Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thames (NZ): TCDC WW100 Messines Forest axed!


If you were like me and wondering when the planting of the Messines Forest was happening in Thames - well the answer from TCDC today is that it isn't. Lack of funds has meant it is on hold for the foreseeable future.

So the Great WW100 Memorial Forest Project has ground to a holt.

Below is the sign that has been at the Thames Peace WWI Memorial for the last two years - marking the intended 'Messines Forest.'

Left: The 'Messines Forest' sign by the Albert Street Walkway to the Monument. Right: the signage leading to the Peace Memorial.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thames (NZ): View from Zion Hill to Grahamstown

Always a surprise to find something new in a photo, this one taken overlooking the hospital towards Grahamstown is no exception. For the first time I have noticed the reference from "Zion Hill".

Searching at Paperspast, I can see no reference to the name or can't recall seeing it on any local papers. Did the photographer name it such because it overlooked the St George's Church? Was it a name that all locals of the time knew? Maybe you know the answer?
Below are some of the landmarks that can be seen in the photograph.
1. Post Office Hotel     2. St George's Church     3. Corner Mary and Mary Street
4. Foy's Boarding House     5. Thames Hospital, Baillie Street     6. Thames High School
7. Medical Superintendent's House     8. Bella and Pahau Street intersect    9. St James Church
10. Junction Hotel     11. Burke Street Wharf

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Exciting news of a Family history book that is being launched in time for the start of the Thames Goldfield 150th Commemorations.

TITLE: The Comer Family: A family with a Heart of Gold

Authors: Jennifer A Comer & Sharleen M Comer

WHEN: 5 August 10am to 3pm

WHERE: Thames School of Mines

Free Admission

"As part of the Thames 150th Anniversary Celebrations we decided to write a book on our family history. Sharleen and Jennifer are descendants of two brothers Robert and George Comer who came to The Thames & its goldfields for a better life for them and their families. This book and their stories as told by Sharleen and Jennifer."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): Lions Club Historic Sign at "Thames Welcome Sign"

If you have visited Thames you will no doubt have seen the yellow heritage signs that mark old Thames Goldfield Landmarks. Keep an eye out around the town as there are more historic signs being erected.

The latest sign is out by the Sir Keith Park Airfield, attached to the Thames Icon aka the Welcome/Farewell sign.

The top yellow historic sign outlines the history of the Thames Goldfield from 1867. While the new photo board has details of the 'The Thames Icon' construction.
"On August 10th 2005, after 5 years of negotiation, consents, hours of toil by Thames Lions Club and fund raising from many different sources and raising over $15,000 the Stamper Battery Icon was officially declared open by the Mayor of Thames Chris Lux. It was dedicated by Father Peter Head, a member of the Thames Lions Club. The Maoriland Battery (The integral part of that icon on permanent loan from the Prospectors Association)"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Thames (NZ): Richmond Street Then & Now

Has anything changed in Richmond Street? Well lets take a look at the changes from the 1887 to 2017. What does 130 years look like...
  • Bobbet's Butcher Shop is on the north-east intersect with Pollen Street. Today the site of a Garage.
  • The large drains can be seen  (fenced areas), under which the Noke Noke Stream flows out to the sea - the cause of many a Shortland flood in this area.
  • Richmond Street climbs up to Block 27 in the distance (east). Typical of roads into the early 1900s, see how narrow the actual 'road' is.
  • Centre right is the Oddfellows' Hall in the first two photographs, now the site of Te Korowai. Later used for dances and auction mart for decades after the Lodge moved to other premises. Who remembers Ed Mitchell's Second-hand shop? Or skating at the hall?
  • The changing face of the Brian Boru can be seen comparing the first two photographs. Extensive renovations were carried out in 1904, only to be followed by a large and fatal fire in 1905. The building was repaired and still stands today as The Brew cafe.
Richmond Street in 2017 has been extended west, and is the site for the Richmond Villas Retirement Homes.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thames (NZ): NURSES OF THAMES new book edition

Finally the hurdles have been overcome to publishing this booklet in a new format. This Version (4) was first printed last year in a new spiral bound format. Thanks to lots of help from KMG Print, it has now been reprinted stapled.

NURSES OF THAMES: A History of Registered Nurse Training at the Thames Hospital.
Size: A4, soft cover, 120 pages ISBN 978-0-475-35321-6
The first half covers the history of nurse training at Thames Hospital School of Nursing. A decade by decade look at key events and staff. Lots of other topics such as: Memorabilia, War Nurses, Matrons, changes to the hospital, equipment and much more.
Lots of staff graduation photographs, register of registered nurses etc.

Available from: Trademe, School of Mines and The Treasury.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thames (NZ): HOTELS OF THAMES booklet

Yes finally, ten plus years of research has been resurrected and put into booklet form. Just got the proof copy from KMG PRINT (who as always do a wonderful job). So copies should be available by the end of the month once proofing done, although you can almost guarantee a few typos will still sneak through.

Title: HOTELS OF THAMES: The A to Z of Hotels on the Thames Goldfield. 104 Pages, soft cover, A4.

Includes: name of hotel, trading period, location, publicans and a few snippets of history.

Lots of photographs of actual hotel or in many cases the location area, as sadly there are some hotels without an identified location or photo. BUT there are lots of extras to give the reader the fell for what life was like at the Thames.

So the town that boasted 100 pubs, probably had at least 140 plus, not all trading at once but over a decade or two.

Today, the only hotels to be trading are the Junction and the Hotel Imperial, while the Cornwall Arms lives on in the Thames Workingmen's Club.

Above: Hotel Imperial, corner Sealey and Pollen Streets 2017.
Below: Junction Hotel, corner Pollen and Pahau Streets 2017.

Above: The old 'Lady Bowen' and 'Park Royal' Hotel in Brown Street, Thames 2017.
Below: The old 'Shortland', 'Cornwall Arms', and 'Salutation Hotel', Thames 2017.
Below: The old Brian Boru Hotel, now "The Brew' Café on the ground floor.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thames (NZ): Storm Damage at Tararu Cemetery April 2017

Much has been said about the damage done to the Thames Coast Road, that is still undergoing extensive work.

Spare a thought for the damage done also at the Tararu Cemetery during the April storms. Special thanks to Graeme for the photographic update.

Several trees have fallen over graves and paths of the cemetery that overlooks Tararu point and the Firth of Thames.

 View from Tararu Point looking north towards Tararu Cemetery.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames South School Then & Now

Thames South School started as Parawai School, and the name changed in 1915. Its a long story with Parawai School originally located on the corner of Banks Street and Parawai Road, before moving to the present day site in Rolleston Street (then known as Bowen Street). Buildings have changed, and grounds developed into the thriving school of today.
 THEN & NOW: South School 1920s & 2017

 THEN & NOW: South School from Grey Street 1920s & 2017 
© Althea Barker 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Wharf Then & Now

The Shortland Wharf at the old Kauaeranga Landing could tell a story or two. From pre goldfield times, Mr Nicholl's store stood alone serving the settlers who were bravely exploring the land to the south. The Kauaeranga Pa was close by, along with other hapu groups along the shores and hills overlooking the flats.
 Above:  The Shortland Wharf 1910s. a hive of activity as boats came and went with the tide.
Below: Today the wharf is again busy, this time with customers getting fish and goods.

Below: The Shortland Landing c 1868
 Above: The view from the end of the Shortland Wharf out to the entrance 2017.

© Althea Barker 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames Goldfield Schools booklet

A new booklet on Thames history - part of the A to Z series.

Thames Goldfield Schools: The A to Z of Schools 1867 - 2017.
A4 soft cover format, ISBN 978-0-473-38064-9

Research snippets that cover the opening and closing of schools both private and public. Lots of names both pupil and teachers.

Schools include:
Addey’s (Mr & Mrs) School, Bargrove’s Ladies School, Central School, Catholic Schools (St Joseph, St Thomas of Aquin’s, St Francis), Cornes’ Private School, Davies (Mrs) Preparatory School, Donovan’s (Miss) Establishment, Early Childhood Schools & Centres, Establishment for Young Ladies, Eureka School, Fleetwood’s (Mrs) School, Harvey’s (James) Girls School, Hauraki School, High School (The), Karaka School, Kauaeranga Boys’ School, Kauaeranga Girls’ School, Kauaeranga Valley School, Kirikiri School, Kopu School, Ladies Seminary see Cary’s School, Maberly’s (Mrs) School, Moanataiari School, Murphy’s Hill School, North School, O’Reilly’s (Miss) Young Ladies School, Parawai School (old), Parawai School (current), Phelp’s (Mrs) School, Punga Flat School, Sandes Street School, Shellback School, Shortland School, Smith’s (Mrs) Seminary, South School, St George’s School, Tararu School, Thames Grammar School, Thames High School, Thames Manual & Technical School, Thames Orphanage & Training School, Thames School, Thames School of Mines, Waiokaraka School, and Waiotahi School.

Where can you read it? Copies will be given to The Treasury and Thames Library, Thames.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery Tree Clearance

The Shortland Cemetery in Danby Street has had warnings in place for sometime now regarding the unsafe trees in the upper portion of the grounds. Someone had ring-barked trees and these were breaking and posing a safety danger not only to people but to the historic graves below.
This week TCDC have a team working on clearing and removing the dangerous trees and branches. A helicopter is being used to lift the trees and place them temporarily in a gully to the south.
Full information at TCDC news site.

Below are photographs of the helicopter in action, Tuesday 2 May 2017.