Friday, January 18, 2019

Thames (NZ): 150th Commemorative Sculpture Update - Te Tau Kōtare

On 12 March 2018, the statue to commemorate the Thames' 150, was placed on a site just south of the Kauaeranga Bridge, on the west side of the Ngati Maru Highway, just past Rhodes Park (and the WWI Commemorative Forest). (Full story on previous blog) 

A plaque has now been placed adjacent to the footpath that explains the details and meaning of the sculpture. (photo left)

The sculpture is called Te Tau Kōtare - The Sentinel.

The inscription reads: "Created in 2018 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Thames goldfields, this sculpture combines contrasting motifs: past and present, male and female, exotic and native, industrial and natural. But it tells one overarching story - of people coming together and making our land what it is today." (continued below)

PLAQUE for Te Tau Kōtare - The Sentinel
Located south-west of the Kauaeranga Bridge.

Transcription of plaque continued from above:
"Exotic and native timbers represent two cultures and reflect the region's logging history.

The crossed taiaha and pick reflect the mana (prestige) of Ngāti Maru who made local land available for infrastructure and goldfields.

The bounty of land and sea are both showcased in the sculpture's base, carved from local basalt in the shape of a black mussel.
The Pinnacles of the Coromandel mountain range.

Metal tools used by the industrious pioneers, men and women who helped shape Thames.

The kowhaiwhai pattern represents the spiritual (black) and earthly (red) existence of the people."

See plaque above for the 'pointers' to the sculpture diagram to aid identification

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Thames (NZ): Photographic project at Totara Cemetery - the missing headstones?

There are a group of researchers / genealogy helpers who take photographs of headstones at our local cemeteries. These are then posted on sites such as Find A Grave that I have previously mentioned and linked. See Thames Cemetery Information Page.

Often descendants / relatives are disappointed when there is no grave marker, and wonder what went wrong? Was the family short of money? Were they waiting until both partners passed? Has the stone been stolen or broken and not replaced? This week I found one block that appears unique.

At the most southern boundary of the Totara Memorial Park Cemetery, Thames - is a block that has not one marker.  The block is 75, full Id from the TCDC Cemetery site is: 2PUBL-075-0001 to 2PUBL-075-0022. Council have no records of an event happening that could have damaged the markers, so the mystery remains. Further below are the names and details of those interred in Block 75.


The location of Block 75, circled below.


It is interesting that from aerial views of the cemetery it is possible to make out the change of terrain and some of the plot locations. 
Above: Aerial View of Block 75, and the southern boundary of the Totara Cemetery - there are no headstones or signs of old markers on the ground.
Below: View of the area from the ground. Lines drawn to indicate area of plots in Block 75.



Above: View looking north from Block 75, towards the parking area at the top.


   
Left: Block 74, Block 75 centre right, with no headstone markers. Right: Looking eastward along Block 75.

Interments in Block 75:
JENSEN, Agnes, Date Of Burial 19/10/1962, Aged 57 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0001
JENSEN, Clifford Arnold, Date Of Burial 17/05/1969, Age not recorded, Plot 2PUBL-075-0001 (1963 NZ Electoral Roll: Residence Willoughby Street, Thames, occupation pensioner)

Plot 2PUBL-075-0002 to 2PUBL-075-0008 inclusive - unused plots

LOUDEN, Richard Lepper, Date of Burial 08/04/1964, Aged 63 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0009

LUND, Arthur, Date of Burial 14/01/1964, Aged 52 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0010

Plot 2PUBL-075-0012 - unused plot

MARTIN, Edward Henry, Date of Burial 25/10/1955, Aged 73 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0012

Thames Star 6 December 1955
MARTIN, William Bowden, Date of Burial  7/12/1955, Aged 83 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0013. William was the son of Katherene and William Martin, and lived in Karaka Road, Thames. (see death notice right)

HAYS, Matthew, Date of Burial 5/3/1956, Aged 82 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0014

LEPS, Henry, Date of Burial 30/7/1956, Aged 80 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0015 (1954 NZ Electoral Roll: Residence Waiotahi Creek, Thames, occupation retired)

NEGUS, Charles Bernard, Date of Burial 5/3/1957, Aged 95 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0016 (1949 NZ Electoral Roll: Residence Puriri, occupation pensioner)

TREMAINE, Leonard, Date of Burial 7/9/1957, Aged 78 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0017 (1957 NZ Electoral Roll: Residence Tararu Road, Thames, occupation pensioner)

FLYNN, Leonard Francis, Date of Burial 21/3/1958, Aged 65 Years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0018 (1957 NZ Electoral Roll: Residence Tiki Road, Coromandel, occupation pensioner)

KING, Joseph Henry, Date of Burial 15/9/1958, Aged 80 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0019

KELLY, Jack, Date of Burial 24/4/1961, Aged 37 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0020

BALLE, Emanuel, Date of Burial 13/1/1962, Aged 80 years, Plot 2PUBL-075-0021

Plot 2PUBL-075-0022 - unused plot

Conclusion:
Maybe you have one of these people in your extended family tree or perhaps recall a time when a headstone was on the site. If you have any further information please let me know.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thames (NZ): Photographs from Sir George Grey Collection - Have you seen these?

We are always on the hunt for new photographs, so it always pays to browse whats available at Auckland Libraries in their Sir George Grey Collection. Here are a few photos that I had either not seen before or at least forgotten!

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-2
Description
Showing an overshot waterwheel and associated buildings, probably part of a gold mining operation in the Thames area, possibly Brown and Campbell's Battery in the lower Tararu Valley.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-20
Description
Showing the Billy Goat Creek at the base of Billy Goat Falls? in the Kauaeranga Valley, Thames

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-23
Description
Showing a view south along the Kauaeranga Valley

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-31
Description
Showing kauri logs on the bed of the Maungarehu Creek, with the water race on the hillside above

NB There are many more in this series relating to the Kauaeranga River and Valley.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-65'
Description
Donkin's garage (right), on the corner of Walter and Pollen Streets, Thames, looking south

A blurred photograph, but a great view just north of Walter Street intersect with cars lined up getting petrol from Donkin's garage.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-66
Description
Showing the Thames School of Mines and neighbouring buildings in Cochrane Street, Thames

This is a beauty looking across at the school of Mines, east along Cochrane Street. Well's had a butcher shop for many decades in the two storied building centre right, a few doors past that is the old Cornwall Arms Hotel. The houses top centre are in Princes Street, an extension off Upper Albert Street, with Broad Street below.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-67
Description
Looking east along Richmond Street, Thames near Brian Boru hotel. Old Oddfellows' hall (right), later used as picture theatre, ballroom, skating rink and auction mart.

Great view looking up Richmond Street, to the Karaka (Una) Hill. For some reason these main side roads were so rarely photographed. As you can tell, there weren't many cars in Thames, and this was the case for decades. Old Thamesites could virtually recite who were the 'wealthy' families who had cars! Many will remember the old auction mart that is in the vicinity of where Te Korowai is today. A great place to go and swap comics and an amazing place to skate!

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-68
Description
Showing houses in Albert Street, Thames

Another great view along Albert Street to Upper Albert Street in the distance. What year do you think this could be? 1940s or 50s? Look closer and you can get a good feel for the town and the hardship that was and had been endured. Thames was bankrupt in the 1920s and then hit hard by the 1930s Depression. The state of the streets and general maintenance is a window into these hardships. Victoria Park south is on the right. On the left is the Park Hotel, unless it is the 1950s, then the name had changed to the Lady Bowen Hotel.

There is a selection of photographs taken from the Waiotahi Hill also of interest - some are blurred in the series but this is a great one below.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-70
Description
Showing a view of the Firth of Thames from Monument Hill. Albert Street (left) and sewer pipe, Lady Bowen Hotel (previously Park Hotel). Williamson Street and Royal Hotel (right). Remains of Burke Street Wharf protection wall still visible top right.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-81
Description
Showing a view of the Firth of Thames from Monument Hill. Showing the remains of the old Burke Street Wharf and the sea walls. Moanataiari flat on right later reclaimed.

Now to one of the best, a photo of the old Moanataiari flume, that still stands at the Hauraki Prospectors Association grounds, at the northern end of Queen Street, before the Moanataiari Creek Road.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1192-74
Description
Showing a water race at Thames, the site of the former Golden Crown Battery, now the Thames Gold Mine Experience site [Hauraki Prospectors Association] adjoining the State Highway, across the road from Haven street. The area was formerly known as Tookeys Flat. 

The view today thanks to google maps (below).



So remember, keep exploring, new photos are going online all the time!

Share your favourite finds, and I will add them to the blog.

NB. I am on the hunt for any photographs taken during 1939-45 in Thames, particularly if war related. Maybe soldiers going or home on leave, Parades, VE and VJ Day etc...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Thames (NZ): Thames Star Newspaper notices

Researching your family in Thames? Then one of the best places to start to look for information is the newspaper.

  

  
Examples from 1954 Thames Star newspaper above

Over the years I have collected many notices, some of which have been indexed. For instance this is an index example of Thames Star notices 1946 to 1955. LETTER SORT 'A' - If you would like me to do any searches, email me the details.

SURNAME FIRSTNAME DATE TYPE OF NOTICE YEAR
ABERCROMBIE N D 11/05/1953 News 1953
ABERHART H E 11/05/1953 News 1953
ABRAHAM Budgie 16/12/1954 In Memoriam 1954
ABRAHAM N/R (from T W) 21/12/1953 Bereavement Thanks 1953
ABRAHAM N/R (mother) 15/10/1948 In Memoriam 1948
ABRAHAM Rangi (Budge) 17/12/1953 Death 1953
ABRAHAM Rangi Molly (Budgie) 16/12/1954 In Memoriam 1954
ADAMS E F (Mr) 10/05/1955 News 1955
ADAMS E F (Mr) 16/05/1955 News 1955
ADAMS E F (Mr) 16/05/1955 News 1955
ADAMS E M (Mrs) 27/12/1950 News 1950
ADAMS Eliza 9/09/1949 Death 1949
ADAMS F (Miss) 9/11/1951 Bereavement Thanks 1951
ADAMS Florence 5/11/1951 Death 1951
ADAMSON Anne 21/04/1954 Death 1954
ADAMSON David James 20/01/1953 Death 1953
ADAMSON H (Mrs) 23/07/1946 90th Birthday 1946
ADAMSON Hannah Jane 23/04/1951 Death 1951
ADAMSON Hannah Jane 11/05/1951 Bereavement Thanks 1951
ADAMSON Hannah Jane (Mrs) (nee Smith) 24/04/1951 Obituary 1951
ADAMSON N/R (From Mr & Mrs D) 11/02/1953 Bereavement Thanks 1953
ADAMSON N/R (From Mr D) 7/05/1954 Bereavement Thanks 1954
ADAMSON N/R (Mrs) 7/05/1954 Thanks 1954
ADAMSON - EDWARDS Helena & Albert 30/12/1946 Golden Wedding 1946
ADDICOAT N/R (From Mrs E) 3/02/1950 Bereavement Thanks 1950
ADDICOAT Phillip 23/01/1950 Death 1950
ADDISON N/R (Mr) 26/04/1954 News 1954
ADLAM N/R (Averill & Pax a dau) 21/06/1955 Birth 1955
ADLAM N/R (Averill & Pax a dau) 22/06/1955 Birth 1955
AFFLECK - HOPPING Doreen & Victor 1/11/1954 Engagement 1954
AGNEW Samuel 12/07/1951 Death 1951
AGNEW Samuel 12/07/1951 Obituary 1951
AGNEW - WENZLICK Mervyn & Daune 5/08/1952 Engagement 1952
AIREY Henry Watson 9/09/1954 Obituary 1954
AITKIN Ann A (Mrs) 8/08/1947 Obituary 1947
ALDIS W 11/05/1953 News 1953
ALEXANDER E K 11/05/1953 News 1953
ALEXANDER Ethel (Mrs Hamilton) 16/02/1948 Golden Wedding 1948
ALEXANDER N/R (Mr) 26/04/1954 News 1954
ALLAN G S 11/05/1953 News 1953
ALLEN Carol 14/06/1954 Death 1954
ALLEN Charles Carrol 24/03/1952 Death 1952
ALLEN Charles Carrol 18/04/1952 Obituary 1952
ALLEN Edith 30/07/1952 Death 1952
ALLEN Edith  29/08/1952 Bereavement Thanks 1952
ALLEN Joy (Miss) 6/07/1950 News 1950
ALLEN Maureen 19/02/1954 Thanks 1954
ALLEN N/R (from Mr H H) 30/11/1951 Thanks 1951
ALLEN N/R (From Mrs Edith Allen) 4/04/1952 Bereavement Thanks 1952
ALLEN N/R (Max & June a son) 17/08/1954 Birth 1954
ALLEN Thelma (Miss) 31/05/1951 News 1951
ALLEN - NIGHTINGALE Hugh & Florence 27/02/1950 Engagement 1950
ALLEN - RADONICH Evelyn & George 31/08/1950 Wedding Bells 1950
ALLINGTON Gordon 7/07/1954 News 1954
ALLINGTON - BEECH Marie & Douglas 7/06/1955 Wedding 1955
ALLISON Russell (Mr) 28/05/1954 News 1954
ALLWOOD Millicent Mary Ann 2/10/1946 Coroners Report 1946
ALSTON J (Mr) 17/07/1953 News 1953
AMADIO Albert (Dick) 13/02/1953 Death 1953
ANDERSEN Mary 20/10/1948 Death 1948
ANDERSEN N/R (wife & mother) 20/10/1949 In Memoriam 1949
ANDERSON Azilla Rose  14/03/1952 In Memoriam 1952
ANDERSON Azzila Rose 20/03/1951 Obituary 1951
ANDERSON Edith (Ina Anihana) 12/08/1955 Death 1955
ANDERSON Edith (Mrs) 19/08/1955 Obituary 1955
ANDERSON George 1/07/1953 News 1953
ANDERSON N/R (From Norman) 10/11/1948 Bereavement Thanks 1948
ANDERSON O (Mrs) 12/01/1949 Thanks 1949
ANDERSON Otto 22/12/1948 Death 1948
ANDERSON William (Professor) 9/08/1955 Obituary 1955
ANDERSON - WETZEL John & Frances 29/10/1954 Wedding 1954
ANDREW N/R (From Mrs G Tarr) 12/08/1954 Bereavement Thanks 1954
ANDREW R L 3/05/1955 News 1955
ANDREW R L (Mr) 9/10/1950 News 1950
ANDREW R L (Mr) 7/06/1955 News 1955
ANDREWS Henry John Howard 31/01/1947 RSA Notice 1947
ANDREWS Henry John Howard 31/01/1947 News 1947
ANDREWS R (Mrs) 9/06/1950 News 1950
ANDREWS - MARTIN Ellis & Amelia 28/02/1947 Wedding Bells 1947
ANDREWS - TURNER Henrietta & William 29/06/1951 Wedding Anniversary 1951
ANGUS - KERBY Myrtle & Mervyn 4/10/1951 Silver Wedding 1951
ANNAN A H 5/06/1953 News 1953
ANSELL - STANDEN Trevor & Elaine 9/09/1955 Engagement 1955
ANTONOVICH John 23/05/1955 Birthday 1955
ARBURY J E 11/05/1953 News 1953
ARCHER Agnes (Mrs) 8/08/1947 Obituary 1947
ARCHER K (Dr) 2/12/1949 News 1949
ARNOLD N/R (Mary & Gilly a dau) 31/05/1951 Birth 1951
ARNOLD - MCENTEER Gilbert & Mary 16/01/1948 Engagement 1948
ARNOLD - MCENTEER Gilbert & Mary 17/12/1948 Wedding Bells 1948
ARNS Herman 16/12/1947 Death 1947
ARO Jason 27/05/1952 Roll of Honour 1952
ARO Jason Victor 28/05/1951 Roll of Honour 1951
ARTHA Ellen Sophia (Nell) 9/11/1950 Death 1950
ARTHA N/R (Mother, friend) 8/11/1951 In Memoriam 1951
ASHBY - HEATH John & Ruth 14/04/1953 Wedding 1953
ATKINSON Lillian 17/06/1955 Death 1955
AUDLEY Matilda (Mrs) 15/02/1952 Obituary 1952
AUSTEN John 25/07/1951 Death 1951
AUSTEN N/R (From Mrs S) 6/08/1951 Bereavement Thanks 1951
AUSTIN N/R (Evelyn & Morgan a dau) 15/04/1953 Birth 1953
AUTRIDGE C 11/05/1953 News 1953
AUTRIDGE Louis (Mr) 27/05/1953 Obituary 1953
AUTRIDGE Louis Edward 13/05/1953 Death 1953
AVERY C (Mr) (MC) 29/12/1955 News 1955
AVERY George Albert 4/05/1949 Death 1949
AVERY George Albert 13/05/1949 Obituary 1949
AVERY George Albert 13/05/1949 Funeral Report 1949
AVERY  G (Mr) 30/09/1949 News 1949
AYLWIN - ROSE Edward & Beverley 27/11/1953 Engagement 1953

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Thames (NZ): New Year, New Thoughts

For those that read the blog  frequently or infrequently, you may have noticed that posts had somewhat dried up of late. It hasn't been a great time researching in Thames for a variety of reasons, so its hard to find motivation to continue with new projects. 

I need to 'break the drought' or 'close' the blog - in the meantime here is an interesting card that was for sale on trademe a short time ago. (see right)

The enlarged view below, shows that the photo was taken from the north west corner of Mary and Pollen Street, just north of the South African War Memorial.

Its an unusual view, that looks at the shops on the eastern side of Pollen Street, the named ones are J Danby's shoe shop and W S Wylie's. 

Do you know what is the best thing abut this photo and what distinguishes it so much as a great reminder of Thames shops? The verandah blinds!! At least that is the lasting memory I have. 

Shopkeepers had beautiful display windows and took pride in protecting the sale items, hence the need for these outdoor awnings to prevent damage from the sun.

Well thats all for now. If you are researching Thames history or a family line - email and I may be able to help. In the meantime I have a few sources online - there are some lost links, but many still work. Examples are: Electoral Rolls, Street Directories

Also from this blog you will find pages devoted to the local cemeteries and schools.
Need some help researching your family in Thames, let me know.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Thames (NZ): WW100 Thames Forest in full bloom

Background: 
Thames’ World War One Memorial Forest was officially opened and planted 11 August 2015.
“The New Zealand World War I Memorial Forests, which are based in up to 10 sites in the Coromandel, will eventually mature into forests which will enhance environmental values and serve as calm places for people to walk and remember New Zealand history. Each forest will commemorate a different battle or campaign of the war, with at least one site in each Community Board area.” (http://www.tcdc.govt.nz)

The Reality:
Money ran out and the TCDC was unable to complete all of the forests, the 'canned' forests included the Messines Forest that was to be planted on the Waiotahi spur, Thames.

Thankfully the forest that commemorates the known Thames ROH in WWI, was planted and continues to flourish! There have been lost trees, but plans implemented to do replanting and further work is planned for the following year.

TODAY, 16 December 2018:
The pohutakawa are a picture, and look even more spectacular as one drives along the Ngati Maru Highway to the Kauaeranga Bridge.



There were doubters who wondered how the trees would survive and yes some have been lost to flooding (resulting in the moving of some/replanting). To show how the trees have grown, see the example for the tree planted to commemorate John Polton Hicks GLESSING who was Killed in Action 4 June 1917. If you have a chance, stop and walk amongst the trees, and if you need help identifying a tree/soldier sing out or contact TCDC.

  
LEST WE FORGET

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Thames (NZ): "With Them Through Hell" WWI Book & Thames Connections

The publishers have been busy over the WW100 commemorations, and recently there was a new release that has reference to several Thamesites and others from around the district.

The book is "With Them Through Hell, New Zealand Medical Services in the First World War."
Written by Anna Rogers, it covers the medical services involved in the Great War. While repetitive of some other publications, the book aims to pull all the groups together rather than focus on the usual nurses or doctors. A beautifully presented hardcover book, 495 pages and published by Massey University Press. (copy available at Thames Library)

Our Thames trained nurse Cora Beattie Anderson is mentioned and used to highlight the stresses placed on those who cared for others.  When "Cora Beattie Anderson, mentioned in despatches and holder of the Royal Red Cross, was boarded on 10 May 1919, the diagnosis was debility caused by the 'stress and strain' of active service." page 406

Life onboard the hospital ships is discussed and mention is made of Sister Clara Hawkins from Thames who was aboard the Maheno.

Well worth a read, and I look forward to the chapters on dentistry, horses, and the many health support roles that were undertaken during World War One.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Thames (NZ): 'Jandal' Sculpture beside Ngāti Maru Highway.

The Thames Public Art Trust ran a competition some months back for sculptures that could be positioned along the Hauraki Rail Trail - along a 7 km section from Kopu to Thames.

They will offer interest for the walker, cyclist and passing tourist. The magnificent statue for the Thames 150th Commemorations already stands south of the Kauaeranga Bridge.

The winning design for the competition mentioned above was a 'jandal'. Described as being "2.4m by 1m sculpture by Hastings artist Ricks Terstappen won the utilitarian category of the trust's sculpture design competition." Source: Stuff 24 August 2018.

The headlines labelled the new sculpture as the Giant Jandal, I was therefore somewhat surprised to see its size when I finally reached it - walk from the airfield south and it is opposite the garden centre. The jandal is somewhat dwarfed  by the large fence behind, but an interesting addition to Thames' art works. Would have made a great 'seat' at Porritt Park where I am sure children would have delighted in climbing and jumping from the structure.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thames (NZ): Ureia - the Taniwha

Source: https://teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/10862/ureia
In the latest Heritage Magazine (Issue 151 Summer 2018 ), is an article by Kennedy Warne entitled "The Taniwha's backscratcher".

The Taniwha in the article is Ureia - the Hauraki's Taniwha. Stories about Ureia abound, including the story that the taniwha escorted the Tainui waka when it arrived and anchored at Te Anaputu, a rocky outcrop north of Tararu, Thames Coast.

On the right is "This carving of the taniwha Ureia is in the Hotonui meeting house, formerly at Thames but now in the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Ureia was a powerful taniwha living at Tīkapa (Firth of Thames). The taniwha is in the marakihau style – with a serpent-like body and hollow tongue."

The 'new' Kopu Bridge also includes an etching of the taniwha Ureia on the piles. The essence of a taniwha is explained in Warne's article and explained that taniwha's can be seen as 'kaitiaki' "a deep concept that is approximated by ideas of guardianship and stewardship of the natural world.

BACKGROUND
Death of Ureia. Newspaper article 1927 and another in 1931.

Te Anaputa-o-Tainui. The name today is Tainui Cove, 6km north of Thames. It remained a place of shelter for centuries, but has mostly been destroyed following the goldmining and widening of the road. Further reading page 151-152 Te Takoto o te Whenua o Hauraki  by T Turoa and Te A C Royal.

Description of Ureia. The above book also has an appendix on Hauraki Taniwha and Tupua. Said to be a giant reptile that was said to be lured away from the Waikato River by a Hauraki tribe. At the entrance of the Hauraki Gulf, Ureia assumed the shape of a dolphin and guided the Tainui canoe and people to safety. Famed for his deeds, the Hauraki tribe are said to have become the envy of their neighbours, which later contributed to the 'death' of the legendary taniwha.

George Grahams translation regarding taniwha including Ureia. (Te reo with English translations)

A descriptive board at the east end of the Kopu Bridge features information on the Taniwha known as Ureia.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thames (NZ): Restoration of 'New' Nurses Home Plaques

In years past it was the norm to place foundation and opening day 'stones' when new public buildings were constructed. Something that seems to go unmarked with many new buildings in Thames today. That being said, there are many that are in a sad state, so it was pleasing to see the Thames Hospital get in behind a project to restore and rehang several important plaques.

When I researched Thames Memorial and Plaques two years ago, the foundation stone details for the Thames Hospital Nurses' Home (that was opened in 1954) were barely readable.

Background from the above book:
Thames Hospital underwent many changes from the time it was founded as the Thames Goldfields Hospital in 1868. The need for hospital beds and subsequent nursing staff continued to grow. New campus buildings from the 1950s included a new Nurses’ Home at the corner of Mary and Rolleston Streets, Thames. It was mandatory that student nurses live in during the majority of their training; hence the need for a new hostel became imperative.

The foundation stone is on the right hand side of the steps. It reads: “This Stone was laid by the Hon. J R Marshall Minister of Health on the 1st May 1952 Lewis Walker ANZIA Architect The Carrington Building Co Ltd Builders.” On the left hand side of the front steps is a plaque that gives details of the Thames Hospital Board in 1952. It reads: “Thames Hospital Board W C Kennedy Chairman J W Neate (?) Deputy Chairman. Members of the Board 1952 T A Barrett, J W Danby, ?” The remainder of the names are unable to be read due to deterioration of the plaque.

When the Nurses’ Home opened in 1954 it was described as equal to a 4 star hotel.[1] Staff would subsequently call it the ‘New’ Nurses Home, to identify it from the ‘old’ home that was located to the north of the building. It was the first building completed as part of a one million pound upgrade to the hospital campus. Mr W C Kennedy (Chairman of the Thames Hospital Board) “appealed to girls of the district to give consideration to nursing when choosing their future careers.”

[1] Thames Star, 11 October 1954. A Barker Collection.
Opening day 9 October 1954
Thanks to the efforts of the local stone mason and hospital staff, the plaques at the base of the stairs to the past 'New' Nurses' Home now Manaaki Centre, have been restored and all information can be clearly read. Another excellent project completed as part of the Thames Hospital 150 Commemorations.
The Plaque on the north side of the Manaaki Centre, has the names of the Thames Hospital Board Members in 1952.

This is the Foundation stone that was laid 1 May 1952.

The view from the carpark in front of the Manaaki Centre, showing the location of the Foundation Stones.

So if you see some plaques that are deteriorating, see what you can do to ensure the history of the building continues.