Monday, January 5, 2015

Thames (NZ): 1899 Governor's visit

In days past, there seemed to be a procession of visits from dignitaries that warranted a civic reception. Was it based on the importance given to the gold-mining town? They rarely seem to happen anymore - or are dealt with in a far less conspicuous manner at least?

Description: Looking west along Albert Street from the Queen street corner, Thames, showing the welcome arch erected to welcome Lord Ranfurly
Source: Auckland Weekly News 07 APRIL 1899 p007 
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18990407-8-1' 

 Lord Ranfurly's visit to the town is reported in full in the Thames Star 29 March 1899. (part on right)

A public holiday had been declared for the event. The arrangements not without their changes, as they initially thought the party would arrive at the Grahamstown wharf, but instead a train had to be organised to collect the group from Kopu.

From the Grahamstown Railway Station, the officials were transported to the platform at the corner of Queen and Albert Streets. Many addresses were made, including one from Mayor Greenslade, hoping that his Excellency would see the potential of the gold-mining town of Thames.

Lord Ranfurly hoped that the new pumping station would help Thames' mining endeavours. At the end the children of Thames, under Mr Grigg's guidance sang Thames' song - My Own New Zealand Home.

Before the civic lunch at the Royal Hotel, the party were given an inspection of the Moanatairi Battery and Tararu Creek G.M. Battery. In the afternoon it was a visit to the Hauraki Pumping Station and a visit to the Parawai Races.

An update on the visit was given in the Thames Star 30 March 1899. The menu is all given, and included: Consomme a la Royale, Roast Turkey and Olives, York Ham and Ox tongue, Wine Trifle and Tipsey Cake. The meal completed with three different brands of cigar! Later at Parawai, Mr Murray and company gave his Excellency a Maori welcome from the people of the Hauraki. Lord Ranfurly was driven around the racecourse in a carriage, where about 1500 people had gathered to enjoy the races. Dinner was held back at the Royal Hotel and the Official Party departed from Kopu at 9.30pm aboard the Tuatanekai.
Description: Looking along Albert Street (running off to the left - west), Thames, with Queen Street off to the right (north), showing the facade of the Borough Office (extreme right), and the Union Bank of Australia (centre), Governor Lord Ranfurly addressing the crowd
Source: Auckland Weekly News 07 APRIL 1899 p006 
  'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18990407-6-1'

Above: The view today of the corner of Albert and Queen Streets. Part of the old Borough Council Offices on the right and the Lady Bowen Hotel (aka Park Hotel and Wharf Hotel), can be seen far left. Source: Google maps 2012

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