Saturday, June 30, 2018

Thames (NZ): Thames Coast Road Postcard

The Thames Coast Road on the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula has always been a challenge, but the past year saw storms continually wreck havoc along the narrow pathway. It was good news to hear that the reconstruction work had been completed, and Mayor Sandra Goudie recently took the opportunity to thank all involved.

A report by STUFF 20 June 2018 summarised events:
"It took six months and $18.9 million to repair what nature destroyed in one day on the Thames Coast Rd.  Repairs to the stretch of State Highway 25 since the January 5 storm include 3km of resealing, 4 km of new pavement constructed, 41 culverts repaired, four new crossings, 70 rock walls, and many kilometres of rock protection, using 1700 tonnes of rock brought in by truck, more than 65 contractors and about 70,000 man hours. The rebuild is now complete, apart from an additional 3km of resealing scheduled for finer weather next summer."

The postcard below highlights the perfect day and drive down the Thames Coast Road to Coromandel. Pohutakawa cling to the rocks, while the driver of a few decades past, makes their way carefully around the narrow bends.

A Barker Postcard Collection
Since the Thames Goldfield was opened, roading issues have been a priority. While the early miners relied on sea transport like the local iwi, slowly tracks were developed along the coast as we know it today.

Reverend Lush for instance recalls in his diaries travelling north to Coromandel and making use of the low tide to walk along the beach. Over the decades, tracks were widened to the extent that horse and gig could travel up the coast to the more popular destinations. Car travel brought new challenges.

Biking was a popular way to travel the coast road, 
while cyclists reported punctures were a frequent occurrence.

During one week Dec 1921-Jan 1922, 1172 vehicles passed along the coast road. The majority were cars; along with lorrys, buses, motorbikes - but there were still 103 horse drawn vehicles.

1931 view of the Coromandel to Colville section of the coast road.

In 1929, concern was raised over the speed limit on the coast road. Four motorbikes had been seen doing 45 miles per hour - it was felt this was highly unsafe and that the speed limit should be reduced to 15 miles per hour. Twenty miles per hour the maximum!! Well known coast resident Mr McMahon confirmed the problem and felt some were using the coast road as a speed track!

In April 1930, the coast road was widened in places with some corners removed. Despite heavy metalling, motorists had been advised to carry chains for use in wet weather.

In 1933, a travel writer to the Thames Star extolled the virtues of travelling on the Thames Coast Road, and in particular the beauty of the pohutakawa. "Road Royal - That is the name by which men will one day acclaim the beauty of the Thames Coast Road." Thames Star 13 December 1933.

During the Depression years of the 1930s, gangs of labourers worked on the road, metalling and maintaining the road. Sea walls were built at various locations to try and protect the road from the sea.

In 1936 the news was imminent that the coast road was to be tarsealed, prior to this large sections were metalled. The people of Tapu appealed for the seal to reach them and not to stop at Thornton Bay!

A similar event had happened as during the 2018 King Tide event; the road in 1936 had been covered with silt and sand and it was feared that no would be able to gain access to the coast over the summer months.

In January 1937, a large landslide blocked the road just near the Puru Point - an event that had happened countless times and still happens to this day along the Thames Coast Road.

In March 1937 came the long awaited announcement that work was to begin on the sealing of the coast road. the first portion to be undertaken was to cost 950 Pounds. On going maintenance of the road was always a concern. in the same year 30 men were deployed to work trying to keep the road open and a public works camp was established to house them.

In 1939, Civil Engineer Mr J H Adams, raised the theory that some of the slips and landslides along the Thames Coast Road were due to seismic activity - the area had several fault lines.

Another constant over the years has been the tendency for cars to leave the road! and crash onto the rocks and into the sea. As was the case in 1939 when Mr J H Battson was a passenger in a car driven by Mr C Marshall of Paeroa.

Car nearly off the road in the 1950s.
Godwin Collection
Oral history accounts reported that during the war years 1939-1945, men were set to work to build  different structures Instead of trying to keep the road open, traps were set along the coast road, whereby the locals could block the road should it be deemed necessary to hinder foreign invaders!

The history of the coast road continues. While locals often wonder whether in their lifetime will it ever really change?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Thames (NZ): R H Bartlett early photographer at The Thames

New Zealand Herald 27 August 1967
Robert Henry Bartlett was a photographer in Auckland when the Thames Goldfield opened in August 1867. Within a matter of weeks he made his way to the new diggings and photographed the field still in its infancy. These photographs give us a factual and true view of what the area looked like before the opening of the Field and before the thousands descended onto the goldfield.

By 26 August 1867, Bartlett had returned to Auckland, developed his slides/film and displayed them at his business establishment. The views were of the Kuranui (Hunt's) reef, Karaka Flat, The Kauaeranga township and several claims.

It is timely to view these again, although you will find them referred to in previous blogs.

View up the Karaka Creek to the Karaka Hill (later known as Una Hill)
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159G'

The Karaka - View to Shortland Town & the Kauaeranga
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159H
Long Drive Claim 
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 589-317
Bartlett returned to the Thames Goldfield and took many more photographs - these can be found in the Sir George Grey Collection, Auckland Libraries.

Further information on Mr R H BARTLETT:
"Bartlett continued to practise as a photographer in Auckland until well into the 1890s, despite a disastrous fire that destroyed his premises in September 1873, and repeated flirtations with bankruptcy. He died at the Rookwood Asylum in Sydney on 2 June 1911."

View down Broad Street c1870 towards Shortland Town
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A16669

Moanataiari Creek
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A16668
Hunt's Claim at the Shotover
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 5-159K
There are many more!!! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thames (NZ): Long Drive Claim part Two

Following on from yesterday's post about the Long Drive Claim, a even older photo has emerged at Auckland Libraries in their Sir George Grey Collection. First though, some doubt was raised by some readers regarding the location of the photo in that post...was it further up towards the Shotover Claim, rather than the Long Drive Claim. WE can but take the information provided

The latest photo is by R H Bartlett, and is of the Long Drive Claim area August 1867!
The caption reads: 
"Camp at Long Drive, showing the mouth of the Kuranui Creek (centre), the path from Thames (Shortland) (left) along Kuranui Bay (left), the bluff leading up to Pukehinau Ridge (right), and Tararu Flat (left centre, distance). Hunt's claim is approximately 150 metres to the right of the camp."
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 589-317
***A high resolution scan sent by an interested researcher, shows a group of diggers centre right, under the trees** 
(Thanks Dick W for the info).

Another view of the area is available in an 1872 photograph.

Below the location of the Long Drive Claim, south of the Kuranui Creek.

The view today via Google Maps 2013.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thames (NZ): Long Drive Claim

Another gem from the Sir George Grey Collection at Auckland Libraries.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 536-Album-285-8-1
What can you see? A tramline runs across centre of photo, transporting the days finds to the nearest battery no doubt. All looks rudimentary - a work in progress! But take another look and see the hills completely denuded of any growth, as men have hacked at claims in search of traces of gold. Small miners huts dotted over the hills, close to the days work.

The Long Drive Claim, was south of the Kuranui Creek, not far from the famous Shotover Claim. A group of miners pegged out an eight man's claim from August 1867, one of whom was Alfred Newdick. Good money was made, which led to the floating of the Long Drive Gold Mining Company.

The name of John Watson Walker aka Long Drive Walker became synonymous with the mine, he was the Manager of the mine for many years, and lived in a large house on the Tararu Flat.

Lions Club Heritage Sign, marks the area of the Long Drive Claim.

Alfred Newdick's Memories

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Thames (NZ): Old School Records

For those of you looking for extra snippets on your ancestors, school records provide a little insight into their lives. Link this with newspaper reports and you get a more complete view.

First, to new readers there is a list of Thames Schools online, and The Treasury and Thames Library have school registration records.

The NEWS today is that the New Zealand Archives have been busy digitising records since I last wrote, with many schools already online up to 1920!

Here is an example. Search for Thames North School. Here are a selection of the results.

Click on 1919 Thames North School - then the hyperlink

You can then enlarge or download the file. Some are single sheets, while others are multi-page pdf files. In this example for 1919, there were four pupils in Standard Six. Alexander Campbell, May Edgar, Wilma Herival and Walter Lang. Their ages ranged from 15 years six months to 13 years seven months.  This was not uncommon, with many not going onto Thames High School, instead staying and completing their Proficiency or Competency Certificate.

As you can see from one examination sheet you can gain, information on: age, class, attendance, examination scores in the main curriculum subject areas. Different files often include extra notes from the head teacher or examiner.

Combine reports like this with newspaper reports and you can gain more knowledge of the childrens' time at school. Two of the Standard Six pupils, were awarded Gott Memorial Prizes for Sewing (May Edgar) and Composition (Wilma Herival).

Check out the other records for Thames, if in doubt just use "Thames Schools" for your search query.
Tararu School aka North School
Now the building is used as an art gallery.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thames (NZ): Update on the Toss Hammond Photograph Collection

Following on from yesterdays article on the Hammond Collection of photographs at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, there appears to be an easier way to locate the entire collection!

The photographs are contained in Albums and the contents can be seen by searching the individual album.  The photographs are not only of Thames, but include family outings and trips to places such as Rotorua. They include iwi from several areas other than just Thames/Hauraki.

[Totara Point, Thames],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca.

ALBUM THREE PH-ALB-357-3: CLICK HERE - scroll to Catalogue/Contains and then view all.
MAORI CAMP by Waiomu Creek 1903
[Ratira camp by Waiomo Creek],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967,
photographer,ca. 1903,PH-ALB-357-3-P12-1

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Thames (NZ): Another great photographer - Toss Hammond

An old  Thamesite who is considered to have been one of the authorities on Thames history is without question Mr T.W.G.H. (Toss) Hammond MBE. While most of us have only seen just a small amount of his research collection, the Auckland War Memorial Library holds boxes of treasures. Thanks to their digitisation programme, a new facet of Hammond's research is able to be viewed via the Internet.

Mr Hammond was a prolific photographer, and now we can see a growing selection via the online catalogue. Here are a few that are available as at 20 June 2018.

View from Irishtown 1906. The view is looking along Campbell Street, the Waiokaraka School is centre left. The Burke Street Wharf in the distance.
[Thames from Irishtown],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1906,PH-ALB-357-4-P30-1
 Waiomu 1906. Looking north, back along the coast to Thames. Present day Waiomu Domain on the right.
Waiomu,Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1906,PH-ALB-357-4-P36-1
Thames 1917 Flood - Mackay Street. Where is the photo exactly taken, Could that be the old Lush residence in the distance at the corner of Mackay and Mary Streets?
[Children and unidentified man on Mackay St. after the flood in 1917],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1917,PH-ALB-357-4-P32-1
May Queen Mine. View down Waiokaraka Valley, towards Mackay Street and Pollen Street. St James Church far left.
[May Queen Mine - Thames],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,1900's,PH-ALB-357-4-P29-1
Moanataiari - Caledonia Mine 1906. View down the Moanataiari Valley towards the foreshore, now the reclaimed land known as the Moanataiari.
[Caledonian Mine - Kuranui/Moanataiari],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1906,PH-ALB-357-4-P31-1
Loo Autridge gathering Mussels 1905.
[Loo Autridge gathering mussels on the Thames coast],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,1905 - 1906,PH-ALB-357-1-P15-1
Cattle on Thornton Bay Beach 1909.
[Cattle on Thornton's Bay beach],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1899 - 1909,PH-ALB-357-4-P17-1
Shortland Wharf.
[Shortland Wharf - Thames],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, compiler,ca. 1898,PH-ALB-357-10-P2-1
Fishing Rocks, Tararu 1898.
[Man sitting on the rocks - Tararu],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1898,PH-ALB-357-3-P14-1
Kauaeranga River  - Davies Cows Crossing 1898.
[Davie's Cows crossing the river - Kauaeranga],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1898,PH-ALB-357-3-P8-1
R R McGREGOR and J B MASON at the Shortland Wharf. The fishing nets are being dried on the left.
[R.R. McGregor and J.B Mason],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, compiler,1900's,PH-ALB-357-10-P1-1
Tararu from Rocky Point 1898. This is my new favourite!! This must be the side of the Cemetery entrance on the left and Tararu Point as we know it in the distance.
Tararu from Rocky Point - 1898,Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1898,PH-ALB-357-3-P10-1
Cadet Camp Omahu.
[Paeroa Squad, Cadet Camp - Omahu],Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967, photographer,ca. 1909,PH-ALB-357-4-P6-1
There are many more including a series on the carvings in the Hotunui Meeting house. As well as photos of Eruiti Wetea (Ngati Maru) and numerous photographs of local iwi which require copyright clearance to save and copy.

We look forward to more photographs coming online from the wonderful collection at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Thames (NZ): Photographer Henry Albert Frith at The Thames

There has been a long list of photographers who have recorded an invaluable photographic history of the Thames Goldfield. A topic that should definitely be explored in greater depth, but for now the focus is on Henry Albert Frith.

A trip to the Thames Library today was timely, because there was a magnificent new book entitled "Snips & Snaps" by Noel Tozer.

Carsons Bookshop in Thames has an overview of the book:
In the early nineteenth century, likenesses in profile, or silhouettes, sometimes delicately highlighted in gold were all ordinary folk could afford. The Frith family, John, his three children, Frederick, Henry Albert, and Letitia, travelled the British Isles inviting the "gentry and residents" to sit for these "highly finished" portraits. This art form was overtaken by the camera and photographic portraiture. The younger Friths emigrated to Australia and New Zealand where they adapted to this new medium with the same skills, producing a record of nineteenth century Tasmania, Victoria and New Zealand and their peoples, both indigenous and the newly settled. This is the story of that transition.

The book "Snips & Snaps" features part of a chapter on Thames - Chapter 8 Henry Albert in Thames and Auckland. Author Tozer gives a concise overview of life on the Thames Goldfield and the mining history. He notes that Frith was in Dunedin in 1867, and had arrived in Thames by 1869, where he remained for ten years. 

"From this period, he has left a remarkable record of Thames, the goldfields, its surroundings and its people both the indigenous and the miners, and the surprise is that so many of his photographs have survived to this day, which is probably the result of Thames being a relatively small town." Tozer page 247.

Frith changed premises several times, to various locations in Pollen Street.
In the 1870 Thames Directory, Frith is located north of the Brian Boru Hotel in the block between Richmond and Sealey Streets.
Thames Directory 1870


While he ventured around the town taking photographs of landscape and mining matters - he was also renown for his studio work. Photographs of the local iwi made up a lot of his business, and these cards could be purchased and sent around the world.

In the book are several high quality images from private collections, many will be familiar to researchers who have previously only seen poor reproductions in early Thames history books. Several though are unique, including this view of life at The Thames. On the right is a photograph from Page 251, of a Miner's Cottage c 1870. Giving a glimpse of life at Thames. Typical cottages, with the central door and rooms off a central hall. Fencing is important and in many cases not just for staking ones claim to land but also to keep roaming goats and pigs out! Note the washing blowing on the line further up the hill. Frith advertised that you could have your house taken to order, perhaps this is why the ladies are posed outside the one above?

In 1878, Frith left Thames and headed to Auckland, no doubt pushed by the economic slump on the goldfield and brighter prospects over the gulf at Auckland.
Frith's Photographs - The following are a sample of the photographs by Mr Frith that are available in New Zealand online collections.

Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Auckland Libraries, 589-23
                       Sir George Grey Special Collections, 
                             Auckland Libraries, 589-126

View of Grahamstown
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A11191

View of Bird-in-Hand Hill
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A11191


UPDATE 20/6/2018
Thanks to Kae for finding another wonderful example of a Frith card at Te Papa.
It is of Chief Wirope Hoterene Taipari, and has some hand colouring. A stunning cabinet card c1870. "Studio portrait of the chief Wirope Hotereni Taipari, son of the Hauraki chief Te Hauauru Hotereni Taipari. Wirope's father became one of the principal regional tribal leaders among the powerful Hauraki tribes in his lifetime. A role that Wirope inherited when his father died in 1880." Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.