Friday, October 24, 2014

Thames (NZ): Dr George Lapraik, a dedicated Thames GP

Thames has had several doctors who have stayed in the town and given many years of dedicated service. One such man was Dr George Lapraik. A General Practitioner who served the town for twenty years, as well as his country during World War One.

There is a new article on Dr Lapraik in The Treasury Journal.

Dr Lapraik was active in the Thames community, including being a member of the Thames Hauraki Rifles, (photo courtesy of The Thames Museum).

George Lapraik was born 6 January 1864 in Glasgow, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1897. He came to Thames in 1899 and stayed until 1919. Dr Lapraik died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis on 6 May 1933 at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton.

Read the full articles in The Treasury Journal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thames (NZ): 100 Years ago - 23 October 1914

What was happening in Thames one hundred years ago? Below is the news that featured in The Thames Star Friday 23 October 1914.

Obituary for Mrs INGLIS
DEATH: Mrs Jane Thorpe INGLIS, relict of the late James Inglis had died the previous day at her home in Cochrane Street, Thames. Jane was 74 years of age and she was buried at Shortland Cemetery, Thames.
The Wakatere was due to leave at 6pm for Auckland. Or you could catch the Waimarie from Auckland at midnight and go to Kopu, Turua or Paeroa.
Shortland Fish Market had a wide variety of meat for sale – Pig’s Heads 1s 6d each; Pickled Tongues 6d a lb; Cooked Trotters 2d each.

Need some concreting done? Contact L R Gray at the corner of Bowen & Clarence Street.

Need a Happy Home? Coakley’s Groceries is the place to go on the corner of Pollen & Willoughby Streets.

Thames Bowling Club was holding their opening day the next day at 2.30pm sharp.

ThamesMiners’ Union were holding their annual combined excursion by train to Te Aroha on Monday 26 October. Tickets were Adults 2/6 and Children 1/-. Contact W H Lucas, the secretary for tickets.

Thames Rowing Club had held their AGM the previous evening and Dr Lapraik was elected President. Commodore was Mr A Myers MP.

The St Francis Tennis Club opened the previous day at the Cochrane Street Courts. Rev Father Dignan played the first ball for the season 1914-15.

There was to be a big concert in the King’s Theatre on Tuesday in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund.

Germans expelled.  The Allies expelled 5000 Germans from Bruges…The Germans on Sunday ordered a strong force, mostly youths under 20, to cross the Yser at all costs. They failed in their task and their losses are estimated at nearly ten per cent.

Thames Sewing meetings had started the previous night at St James’ Hall – the object was to make and provide clothes for the poor of England and Belgium.

A large map was published to show operations in France and Belgium.

A serious situation for the Thames Drainage Board. The companies paying for the pumping had written to the board and explained they could no longer pay, hence pumping should stop. The Board agreed that pumping of the deep levels should stop once all machinery had been removed.

Mining News. The Occidental Consolidated was dues to crush some ore, a few dabs of coarse gold were picked out when breaking down the reef this week.
The St James' Church (right) and (left) on Pahau Street, the St James' Hall where the Thames ladies were holding their sewing bee meetings in 1914

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thames (NZ): Bird-in-Hand Hill Panorama c1940s

Just a little filler, while I'm occupied with some oral history abstracts for the Coromandel Heritage Trust Oral History Recorders at Thames.

The three photos below are taken from Bird-in-Hand Hill and Irishtown area, Thames. Virtually the boundary line of the old goldfield towns of Shortland and Grahamstown, which ran down Karaka via Pahau Street to the sea.

Photo One: Looks over the Karaka Road to Block 27, where the miners originally were given the right to camp on the days when the field opened in 1867. The Una Hill is on the centre left, with the Kauaeranga area beyond.

Photo Two: Looks south, down the roads of Rolleston Street (left) and Baillie Street (centre). A portion of Baillie Street has been closed, to allow expansion of the Thames High School campus. The large two-storied building in the centre of the photo (on left hand side of Baillie Street), is the Nurses' Home (later known as the old Nurses' Home).

Photo Three: Looks south-west over the old Shortland town, Thames. The Thames Hospital campus dominates the centre left, with the St George's Church towering above. To the right of that on the corner of Mackay and Mary Streets, is the Thames Men's Club, the home built by Reverend V. Lush.

Suggested Sources of further information:
Old photographs, postcards and Street Directories are available at The Treasury, Thames.
Street Directories also available via
Hunt for photos at: Auckland Libraries, National Library of New Zealand and via Digital NZ.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thames (NZ): Update for Henry A Severn and the 1874 Transit of Venus

An update on an update! Yes another photo relating to Henry Severn and the 1874 Transit of Venus. (see Past blog entry)

A wonderful photo thanks to 'Kete West Coast' and the Buller, Grey and Westland District Libraries. Just another example of the need to look far and wide, you never know where these treasures will turn up.
The attached info reads:

Caption: This image was possibly taken at Thames, and shows the telescope used to (hopefully) track Venus.  Surnames include TYLER, WARD, VEITCH, SPENCER, GORRIE, those on the right-hand side of the image are illegible due to fading.

A report - THE TRANSIT OF VENUS.  - is in the newspaper - Thames Advertiser, Volume VII, Issue 1915, 10 December 1874, Page 2

There is some interesting discussion on the photo at the Kete West Coast site.

Thames (NZ): Waihi and Waihi Beach connections

Many Thames families have connections to the Waihi-Waihi Beach area. When the Ohinemuri Goldfield opened, many Thames miners moved south and then ended up staying in the Waihi area working at places like the Martha Mine.

Waihi Beach was always a popular place for a day trip or holiday. How strange people would find it today, to see cars driving along the beach or parking at the waters edge. It was not without its danger, as many a car got stuck and needed assistance to get free. We all were skilled at getting a car out by digging around the tyres. Yes, and we realise now that environmentally it wasn't a great thing to do!!

What memories do you have of the greater Thames area?

The Treasury at Thames is co-ordinating a series of 'True Tales' books from right around the Coromandel-Hauraki District. They would love stories from these areas, both recent and old.
They must be about the name of the town or area in the title.  They mustn’t be longer than 1500 words (about 2 typewritten pages or three handwritten pages) and need to contain some photos.  They can be early or recent tales.  They can be about people, places, organisations, buildings, memories, events, humour, tragedy. These little snippets are a great way of recording interesting community history which won’t make it into the history books and will be forgotten if not recorded in some way. CONTACT the TREASURY for more information.

Source: Auckland Weekly News 18 JANUARY 1939

Further information:
The northern Coromandel area have three 'True Tales" books that are available to purchase at The Treasury, Thames.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thames (NZ): Gold mining related videos on Youtube

When you visit old goldmining towns like Thames, it is well worth the visit to go and see examples of the mining process. Whether it be to the Goldmine experience, the Thames School of Mines or the Bella Street Pumphouse - you will learn a little of what the town was like and what the miners did at Thames.

There are also videos on 'youtube' that demonstrate and explain some of the mining equipment used by early miners. Below are some wonderful examples from Kae and Evan:

Berdan Grinder

Five Head Quartz Battery

How to use a gold pan

Pelton Wheel Operation

Water sluicing used in gold mining

There is also a copy of a talk given by Kae on "Thames Goldfields Now and Then."
This is well worth a look, as it takes you on a walk to the mines in the hills behind Thames, you have the chance to hear what it would have been like for the miners and their families who lived in places like Punga Flat, Moanataiari Creek and up the Karaka.
Moanataiari Valley Batteries, mines, shops and residences
Source: Alexander Turnbull Library Collection PAColl-7395-1
 I couldn't resist adding this crop of the centre of the photo. Query the Mine Manager's house - fully fenced, a small garden and a wonderful little bay window to attract all the northerly sun.

Further information on mining also available: at Kae's Gold Miners database and at The Treasury.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thames (NZ): Shortland Landing c1867

The question came up this week, as to what the area at the Shortland Wharf area looked like when the goldfield opened in August 1867.
Above: Shortland (now known as Thames), photographed from the Hauraki Mission station in 1868 by Daniel Manders Beere.
Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: 1/2-096135-G
 A close-up view shows the landing area, more easterly than the present structure, as the river mouth to the Kauaeranga River has changed over the years from silting and debris build-up. The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel standing proudly by the waters edge - previously Nichol's Store, the first business from pre-proclamation days.

The Thames Old Boy's Association Reunion booklet of 1917, has an artistic drawing of the Shortland landing as it was known. (see below)

In September 1867, William Nicholls was granted a bush license to sell alcohol from his premises. William was one of the oldest colonists in New Zealand, having arrived in 1840 and he settled at the Thames in 1866. (Obituary below) Nicholls married Hera Te Whakaawaa, a chieftainess of the Ngatirangi and Ngatihaua tribes. He was born in Cornwall in 1818 and died near Te Aroha December 1900. William Nicholls is buried in the Te Aroha Cemetery, Te Aroha.
Auckland Star 17/12/1900
Further information: on the Shortland Wharf
Family tree information for William Nicholls: at and at The Treasury