Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thames (NZ): The Treasury & Archives 30th Nov 2013

Dramatic changes underway to the outward appearance of the Treasury complex, Queen Street, Thames. The northern part of the concrete base has been poured and the preparations have been made for the southern end section. At present a temporary wooden barrier has been erected, which allows the passer-by to see how impressive the fence will be.
Opinion on the style of the new Archives building continues to divide some, the new fence has the opportunity to put this to rest and demonstrate how the the two buildings and time periods can blend together.

For past photos of the development: CLICK HERE

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thamesites at home

Ever been on holiday and wondered why all the photos seem of little interest to others? Include family in them and people have a focus and immediate interest. The photos of Thames can sometimes be the same, so people often plead have you any photos of my family or where they lived?
So the question you have any family photos that show the house you or you Thamesites lived in. Just as shopkeepers liked to stand outside the shop when a photo was taken, many families stood outside their home for a family photo.
James and Martha Jenkin & family c1900, outside their home in Augustus Street North. (The Una Hill behind)
Photo courtesy of P Rundle

 Above: The Stewart Family on the verandah of their Heale Street home, Parawai
Photo at: Digital NZ
 If you have any photos to share, please let me know
I'll include them here and with permission pass them to The Treasury for their collection.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thames (NZ): 27th November 1913 (100 years ago)

What was happening in Thames 100 years ago, on the 27th November 1913?
  • High Water was at 5.44am and 6.18pm
  • E DUNNAGE, opposite the Salvation Army Hall in Pollen Street was advertising a range of Xmas cards and photos
  • Children were holding a Demonstration Concert at the Salvation Army Hall at 7.30 pm, admission cost: Adults 6d Children 3d. This was part of the Salvation Army Anniversary Entertainment.
  • James Hawkes, carter was at new premises in Brown Street and advertising coal from Huntly, Westport and Waikato
  • The Anniversaries for the month included the first vote for women on the 28th November 1893
  • New Drill Hall. The Thames High School and the New Zealand Defence Department had reached an agreement over exchange of land, which would mean that a new Drill Hall could be built in Mackay Street. This was just south of the Masonic Hall.
  • Weather forecast: Westerly winds strong to gale, rain probable
  • KOPU FERRY: the site for the crossing across the Waihou River had finally been decided
  • Thames Mining News. The Deep Levels was at 1000 feet, but nothing much was happening and little change in the water coming from the deviation crosscut. The Occidental Consolidated showed some signs of gold in the reef. The New Sylvia reported good volumes of ore with lots of mineralisation. The Moanataiari No 3 level had some good quartz veins.
Kopu Township
Source: Auckland Weekly News 30 th May 1907
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19070530-8-1

Below are photos of the Hon Massey's visit to the Hauraki Plains. He arrived at Thames, went by gig to Kopu, before going by launch to Turua. A full report of his January 1913 visit to the Hauraki Plains is in the Auckland Star 20th January 1913.
Showing two snapshots taken of the Prime Minister while on his visit to the Hauraki Plains, Thames, January 1913
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130123-4-2
The full description of the above 1913 photo was:
From desolate swamp to arable land: snapshots of the Prime Minister's visit to the Hauraki Plains, Thames District, Auckland. The new style and the old: two snapshots taken last week of the Prime Minister while on his visit to the Hauraki Plains.
(The wharf on the left is likely the Thames/Burke Street Wharf and the boat The Wakatere)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thames (NZ): The Treasury INDEX

Drum roll please....
There are now over 250,000 entries in the Treasury Index!!!!
I've mentioned before the hive of activity at The Treasury on a Tuesday morning, well here are the results. Multiple resources have been indexed, to give an amazing total of indexed records, achieved in just one year.

Sincere thanks must go to the Hauraki Indexers, who for many years met weekly at the School of Mines. Now The Treasury has a group of indexers who have continued on with the task, to help make researching the Thames-Hauraki area even easier.

Give it a try now.
Click Here and enter a surname or topic.
Did you get many results?
If you want to know into the Treasury at Thames or send them an email.

Looking down Pollen Street, from Upper Albert Street
Photo source: F J Causley Collection, courtesy of M Heberley

Thames (NZ): 22nd November 1913 (100 Years Ago)

The 22nd November 1913 was a Saturday, here are some snippets from the Thames Star one hundred years ago.
  • Coakley's general grocery store, had moved into a new shop at the corner of Pollen and Willoughby Streets.
  • Lane's Emulsion was selling for 2/6 and 4/6 a bottle. (A tonic that many of us were brought up on!)
  • Weather forecast: warm and humid weather expected, with increasing haze and cloudiness
  • Thames Electrical Committee was due to ask for tenders for the supply of light to seven Thames properties
  • A public meeting was due to be held at 7.30 pm on Mary Street Corner - on the industrial struggles in New Zealand by the President of the Auckland Watersiders' Union
  • Thamesites were being encouraged to get their Christmas Plum Pudding made, a recipe was supplied by Edmonds  Baking Powder.
Christmas Plum Pudding Recipe:
3/4 lb Flour (1 1/2 cups)
2 heaped teaspoons Edmonds' Baking Powder
2 oz Breadcrumbs
1 1/2 lb Suet
2 lbs Raisins, 1 lb Currants
10 oz Sugar
2 oz Almonds, 1 lb Mixed Candied Peel
Salt and Spice to taste
Mix above ingredients together
Add 6 Eggs well beaten
And 3/4 pint of Milk
Divide in two and boil 8 hours or
Divide in four and boil 6 hours

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thames (NZ): Hauraki Plains first cattle sale 1912

Many Thamesites turned to farming after the mining finished, especially as the land on the Hauraki Plains was drained and developed. Some men returning from war were lucky enough to get a land ballot, that would set them up as farmers for generations to come. Places like the libraries around Thames have books that cover many of these stories, as well as The Treasury. Information can be found in book, maps and oral history format. The electoral rolls also give information on early farmers around the district.
Books such as "The Hauraki Plains Story" by R E Tye  and history books covering the Hauraki Plains by Ken Clover - have been indexed at The Treasury.
The photo below is labelled as the first cattle sale on the Hauraki Plains in 1912. It was labelled as A SURE SIGN OF PROGRESS.  Bert Dunlop conducted the sale on behalf of the Farmers Auctioneering Company. Until the late 1900s there were numerous sale-yards all over the Coromandel Peninsula/Hauraki area. They were busy days. Places like the Kopu Sale-yards full of stock. Times have changed and while some still exist, their role has changed.
' Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19120502-13-1
Auckland Weekly News 2/05/1912

Thames Star 22 April 1912
In 1910 large blocks of land had gone on sale at Pipiroa. Click on the link to view the full details of the sales. If you right click and save the image, you can enlarge it and view in detail the farming blocks that were for sale.
A small snippet of the map is below.
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 4337'

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thames (NZ): Train derailment 1915

Today the Hauraki Rail trail allows cyclists of all ages to travel the old rail track pathways around the Thames-Hauraki area. In days gone by these tracks were busy routes for the train transport of people and goods.

On the 5th February 1915, cattle caused a train derailment at Tirohia (8 miles from Te Aroha), that luckily caused no serious injuries to the passengers aboard the train. At first it was rumoured that three people had died, but this proved to be false and only the driver suffered minor injuries. The evening express to Thames was still able to use the line, later in the day.

 A full report was in the Thames Star 6/2/1915, luckily the train was travelling very slowly at the time of impact. Residents in the locality had "accommodated the lady passengers."
Source:  Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150211-47-3
For further train memories: VIDEOS available of the train at Shortland Railway Station

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thames (NZ): Armistice Day 2013

The town's fire siren has just given a short blast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th month.  Younger generations may wonder why and not even have heard of ARMISTICE DAY.

After four terrible years, the First World War finally came to a close with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers on 11 November 1918. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns famously fell silent. New Zealanders celebrated enthusiastically, despite having recently celebrated the surrenders of the three other Central Powers – Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria-Hungary - and the premature news of an armistice with Germany.
The celebrations for the various armistices had similarities with each other, with those held overseas, and with other celebrations in the past or near future. Bells rang, bunting went up, songs were sung and speeches made. More organised celebrations came later in the day or over the following days. Most people anticipated the armistice with Germany and made plans in advance.
Variations in the celebrations reflected the perceived importance of the various surrenders, the depth and spread of the influenza pandemic, and the forethought given to the preparations. The limited amount of advance warning and the disruption caused by the influenza pandemic contributed to the enthusiasm with which New Zealand’s official peace celebrations in July 1919 were embraced.


The first commemoration in 1919 must have been a very touching moment for people all around New Zealand and Thames people all stopped and remembered. The people of the wider Hauraki region had lost approximated 550 young men, with hundreds more injured or ill with war related illnesses. It was a period that families would not forget.
Thames Star 11/11/1919

 ' Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19140924-45-2
Above are seven Thames boys who joined the NZEF in 1914, they were members of the 6th Hauraki Company
Back left to right: Sgt Johnson, Troopers Shand, Trotter, Gibson
Front left to right: Troopers Bennett, Wells, Stewart

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thames (NZ): WWI contributions

The volunteers at The Treasury in Thames, are receiving wonderful examples of WWI memorabilia. A wide assortment of photographs, letters, pay-books, diaries and family histories. Family names to date include: Anthony, Brokenshire, Cornes, Danby, Jenkin, McCall, Milne and Paterson.
Amongst the photographs provided by the Thames Museum for the WWI photo register, was one showing the mascot of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. The photo is of H CLARK, believed to be Henry John Clark of Hikutaia, Thames.  Trooper Clark was a member of the Auckland Mounted Rifles and embarked from New Zealand on the 14th December 1914. He was discharged on the 5th September 1916 and later died in Auckland on the 12th June 1948. His given age on enlistment was 38 years, and family details included a wife and two children.
Source: Thames Museum
There is a story in the newspaper of how the Auckland Mounted Rifles adopted a Great Dane as one their mascots in 1916. Rona, the dog was allowed to visit a sick comrade in hospital, after starving herself for three days when her handler was hospitalised in London.

Photos and stories about a selection of WWI mascots can be found at (scroll down page). Animals included horses and even cats. Snowy the cat, was the Tunnellers' mascot.
Remember to keep looking out for memorabilia related to the WWI soldiers from the Hauraki, or consider a short story about any ancestors you have, that served in WWI from the region. These will be included in the Treasury Collection.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thames (NZ): 6th November 1913 (100 years ago)

One hundred years ago, the paper was full of advertising luring the customer to the delight of summer clothing and shoe requirements. On a sadder note the rumblings of strikes and unrest filled many columns. It was nearly a year since the unrest at Waihi, during the 1912 Miners' Strike.


  • Health News: The Native Health Nurse reported to the Thames Hospital Board that the all local pahs had been visited and the health of the Maori was good. Pahs visited included: Kerepeehi, Waitoka, Tirihoa, Tui Pa, Parawai, Kopu, Kirikiri, Paeroa and Te Moananui Flat.
  • Town Planning: The local Council felt it was time to look at the planning of Thames and sought the help of Mr A M Myers of Auckland. The towns Motto was: FEAR OF NONE, FAVOUR TO NONE, JUSTICE TO ALL.
  • Franklin Street Store: Block 27 residents could now obtain the Thames Star from Mrs McLean's shop at the corner of the Terrace and Franklin Street.
Above: View from above the intersection of Sealey and Hill Streets. The Franklin Street Store is marked.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thames (NZ): Radios for sale at Bowen Street 1948

Thames, like many areas around New Zealand has had many people over the years involved with amateur radio. There are several oral histories at The Treasury that give details of some of the people who were involved.

An interesting card appeared on an auction site today for a radio sold from Thames. The radio was supplied by A A LOCKIE of Bowen Street, Thames. His call sign was ZL1JL. Bowen Street is today known as Rolleston Street - it was the portion of Rolleston Street that was south of the Hape Creek Bridge.
Above: A A LOCKIE's Warranty Card

Below: Looking south along Rolleston Street, known previously as BOWEN STREET

In the 1949 Electoral Roll, Alvin Alexander Lockie was a pensioner living at 125 Bowen Street, Thames.