Over the years many old miners shared their stories about their first few years on the Thames Goldfield, Mr Newdick among them. In the Thames Star 17 May 1926, Alfred recalled his early days on the goldfield. At the time he was aged 80 and living at Herne Bay.
Alfred spent 45 years mining at the Thames, stretching back to before William Hunt “made the sensational discovery that acted as the signal and started the rush of thousands of prospectors who had but one mark before them – gold!"
It was just bad luck that Newdick was not part of the Shotover Claim, as William Hunt had urged him to go to the Thames. “It was a Maori who showed Hunt the gold,” declared Mr Newdick. He recalled that Hunt was a friend of many Maoris, “and one day one of them took him to the (afterwards) ‘Shotover.’ Hunt found the gold, but did not say a word to a soul until the ground was thrown open. On a Sunday night Mackie 9 (sic) and Bailee (sic), the wardens, got word that the field had been proclaimed. Hunt had pegged on the Saturday. He went to the wardens’ office –an old raupo whare – and put in his claim. He wanted three mates, and the first he chose was Clarkson, and the others were White and Cobley.”
|ABOVE: 1872 View of the Long Drive Claim|
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZG-19120814-18-1
|ABOVE: Location of the Long Drive Sign, before Kuranui Bay|