Friday, September 29, 2017

Thames (NZ): "Our Coromandel Magazine 2017-2018"

The Thames Coromandel District Council has published a beautifully presented magazine that highlights news about the council, district, along with special articles.

Thames has several pages of special note that showcase the town's 150th Commemorations. Articles cover the following topics:
  • Our Heritage is Gold, page 86. There is an overview of how the goldfields were opened and the input of local Maori Chiefs. Details of the commemorations held 1 August 2017 are covered, plus the history of Judd's Foundry which started as the Thames Ironworks. 

  • Catch Gold Fever, page 87. This page covers the main tourist attractions in the town, plus a map that showcases the five historic walks available around the town of Thames (from Tararu to Parawai). This is available in hardcopy at the council offices or can be viewed online and or downloaded.
  • Praying for Gold, pages 88-89. Oddly starts with a photograph of nearby Karangahake! The theme here focuses on the church and influence on the Thames Goldfield. With news that on 25 February 2018 there is to be an outdoor church service for the town entitled "Picnic & Praise in the Park."
  • My Heritage, pages 90-91. These pages feature the special books that have been written for the 150th commemorations of the goldfield town of Thames. Books by authors: Allan Berry, Kae Lewis, Angela Curtis, Sharleen Campbell & Jennifer Comer, and The Treasury (Thames).
  • Where the Maori Found Gold, page 93. This page explores the three songs that were written for the original song contest by composers/singers: Estelle Cashmore, Sean Kelly and Andy McCaskill.
  • Come Celebrate 150 Years, Thames Jockey Club (Inc), page 96. Explores the history of horse racing at Thames, along with news of the 150 race meeting 4 January 2018.
  • There are also Thames related articles on: Steampunk (page 92), Twentyman's Funeral Services (pages 94-95), and WW100 Forests (page 100).

 ***** Copies of the magazine are available free at council offices and any of the libraries in the Thames-Coromandel District.*****
You can read the magazine online.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thames (NZ): RSA Section Totara Cemetery & Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph

Did you know that thousands of 'new' World War Two names have been added to the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph? This is accessed online, and you can add photographs and details for any of the entries.

For instance, Douglas Owen Barker, a Thamesite who served in the 2nd N.Z. Divisional Signals (Italy and Japan) has had extra biographical details and photographs added. (screenshot of part of the page above)

It is an easy process to contribute information. Just click on the CONTRIBUTE button at the appropriate section. The first time you will just need to give basic information that verifies your source. (see example below)
The names for the majority of the Thames servicemen and women interred at Totara Memorial Cemetery, Thames have been entered at Findagrave,  If you can help with photographs or further information, just sign up as a member (its free) and submit information.

Sample below, showing the page for Doug at the Findagravesite.
ABOVE LEFT: Gravesite of Douglas Owen Barker & Ivy Muriel Doris Barker nee Cornes
ABOVE RIGHT: View across the top of the RSA section to the WWI section in the distance.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWII ROH update

Reminder that I am always on the lookout for names for the Thames WWII Roll of Honour List.

Another name and photograph just added to the list is for Walter Selwyn MCMAHON. Lance Corporal McMahan was serving with the 21st Infantry Battalion during World War Two, he died in Italy 10 April 1945. He is remembered in the Faenza War Cemetery in Italy.

Walter's parents were Mary and Manfred McMahon. The McMahon families were well known at Tapu. Walter attended the Thames Central School during 1923-24, and in later years had been a Thames Valley Rugby representative. Walter married Madeline Estelle Flavell in 1938, and the couple lived in Hamilton.

If you know of any further names that have been omitted from the Thames WWII ROH, 
can you please email details.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames in "The Growth of New Zealand Towns"

The Thames, our old goldmining town is currently commemorating 150 years since the proclamation and when the official hunt for gold began. The town is featured in a new book compiled by Hugh Dickey with contributions from researchers around New Zealand.

Yes, Thames has even made the front cover! There are two pages specifically on Thames that I contributed, along with statistical data from the Author Hugh Dickey. Did you know we were ranked the fifth largest town for nearly decade?

Overall the book is beautifully presented, colour throughout on high gloss paper. There are over 50 towns covered in-depth, along with a thorough analysis of the population growth of New Zealand.
(Soft cover, 1192 pages, ISBN 9780473411435)
Contact the Author for further information and purchase direct - excellent value for money!
For Thamesites, a copy is available to read at The Thames Library and The Treasury at Thames.
"The Growth of New Zealand Towns" Book cover
Thames 1870s lower right - taken near Kuranui Bay. Looking south towards the Moanataiari, Tookey's Town, Grahamstown with Shortland in the distance. The headland of Totara can be seen on the horizon top left.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thames (NZ): John Grigg's "My Own New Zealand Home"

John Grigg (1838-1920) was an extraordinary Thamesite, recognised around the world because of his astronomical studies and discoveries. In an obituary it was stated that Grigg was the only photographer in the world to capture a shot of the 1901 comet; and that the Astronomical Society of the Pacific had awarded him two medals over the years. He was also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. John Grigg discovered three comets in total (1902, 1903, and 1907), which each were named after him. He built a special observatory at his Queen Street home, just south of the Pahau Street intersect.

Grigg moved to Thames in 1868, initially he was in the upholstery and furnishing business, before moving into his specialty area when he established a music shop. He gave music lessons to private individuals and at several Thames schools.

Grigg setup the Thames Choral Society in 1874, and composed many songs over the following years. One of the best known was "My Own New Zealand Home", a song that was said to be based on his beloved Thames.

This song became known as the unofficial anthem of the northern part of New Zealand. It was sung in schools and at official events not just in Thames, but the greater Waikato and Auckland area for many decades. For instance at the opening of the Thames Branch Railway 19 December 1898, school children sang "My Own New Zealand Home." (words below) Nearly 2000 children sang the special song under the conductorship of Mr Grigg himself. Afterwards they piled into carriages and were given a train trip to Matatoke.  The newspaper reported at this time that the song had been composed by Grigg for the turning of the sod that had taken place in 1878.

While stressing the importance of the song in the northern region, it was well known through out New Zealand. For instance in October 1888, it was sung at a concert in Lyttelton. An on an earlier occasion in January 1881, the St Stephen's Orphans Home in Parnell sang the song.

The song, is believed to have come close to being chosen as New Zealand's Anthem, a fact confirmed in a television documentary which can be viewed online. (Click the link Part Three and listen at 2.40 min) There is also a rendition online by Linda Grigg. (Click here)

It is sad to say this great man, lies at Shortland Cemetery in a grave that has long seen better days. (photos below) Let us not forget this great Thamesite, who came close to having the title of having written New Zealand's Anthem.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thames (NZ): More School Records at Archives

Have you checked the school records at Archives New Zealand recently?

In the past few months they have digitised an ever increasing number of years.

For instance there are records online for PARAWAI SCHOOL up to 1910. The class list for Standard Five and Six included: Winifred Claxton, Myrtle Garry, John Glessing, Hettie Hansen, Alma Menzies, Edna Morrison, Vera Pulford, Fredk Snowling, Joseph Waterhouse, Rita White, Eileen Young, Ruby Aro, Gladys Claxton, Fredk Daldy, Joseph Dickson, Eileen Garry, Flora Grant, Dot Gubb, Winifred Hudson, John Lockwood and Emma Lomas.
Source: R22132430, New Zealand Archives

KAUAERANGA SCHOOL records are now available up to an including 1911.
Try searching for some of the other Thames Schools at Archives.

For general information on Thames Schools check out the summary list.
Update - St Joseph's School Records
So far there is just one page of records at archives for the St Joseph's Catholic School, but looks like there will be some more to come soon. This will be good news for many researchers, as catholic school records have been difficult to access in the past. Catholic Archives do not have early school records but do have many other resources.  Another way to find out more on schooling, is to search the end of year prizegivings published in the Thames Star Newspaper.
PS. Don't forget the November 150th Church and School Commemorations.

BELOW: Standard Six St Joseph's School 1905 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thames (NZ): The Lindauer Collection & the Thames connection

For decades, the fascination of the Lindauer Maori Portraits has never waned. The beautiful paintings provide a timeless view of well known and lesser known Maori figures. The Auckland Art Gallery has a wonderful collection that serves as the basis for a recently released book.

The new publication has been edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope and is named "Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand The Maori Portraits." Published by Auckland University Press the book provides a full guide to the collection, along with how the portraits ended up in the safe keeping of the Auckland Art Gallery.

Who was Gottfried Lindauer?  
"Gottfried Lindauer was New Zealand's leading painter of Māori in the 19th century, in both portraits and in scenes of Māori life. He produced many hundreds of individual portraits, commissioned by both Māori and Pākehā. Because so many of the Māori men and women Lindauer portrayed were tribal leaders and well-known figures, they are central to the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Many of the portraits that are now in public collections are gathered here. Each one includes information about the sitter which will grow as you share your comments and stories, increasing the storehouse of knowledge on them." 
Source Lindauer online

The first Thames connection is that many of these paintings were produced by Gottfried Lindauer from the cabinet cards that were taken by the Foy Bros photographers of Thames.

An example of a Foy Bros. cabinet card is on the right, it is of Pare Watena (Watene). The cards were a photo on a piece of card. They were popular to collect and send back to family overseas.

The second Thames connection is the number of portraits that are featured in the book that have a Thames - Ohinemuri connection. They include:

  • Chief Haora Tipa Koinaki (Ngāti Pāoa) - Who assisted James Mackay with the opening of the district for goldmining.
  • Heeni Hirini and child - Better known as Ana Rupene from Manaia. Described as a woman with mana from her Ngāti Maru whakapapa.
  • Horeta Te Taniwha (Ngāti Whanaunga) - An eyewitness to Captain Cook's landing at Mercury Bay in 1769. He later boarded Cook's Endeavour and was given a spike nail which he wore around his neck.
  • Hori Ngakapa Te Whanaunga (Ngāti Whanaunga) - An influential tribal leader, who had his land and assets seized after an 1871 land survey deal failed to eventuate.
  • Chieftaness Mere Kuru Te Kati - A prominent figure and landowner at Ohinemuri, who protested against mining and land settlement. Known to have pulled out survey pegs and unmoored boats of 'unwelcome settlers'. The last owner to sign her land over in 1895.
  • Pare Watena (Watene) -  From Manaia and lived at Tararu; the eldest of three sisters who gave land for Tararu Cemetery in the 1870s. Watena was famed for her beauty.
  • Chief Tamati Waka Te Puhi (Ngāti Maru) - James Mackay negotiated to takeover Te Puhi's land by gentlemen's agreement; which in 1886 he protested, following the construction of a road over a tapu site north of the town.
  • Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhia - An often feared leader who practised traditional warfare customs. Te Tumuhia refused to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and continued to fight to retain the ownership of his estates. He died at Thames in March 1872.
  • Chief Tukukino Te Ahiataewa (Ngāti Tamaterā) - Tukukino also protested against the opening of Maori land to allow mining at the Ohinemuri. He was eventually influenced by James Mackay to hand over the land for mining. 

The third Thames connection relates to how the Gottfried Lindauer Collection of Maori portraits came to be at the Auckland Art Gallery. Henry Edward Partridge from England, joined the merchant navy in 1861 and later worked on a merchant ship in 1866. Following the goldrushes in Australia, Hokitika (New Zealand) he then headed to The Thames about 1870. Partridge had a small crushing plant by the Moanataiari Creek, and he lived up the Valley with his family.

Daily Southern Cross,  25 August 1871

While at the Thames, Partridge became good friends with Warden James Mackay and often accompanied him on his visits to Maori villages. It was the start of a lifelong interest and fascination with the Maori race.

Henry Edward Partridge
In 1873 Partridge moved to Auckland and set up business as a tobacconist and sporting shop owner. Then in 1875, Henry met Gottfried Lindauer and commissioned him to paint Maori portraits. Initially these portraits were kept at the Partridge’s Auckland residence. In 1901 Partridge moved the collection into the 'Lindauer Art Gallery’ located above his shop in Queen Street, Auckland.

Over the years some paintings were loaned, then in 1912 it was decided that the gallery should close. Old Thames boy James Parr (Mayor of Auckland, he had attended Waiokaraka School) was instrumental in getting Partridge to loan his collection to the Auckland Art Gallery. In 1915 the Partridge Collection of Lindauer paintings, was formally given to Auckland and handed to the Auckland Art Gallery. (This was possible following a donation to the Auckland Belgian Relief Fund, which was part of Partridge’s conditions for the gifting of the paintings)

Thanks to ex-Thames resident, Henry Edward Partridge a collection of Lindauer's Maori Portraits was produced, and ultimately stayed intact and are still on display for the people of New Zealand at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Thames (NZ): 1908 Social at the Thames Club

Social events were popular at the Thames from the time the goldfield opened in 1867. A wide variety of venues were used by groups, these included church and masonic halls, plus specialty rooms such as the Academy of Music. The Thames Club was another group that has operated for over 100 years. This is the story of a 1908 dance card that was recently obtained from an online auction site.

BACKGROUND: The 'Thames Club' was formed following a public meeting 13 September 1904 - initially known as the Young Men's Club. In 1907 the group changed their name to 'The Thames Club' and purchased the old Lush property (then owned by Dr P Callan). In 2004 the Thames Club celebrated 100 years. The Thames Club is no longer located in the old club rooms, instead utilises space at the Thames Bowling Club.

 On 2 September 1908, the Thames Club held a social evening, entitled "At Home."  The report on the dance held 2 September 1908, was reported in the Thames Star the following day. (see right)

The President of the club was Mr William McCullough, the owner of the Thames Star Newspaper. Over hundred men and women gathered that evening, the dancing started at 8 pm and went until midnight. The dance programme was interspersed with musical items presented by club members.

The 'dance card' was an important piece of paper, as those present would fill their card for the evening with partners for the programme of dances. (see below) The dances on the 2nd September included the following: Waltz, Lancers, Polonaise, and D'Alberts.

The evening ended with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem.

Further reading on the Thames Club:
Thames Club 100 Years 1904 - 2004, E F Kingsbury & N I Mills. 2005 Thames Club.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thames (NZ): Baillie Street Photograph Mystery

Over the decades there were many photographs taken from Bird-in-Hand Hill, looking south along Baillie Street towards Shortland. Views of the Thames High School, Hospital and St George Church dominated the subjects. The view on the right is from 1875, houses line Baillie Street (north of Mary Street).

But alas, not all is what it seems. A colourised card from 1907 (right) shows some anomalies to the landscape of that time. What was the reason for what appears to be doctoring of the photograph.
The photograph has an abundance of foliage and trees, which no doubt was destined to add to the appeal of the card. The photograph below taken around the same time shows that there were for one thing fewer trees.

 A closer look below, has a circle where the Thames High School building should be. It was built in 1880 and stayed until the late 1950s. It was definitely opposite the entrance to the Baillie Street Hospital from 1900. But where is it in the 1907 photograph on the left? The photograph on the right shows the building and grounds. I don't know the answer for the discrepancy, but it sure is interesting!

The postcard was sent to Hobart in 1907 by Wm Coad, who kindly identified where his house was located. The crop on the right is of lower Karaka Road, and the Coad house is marked with a cross. The postcard had several facts about the town. "Here is another Thames view for you. Where I have made a X near left hand side of card you will see my residence. The dwellings in this district are nearly all one storey buildings,  built wood. We have a population here of about four thousand at the present time, but it has in the past numbered close upon ten thousand."
 Mr William Coad owned a book and stationery shop in Pollen Street, Thames. His house in Karaka Road was named 'Mokoia.' This was common at the time for residential properties to have a name. Mr Coad died in 1917 and his obituary appeared in the Thames Star 11 July 1917.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thames (NZ): Then & Now BNZ Corner Grahamstown

While the intersection of Albert and Brown Streets, Thames is commonly known as 'Scrip Corner', it is remorse not to remember the grand landmark that graced the north-eastern side of the roads.
Many people often ask why was the grand Bank of New Zealand building destroyed?

Background from Lost Landmarks of Thames (by A Barker & D Wilton):

"Banks were soon established at The Thames when the goldfield opened. This included the Bank of Zealand (1868), Bank of New South Wales (1868), National Bank of New Zealand (1873), and Australia and New Zealand Bank Ltd (1877).

The Bank of New Zealand first opened February 1868 in the town of Shortland, Thames. The Manager was Mr H F Christie and it was described as a three-room wooden building in Pollen Street. This Shortland agency was closed 1st April 1871.  As more gold was discovered the area of Grahamstown became an important business area and the bank opened a branch there on 13th February 1869. Around April 1870 the Grahamstown branch moved into a grand new building on the corner of Brown and Albert Street. The bank had a gold office and assay room.

As things declined economically in Thames, the Bank of New Zealand moved back to the Shortland area of Pollen Street, to the corner of Sealey and Pollen Street; where they still operate today. Early managers of the bank were: H F Christie (1868), T L Murray (1869-1893), W Burton (1893-94), and A Smith (1894-1907)."

Then & Now: The photo below allows us to see the old bank once more, proudly standing where now a house and old hall are located. On the left the old Wharf (aka Park and Lady Bowen) Hotel. In the distance the old Royal Hotel and the old Lady Bowen Hotel on the centre right.

The Bank building was demolished in the late 1920s, when it was no longer required. The construction in some ways just a two sided facade, and the material used was soft and by then in poor, crumbling condition. 

Now a Lion's Heritage sign marks the site of the once important 'Bank of New Zealand.'

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Thames (NZ): 150 Commemorations - New video by Thames Museum

Congratulations to Tom Webb and Rosalie Steward for producing a wonderful video on the opening of the goldfield - which contains a considerable amount of background history.
(Written and narrated by Rosalie Steward with Video editing by Tom Webb from Inlet Technologies)

Take a few minutes to checkout the video, and subscribe to future ones in this history series.

Find out and hear more, at the Thames Museum, Cochrane Street, Thames.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Thames (NZ): 150 Event - Read Bros Hardware

Read Bros has been at the Thames since just after the Goldfield opened. The name of the business as varied slightly, as five generations of Read's have run the family business.

Started in 1867 by John Read in Brown Street (Grahamstown), he was a timber merchant and ironmonger. The timber yard was just south of the Pacific Hotel and Academy of Music that were located on the south-west corner of Albert and Brown Streets. Today this is part of Victoria Park South.

The business expanded and Read opened a second yard at the south end of Pollen Street, Thames. Sons Charles and Arthur Read took over the businesses when their father died. After WWII Alan Read entered the family business, followed by his son Stuart Read in 1972. "In 2003 John, named after his great grandfather, became the 5th generation Read to enter the family business."
(Hauraki Herald 1 September 2017)
ABOVE: View along Owen Street to Brown Street. Read's Timber Yard marked by the cross.
The 'Then & Now' view below is from the 1950s & 2017. The 1950s was view taken when the Exchange Hotel was situated to the north of Read Bros. Hardware Store in Pollen Street (between Richmond and Willoughby Streets).

On 2nd September 2017, Read Bros is celebrating 150 years of trading with an open day. Activities planned include: gold panning, a vintage cars display, a blacksmith forge, a history display, plus instore prizes and giveaways. The store also has 150th memorabilia for sale for collectors.
UPDATE - Photos of 'open day' at Read Bros 2 September 2017