Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thames (NZ): 150 years ago at The Thames - Proclamation signed

The search for gold around the area known as The Thames, came to ahead in July 1867. R Lawlor and Mr Rogan reported that Chief Taipari offered to open up 3,000 acres for the prospecting of gold by Europeans. Lawlor visited the area and witnessed for himself two Maoris panning for gold. It was apparent soon that the dirt below the surface was more likely where the treasure laid.  Adjoining land belonging to Te Hira also seemed promising for a prospecting deal.

On the 30th July a public meeting in Auckland was told that a deal was close to being finalised which would allow men to prospect the Thames field for a license fee of one pound a head - and that they knew from James Mackay that there were already a few men on the field.

After much negotiation, the final preparations were made and Dr Daniel Pollen (photo above) signed the proclamation that would allow for mining at the Thames on 30th July 1867. With the news of the Proclamation, the city of Auckland prepared for a mass exodus as unemployed men readied to leave for the new goldfield. At this early stage it was speculated that the area would be known as the Karaka Goldfield, as it turned out the term Thames Goldfield became the name for the mining area.

On the 31st July, Commissioner James Mackay prepared to leave Auckland to head to the Thames, along with the first eager prospectors. Until he got there and issued licenses nothing could legally be done. The goldfield officially opened on the 1st August 1867 - but inclement weather played a part in delaying Mackay's arrival onshore at Kauaeranga and therefore the issuing of the first miner's rights.
Daily Southern Cross 31 July 1867
Shortland 1868

Thames Heritage Information LINK