Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thames (NZ): Historic Karangahake

When mining started on the Ohinemuri Goldfield, many miners from Thames went south towards Paeroa, Waihi and Te Aroha - ever hopeful of the riches that gold promised. At the least they hoped for regular employment in the big mines that were established. From the late 1870s onward, many of our Thamesite families settled in these areas, while some stayed many would later return to Thames and find alternate employment.
Looking at the Karangahake Reserve area today - it is hard to believe that this was once a busy, bustling mining township.
Karangahake Township with Talisman Battery on the right
Photo courtesy of: L Gleeson

Details of Karangahake that appeared in the 1902 Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Auckland Edition:
Karangahake is situated on the bank of the Ohinemuri river. The main road to Waihi passes through the township. On the opposite side of the river are the batteries of the New Zealand, Talisman, Woodstock, and New Zealand Crown mines. Like Waitekauri, Waihi and Waikino, Karangahake is under the jurisdiction of the Ohinemuri County Council. A street water supply has been laid on, and the township has a public hall, two hotels, and a fair number of stores and business places. Numerous coaches run daily through the township, which is situated in a gorge formed by the Ohinemuri river, the hills on each side being close and fairly high. Karangahake is five miles from Paeroa, and four miles from Waikino.
The area is busy today with holidaymakers and tourists, who can pause and enjoy the heritage walks in the area.