Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thames (NZ): 100 years ago 31st December 1913

Wednesday 31st December 1913

100 Years ago:

  •  Yesterday, the 30th December 1913, Frederick Bourdot married Sarah Green of Thames
  • A year before, William Martin had died and his wife placed an In Memoriam notice in the newspaper
  • Lost - a purse with a pound note had been lost by the Cornwall Arms Hotel. Reward offered
  • A number of Thamesites had left on the steamer for Auckland, while others were heading to Te Aroha and onto Rotorua
  • A mob of 4000 sheep were due in the town from Waihi in the New Year. They had come from Cape Runaway and were being cared for by six men and several dogs
  • Excitement in the town as a large number were expecting to go to Pipiroa in the morning (New Years Day), to the annual picnic and sports day held by the Hauraki Plains Settlers Association
  • If you needed a new suit or some good bike tyres for the holidays, large advertisements tempted the potential buyer to shop at businesses such as Connor & Glass in Pollen Street

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thames Scottish Battalion

A badge reportedly belonging to the Thames Scottish Battalion is available for sale at an online auction site. Thamesites loved the volunteers groups and there were many throughout the early years of the goldfields. Remembering many of these men were old soldiers, men who had fought around the world throughout Europe before heading to New Zealand. Some came to join the armies engaged in the Maori land wars, others just to search for a better life. Anyway, the chance to belong to an army group still appealed to many.
A description of the Battalion is included with the badge, quoted as being from a book by D Corbett:

When formed the Battalion proved popular in the town. In October 1878 the first parade inspection of the combined Scottish companies was held in the Academy of Music, the number of women spectators in attendance was also noted.
"In the Government Gazette of October 31st, just to hand, the following officers are gazetted to the Thames Scottish Battalion Captain William Fraser (New Zealand Militia) to be honorary Colonel; Major Thomas Leitch Murray (New Zealand Volunteers) to be Major; Edward Benjamin Cameron, to be sub lieutenant; Captain Samuel Charles Schofield (New Zealand Militia) to be Adjutant; William Carpenter to be Quartermaster; honorary Assistant Surgeon, James Kilgour, M.D., to be Surgeon; Francis O'Flaherty, M.D., to be honorary Assistant Surgeon; Reverend Samuel James Neill to be Chaplain. Date of commission in each case, the first of October, 1878." From: Thames Star, Volume IX, Issue 3040, 12 November 1878, Page 2
 Gazette notices appeared in the papers regarding the disbandment of the Battalion in June 1882.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand Auckland Volume 2 has a section on the New Zealand Militia for further information and features a section on Captain Schofield, a former member of the Thames Scottish Battalion.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thames (NZ): Sportclubs Xmas parties of past years

Do sports clubs still hold the annual Children's Xmas Party? Thames memories back to the 1960s and clubs such as the United Football Club. Xmas presents from Santa and sports days at Rohrlach's farm up the Kauaeranga. Crossing the ford to the large grass paddocks. Children's races, hammer the nail, tractor rides and of course lots of swimming. Finished with a good old lolly scramble.
Thames United Rugby Football Club (Inc) started 1940; clubrooms built in Jellicoe Crescent 1964. The building was destroyed by fire but subsequently rebuilt. Today it is used as a gym.
At the United Club was All Black Jack (J K) McLean, Who would later go to England and play Rugby League for Bradford Northern. Other All Blacks from Thames: Davie Stewart NZ Native Team 1888-1889, R (Dick) McGregor 1901-1904, H (Circus) Hayward 1908, A R (Mick) Lomas 1925-1926,  L S (Lew) Hook 1928-1929, and G W (Red) Delamore 1949.

Further information on Thames Rugby: Thames Rugby History
Background Reading:"Thames 1870-1970 100 Years of Rugby" By Young, F J
Thames Star 24 December 1898

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thames Library War Books & Collections

It never ceases to amaze me, the quality of books at the local Thames Library. They have an excellent selection of history resources for the genealogist and general researcher. Many of you will be curious about those people in your family tree who served in the different wars. At the Thames Library you will find many books that provide information.

Below is a new book that is a must read, as we near the beginning of the WW100 commemorations:
Title:  New Zealand and the First World War, 1914-1919
Author: Fenton, Damien, author.
ISBN: 9780143569756

This is a unique book, with multiple map, packets of information on each page that you can slide out and view. Postcards, posters, letters...the list goes on. A large book, that is easy to read - personalised by the experience that you have of unfolding each treasure. One feels privileged to unfold each item of memorabilia.
Remember while you are at The Thames Library website, click on the KETE Logo. Visit the Kete Hauraki Coromandel website. You will find lots of Thames photos, including those from the B Murch collection.
The photo above: Royal Marine Corp - Drums. Reunion Parade, October 17th, 1993 by B Murch
Just one of the many photos available for viewing online thanks to the contributors and The Thames Library Digitisation team.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thames (NZ): Armistice & Influenza 1918

For sale at an online auction site is the Armistice Edition of the Thames Star, 12th November 1918. The masthead coloured in red. Although we marvel at the availability and ease of use of newspapers at Papers past, there seems something special about looking at the real thing.  If you get the opportunity, browse the old newspapers by hand and it gives a different appreciation of the news and times they represent.
Thames Star 12/11/1918
Thames was in the grips of the influenza epidemic, the front-page reflecting that the news of Armistice was relegated behind the news of the latest deaths, funerals and instructions for managing the deadly form of influenza.
A full account of the influenza epidemic at Thames is available by Kae at The Treasury website.
Thames Star part of page one 12/11/1918

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thamesites at Home - The Taipari Residence

Above: Looking from Grey Street, the Taipari residence in the centre on the hill
What a grand site it must have been as you entered Shortland in the late 1860s to see the grand houses of two of the most important residents, perched on the hills overlooking the growing town. The Taipari residence was to the south directly opposite the small Clarence Street that ran west off Bowen (now Rolleston) Street. The other house to the north, was James Mackay's.
 Above: a 1900s view of the house, of Edwin (Eurine) Hena Taipari, and his family
Below: An early view looking down towards the Shortland landing area and Grey & Pollen Streets

The house existed until the late 1950s-60s, when it was then demolished. The site utilised for Toyota Car Factory housing.
Do you have  a photo of your Thames ancestors outside their house?
Send a copy and I'll add it to the collection

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thames (NZ): Treasury Archive update 14th December 2013

Just a photo update, so you can see the on-going progress of the fence construction as at 14th December 2013.
Link for past photos

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thames (NZ): First lady to contest Thames Electoral seat 1919

Today it is considered 'normal' for women to contest the electoral seats, in 1919 the first woman stood for the Thames Electorate. Her name was Mrs Lindsay Cooke and she stood as an independent candidate.
At an electoral meeting held at the St James Hall  on 19th November 1919, Cooke's reported comments were: The candidate said she opposed the recent constant appeals of the worker to the Arbitration Court for increases of wages, as such increases only brought about a corresponding increase in the cost of living. She considered that a far better system would be to apply for a reduction in the cost of living. In answer to a question as to how she would vote on a no-confidence motion, she said it would depend on the question before the House. If it was a beneficial measure she would vote for it and against the no-confidence motion, and if it were a measure against the interests of the Dominion she would vote against it and support the no confidence motion. (NZ Herald 20/11/1919)

Over the following weeks Cooke was kept busy with meetings around the area, at halls at townships such as Kopu, Puru, Coromandel and Turua - all remarked large attendances. Some of her comments were questioned in the papers, but the fact that she stood on the soldiers' platform seemed favourable.
There were four other candidates for the seat: T F Long, W J McCormick, J Purtell and T W Rhodes (The sitting candidate).
MRS. LINDSAY COOKE, Independent Candidate for Thames
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19191127-37-1
The Voting was carried out in the December 1919 elections and the results were not in Mrs Cooke's favour, despite the excellent reception and hearing around the great Thames area, Mrs Cooke polled 70 votes. MP Rhodes was convincingly returned to parliament.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 19 December 1919
Who was Mrs Cooke? In 1935 her political career saw her stand as a candidate for the Auckland Mayoral race, aged 73 years. This decision was later changed. A full biography appeared in the paper. Many of the facts in this article do not align with a later biography at the Te Ara Encylopedia site. A snippet says: In 1917 Aileen Wrack divorced her second husband and eight days later, on 28 February, at Auckland, married Lindsay Cooke, publican of the Queen's Ferry Hotel. He took over the licence of the Junction Hotel, Thames, in 1919. In the general election of that year Aileen Cooke contested the seat of Thames, gaining 72 votes. She was one of three women to stand in the election, the first in which women were eligible to do so.
Born Aileen Anna Maria Douglas (later Garmson, Wrack, Cooke), she died in Auckland on the 30th May 1951. A woman who had a very interesting life, worked hard on social, employment and political issues. An important person in early Women's politics in New Zealand and Australia.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thames (NZ): Santa on the goldfields

In 2013 Santa came aboard a large truck, with memories of yesteryear in the form of old cars that prepared his way. Childhood memories of grander parades remained and makes one wonder what form will the 2017 Thames 150th Commemorations take?

Over the years, Thames shops were renown for their amazing Christmas window displays. People would walk the town to admire them, especially those that made use of lighting.
Mr Palmers Confectionery shop always rates as having had the best display, in the memories of old Thamesites. Followed closely by Hetheringtons.
You can still see items of Palmer's display at The Thames Museum in Cochrane Street.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thames (NZ): WWI Troopship Newsletters

An amazing resource available at The Auckland War Memorial Museum Library - WWI Troopship newsletters/Magazines. The publications contain news from the ships, written contributions from those onboard and reinforcement lists.

You will find your Thames men and women in the writings, but be warned it just takes some organisation. The magazines are in searchable pdfs.
1.Start by finding the embarkation date and ship that your family member departed on. Not sure? Check the Auckland Cenotaph database and you will locate that information.
2. Go to the list of magazines at the Library. Look for the year and ship that matches...if you can't find it easily, try the refine search and enter other details like 'ship name' and click 'words contain'
3. Worse scenario, you may have to open and read the magazines if you can't get results. Use the CTRL+ F function to search within a document.

The news of John Joseph Merrick's death aboard the Aparima was reported in other magazines, and came as a shock to many that a death had already occurred. The notice below appeared in The Maunganuian, Monday June 28 1915.

Merrick was the son of Caroline and John Merrick and his address on enlistment was Puriri, Thames.
NZ Herald 28/06/1915

DO you have any postcards, letters, diaries or other WWI Memorabilia?

If you are able to share a digital copy please contact The Treasury 

The volunteers will arrange copying for you if required

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thames (NZ): One Hundred Years Ago 4th December 2013

On the 4th December 2013, a list of anniversaries was included, I wonder how many will be recognised by the readers of 2013?
Other news of the day included:
  • The Hamilton show was being held and Mr W G Hall's imported bull called Lord Nelson, took championship honours.
  • Mining News: The Waitangi Mine was being worked. A sample taken from one reef showed an assay value of 41s a ton
  • School rolls and average attendances for the month were: Waiokaraka School Roll 497 - average attendance 467.7; Parawai School Roll 449 average attendance 434.1 and Tararu School Roll 78 - average attendance 73.1
  • Billiard Saloon - Mr Charles Birch had opened a new parlour next to the Exchange Hotel in Shortland. There were six full size Alcocks Tables. There were two private tables available.
Part of a 1947 V C BROWNE photo of the Richmond to Willoughby Street section of Pollen street
The Brian Boru Hotel far left, Coakley's Store on the far right, with the Exchange Hotel in the centre (flat front - no veranda)
Earlier in the year, in February the Auckland Weekly News published a photo reminding people of what the township looked like in the 1860s. The description read: A harbour side view of Thames in the early days: The old mining town in the mid eighteen sixties, as many of those participating in last week's ceremony remember it.
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130220-16-1

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thames (NZ): Burke Street Aquarium

Another 'Thames first' is that of the Burke Street Aquarium. The men responsible appear to be Messrs Steedman and Allom. The pair also had ponds at their respective Tararu and Parawai homes that were used in the experimental trout hatching activities. In October 1885, the young trout had grown sufficiently that Mr Steedman placed 1000 fish into his rearing ponds and Mr Allom took 750 to his home ponds.

Thames Star 9th Sept 1885
The trout ova it appears were given from the Auckland Acclimatisation Society. When the trout were about six months old they were placed in the various streams around the Thames area. During 1884-85 there are reports of two headed fish being seen in the Aquarium. They are described as an interesting stranger rather than undertaking any further analysis of the phenomena.
Thames Star 29th Sept 1884

 Mr Allom was an interesting figure at The Thames, a member of many committees and holding positions such as Clerk of the Court, JP and Registrar of Electorates. Residence was on Main Road, Parawai.
Biography at NZETC:
ALLOM, Albert James 1831–1909
Born in England, son of Thomas Allom who made plates for New Zealand Co. lithographs from Charles Heaphy's watercolours. Came to New Zealand as a survey cadet 1842, worked in Wellington, the Wairarapa district and Otago until 1845, then a partner in a run in the Wairarapa. Returned to England 1848, but came back to New Zealand 1861 as manager and agent of the Great Barrier Land, Harbour and Mining Co. Moved to Thames 1867, and there held various appointments. 1889–97 was in Tasmania but then returned to New Zealand. Watercolours are in the Bett Collection, Nelson.

 The above house is labelled as Parawai Court house, in the Auckland Libraries image collection, as part of the Allom Collection. The question remains was the house called the Court House because of Allom's occupation.

In 1889 Allom's Parawai residence was sold at auction, along with land near the Parawai recreation ground.