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.