Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Samuel Alexander - 'Father of the Thames Goldfield'

Researching the mines of the Hauraki District is a definite reminder of how little I know on the topic, but also the magnitude of the mining operations that were taking place all across the Coromandel Peninsula in the pre 1900s.

An interesting character is that of SAMUEL ALEXANDER, who was often called at the time, FATHER OF THE THAMES GOLDFIELD and FATHER OF FORESTRY. Mr Alexander who claimed the reward of £5000 for the discovery of payable gold at the Thames

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Auckland Volume 2 reports what happened:
"In the month of July, 1867, Mr. Alexander was on the Thames, and found his way up the Kuranui Creek, then surrounded by dense bush, including supplejacks. Having discovered a small waterfall about 10 feet high, he climbed to the top and scooped up some of the loose stuff. This he carried out to the open, and on panning off the dish, discovered a rich prospect of gold. The prospect was immediately taken to Auckland by Mr. Alexander himself, and when crushed there by him, it yielded 21 pennyweights of gold. On this circumstance Mr. Alexander based his application as the discoverer of gold. The ground on which he found specimens was afterwards well known as Hunt's Claim. Mr. Alexander afterwards alleged that it was originally arranged between Hunt, Clarkson, and himself that he (Alexander) should have a full share in the mine as the fifth shareholder in six men's ground, but that Hunt had sold that share to other persons before Alexander had had time to register his interest. "

Mr S Alexander, 'Father of the Thames Goldfields"
(Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Auckland 1902 pg 483)
The papers have reports concerning Mr Alexander's attempts to claim the reward money for discovering the goldfield, this does not appear to have been viewed favourably. (Thames Star 9/4/1887)

Mr Alexander's death is reported in the Thames Star Newspaper 22/9/1902, an old respected resident who passed away aged 74 years. Samuel Alexander was buried at Shortland Cemetery, PUBL-PLOT-1463. (No headstone remains)

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