Sunday, July 29, 2018

Thames (NZ): Landmarks remembered in 1948

Each generation appears to regret not having listened to the stories of yesteryear...those memories that parents or grandparents shared. Each generation believes to some degree that important history and memories will be or have already been forgotten.

In 1948 the Thames Star published a series of articles to 'test' whether Thamesites of the day knew the important old landmarks around the town.

The Thames Chamber of Commerce planned to place signposts at places worthy of commemoration. Messrs W Hammond, J Kernick and F E McCullough were responsible for coming up with the places of interest. There is no evidence to suggest that signs did get erected! At least until the Lions Club took up the challenge several decades later.
Landmarks mentioned were as follows:

FOOT of KURANUI CREEK: “It was here that Messrs W A Hunt, W Cobley, G Clarkson and J E White discovered the first gold-bearing reef at Thames.”

ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN FRONT OF THE MOANATAIARI TUNNEL: “Left-hand side looking up the hill. The hill on the right contained the famous Caledonian, Golden Crown, Manukau and Cure Mines.”

Waiotahi Mine.
AT THE FOOT OF THE WAIOTAHI CREEK: “This is the site of the famous Waiotahi mine, which during 43 years’ existence, produced bullion to the value of £655,167.”

AT THE FOOT OF THE HILL IN POLLEN STREET NORTH: “Opposite  where Williamson Street connects with Pollen Street. This is the site of the famous Prince Imperial Mine which produced in five years 43,094 ounces of gold.”

IN FRONT OF THE BOROUGH ELECTRICAL POWER STATION: “At the rear of the building was sunk the deepest shaft in Thames – 1050 feet.  A short distance hillward on the left was the famous May Queen Mine.”
The May Queen Mine.

THE SITE OF THE CALEDONIA MINE: “Described by the later Colin Fraser …as the greatest bonanza of the field, and one of the richest in the annals of quartz mining.”

TOTARA POINT: “Scene of inter-tribal fights – one of the first recorded being an attack on the pa by the Ngati Maru about 300 years ago, when the District was held by the Ngati Nuarere and the Ngati Nei…In 1819, Totara Pa was attacked by a combined force of Nga Puhi and Waikato…In December, 1821, a powerful force of Nga Puhi, under Hongi Hika, with 1000 muskets, attacked Totara Pa, which fell, a massacre and cannibal feast following.”
Site of the old Totara Pa.
SHORTLAND:  Bounded by Grey Street, Queen Street and Pollen Street, was the site of an old Maori pa, Kauaeranga…The gunboats Esk and Miranda are said to have dropped shells in this pa about 1863.”

THE OLD AMERICAN THEATRE: “Stood on the eastern side of the Shortland Hotel, facing Grey Street in 1867. It was here that Johnny Hall, the actor, used to entertain the Thames public.  This building was pulled down in 1876 after being used for some years as a land court. The timber was used in making additions to the Shortland Hotel.”
Shortland Post Office (centre right) and Butt's Hotel and American Theatre (above Post Office). Courthouse (centre left and Kauaeranga Landing later Shortland Wharf (top centre).
THE OLD THAMES POST OFFICE: “At the corner of Grey and Mackay Street prior to the Post Office being on the site of the present County Council Chambers.”

THE OLD MAORI LAND COURT BUILDING:  “Situated at the corner of Pollen and Grey Streets, on the south-west corner.”

ANAPUTU, AT FISHING ROCKS at TARARU. “Here the Tainui canoe, bringing the immigrants from Hawiki [sic] about 1350 AD was fastened to a hole in a rock, and remained for sometime before proceeding on its journey.”
Tararu Fishing Rocks, north of Tararu.
THE SHORTLAND SAWMILL AND STONE’s SHIP-BUILDING Yards: Located south of the Maori Land Court building.

THE CHURCH MISSION STATION: At Parawai, on the hill opposite the old Maori Church, later years the residence of Warden Kenrick.

CLAIM PEGGED BY MAJOR VON TEMPSKY: In Hape Creek, just above the Water Race.
View back along Holdship's Wharf to Beach Road and Cochrane Street.
HOLDSHIP’s MILL: Corner of Beach Road and Cochrane Street. Previously the site of an old Maori pa, and where Mr R B Smith opened a store known as the “Pah Store”.

THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC: On south side of the Pacific Hotel, which was oon the south-west corner of Albert and Brown Streets.
LEFT: Theatre Royal Hotel and RIGHT: The Pacific Hotel.
THEATRE ROYAL: An early Thames Theatre situated on the northern side of the Royal Hotel in Grahamstown.

SITE OF THE TURNING OF THE FIRST SOD: “For the Thames-Waikato railway by Sir George Grey, a few yards to the south of the intersection of Mary Street and Queen Street.”

: “Site of one of the earliest wharves in Thames, where the Golden Crown and other steamers landed passengers for the Thames Goldfields.”

NORTHERN TERMINUS OF THE TARARU TRAMWAY COMPANY: Near the district homes, one of the earliest of New Zealand Railways. It ran from Burke Street to Tararu, half-hourly trips.”
A 1980s postcard of the Hotonui Meeting house at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
HOTONUI CARVED MAORI MEETING HOUSE: Opened 1878 at the corner of Fenton Street. This meeting house is now in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.”
Kauaeranga Girls' School.

VOLUNTEER HALL: “Richmond Street, between Pollen and Queen Streets, closed in 1878.”

KAUAERANGA BOYS’ SCHOOL: “On site of present Thames High School.”

KAUAERANGA GIRLS’ SCHOOL: Corner of Sandes and Richmond Street, South-west corner.”

St Thomas' Catholic School.
SCHOFIELD’s GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Rolleston Street, St George’s Sunday School, about 50 yards north of Sealey Street.”

KARAKA SCHOOL: “Mackay Street east, allotment south of the ladies croquet lawn.”

THAMES SCHOOL: “Closed 1879, opposite Sarsfield’s butchery, Cochrane Street.”

CATHOLIC BOYS’ SCHOOL: Corner Walter and Queen Streets, north-east corner.”

SMALE’S FOLLY: A long corrugated Iron building extending from Pollen to Queen Street, the site of the present Post Office.”

Smale's Folly.
SHELLBACK SCHOOL: “On Tararu Road, north side of the Pukehinau Stream.”

Well, how did you go on those? Thankfully the Thames Lions Club has over the decades marked several of these spots, sadly in the town, the landmarks relating to Maori significant sites, have not been marked.

Background: The Thames Lions Club have a booklet available and map to highlight where the present day Heritage Signs are located. Available from KMG Printers, Pollen Street, Thames.

A report by J McEnteer and T Turoa "Nga Taonga o te Kauaeranga Maori Heritage of Thames" 1993, identified important Maori landmarks and recommended the locations be signposted in an acceptable manner.