Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Thames (NZ): A quick update on Totara and Tararu Cemetery

It was a gloomy morning in Thames, but while the rain held off, there was time for a quick trip to checkout two of the local cemeteries.

Totara Memorial Park Cemetery.
At Totara, it was great to see that several of the old graves had recently been cleaned. Inspired by this, I tried to tidy a couple. With a soft brush, surplus moss and dirt was easy to remove from the large concrete plots in the oldest section. It was soon apparent that a proposed 'Friends of the Cemetery' group could soon work wonders tidying up the plots at the surrounding cemeteries. Fingers crossed this happens soon, its been a longtime in the planning.

Even nature was doing her best to brighten some old graves, with groups of autumn flowers adding a colourful addition to many old plots.
Totara Cemetery Plots for Mary Pacey and her daughter Kathleen (left), and Lydia Snelgar (right).

Tararu Cemetery.
A quick visit to the point at Tararu was next on the agenda. Graeme P (who cares tirelessly for Tararu and Shortland) had mentioned the fence had been completed, the photographs below show clearly what a grand construction it is.

The entrance to Tararu Cemetery lower right, the cemetery above centre.

A closer look at the road up to the Tararu Cemetery. Top centre spot the steps handrail, then on the left you can see the fence that now runs across the western face of the cemetery grounds.

 The Tararu Cemetery  -  the steps (right) and fence running along the centre of the photograph.
Now you can see what I mean...the great wall of Tararu. Hopefully this makes the area a much safer place to visit, as it really is one of Thames' greatest treasures.

For more information on Thames Cemeteries: CLICK HERE

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Thames (NZ): Our Men & Women who served for other countries in WWI

There is a new book at Thames Library that cover New Zealanders who found in other services in World War One FOR KING AND OTHER COUNTRIES. (cover right)

The above book details that there were a number of men and women in Britain and Europe before World War One broke out. Their reasons were varied, for some it was family ties and allegiances, while others wanted to fight in a war at sea or in the air. Nurses were a good example of women who had gone to England to further their careers.

The book For King and Other Countries by Glyn Harper states:
"We know that some 12,000 New Zealanders contributed to the Allied war effort under the flags of other countries. Of these, just over 1400 paid the ultimate price for their service. Many others were left physically and psychologically maimed by their war experiences."

Nurse Theresa Butler (trained at Christchurch - after the war worked around Thames), initially worked with the St John Ambulance from August 1914, was taken prisoner for two months. Theresa then joined the New Zealand Army Nursing Service.

While Theresa was on the list of known people from the Thames area who served in World War One, the next two men mentioned in the book were not previously identified in the Thames-Coromandel WWI Rolls: James Gilpin and Emil Schroeder.

James Gilpin of Thames served in the South African War. After the war he moved to, and settled in Canada in 1905. When World War One broke out, James enlisted in the 29th Infantry (Vancouver) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

Emil Schroeder was born in 1885 at Tokatea near Coromandel. Emil's father struck it rich and the family appear to have gone travelling around 1901. Schroeder joined the German army and during his war service was awarded the Iron Cross in both first and second classes.

To-date these are following ROLL OF HONOUR men, identified as serving in overseas services during World War One:

Alfred Alley 9872 Australian Imperial Forces.
Owen Allom 1002 Australian Imperial Forces.
William Corin 2524 Australian Imperial Forces.
Thomas Findlay 3263 Australian Imperial Forces.
Charles Greaves 559 Australian Imperial Forces.
John Logan 2423 Australian Imperial Forces.
Thomas McDermott 3181 Australian Imperial Forces.
Leo Mulligan 464 Australian Imperial Forces.
George Rowe 695 Australian Imperial Forces.
William Taylor 1086A Australian Imperial Forces.
Walter Torrens 1458 Australian Imperial Forces.
William Trewhella 492 Australian Imperial Forces.
George Alfred Vivian 118 Australian Imperial Forces.

The book For King and Other Countries has full Roll of Honour, but sadly the index does not identify place of birth or region of affiliation in New Zealand. It would not be unreasonable to expect there are many more Thames names in the roll, men who were born or schooled in the town, and those we have not yet been able to trace.

Regardless, the book is a great read, and reminds us all to remember the New Zealand men and women who served for other countries / overseas services during World War One.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Thames (NZ): The Hazelbank Hotel

Thanks to Tom for spotting some new / higher resolution copies of photographs of Thames at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The one below is a classic, that looks over the Government Buildings in Queen Street, with the Wesleyan Church and Sunday School top centre. So much more, but of particular interest for me was the signage for the Hazelbank Hotel.


Burton Brothers studio; photography studio; New Zealand, Unknown; photographer; New Zealand

Background From the Hotels of Thames:

"The Hazelbank Hotel in Brown Street was located north of the Wesleyan Church (now the site of the Thames School of Mines). Alexander Gillon was publican at the hotel for several years. In May 1875 Gillon applied to the Licensing Committee for a license to sell liquor after 10pm until 4am on the 25th. “He wanted the door open after hours and to sell liquor after hours as he expected a few friends.” (Thames Star, 22 May 1875) The Bench agreed in principal if the house remained closed to the general public, but Gillon wanted it sold to all and sundry – so the application was refused!

In 1882 licensee John Tonkin was in trouble with the law as he had sold drink to Charlotte Hicks on a Sunday and she was not a bona fide traveller. The hotel keepers of the Thames certainly kept the lawyers and court busy with a multitude of Licensing Act breaches.

In 1911 the owner of the hotel was Mr A M Myers, he sold the property and it was converted into a villa residence. The town lamented, that yet another landmark of the town was disappearing.

A crop of the photograph (below) shows the back entrance to the Hazelbank Hotel off Davy Street, adjacent to Hamilton's Bakery. The hotel's main entrance was on Brown Street - between Cochrane and Albert Streets.

The hotel was open pre-1872 till c1887. Known publicans were: Alexander Gillon (1874-80); John Tonkin (1879-83); Thomas Godkin (1883-87).

You can download the full photograph at the link given. Enjoy finding the butcher shop, and Mennie & Dey's biscuit factory opposite the library. (see below)

Keep hunting, keep revisiting sites like Te Papa - fingers crossed there are more treasures out there, as more sites update their online content.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Thames (NZ): Thames Star Newspapers online to 1938 at Paperspast

Just today I went down to the Seagull Centre adjacent to the Thames Refuse Centre off Burke Street to view the Thames Star / Thames Advertiser Newspapers that they have for sale. The Treasury, have removed from their archive collection multiple copies, hence how they ended up at the Seagull Centre and are available for sale. They range from 1870s to 1930s at least. So go have a look, there is nothing like researching from the real paper!!

Now out of the blue I checked back into the Paperspast website and see an updated list of May additions - THAMES STAR 1921 to 1938!!!! What a red letter day for Thames researchers. Over the years I (and later Pauline) spent hours taking photos of BMD and other events for The Treasury (so you always have the easy option to search for items online at the Treasury) - but you can now launch in and search for yourself at the Paperspast website and browse to your hearts content!!!

Are you researching a family member? An event, looking for advertisements.
If you are unsure how to get the best results, Paperspast have some great search tips.

What about looking at the 1927 Jubilee. Maybe your relatives attended?

As always, the parade was the highlight (see right). Best Mining Display was for the Caledonian Mine, while the best conveyance display went to B Collins' Bullocks. Miss Watt had the best decorated vehicle, while Kopu School had the best school display.

The same edition reports on a sports day held at Victoria Park. Among the winners were: Mrs J Atkinson (Married Ladies race) and the Ladies nail driving competition by Mrs Senior.

Use your desired Key Word, the sample below has "THAMES", time period post 1921, Looking just in the Thames Star and selecting just ILLUSTRATIONS.

You can 'Right Click' and save the image or use a snipping tool to save a copy of the image. The quality of the images varies - you can always contact the National Library and they may be able to provide better copies.
Interestingly there are clear guidelines on copyright:
They read: "Using This Item:
Stuff Ltd is the copyright owner for the Thames Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 New Zealand licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Stuff Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide."

I have previously tried to address this with the local representatives at the Hauraki Herald with no success, so now we all know where we stand! I thought it would only be for 'newer' papers but appears to apply to all.

Happy Hunting!

Thames (NZ): New seat on the walkway by the 'Burke Street' Wharf

I am always on the lookout to record new plaques and memorials around the Thames township. I was therefore delighted to see a new SEAT on the point adjacent to old Burke Street Wharf, on the south side of the Waiotahi Creek. The walkway is a great asset, and for those who perhaps can't walk too far, this new seat is perfectly located for a short walk and rest. A few more scattered along the waterfront would I am sure be appreciated by all.

Special thanks to Stepping Out Hauraki for the lovely gesture.

There is a plaque on the back of the seat that reads: 
"This seat was donated for your enjoyment by Stepping Our Hauraki
Rest, Relax, Enjoy!
Stepping Out Hauraki"

ABOVE: View from the new seat, looking west towards the old Wharf - once a bustling area of the old goldfield town.

BELOW: Photograph postcard showing 'P S Wakatere' at the wharf at Thames. The old piles that still remain of the old wharf, once held up a grand wharf, along which thousands boarded and unboarded the hundreds of ships that came to The Thames.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 855-2

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Thames (NZ): Nursing & Rest homes on the Thames Coast in the 1930s

We have previously looked at private healthcare at the Thames, Private hospitals such as Braemar and Sperry Maternity Home supplemented public health services during the early 1900s to the 1940s.

What about health services along the Coast?
The Thames Coast became popular for holiday breaks as roading improved. Also during the 1930s Depression and the 1940s War Years, the coast became a popular holiday destination. Not too far to travel, either by personal or service car.

While checking the details for the death of Ruth Pocock, the newspaper mentioned a private nursing home to the north of Thames at Te Puru. Where was it?

The Greenstone Door Rest Home was run during the late 1930s by Sister Ruth Pocock nee Ford. Ruth had trained at Christchurch Hospital and graduated in 1912. She advertised that her home offered rest and recuperation (no children allowed), and was under the supervision of a registered nurse.

New Zealand Herald 14 February 1938,
 In the book Coromandel Coast by Eugene and Valerie Grayland (published 1965), the Rest Home is mentioned. They note that there is a house named "The Greenstone Door" and that it was believed that a book by that name was written from that site. (Book cover right)

This myth was proven to be incorrect. Instead, "Mr A H Reed points out, the house was so named by a former occupant who was an admirer of [author William] Satchell's work. Satchell, however, did once live in the locality while employed as a clerk in Gibbon's sawmill at Kopu."

Boomerang Motor Camp, Te Puru 1965.
Maybe someone knows where the Greenstone Door House was located? Was it near the camping ground? Maybe it still bears the name  "The Greenstone Door"? Drop me a line if you know more.

I suspect there were more of these nursing homes aka rest homes down the coast. Was there one at Thornton's Bay? or was that just a boardinghouse. Thinking caps on everyone, lets see what we can remember.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Thames (NZ): Trees at Totara Memorial Park Cemetery

Have you noticed the trees on the northern face of the Totara Memorial Park Cemetery? The ground is very steep and needs to be carefully negotiated, as there are many ruts and possible rabbit holes on the descent! From the carpark by the Work sheds, the area is accessible down the concrete path that disects the first and oldest part of the RSA block at the cemetery. This is the area where the majority of World War One Vets are interred.

A descriptive board has been placed above the tree plantings which explains the significance of the trees. 
The plaque above reads:

"A national project to establish stands of trees across Aotearoa New Zealand, Planted by communities as places to reflect on the service of local members of the New Zealand Defence Force, past and present.

These trees were planted on 21 September, 2018 with the support of Thames Rotary, Thames RSA and Thames Coromandel District Council.

330 trees were provided by Te Uru Rakau - Forestry New Zealand.
Matariki Tu Rakau began in 2018, the 100th year after World War One."

Further Reading:
Background on the programme of Remembrance

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Thames (NZ): Thames Photograph 1890s

Thanks to Tom for finding a 'new' photograph of The Thames c1890. Yes, there is a new source available full of lots of treasures for the Thames researcher.

The image is available at a newly launched site by Auckland Libraries that is a portal for their Heritage Collections Online - KURA.

There are Photographs, Heritage Maps, Manuscripts, Auckland People and Events, Passengers & Vessels, Cemetery Records, Rare Books, Journals, Index Cards,  Local History and Oral History.

View south towards old Grahamstown - down Owen Street (centre).
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1596-501

Closer look along Owen Street towards Brown Street.

There is so much to see in this photograph. In the crop above, the Pacific Hotel at the corner of Brown and Albert Streets can be seen. Note how the sea came literally up to the shops on the west side of Brown Street, and a reclamation had taken place for the Thames Railway line. The enclosed 'lagoon' is now the site of the Victoria Park. Of particular interest are the tall trees all over the town. Who had planted them and when?

Background on the Trees.
In January 1879, it was reported that willows and poplars had been planted around the Thames Borough streets. It was reported that townsfolk were grateful for the shade the new trees were providing, but alas came the troublesome news that boys and goats were damaging the trees! The goats were eating the bark, while butcher boys were breaking off branches to use as 'switches'.

By April 1881, the editorial noted Mary Street presented a charming appearance with its regular rows of poplars and its well planted out parterres. All agreed that poplars were a great street tree.

Sadly the poplar and willow soon began to wain in popularity. Renown Thames citizen John W Hall pointed out to the newspaper that the trees were a pest and the damage to the towns streets and drains was serious. The suckers and voracious roots were filling the streets and drains. Plus on narrow streets, the trees had spread to touch each other.

By 1886, several residents were writing to the Council to gain permission to chop down troublesome poplars - Mr Connor asked to be able to cut two in Mackay Street, due to crowding on the footpath.

In 1887 an old 'Colonist' put a plea in for the trees, and urged tree haters to realise the good that they did, filtering any contaminants. People complained about the falling leaves, but he urged people to understand it was only for a few short weeks!

1887 View of Mary Street.

A new plan in February 1889 was that for every tree that was cut down, then another should be replaced. With the plea that no more Poplars be planted!

So Thames' love of the poplars was over, and they were slowly cut down around the town. Patches remain, in particular at Tararu and Irishtown.  Interestingly tree problems have continued over the decades. In more recent years many melia trees were planted in the main street - hindsight found they were also a menace (leaves and berries). They too were removed and replaced with pohutakawa trees.
Hopefully trees will continue to fill the town - from the time the Thames was settled, residents have taken pride in the beautification of the town.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Thames (NZ): Sir Keith Park Memorial unveiled.

A very special day for Thames and New Zealand, a bronze statue of Sir Keith Park unveiled in a very special ceremony in front of the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre.

TV one News covered the event and a short bulletin can be seen online. There was also an article in the New Zealand Herald this morning.

Saturday 27 April 2019.
The morning started with a blessing of the Park statue, Then at 11am a very formal and dignified ceremony took place that started and ended with prayers and Karakia. The MC was Russell Skeet who introduced the dignitaries present - of whom there were many. There were members of the Hare family (relatives of the late Betty Hare who bequeathed the money for the statue) and Park family descendants.

The Day in photos: The photographs tell the story of the event, from opening ceremony to the closing lecture given by Dr Claasen.

Left: The Statue ready for the big day. Right: Russell Skeet opens the ceremony.
Below: Defence Minister Ron Mark addressed those gathered.

The flyover was SPECTACULAR! No sooner had one group flown over, than a second group soared overhead, to honour Sir Keith Park.

Defence Minister Ron Mark and Wendy Hare, handed the honour of cutting the ribbon to two cadets.






ABOVE: Park family member recalled details on her Great Uncle Sir Keith Park.

LEFT: Wendy Hare spoke about her late Aunt Betty's bequest,  RIGHT: MP Scott Simpson.

MORNING TEA: A beautiful morning tea was laid on in the Supper Room, then everyone headed to the main auditorium for a special lecture by Dr Adam Claasen on the life of Sir Keith Park during World War One and Two. A powerful delivery that left no doubt that the boy from Thames made an unequalled impact on the outcome of World War Two during the Battle of Britain.

DR CLAASEN's lecture on Sir Keith Park. Below are some of the slides used in the presentation.

Keith Park World War One pilot and instructor.


 The presentation ended, with one member of the public winning a flight with the local aero club.

LEFT: Commander Guy Haywood, British Defence Force Attache, and MC Russell Skeet.  RIGHT: TCDC Board Member Sally Christie and Defence Minister Ron Mark.

Interpretive Board on the I-site wall, south of the new Sir Keith Park Memorial statue.

Thames boy - Sir Keith Park