMES STAR, 21 MAY 1937

    Jacaranda Trees December 2019 at Thames

    Jacaranda Trees in full bloom at Pollen / Campbell Streets (above) and Mackay Street (below).

    Significant Tree Schedule at Thames
    Want to know more about significant / historic trees at Thames?
    The Thames Coromandel District Council has details in their District Plan.

    Table 4 - Thames Significant Tree Schedule
    Tree number
    Overlay Planning Map
    STEM score
    Mixed Group
    Legal Description
    Norfolk Island Pine
    200 The Terrace, Thames
    Lot 2 DPS 8174
    Monkey Apple or Lilly Pilly Tree
    200 Fenton Street, Thames
    Lot 1 DPS 5338
    Norfolk Island Pine
    Norfolk Island Pine
    (2 trees)
    Brunton House
    210 Parawai Road, Thames
    Lot 1 DPS 11864
    Norfolk Island Pine
    Sydney Blue Gum
    Giant Redwood
    Mixed Group
    (3 trees)
    113 Currie Street, Thames
    John William Hall Reserve
    Lot 17 DPS 1393
    Totara Memorial Park Cemetery
    110 Te Arapipi Road, Totara
    Part Te Totara 1
    Te Puru Domain, Te Puru
    Lot 70 DPS 58735
    (2 trees)
    Te Puru Beachfront Reserve, Te Puru
    Sec 22 and 50 Town of Unuarei

    Saturday, December 28, 2019

    Thames (NZ): 100 years ago - roll on 1920

    As we near the end of 1919, lets take a moment to look back one hundred years and consider what life was like at The Thames. The Thames Star newspapers at Papers Past, reveal what was happening in our town.

    Shop Hours 1919-1920
    Shops closed and the people of Thames survived! Thames Bakers (W H Inglis, W Gleeson and W Scott) closed their business for three days over the New Year - while Butchers (A Bateman, H Lowe and W Taylor were closed from January 4-5th.

    The Grocers also did not open their doors from Thursday 1st January 1920 to Sunday 4th inclusive, reopening Monday 5th. Namely: Coakley & Co, J H Ensor, J Galloway, W Scott, Wallace & Co, C Whitehead and Wood & Son. These hours appear to represent the majority of the shops in the town.

    News at The Thames
    An interesting comment was noted in the paper "In spite of the fact that there were a number of Aucklanders here during the holidays the police report that all was quiet, and no burglaries or other amusements of this character have so far come to light."

    The First Annual reunion of the High School Old Boys' Association had taken place on the weekend beginning 26th of December. The first annual general meeting was held the following day, and Mr R N Alley was named President.

    The war was still fresh in everyone's mind, and messages filled the paper with news from Europe.

    The final results for the elections were published in the Thames Star 31 December 1919. The  Thames Electorate was won by Mr T W Rhodes. While the licensing poll went the way of Prohibition. (There had been two major Prohibition  votes during 1919, the cause was only narrowly defeated nationally.) The full results for New Zealand, showed that Prohibition lost by less than 2,000 votes.

    What to do on New Years Eve?
    There was a dance at the Miners Union Hall, organised by the Thames Branch of the New Zealand Labour Party. Or you could go to the movies at either the Queens or Kings. The Kiwis, the famous entertainment troupe who performed in Europe and England during WWI were the performing at The Kings Theatre at the northern end of Pollen Street.

    Wanting to go to Auckland? The Wakatere was departing the wharf at 11.30pm heading to the city and arriving New Years Day.

    New Years Day 1920
    Nothing to do? White's taxi was running a service to Puru - return fare five shillings.

    Venture further afield to Tapu, along the Thames Coast and you were invited to attend a picnic in support of the building of a war memorial - followed by a dance later in the day.

    In the Thames Star 3 January 1920, it was reported that the New Year had been well celebrated, especially at the camps along the coast. Large fires had been built on the beaches and people sang to the accompaniment of Kerosene tin drummers! Then on New Years Day, Thamesites descended to the beach for a picnic, a perfect stat to the new year - thankfully the jellyfish numbers had reduced!

    Then & Now - 1920 & 2020
    The ability to survive the shops being shut for four days is one of the major differences noted. While Thamesites one hundred years ago were also involved in community gatherings to celebrate the New Year. Despite having few personal cars, transport was found to enjoy a picnic down the Thames Coast.

    This large snapshot collage of Thames appeared in the Auckland Weekly News 28 October 1920
    Source: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19201028-39-1
    FORMERLY A WELL-KNOWN MINING TOWN, BUT NOW A FLOURISHING CENTRE FOR THE OUTLYING DAIRYING COUNTRY: VIEWS OF THE THAMES AND SURROUNDING COUNTRY. The Thames, situated at the mouth of the Waihou River, on the Firth of Thames, was formerly a prosperous goldmining town. Mining is still carried on, but the present prosperity of the town is due to the dairying industry. The illustrations are 1. Discing on a dairying farm at Matatoki, seven miles south of the town. 2. A thriving industry at the Thames: Fishermen removing the catch from the net. 3. Feeding the pigs on a dairy farm at Matatoki. 4. A comprehensive view of the town of Thames. 5. Landing deep-sea mussels at Shortland Wharf, Thames. 6. A boat with a haul of 600 sacks of deep-sea mussels. There is keen demand for these shellfish, which are esteemed by many as a delicacy. 7. A farming pioneer on the coast road, seven miles north of the town.

    Sunday, December 22, 2019

    Thames (NZ): 1973 Message for Thamesites concerning Telephone Calls

    Background (From blog 27 November 2011)

    When did Thames get the telephone? In the Thames Star 6/3/1891, it was stressed that Thames needed a Telephone Exchange, that it would be a great asset to the Town. In order to get one, they needed to get 25 subscribers and put forward a petition. The following week, the District Hospital and Charitable Aids Board decided to put their name forward as a subscriber. By October 1892, the exchange was up and running. Initially there were some complaints about the hours the Exchange was open - on Christmas Day 1873 the hours were 9 to 10am. Normally the hours were 8am to 8pm.


    Telephone Services around New Zealand

    "Telephonic communication was made a monopoly of the Telegraph Department soon after the first New Zealand trials of the new technology in the late 1870s. The colony’s first telephone exchange, in Christchurch’s Chief Post Office, had about 30 subscribers when it opened for business on 1 October 1881." https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/first-world-war-postal-service/1914

    Thames Telephone Service 1936

    Leaping forward to 1936, the new advertisements stressed that the telephone was no longer a luxury but a necessity! How ironic that now as we come near to the year 2020, many people are phasing out having a home phone line, once again having a home line is considered a Luxury! The reason being the changing market to mobile phones.


    Thames Telephone Service Xmas 1973

    The reason for this post, arose out of a caption that is in the Thames Star newspaper in 1973.

    The photograph (below) was taken in the Thames Telephone Exchange, on the second floor of the Post Office, Pollen Street. The operators are busy at the switchboard, connecting local and toll calls.

    Maybe this scene is unknown to some. When you wanted to make a phone call you picked up the phone and waited to be connected to your chosen number. "Number Please?" "839, thankyou"
    The operator lifted the cord and placed it in the appropriate slot for the number chosen. What joy it was, when later the exchange became automatic, and you could dial the number you wanted.

    The Caption for the Photograph
    The avoidance of non-essential phone calls on Christmas Day will enable some telephone exchange operators, seen here at the Thames switchboard, to enjoy a Christmas meal at home.

    How do you think that plea would be received on Christmas Day 2019? How times have changed.

    Saturday, December 21, 2019

    Thames (NZ): Checkout the 2019 History Gems

    Tourist / History Attractions at The Thames

    Before 1900, what did our Thamesites and their visitors consider to be "worth seeing"? While the history of the tangata whenua at 'The Kauaeranga' is another issue, what did our ancestors deem a tourist attraction?

    Thamesites of old, loved to visit the Tararu and Spencer's Gardens (Parawai). They ventured up into the bush to admire the Giant Kauri and admire the view over their town. There was always the excitement of travelling on the steam tram or later the steam locomotives. A cruise up the Waihou or across the Firth of Thames to Auckland. Our Thamesites were living the development of Pākehā settler history at The Thames - aspects that we celebrate and remember today.

    Present day History Attractions at The Thames

    There are groups in the town that aim to preserve and celebrate the history of the goldfield town fondly known as The Thames. A new pamphlet is currently being distributed by the Thames Heritage Network. If you visit our town, or live nearby, I hope you can find time to visit one of fabulous seven attractions. BUT, please remember there are also many more attractions that do not fall under a society: Shortland, Tararu and Totara Cemeteries; WWI Memorials (Rhodes Park, Civic Centre & Waiotahi Hill) and a large group of landmarks that are commemorated by the Lions Club yellow heritage signs.

    Thames Heritage Network Pamphlet

    Looking for something to do in Thames?
    Visit one of the attractions above.
    Even better, 
    become a volunteer / member of our history groups.