Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thames (NZ): Restoration of 'New' Nurses Home Plaques

In years past it was the norm to place foundation and opening day 'stones' when new public buildings were constructed. Something that seems to go unmarked with many new buildings in Thames today. That being said, there are many that are in a sad state, so it was pleasing to see the Thames Hospital get in behind a project to restore and rehang several important plaques.

When I researched Thames Memorial and Plaques two years ago, the foundation stone details for the Thames Hospital Nurses' Home (that was opened in 1954) were barely readable.

Background from the above book:
Thames Hospital underwent many changes from the time it was founded as the Thames Goldfields Hospital in 1868. The need for hospital beds and subsequent nursing staff continued to grow. New campus buildings from the 1950s included a new Nurses’ Home at the corner of Mary and Rolleston Streets, Thames. It was mandatory that student nurses live in during the majority of their training; hence the need for a new hostel became imperative.

The foundation stone is on the right hand side of the steps. It reads: “This Stone was laid by the Hon. J R Marshall Minister of Health on the 1st May 1952 Lewis Walker ANZIA Architect The Carrington Building Co Ltd Builders.” On the left hand side of the front steps is a plaque that gives details of the Thames Hospital Board in 1952. It reads: “Thames Hospital Board W C Kennedy Chairman J W Neate (?) Deputy Chairman. Members of the Board 1952 T A Barrett, J W Danby, ?” The remainder of the names are unable to be read due to deterioration of the plaque.

When the Nurses’ Home opened in 1954 it was described as equal to a 4 star hotel.[1] Staff would subsequently call it the ‘New’ Nurses Home, to identify it from the ‘old’ home that was located to the north of the building. It was the first building completed as part of a one million pound upgrade to the hospital campus. Mr W C Kennedy (Chairman of the Thames Hospital Board) “appealed to girls of the district to give consideration to nursing when choosing their future careers.”

[1] Thames Star, 11 October 1954. A Barker Collection.
Opening day 9 October 1954
Thanks to the efforts of the local stone mason and hospital staff, the plaques at the base of the stairs to the past 'New' Nurses' Home now Manaaki Centre, have been restored and all information can be clearly read. Another excellent project completed as part of the Thames Hospital 150 Commemorations.
The Plaque on the north side of the Manaaki Centre, has the names of the Thames Hospital Board Members in 1952.

This is the Foundation stone that was laid 1 May 1952.

The view from the carpark in front of the Manaaki Centre, showing the location of the Foundation Stones.

So if you see some plaques that are deteriorating, see what you can do to ensure the history of the building continues.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thames (NZ): A & G Price's Shunter Contract 1956

Class 'Tr' diesel shunter number 100, the first of 10 of this type built by A and G Price in Thames for New Zealand Railways, on the occasion of the handover at Thames to New Zealand RailwaysSir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1370-341-3  New Zealand Herald 14 November 1956
The Sir George Grey Collection at Auckland Libraries never fails to come up trumps with some new material to be discovered. I hadn't spotted these ones relating to our local train builders.

These photographs concerned a contract that the foundry had from 1956 to 1958, whereby they produced ten 15-ton 107hp diesel-mechanical shunting locomotives for New Zealand Rail. They were classed as shunting tractors and given the classification "Tr".  

Above Description:
Class 'Tr' diesel shunter number 100, the first of 10 of this type built by A and G Price in Thames for New Zealand Railways, on the occasion of the handover at Thames to New Zealand Railways. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1370-341-2 New Zealand Herald 14 November 1956

Below Description:
Class 'Tr' diesel shunter number 100, the first of 10 of this type built by A and G Price in Thames for New Zealand Railways, on the occasion of the handover at Thames to New Zealand Railways. Showing the Minister of Railways, Hon J K McAlpine (left), and the General Manager of New Zealand Railways, A T Gandell (right).

The details of the ten shunting locomotives were: (makers no, date in service, NZR old no, NZR TMS No.). The wheel arrangement was 0 - 4 - 0.
169, 12/1956, 100,314; 170, 12/1956, 101, 321; 171, 12/1956, 102, 338; 172, 1/1957, 103, 344; 1732/1957, 104, 350; 1744/1957, 105, 367; 1755/1957, 106, 373; 1765/1957, 107, 396; 1777/1957, 108, 407; 1785/1957, 109, 413.

Tr 103 / 344 From 1957 - 1991 NZR Service, 1991 - 2000 Balance Fertliser, Morrinsville (IS), 2000 - 2009 Balance Fertliser, Morrinsville (ST), 12/2009 Rotorua Ngongotaha Railway Trust (On Loan) - In Service.

Tr 104 / 350 In Service with the Kingston Flyer.

Tr 107 / 396 In Service. 1957 - 2005 NZR Service, 2005 - 2007 Shantytown (IS), 2007 - 2008 Shantytown (OH), Ways & Works, Middleton (WW 4733).

Tr 108 / 407 Ways & Works, Otaki (WW 4346). Waitara Railway Preservation Society. WATCH Tr 407 in action.

Further information: Source: Wikipedia
The long established NZ engineering firm A & G Price of Thames supplied a total of 39 TRs, making them the largest single builder. Four different models were supplied: the Model 3 (TR 100-109), with Gardner 6LW engine and Self Changing Gears 4-speed gearbox; the Model 9 (TR 110-118), powered by a Gardner 6LW engine and Twin Disc torque converter; the Model 4 (TR 157-161), McLaren M6 engine and SCG 4-speed gearbox; and the Model 6 (TR 162-176), engine Gardner 6L3, also SCG 4-speed gearbox. The McLaren engined TRs were re-powered from 1975 with Gardner 6LX engines and the gearbox was replaced with a Twin Disc torque converter.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thames (NZ): Cornes family on the Thames Goldfield

A couple of years back, a cousin of mine (a few times removed) wrote a book on the Cornes family.

Only two lines came to New Zealand in the 1860s, and both settled in and around Thames. This book is about he descendants of Clement Cornes and Barbara Moran (variant spelling).

The book is reduced and available on trade me.

Clement was a mine manager and owner all over the Coromandel Peninsula - in his own words he 'won a fortune and lost a fortune' many times over. Such was the life of anyone with gold fever!

Barbara was a true pioneer, having arrived as a young child, when her father arrived in Auckland as 'Fencible'.

So if you are a descendant of Clement and Barbara Cornes, shout out to Bob and get a copy of his book before they run out.

PS. Interestingly the School of Mines has a booklet for sale on the minerals of the Tui Mine, it was Clement Cornes that discovered and started the mine. A special banquet was held in his honour at Te Aroha in 1888.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thames (NZ): Armistice Day 1918 & 2018

Thames had been planning their peace celebrations all week, despite the worsening situation of influenza in the town and surrounds. The schools had closed and even the Post Office, while churches held very short services.

On 12 November, the paper reported that celebrations were being arranged, once it was definite the the peace agreement had been signed. Then on the front page of the late edition an overlay caption appeared (see below) The Armistice with Germany had been signed.

The newspaper the following day (13 November) reported the towns dilemma, while flags were being flow all around the town, many had been lowered to half mast, on account of all the deaths that occurring in the district from the influenza outbreak.

2018, 11 November.
Today the town has remembered the 100th Anniversary of Armistice, with a service up on the Waiotahi Hill beneath the Thames Peace Memorial. Shuttle van and cars ferried people to the event, while others were like mountain goats climbing the steps from Upper Albert Street.



The service was co-ordinated by the Thames RSA, opening prayers from Rev Brendon Wilkinson of the St George's Church, Thames. Followed by short speeches from Scott Simpson MP and Sally Christie TCDC Councillor. All spoke of the effects of war for those who came home, as well as the numbers lost overseas. The ATC stood guard, at the car park and surrounding the Peace Memorial.

Scott Simpson (left) and Sally Christie (right) addressing the crowd.

The TCDC wreath was laid by Sally and friends.

Thames Nurses laid a wreath (left) and Scott Simpson MP (right).

A wreath was laid by the RSA followed by a prayer. The last Post was played and the wreaths were then taken by the ATC Guards to be laid at the base of the cenotaph. 


The wreaths presented by the RSA, Thames Nurses, Scott Simpson MP and the TCDC.

Those gathered then climbed the path to the Peace Memorial.

 Thames Nurses gathered at the Memorial to remember the nurses who served overseas in the Great War. Four dressed in the commemorative WWI uniform and two in the uniform from the 1980s.


Thames (NZ): Le Quesnoy and the Thames Connection

There is an online documentary series by Jude Dobson that I have not yet had time to watch, but mark it down as a must. Why? When compiling the list of WWI ROH100 for November I noted that there were the names of at least two men who are remembered at the cemetery at Le Quesnoy:

RAE Thomas Handley12/3453; 2nd Lieutenant NZRB KIA, and buried at Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France and HUNTER  John Joseph49153; Private  2nd Batt WIR, KIA, and buried at Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

Reading an article by Jude Dobson in the New Zealand Herald, Sunday 11 November 2018, the name of Bernard Ayling is recorded. 

The article discusses the Dolores Cross Project where our soldiers overseas are taken a little bit of New Zealand. Dobson recalled placing one for NZ soldier Bernard Ayling, "Another, Bernard Ayling, I knew of as the wounded man on the stretcher in an archive photo - their concern wondering if he would survive. Alas, he did not.

AYLING Arthur Bernard; 23/58; 2nd Lieutenant 1st Batt 3rd NZRB

Bernard Ayling was the son of Stanley and Minnie Ayling of Rolleston Street Thames. Stan worked in the Post Office and Bernard was a clerk in Auckland on enlistment. Bernard's brother Herbert had died in 1915.

The full article is online : Armistice day: Lest We Forget.
NZ soldier Bernard Ayling on stretcher at Le Quesnoy. Photo / Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Bernard Ayling's grave in Romeries Communal Cemetery Extenstion, France.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thames (NZ): Armistice Day Eve 1918

While to the town tried to cope with the flu pandemic, the Thames Star Newspaper was still full of news of the Great War end.

There were still men dying in the month of November 1918:
4/11/1918 In the Field, France; RAE Thomas Handley12/3453; 2nd Lieutenant NZRB KIA, and buried at Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France
4/11/1918 In the Field, France; AYLING Arthur Bernard23/58; 2nd Lieutenant 1st Batt 3rd NZRB
4/11/1918 In the Field, France; HUNTER  John Joseph49153; Private  2nd Batt WIR, KIA, and buried at Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France
5/11/1918 In the Field, France; JUDD Reginald Augustine42942; Gnr 1st Brigade NZFA 1st Battery
7/11/1918 Staffordshire, England; ELLIOT Alexander Noel76918; Rifleman 5th (Res) Batt 3rd NZRB
7/11/1918 Auckland, New Zealand; MORRISON Harry4/1571; Sapper NZETC
9/11/1918 Auckland, New Zealand; DEEBLE William45487; Private 1st Batt AIR
9/11/1918 Auckland, New Zealand; TWEEDIE  Alexander Nelson2/1909; Bombardier  NZFA
10/11/1918 Whangarei, New Zealand; COAKLEY Austin Edward12/326; Sergeant-Major AIR
13/11/1918 Auckland, New Zealand; MURPHY Dennis84881; Private Maori Reinforcements
15/11/1918 Palmerston North, New Zealand; TRUSCOTT  John10/3139; Pte 2nd Batt WIR 17th Coy
18/11/1918 Featherston, New Zealand; TONKS Percival Gordon86391; Private NZTU
21/11/1918 Auckland, New Zealand; SMITH Albert Harrison35522; Sergeant Permanent Band
24/11/1918 Trentham, New Zealand; MARSHALL Cecil James Cunningham89710; Corporal NZTU
25/12/1918 Thames, New Zealand ; HALL Walter Ernest7/603; Sergeant CMR
28/11/1918 Samoa; MARTIN  George Peter23/2235; Lance Corporal  Samoan Relief Force
29/11/1918 Germany; HAWKINS Benjamin Arthur64502; Private No 2 NZ Entrenching Bttn

Thames Star Newspaper 10 November 1918
Thamesites celebrated the end of the wharf a few days early, with bells tolling and horns tooting, only to be told that confirmation of the end of the war had not yet been officially received!

The towns folk where reminded that they should wait until official news was received - there would be three tolls at intervals of the Shortland and Pahau Street Firebells. People should then quickly proceed to the Shortland end of Pollen Street and march behind the bands to the Park. The proclamation would then be read!


WW100 FOREST UPDATE 10 11 2018
Driving past the WW100 Commemorative Forest it was pleasing to see the progress being made to the forest located at Rhodes Park, south of the Kauaeranga River.

A boardwalk crossing has been made from the car park over the drain to the cycle/walkway. An entrance is being constructed and a covered kiosk that will have information on the forest and the war. Well done TCDC and all concerned with the project.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thames (NZ): 1918 Flu Pandemic remembered

While the town and country prepares for Armistice Day  it is important to remember another event. The month that the Spanish Flu left its mark on the people of the town.

The background is available on history NZ
There is a page that outlines death rates.
These figures are taken from Geoffrey Rice, Black November: the 1918 influenza pandemic, University of Canterbury Press, 2005. The population figures are those of the 1916 Census. Death rate is per 1,000 of population. Maori populations for counties are inclusive of interior boroughs. Only registered Maori deaths are listed, and these are not available for some districts. The total death toll for New Zealand is thought to be about 9000.
The details for the Thames Area are:

Thames November 1918
We will follow the Thames Star and record the problems the town endured and lives lost - while remembering that the figures are on the low side as many Thames people took ill and died while being away or with family in other towns.

1st November: The paper had news on how the influenza could be treated if it arrived.

5th November: News that the influenza had arrived in Auckland. Concern was expressed that Thames had to plan for the worst

6th November: The Influenza disease was officially named as an epidemic by the Minister of Health.

7th November: It was reported the Board of Health had locally checked the situation in Thames and it was aware that there were many cases of influenza but none of a serious nature.

TS 9 Nov 1918
8th November: A local man who had travelled by train from Auckland yesterday reported that several onboard had influenza.

9th November: Deaths were occurring but often retrospectively it is hard for us to assign them as flu deaths in the local paper. 

Things had really kicked in at Thames with inhalation stations set up around the town and the railway stations. The town divided into three districts with available ladies checking and caring for those who could not, while the technical classes were asked to cook meals for those who couldn't manage.

Eighty-five people went through the hospital's inhalation room, while nearby Kerepehi had over 200 take the inhalation treatment (the area badly hit). Public places had been closed the previous evening, but the high school was kept open.

10th November: MORE COMING SOON

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thames (NZ): The Thames Guardian and Mining Record 1871-1872 ONLINE

Wow, a new newspaper online at PapersPast!

"Available online 1871-1872
Gold was discovered at Thames in 1867 and the town itself grew from three goldfield settlements, Shortland, Tookeys Flat and Grahamstown. By 1868 the population had grown to 15,000. The first newspaper, the Thames Advertiser and Miners’ News was launched on 11 April 1868 by William Wilkinson (1838-1921) and Claude Corlett (c.1836-1906). It was soon followed by the Times and Thames Miners’ Advocate, and the Thames Evening Star, both started by William Shaw (?-1876).
Corlett pulled out of the Thames Advertiser in 1870 and started up the daily Thames Guardian and Mining Record the following year. The first issue of his new paper appeared on Saturday 7 October 1871.

The Guardian folded at the beginning of September 1872, having lasted only 11 months. By then both gold production and the population of Thames were on the decline. The plant was sold to the proprietors of the Hawkes Bay Times and Corlett moved on to the Christchurch Press, which he managed for a number of years.

Although short-lived, the Guardian offers an insight into the life of the Thames goldfields shortly after their discovery not otherwise available because hardly any issues of the earlier newspapers published before 1871 have survived."


Take a look at some of the news reported in these editions.
  • In December 1871 - they felt a new site for the hospital was required due to insufficient ground space!
  • Death notices in all editions. For example on 12 June 1872 there were notices for: Matthew McCrae, George Bull, Percy Herbert, George McGregor, Cecilia Smale, and Charles Mellsop.
  • Hotel transfer news: For the Albion, Salutation and Union Hotel. (2 May 1872)
  • The paper even has sketches of old shops! The sketch below is of the small shop that was located north of the Wharf Hotel in Brown Street.

The Greatest Wonder of the World

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thames (NZ): Baillie Street Thames Hospital Model

The Thames Hospital 150 Commemorations were held 2-4 November. Hundreds came to remember their or their families time at the hospital (both past and present).

The hospital is lucky to have one of Mr Ted Egan's miniature building models and it looked splendid on a new table stand. The stand was made by the Thames Menzshed. The backdrop photo is the work of KMG Print, Thames.

There is to be a protective cover placed over the model for its protection.

 Views of the Thames Hospital building model, by Ted Egan.

The Baillie Street building was opened in October 1900 - a grand hospital with four large wards and a central two-storied administrative block that also provided accommodation.