Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thames (NZ): First Tight Rope walk over Pollen Street

When looking for events unique to Thames, one always hopes to find something a little different.

Well, heres one to ponder you know about the time someone crossed Pollen Street on a tight rope???

Thomas ROWLEY in 1936 recalled the time in 1876 when CHARLES BLONDIN crossed the street, at the corner of Grey and Pollen Streets. Rowley a 12 year old at the time, remembered the rope stretched from Butt's Shortland Hotel to Barnett's Warwick Arms Hotel! Papers of the time do not specifically record the event, but during the year of 1876 Blondin was busy doing similar performances in Auckland.
Auckland Star 16 April 1937
Further investigation of the event are necessary, as it stands it must have been an amazing sight. A possible view in the photo below...the red line showing where the tightrope could have been, based on Rowley's memories of the day Charles BLONDIN walked the tight rope across Pollen Street.
Background on Charles BLONDIN:
On June 30, 1859, the “Great Blondin” walked along a tightrope suspended above the rapids of Niagara Falls, becoming the first man to walk across the Falls.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thames (NZ): Nurses of Thames Hospital

Over the past year, a lot of people assisted with research I was doing on the nurses of Thames Hospital. Relatives and past nurses provided information and photos, along with countless memories.
I want to put out a special thank you to everyone I spoke to and whom contributed in some way. As the old saying goes - without you none of this would have been possible!

Well, guess what...the booklet is finally in print! It may not what people expected but the main thing is that it has been completed! Hindsight is a terrible thing, and now I can see things that could have been changed...I hope that it may be of interest to some of you. Maybe you trained and registered at Thames Hospital, Maybe you have a relative that was a nurse at Thames.

The booklet is a fundraiser for The Treasury at Thames (The Coromandel Heritage Trust) and will sell for $25. Details of how it can be purchased will be on their website soon, for those who can't call into the research centre in person.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thames (NZ): 'The First Time' Women voted

A new claim has emerged from the people of Thames past, that they were in fact the first area in New Zealand to allow women to vote. Very specific details are made in a Newspaper article in the THAMES ADVERTISER dated 10 Sept 1875.

At the Annual Elections for the Thames Borough Council women were able to vote. The names included: Mesdames DAVY, BULL, SAWYER, FERGUSON, ZEIGLER and COOLAHAN.
The paper noting that no one objected and that, "in so far as the Thames is concerned, female suffrage may be introduced successfully, not only in municipal elections, but in every other election where property gives the title to vote."
Thames Advertiser 10 Sept 1875
They note interestingly that years previously a women had voted in a mining board election, because she held a miner's right. That was Mrs HAGIN, whos husband at the time had the New Caledonia Hotel in Mackay Street, near the Shortland Courthouse.

The New Caledonia Hotel, near the corner of Mackay & Grey Streets which opened in 1868

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thames (NZ): The first hotels

With the number of hotels found to date soaring above 140, it was interesting to find at paperspast yesterday the entry for the first hotels. After all, how could Mackay and his associates entice the men of the dominion to come to The Thames, if there were no basic amenities.

The mention of the RUTLAND HOTEL run by Captain BUTT was the SHORTLAND HOTEL on the corner of Grey & Pollen Streets. The majority of which still stands today.

The Digger's Rest Hotel I don't currently have associated with MULLIGAN. There were three Digger's Rest Hotels which adds to the complexity - one of which is more usually called the Miner's Rest up the Hape Creek. Michael MULLIGAN is a well known hotelier in the town and is named at many hotels around the field.

Mr NICHOLL's was an established shopkeeper and his DUKE OF EDINBURGH Hotel was well positioned to catch the trade offloading at the Shortland landing later wharf area.


Looking north from the landing place on the Kauaeranga River showing part of Shortland, Thames with Grey Street (left to right, centre) and Butt's Shortland Hotel and American Theatre, (centre), on the corner of Pollen Street

Thames Coromandel Region (N.Z.)
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-857'

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thames (NZ): The many hotels of The Thames

Whether a family researcher or someone with an interest in the history of Thames, there is one topic that is usually explored - that of the Hotels of Thames. A few of the hotels have been listed in previous posts and there is a now an up-to-date article in the Treasury Journal.

As more papers have been released on Papers past, it has become so much easier to verify and find the existence of new, previously unknown hotels. Previous figures were that there were about 100 hotels in old Thames at Shortland, Grahamstown, Tararu, Parawai or the hills behind the township. A more realistic number will add tens more - and this will be released when my latest research is complete.

In the year 1870 alone there were 102 hotels operating at that time. There were 39 in SHORTLAND, 43 in GRAHAMSTOWN and 20 in the outlying suburbs of The Thames. A photo around this time of the COURT HOUSE HOTEL in Queen Street, is an example of an early hotel of Thames. Hotels took their name from a wide variety of sources. This hotel named as it was opposite the new Court House and Government buildings on Queen Street (between Albert and Cochrane Streets).

Thames Advertiser 3 Oct 1876

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thames (NZ): First death on the goldfields

A few years back I was asked by several family researchers, whether Brown Street was named after their relation who was possibly one of the first drowning at The Thames, following the opening of the goldfields. Tonight by chance, I found this report in the New Zealand Herald, where the correspondent claims it was the first death since they had arrived on the field.

Sadly this new information is in contradiction to a note in "Thames the first 100 years" where the John Brown is said to be the first President of the Miners Association.
"Named in the memory of Mr John Brown, who was the first president of the Miners' Association in Thames He was also largely responsible for the formation of a club to aid the sick and injured."
NZH 28/9/1867
Was the JOHN BROWN above the first death...when did the John BROWN of the Miners' Association die? Mr John BROWN of the MINERS' ASSOCIATION was at a meeting 14 January 1869.
The early BROWN death in 1867 is more consistent with the naming of BROWN STREET which appears on the c1868 Thames' Illustrated Mining Map.
Part of Grahamstown, showing BROWN STREET, named after a JOHN BROWN who drowned at the Thames

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thames (NZ): The Treasury index

A few new initiatives by The Coromandel Heritage Trust, via THE TREASURY webpages:

1. SHOP - you can browse and see what booklets, books, CDs and DVDs are available for sale. Instructions given for purchase

2. RESEARCH SERVICE - Details given of the research services available for those unable to visit in person

3. THE TREASURY INDEX - the first entries are available for searching. Have a go, you may find that you too, have a relative who called The Thames home!

Looking down Albert Street to Curtis Wharf. Upper middle left is Queen Street and the COURT HOUSE HOTEL, opposite the Government Buildings
Source: Waikato Digital Library

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thames (NZ): Auckland Star Obituaries & Thames Pre 1930 Businesses

Just to let you know about one new resource, and the update of an old one at The Treasury, Thames.

The Auckland Star Obituary Collection for the Thames area 1870s to 1945 is on the shelves. Although not quite to plan, it covers the obituary notices that appeared for residents/past residents of The Thames. Gained from paperspast, it may help you find some relatives that you have missed in the searches. It is indexed and has over 6500 entries, catalogued under 'obituary subject' and 'mention in obituary.' Amazing how much information was given, especially the ships that people arrived on.

The Pre 1930 Businesses of Thames have been revised, with new information added. The aim with this collection is to identify where possible: Business name, owner/s, location, start and finish dates. Anyone with information on these businesses is encouraged to add information to the file. A massive scrapbook, that hopefully helps researchers with their first step following a business or family member. This is indexed, and at present has over 1500 entries.

The Treasury Indexing group were hard at work last week when I visited - so there is an increasing number of resources indexed, to make it easier for the researchers of the Thames Valley/Coromandel Peninsula area.

Owning a business in Brown Street was always a challenge in the early flood years.
Above: Corner Albert and Brown Street 21/4/1923 (looking up Albert Street to hills)
Photo courtesy of: BNZ Archives

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thames (NZ): Early Boarding-Houses on the goldfields

Amongst the many businesses that prospered on the early goldfields, were boarding-houses. Although the hundred plus hotels had accommodation, more homely board could be found at the numerous businesses around the townships of Shortland and Grahamstown.

The 1870 Thames Directory has the following listings for BOARDING & LODGING Houses & REFRESHMENT ROOMS:
Shortland: John ANDREWS (Mary Street); Elizabeth CASH, William CHAMPION, William FARRANT, Mrs LEWIS' TEMPERANCE RESTAURANT, Litchfield & OSBORNES' SHORTLAND RESTAURANT, Henry LUSTY and Thomas SUMMERS OYSTER ROOMS  (Pollen Street); Mrs MOUNCES' WEST COAST BOARDING-HOUSE (Willoughby Street); Thomas POWELLS' Dining Rooms (Grey Street).

Grahamstown: Robert COMER (Burke Street); Richard DODD, Thomas KEVEN (Beach); John FERGUSON (Davy Street); HAZELL & TURNER's CAFE de PARIS, Andrew OTTO, Charles SMITH (Brown Street); C PELHAM (Williamson Street).

Suburbs: Mrs BRUCE's THAMES BOARDINGHOUSE (Coromandel Street), Thomas OWENS' MOANATAIARI RESTAURANT (Golden Crown Street); Elizabeth SIMS' MELBOURNE BOARDING HOUSE (Beach, Tookey's Town)

Life in the boardinghouse was never  dull. Papers of the day report death, theft and other events. What about the day one man had the nerve to "act as a boarder" and ate all the breakfasts!
DSC 18/6/1868
The Moanataiari Restaurant located south of the Moanataiari Hotel was a busy part of town in the goldfields day, and no doubt attracted a large number of miners and hungry travellers who had just arrived via the Wharf just down the road.
Moanataiari Restaurant and Hotel in Golden Crown Street (North off Owen Street)
Source: David Arbury Collection, The Treasury

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thames (NZ): Karaka Bakery & Store

Previously mentioned, has been the importance of the neighbourhood stores that were aound the hills and flat area of Thames. Shops like those at Fenton Street, Franklyn Street, Parawai and Tararu.
Early papers have reports of several early shops and bakeries up Karaka Road. People such as ROLLERSON's had a bakery, Mrs LUDLOW ran the STAR Store. In the 1870s, Mrs CAMPBELL had a grocery opposite the Claremont Hotel in Karaka Road.
Thames Advertiser 25 August 1877
In Karaka Road, just east of the Sandes Street intersect, was the Karaka Bakery, known also by other names. Owned and operated for many years by the GLEESON family. Several of the oral history recordings at The Treasury, speak of the importance of this shop and the high level of service they received. A wide variety of bread was available and delivered fresh to the homes around Thames; along with general grocery items. The shop changed hands in later years and closed 1960s/70s. Over the years the building under went some alterations, but still stands today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thames (NZ): Fireworks pre 1900

It seems at present that Thames has never seen so many fireworks - shops popped up selling tempting products; that have been set alight both day and night.

Perhaps nothing has changed after all - except the restrictions. A review of the early papers gives countless reports of firework celebrations. They were used all year round, and Thamesites needed little excuse to have a firework display. They were used at the wharf to send off boats, along with at random celebrations/meetings and Anniversaries. Along with being let off on the 5th of November, each year.

Thames Star 6 Nov 1874
Over the years there were countless accidents from fireworks and the bonfires that littered the hills around the town. In 1880, the builders of several bonfires couldn't wait and lit theirs on the 4th November - leading many to think there was a terrible fire up at Upper Albert Street.
Thames Star 5 Nov 1880
Later in 1919 Christchurch City Council were lobbying to have fireworks subject to the same restrictions as firearms - due to their dangerous nature.

Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19080820-14-2

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thames (NZ): PUCKEY family

While many of us search to find the earliest we can track our genealogy back anywhere in the world, it is always of interest to see when our ancestors first stepped onto New Zealand shores. Many of New Zealand's earliest settlers and those born in the early days - eventually spent some time on the Thames Goldfields. The lure of gold escaped no one!

The PUCKEY family are pioneers of early New Zealand, and yes they too, spent some time on The Thames. The first recorded Europen marriage in New Zealand was William PUCKEY to Matilda DAVIS.
"At Waimate North on 11 October 1831 Puckey married Matilda Davis (who was then aged 17), second daughter of Rev. Richard Davis, thus becoming the first European couple recorded to be married in New Zealand. Their first child was born in early January 1833, but only survived for seven weeks."

In later years, Matilda PUCKEY (after the death of her husband) would come and settle with family in Thames. Matilda died 15th July 1884 at her son's Sandes Street home and is buried in Shortland Cemetery.

One of her son's EDWARD WALTER PUCKEY was a well known native interpreter in the Thames area (previously mentioned in an article on Daldy McWILLIAMS.) Part of his obituary is below.

Auckland Star 18/2/1924 (full obituary at paperspast)

Mr Puckey would have walked across this Hape Creek Footbridge turning left into Mackay Street, then right into Grey Street (past the little building - the Post Office) to work at the Land Court on the corner of Grey and Pollen Streets.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thames (NZ): Charles Blomfield (artist)

While collecting obituaries from the Auckland Star, it never ceases to amaze me the names that have passed through Thames. We often say to people, I'm sure you will have a Thames connection somewhere!!!

One such person who spent time on the Thames Goldfields, was CHARLES BLOMFIELD. The extended Blomfield family arrived in New Zealand in 1863 on the Gertrude.

"Samuel found work in the building industry, and Charles was employed by a house painter and was taught paint mixing, wood graining and other decorative skills. He was later to set up a business specialising in decorative art work.
By 1867 economic depression and unemployment had come to Auckland. Following the discovery of gold at Thames, Samuel took his family to live there; he soon found employment building houses for the hundreds of people who joined the goldrush. Charles Blomfield, with two of his friends, was among the gold-seekers, but their claim was very poor and after weeks of hard work they had only a meagre amount to show for their efforts."
Source: Muriel Williams. 'Blomfield, Charles - Biography', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Sep-10

Charles BLOMFIELD is remembered today for his landscape paintings, including the one below of the 'pink and white terraces.'

Oil painting of the White Terraces, Lake Rotomahana, by Charles Blomfield, 1888

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thames (NZ): New article Treasury Journal (Nurse Pennell)

A new article is available for reading in THE TREASURY JOURNAL (The Coromandel Heritage Trust).

Nurse Mary PENNELL and family of Paeroa
by Doreen (Penne) Pennell

The story starts with Mary's father Patrick MCCARTHY who was a fencible and came to New Zealand in 1847. Full family history is given, along with a wonderful account of a women who served her community as nurse and midwife. Mary PENNELL (nee MCCARTHY) died of influenza during the 1918 epidemic.

Remember contributions are welcomed by the Editor, contact details available at the bottom of this page.

Paeraoa Maternity Hospital c1950

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thames (NZ): Early Electricity supply

While many of us experienced several hours of no electricity last Saturday, it makes one realise how reliant we are on this resource.

One hundred years ago, Thamesites were relishing the few hours of electrical current they were being supplied and the joys of having street lighting in certain areas.

In September 1914, there had been 210 application for electric current. Technical details on the electrical plant were in the paper 10 June 1914, along with reports that businesses were busy changing over from gas to electricity supply.

By 1915, there were 308 households connected to the Mains. They were being supplied on certain afternoons: Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. A Street Lamp had been put at Karaka Creek Road, while the people around Clarence Street had petitioned for a lamp.

A few years later in 1919, the community was being reminded about how wonderful Electricity was, and they were urged to sign the Thames Valley Electric Scheme petition.

Thames Star 30 August 1919
Full details on the history of electricity supply in Thames can be found at the Hauraki Pump House in Cochrane Street, Thames.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thames (NZ): New article in TREASURY JOURNAL

Just alerting readers to a new article in THE TREASURY JOURNAL.
The details are: H LOWE, Mayor of Thames 1910-1919 by A Arundel.

Henry LOWE ran a butchery in Pollen Street, known as LOWE & GOODWIN. The shop was located in the area north of the Mary Street intersect. Full family details can be found in the article.

A list and photos of other early Thames Mayors can be found at The Treasury website.
Captain William DAVIES was in 1874 elected the first Mayor of Thames, following the establishment of the Thames Borough in 1873, and the amalgamation of the townships of Shortland and Grahamstown.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thames (NZ): Archive building for Thames

An update for Thamesites who are not yet members of 'The Coromandel Heritage Trust.' A newsletter has been sent letting us all know about the exciting progress towards the building of the special purpose archives building, that will be attached to the south of the present TREASURY building.

The final fundraising is necessary to get the building underway...if you can help in any way please contact the trust via their webgage.  Many businesses started in Thames and have gone onto to be very successful...if you are connected to one of these, maybe you can help.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thames (NZ): A Thamesite

What's in a name, how is it spelt and why was it used?
To start with I have always heard the term THAMESITE used for people who were 'real' Thames folk! People who had their roots and foundations firmly from the goldmining years. Those families that first settled on the Thames goldfields and even after many left, they would still fondly call themselves a THAMESITE.

The question today is the spelling...I am often swayed by others that it should be THAMES-ITE. So to resolve this once and for all I went to Paperspast and searched for both terms. The Thames-ite seems to bring upa handful of false results, whereas the term THAMESITE brings up 378 results.

The first example was by Mr Macdonald in 1876.
NZ HERALD 19 June 1876
The Concept of being a Thamesite remained strong over the years, and there is nothing these old Thamesites like better than a good old reunion! The 1927 Diamond Jubilee was just one excuse for a massive gathering and parade, as so beautifully portrayed in the Auckland Weekly News 11 August 1927. 
 The last entry at Paperspast for Thamesite was in the Auckland Star 1 June 1936, when a reference was made to a meeting. It summed up early memories that many will have of ex town folk making the Sunday trip for cuppa with the relatives...then going back to Auckland. Over the years as generations have died and there are no longer Grandparents to visit, these trips back home, for many, have become a thing of the past.
As more and more people explore their past and genealogy, thanks to places like The Treasury - they often find relatives who have passed through Thames, and we can say...yes you too are a THAMESITE!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thames (NZ): Heritage Photos at Auckland City Libraries

An ongoing plea for anyone who has old photos of Thames - NEVER throw them out, The Treasury at Thames is always interested in old photos and you can donate the photo or a good digital image. The collection continues to grow, so please go and check it out when passing.

My last few days have been occupied exploring the images at Auckland CITY Libraries online collection. You can access this indirectly via the MATAPIHI site (and then filter your results) or my preferred option is the Libraries Heritage Image link. 

Take a look at this image online or below. The image provided by Auckland Library shows three hotels and four shops that had previously not positively been identified. The photo looks down on Rolleston Street, the hospital would be to the right and the road runs out to Banks Street. In the early days this would still be called Bowen Street from the Hape Bridge. Near the centre of the photo, stands a two storied building - that is the GLOBE HOTEL.
Above: Shortland Thames. Photo by D Richardson 1886
Below: The GLOBE HOTEL on the corner of Rolleston & Sealey Streets - where the present Thames High School Gymnasium stands today (partial of the above for identification purposes)
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC133'
 Remember when hunting for information on Thames-ites to check out the digital collection at Auckland City Libraries Website. Examples include: Auckland Passenger arrivals, 1881 Electoral ROLLS plus many more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thames (NZ): Early Business Update

Apologies to those new to the blog, who may wonder why my website does not update. Failed computers and new software have meant it is a challenge to update those for now I keep you posted via this blog.

I am up to the letter N, updating my research into Pre 1930 businesses of THAMES, New Zealand. This information is kept at THE TREASURY in Thames - available for researchers (who visit or request paid research). What is becoming apparent is the number of people that tried their luck at Thames. We often associate this just with mining but people were coming to the Thames to test the commercial waters. While bankruptcy was a regular event, many did also have success and went on to have long, successful businesses in Thames and New Zealand.

Fascinating stories continue to emerge, as well as advertisements that give a wonderful view of what life was like over a hundred years ago. Take the new typewriter available for sale at C CATER's music shop in Pollen Street, Thames.

Mr Cater was noted to be a talented musician and stocked the best “pieces in songs, dance music, and pianoforte solos” It was noted that Thames was a music loving population and Mr Cater’s stock is calculated to please the artistic taste of all Music-lovers.”

Many businesses also diversified their products, in the case of Mr Cater he catered to the commercial businesses in town with his stock of compact typewriters. “The compact and portable Albus typewriters, which weigh only 51/2 lb; and are veritable works of art in mechanism, and general working capabilities.” (Thames Star 1/4/1913)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thames (NZ): Early settlers of Thames

The Pioneer Families Register at The Treasury (The Coromandel Heritage Trust), provides a great start for researching families of the wider goldfield region.

"The Pioneer Family Register is a collection of forms filled in by people with early family in this region, under the umbrella of The Hauraki Thames Indexing Group. We have had an amazing response to this project, with forms arriving from all over New Zealand, and from overseas. Frequently people have sent in extra information, or provided a photoand these are filed separately. Some have sent in family history books as well.
The forms contain much interesting information about our early settlers - where they came from, the boat they came out on, their interests, their children's names, as well as the dates for these events where known. On the reverse side is the name of the person submitting this information - so a family researcher wanting more information has the address of someone to contact."

Photos: The Pioneer Families Collection Folders (top) and (above) another view of just a few of the many resources available at The Treasury, Thames
If you have infomation on a family who settled on the Thames Goldfields pre 1900, please consider completing the form today! - you then may find some new family researchers in the weeks to come. In the past week I have had the fortune to meet some new Vercoe researchers, thanks in part to this collection and a visit to The Treasury.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thames (NZ): Tararu sea wall

Over the years, the sea wall at Tararu (just north of the old Thames North School) has often taken a hammering from the heavy seas that can hit the area. In the early years of the goldfield, this often meant that the tramway that ran from Thames to Tararu was damaged. The road narrow, with little room for repair.
The walkway in those years known as O'Neill's Esplanade.

The old papers have many examples of years when repairs urgently took place. In 1913 the Thames Borough Council hoped to have the problem solved and had three men engaged in filling the holes to the wall.

The photo below is one example of damage to the sea wall in 1907,

Auckland Weekly News 11 July 1907
' Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19070711-4-3 '

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thames (NZ): Early School Records

Previously mentioned have been some of the early schools on the Thames Goldfields. I am in the process of gathering names from published prize-givings for private schools. These schools do not have surviving school rolls - at least not any located so far.

Alarming to read how many children didn't attend school in 1882, when it was compulsory. So if your ancestor is missing from records found to-date, they may well have not attended a school.
A newspaper report, December 1882 stated in the Thames Borough and County area that there were 2329 Children aged between 5 and 13 years who should be going to school. Results concluded nearly 600 children were not attending any school.

These were the results of numbers from surveys on school attendance:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thames (NZ): Thames Advertiser online 1874-1899

Well great news for researchers with the magnificent Paperspast team getting the Thames Advertiser online.

"Following the first major discovery of gold in the Thames area in August 1867, William Wilkinson and Claude Corlett decided to try their luck as newspaper proprietors in the embryonic Thames settlement. Born in Derbyshire, England, Wilkinson arrived in Auckland on the Nimroud in 1863. He joined the Southern Cross newspaper, acting as a ‘war correspondent’ during the New Zealand Wars, notably at the battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga, in late April 1864. Corlett, from Manchester in England, a compositor by training, also worked at the Southern Cross. The first issue of the tri-weekly Thames Advertiser and Miners’ News appeared in April 1868."
Source: Paperspast

The issues covered are:
1 April 1874 - 30 December 1899 (7184 issues)

You will find a wide variety of information and for the family historian no doubt BMD notices in particular that are not in the Thames/Evening Star.

Another good example of information often published by the Thames Advertiser are these roll lists - objections where people may appear more than once on a roll.  Friday 17 May 1878 are published for the THAMES and TIKI Highway Board District. Continued on page 6. Sample below:
Thames Advertiser 17 May 1878
Remember more rolls and directories can be browsed at The Treasury in Thames, if you are passing through and able to visit.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thames (NZ): Parawai Shops aka Fenton Street Shops

While updating the business registers for The Treasury at Thames, I came across what could be the first shops that were established in Fenton Street. Many of you that went to school at Thames South of my generation, will remember these shops in the 1960s. The rush to get there and get your ordered school lunch..maybe a filled roll plus an orange from the Grocer next door if you had a threepence/sixpence to spare.

In 1895 Mrs Henry GRUBB is reported as having established a shop and Post Office Agency on land adjoining the Maori Meeting House. The bottom photo shows the location of the shop on the corner of Fenton and Heale Streets, known then as MRS GRUBB'S Post Office Store, Parawai.
Thames Star 18/2/1895

Below:  The red arrow points to the location of Mrs Grubb's Parawai Store - on the corner of Fenton and Heale Streets.
The Yellow arrow arrow indicating the site of the Meeting House. In this later photo it is being removed to the Auckland Museum, where it proudly stands today.
Top right is the Thames South School.
(Photo: Merv Cunningham Collection - The Treasury)

In April of 1895, a notice appears in the paper that D PEAT occupies Mrs GRUBB's old premises in Heale Street and that Mrs Grubb's is in the shop at the corner of Heale and Fenton Street. Raising the new dilemma to be explored...did Mrs Grubb move along the street?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thames (NZ): Pre 1930 Businesses

Major revamp of the Pre:1930 Business Register for Thames businesses is currently underway. These folders are held at The Treasury in Thames. Initially the goal was to collect an advertisement and photo of the shop - for businesses that operated in the first 50 year period.  Now this is being refined to hopefully have: Start finish advertisement, special events and a bio/obit for the owner where possible.  What is emerging is lots of names indicating changes of ownership and usage of shop/office buildings - this will allow for more detailed investigation of building usage somewhere down the track!

Do you have ancestors that ran a business at the Thames - if so your information/photos would be appreciated. Whether it be one of the earliest to those post 1930 - contributions are always welcomed!

 On the Kuranui Bay waterfront we have above a photo of Mr W L FILE'S butcher shop which he operated 1870-1872 . The previous owner was Mr John COOKE who established the business in 1867 and sold it to FILE c1869.

Below are the shops in Rolleston Street, Thames. A busy area often forgotten, located just south of the Thames Hospital. During the 1870s-1890s every shop genre was represented, such as: BATEMAN's Butchery, Bootmakers HODGE and HYMAN, Mrs LOCKE the Dressmaker, the ACME Bakery run by
Mrs Nash and later FULJAMES & SCOTT, and DEEBLES seed and provision shop. Plus many more...

With over a thousand shops found to date - one thing is for sure, there were a lot of families not just involved with mining in the town. While many went on to face bankruptcy, there are many who went on to have successful business ventures around New Zealand.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thames (NZ): Current Newspaper online

For those not wanting to miss out on local news, THE HAURAKI HERALD is online - along with archived copies for the last year. You will need to just complete a short registration process.
If you after family notices for earlier years (back to 2006), these are available at The Treasury, Thames - copies can be requested via their research service.

Alternatively the Thames Library and Hauraki Herald Office has copies that you can go in and browse covering all years.

Another old Thames Newspaper that has come to light is THE THAMES SENTINEL AND MINERS JOURNAL, published by William Wood back in the 1890s.
Thames Sentinel Newspaper
Copy courtesy of J Vedder-Price

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thames (NZ): Thames-ites' war service in WWII

In the near future, when I complete work on the nurses' of Thames Hospital, the next project will be...

Collecting information on the men and women who served in World War Two, who came from the wider Thames area. In the first instance a record of those who were killed in action. Anyone with information on family members, you are welcome to email me or leave the information at The Treasury, Thames. The collection wil be held at The Treasury, where there is already information on soldiers of the South African (Boer) War.

A nurse who trained at Thames Hospital and registered in July 1932, died in a POW camp in 1945 - GLADYS LAURA HUGHES, Registered Nurse No 7365.
Auckland Star 6/10/1945
Source: Australian War Memorial Museum
Lieutenant Hughes' service number was VFX61331, in the Australian Army (Unit: 113th Australian General Hospital AANS)
Date of death: 31 May 1945  Place of death: Sumatra, Indonesia Cause of death: Illness

"She was one of sixty five Australian nurses and over 250 civilian men, women and children evacuated on the Vyner Brooke from Singapore three dyas before the fall of Malaya. The Vyner Brooke was bombed by Japanese aircraft and sunk in Banka Strait on 14 February 1942. Of the sixty five nurses, twelve were lost at sea, twenty two survived the sinking and were washed ashore on Radji Beach, Banka Island, where they surrendered to the Japanese along with twenty five British soldiers. On 16 February 1942 the group was massacred, the soldiers were bayoneted and the nurses were ordered to march into the sea where they were shot. Only Sister Vivian Bullwinkel and a British soldier survived the massacre. Both were taken POW, but only Sister Bullwinkel survived the war. Sister Hughes was one of the remaining thirty two nurses who also survived the sinking and were captured as POWs, eight of which later died in captivity. Sister Hughes, aged 33, died of illness on 31 May 1945 in Sumatra." Source: Australian War Memorial Museum

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thames (NZ): Lots of news at Paperspast!

Wow, how lucky we are having such a great resource as Paperspast!
Today there are two new releases:
New Zealand Herald: 1863 to 1884
Auckland Star: 1927 to 1945. This means coverage now from 1870 to 1945. Amazing!

The New Zealand Herald has lots of items on Thames and the goldfields; plus articles related to people in the community. An item on my GGGrandfather Clement Augustus Cornes, for  a wager gone wrong at the Thames Races - is just one of the wonderful finds. All of which help give some colour and bones to the Thamesites we are researching.
New Zealand Herald 28/1/1882

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thames (NZ): Bella Street Pumphouse

Whether you live in, or are visiting Thames, the BELLA STREET PUMPHOUSE MUSEUM - is well worth a visit! Situated on the corner of Bella & Cochrane Streets, it is open Saturday and Sunday (10am to 3pm). The admission price as at June 2012 was: Adults $5, Children $2, Family $10.
From the outside you may wonder what it has to offer, perhaps even think it is just for the pure mine enthusiast. How wrong you would be. Inside the building it is impressive, with a wide range of displays and working models. Volunteers take you on a tour of the remains of the outside pump site and a full guided tour around the building. The bonus is the wonderful collection of old Thames photographs that adorn several side rooms - these alone make the visit worthwhile.

History: The building housed the "Big Pump" that was used to remove water from the mines at the northern end of the town. Built 1897-98 and it could remove 2000Litres of water per minute from depths of 300 metres. It ceased operation in 1914. It is registered as a category II building with New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
(Source: NZ Historic Places Trust)

NB. Information on the first BIG PUMP can be found at The Treasury Journal: "The Big Pump site revisited 2012" By D Wilton