Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thames (NZ): Mount Pleasant, Thames

From the time the Thames Goldfield was settled, a few adventurous soles, discovered and settled in the area overlooking the township of Shortland, known as Mount Pleasant. It wasn't an easy place to access, there are many tales of how difficult it could be to get to the Shortland Cemetery at the eastern end of Mount Pleasant. The roading or rather tracks from Hape Road were virtually non-existent, making funeral processions a challenge if there had been any rain. There were several farming and gardening businesses on the land over the years.

Gardeners included some Chinese, who in 1881 had their gardens inspected for the possible use of blood from Mr West's slaughter house at Parawai. (1) The smell was found to be from houses' closets and general poor house drainage in the area.

In 1882 Mr William Davies advertised for a strong boy, to work in the garden, and preferably that he be able to milk. (2) Over subsequent years, the papers are full of for sale notices for large house properties that included large sections, with plenty of fruit trees. In 1900 a bargain could be had, 16 acres for 16 Pounds.

In 1919, the Mount Pleasant Nursery had tomatoes for sale for 5d a lb, or misshapen and small ones for 1 1/2d! (3)

In later years many readers will remember the large orchard at Harvey's, from which many of us collected fruit each year. Today the orchards and farms are gone, replaced with housing, State owned and private.

1947 Mount Pleasant

The photo above was taken in 1947 by V C Browne. The centre of the photo shows some housing development on the north side of Upper Grey Street, now known as Mount Pleasant Road.
Source: Thames: Gateway to Beauty and Progress, by the Thames Public Relations Committee.
Above: A view of Harvey Crescent, being readied for the housing development.
Below the view of Harvey Crescent today.

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