Friday, July 18, 2014

Thames (NZ): WWI Commemorations to begin 4 August 2014

It is nearly one hundred years since the start of World War One. At Thames, on 4 August 2014, an evening is to be held to mark this event in world history. A time for everyone to stop and remember the Great War, the men and women involved and the impact the war had on towns like Thames.
For further information: Contact The Treasury

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thames (NZ): Sailing ship visit 1915

The waters off Thames were frequented by a multitude of ships during the goldfield years. They continued to call long into the 19th century. In February 1915 a large sailing ship came aground on the mudflats in the gulf, west of the Piako River and opposite Thames.

The Eurasia'
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150211-50-4
A grand sight to behold, as the Eurasia sailed back to Auckland. In 1916, an Italian ship by the same name was sunk by a German submarine. It was in fact the same ship that had floundered on the Thames mudflats in 1914. The incident was reported widely in newspapers around New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald 22 November 1916 confirming the ship was the same one that had come to New Zealand. These newspaper reports suggest it may have been a British submarine.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thames (NZ): Then & Now, The Burke Street Wharf

Who can resist a view of the bustling Burke Street aka Thames Wharf. The ss Wakatere, proudly docked, awaiting another load of passengers and cargo bound for Auckland.

Today the area is busy again but with foot traffic, as the walkway along the foreshore once again lures people to the area. What is left of the wharf, is registered as a Category 2 on the Historic Places Register.
 Above: Google Maps view of the end of Burke Street, Thames
Below: Street view, looking out at the old wharf

Further information:
Map: click here   Photos: Click here and here
TCDC Walks brochure for the Burke Street Area.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Thames (NZ): Grey & Menzies Cordial Manufacturers

A postcard for-sale online shows what appears to be a display/float for a parade, that was entered by Grey & Menzies Ltd. The title FIRST PRIZE marked on the card. The location possibly Auckland.

Thames and area were famous for the quality of many of their early cordials and soft drinks. Whether it was from confectioners such as Charles Palmer, Butement Brothers or Ballens.

Menzies, later Grey & Menzies a name well known and remembered by many Thames Valley residents today. Known for the famous 'Lemon & Paeroa' drink.

Ohinemuri Journal 14/10/1970 by Len Jones:
"Menzies and Company - Cordial Manufacturers, Francis Street, Paeroa; Head Office Thames. Branches at: Te Aroha, Waihi and Hamilton. The Paeroa branch of this firm's business was established in 1895 and is conducted in a wooden building opposite the Railway Station. The plant consists of a five horse power marine engine, a boiler and a full supply of aerated water and bottling machinery. The firm supplies the districts of Karangahake, Hikutaia, etc. Mr. E.C. Morgan is the manager at Paeroa. (Morgan Bros. had previously owned a similar business in Paeroa.)
Poster: N. Z. PAEROA WATER New Zealand's Premier Natural Mineral Water PRODUCT OF GREY & MENZIES LTD. AUCKLAND. NEW ZEALAND
Source: Auckland Weekly News 15 December 1937
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19371215-58-3 '

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thames (NZ): Remembering WWI - news 29 June 1914

The commemorations for WWI will be covered over the months to come. Today plays an important part in the lead-up to World War One. One years ago Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated.

On 28 June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. The fallout from this faraway event would ultimately claim the lives of 18,500 New Zealanders and wound more than 40,000. Places thousands of miles from home with exotic-sounding names such as Gallipoli, Passchendaele and the Somme were forever etched in the national memory during what became known as the Great War. Source:

The Thames Star Newspaper reported the event on 29 June 1914.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thames (NZ): Early Postcards of local Maori

In the early photographs of Thames during the post goldfield invasion, there are few named photographs of the local iwi. The people who owned the land and had settled in the district for hundreds of years just do not feature in the early photographic records of miners, shopkeepers and local groups. The one exception being the Taipari family.

What we do have though is a large number of unnamed portraits taken by the Foy Bros of Pollen Street Thames. Sadly these are not named. These Maori postcards were very popular in the late 19th Century, in particular to send back to England to family back at home.

The Foy Bros weren't the only photographers in Thames who sold postcards that included Maori portraits. The Frith Portrait rooms next to Dr Kilgours in Pollen Street, in 1876 had a wide selection for sale.

An example of a Foy Bros specimen sheet available for viewing at the online Te Papa Collection, Wellington. Others are available via the Alexander Turnbull Collection. On the left is Tamati Waka Te Puhi and on the right Rena Punehu.
There are many others that haven't been identified. If you have copies of any, The Treasury always welcomes donations of images and any information you have on those people in the photograph. Who are they? What iwi did they belong to? Any descendants?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thames (NZ): An early Grahamstown house

A previous post of an early view of Shortland, Thames, showed a large built up area from Mary Street South. There was a wide discrepancy in homes - ranging from tents, huts, cottages to very developed lots.

A higher definition photo shows that this house below, that was in the vicinity of Broad Street/Upper Albert Street in Grahamstown belonged to a wealthy, established early settler.
Source: Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A16669'

The house sits on a fully fenced plot, that has a well established kitchen garden along with other trees and shrubs. A water tank to provide much needed 'fresh' water, along with a large chimney to keep the house warm and no doubt for cooking. There is detailed fret work along the roof line, while two men stand outside, the owner probably nearer the back door. (see larger photo below)

Who could the owner be? A mine owner/manager? Or perhaps an owner of a large business?