Monday, December 30, 2019

Thames (NZ): Jacarandas add colour around the town

Let me start, by saying I am no tree expert, merely a gardener with too many camellias! There is one tree though that has always captured my imagination, as a young child I played for hours in a mighty tree - it was a Jacaranda. Now I don't know quite when the invasion happened, but it is a delight to travel around the town at present and see an abundance of Jacaranda trees in full bloom.

History of the Jacaranda at the Thames
A search of the newspapers at Papers Past shows one result in the Thames Star dated 21 May 1937.

A mention was made of a magnificent specimen of an Australian Jacaranda at the Thames Hospital entrance.

Jacaranda Trees December 2019 at Thames

Jacaranda Trees in full bloom at Pollen / Campbell Streets (above) and Mackay Street (below).

Significant Tree Schedule at Thames
Want to know more about significant / historic trees at Thames?
The Thames Coromandel District Council has details in their District Plan.

Table 4 - Thames Significant Tree Schedule
Tree number
Overlay Planning Map
STEM score
Mixed Group
Legal Description
Norfolk Island Pine
200 The Terrace, Thames
Lot 2 DPS 8174
Monkey Apple or Lilly Pilly Tree
200 Fenton Street, Thames
Lot 1 DPS 5338
Norfolk Island Pine
Norfolk Island Pine
(2 trees)
Brunton House
210 Parawai Road, Thames
Lot 1 DPS 11864
Norfolk Island Pine
Sydney Blue Gum
Giant Redwood
Mixed Group
(3 trees)
113 Currie Street, Thames
John William Hall Reserve
Lot 17 DPS 1393
Totara Memorial Park Cemetery
110 Te Arapipi Road, Totara
Part Te Totara 1
Te Puru Domain, Te Puru
Lot 70 DPS 58735
(2 trees)
Te Puru Beachfront Reserve, Te Puru
Sec 22 and 50 Town of Unuarei

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Thames (NZ): 100 years ago - roll on 1920

As we near the end of 1919, lets take a moment to look back one hundred years and consider what life was like at The Thames. The Thames Star newspapers at Papers Past, reveal what was happening in our town.

Shop Hours 1919-1920
Shops closed and the people of Thames survived! Thames Bakers (W H Inglis, W Gleeson and W Scott) closed their business for three days over the New Year - while Butchers (A Bateman, H Lowe and W Taylor were closed from January 4-5th.

The Grocers also did not open their doors from Thursday 1st January 1920 to Sunday 4th inclusive, reopening Monday 5th. Namely: Coakley & Co, J H Ensor, J Galloway, W Scott, Wallace & Co, C Whitehead and Wood & Son. These hours appear to represent the majority of the shops in the town.

News at The Thames
An interesting comment was noted in the paper "In spite of the fact that there were a number of Aucklanders here during the holidays the police report that all was quiet, and no burglaries or other amusements of this character have so far come to light."

The First Annual reunion of the High School Old Boys' Association had taken place on the weekend beginning 26th of December. The first annual general meeting was held the following day, and Mr R N Alley was named President.

The war was still fresh in everyone's mind, and messages filled the paper with news from Europe.

The final results for the elections were published in the Thames Star 31 December 1919. The  Thames Electorate was won by Mr T W Rhodes. While the licensing poll went the way of Prohibition. (There had been two major Prohibition  votes during 1919, the cause was only narrowly defeated nationally.) The full results for New Zealand, showed that Prohibition lost by less than 2,000 votes.

What to do on New Years Eve?
There was a dance at the Miners Union Hall, organised by the Thames Branch of the New Zealand Labour Party. Or you could go to the movies at either the Queens or Kings. The Kiwis, the famous entertainment troupe who performed in Europe and England during WWI were the performing at The Kings Theatre at the northern end of Pollen Street.

Wanting to go to Auckland? The Wakatere was departing the wharf at 11.30pm heading to the city and arriving New Years Day.

New Years Day 1920
Nothing to do? White's taxi was running a service to Puru - return fare five shillings.

Venture further afield to Tapu, along the Thames Coast and you were invited to attend a picnic in support of the building of a war memorial - followed by a dance later in the day.

In the Thames Star 3 January 1920, it was reported that the New Year had been well celebrated, especially at the camps along the coast. Large fires had been built on the beaches and people sang to the accompaniment of Kerosene tin drummers! Then on New Years Day, Thamesites descended to the beach for a picnic, a perfect stat to the new year - thankfully the jellyfish numbers had reduced!

Then & Now - 1920 & 2020
The ability to survive the shops being shut for four days is one of the major differences noted. While Thamesites one hundred years ago were also involved in community gatherings to celebrate the New Year. Despite having few personal cars, transport was found to enjoy a picnic down the Thames Coast.

This large snapshot collage of Thames appeared in the Auckland Weekly News 28 October 1920
Source: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19201028-39-1
FORMERLY A WELL-KNOWN MINING TOWN, BUT NOW A FLOURISHING CENTRE FOR THE OUTLYING DAIRYING COUNTRY: VIEWS OF THE THAMES AND SURROUNDING COUNTRY. The Thames, situated at the mouth of the Waihou River, on the Firth of Thames, was formerly a prosperous goldmining town. Mining is still carried on, but the present prosperity of the town is due to the dairying industry. The illustrations are 1. Discing on a dairying farm at Matatoki, seven miles south of the town. 2. A thriving industry at the Thames: Fishermen removing the catch from the net. 3. Feeding the pigs on a dairy farm at Matatoki. 4. A comprehensive view of the town of Thames. 5. Landing deep-sea mussels at Shortland Wharf, Thames. 6. A boat with a haul of 600 sacks of deep-sea mussels. There is keen demand for these shellfish, which are esteemed by many as a delicacy. 7. A farming pioneer on the coast road, seven miles north of the town.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Thames (NZ): 1973 Message for Thamesites concerning Telephone Calls

Background (From blog 27 November 2011)

When did Thames get the telephone? In the Thames Star 6/3/1891, it was stressed that Thames needed a Telephone Exchange, that it would be a great asset to the Town. In order to get one, they needed to get 25 subscribers and put forward a petition. The following week, the District Hospital and Charitable Aids Board decided to put their name forward as a subscriber. By October 1892, the exchange was up and running. Initially there were some complaints about the hours the Exchange was open - on Christmas Day 1873 the hours were 9 to 10am. Normally the hours were 8am to 8pm.


Telephone Services around New Zealand

"Telephonic communication was made a monopoly of the Telegraph Department soon after the first New Zealand trials of the new technology in the late 1870s. The colony’s first telephone exchange, in Christchurch’s Chief Post Office, had about 30 subscribers when it opened for business on 1 October 1881."

Thames Telephone Service 1936

Leaping forward to 1936, the new advertisements stressed that the telephone was no longer a luxury but a necessity! How ironic that now as we come near to the year 2020, many people are phasing out having a home phone line, once again having a home line is considered a Luxury! The reason being the changing market to mobile phones.


Thames Telephone Service Xmas 1973

The reason for this post, arose out of a caption that is in the Thames Star newspaper in 1973.

The photograph (below) was taken in the Thames Telephone Exchange, on the second floor of the Post Office, Pollen Street. The operators are busy at the switchboard, connecting local and toll calls.

Maybe this scene is unknown to some. When you wanted to make a phone call you picked up the phone and waited to be connected to your chosen number. "Number Please?" "839, thankyou"
The operator lifted the cord and placed it in the appropriate slot for the number chosen. What joy it was, when later the exchange became automatic, and you could dial the number you wanted.

The Caption for the Photograph
The avoidance of non-essential phone calls on Christmas Day will enable some telephone exchange operators, seen here at the Thames switchboard, to enjoy a Christmas meal at home.

How do you think that plea would be received on Christmas Day 2019? How times have changed.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Thames (NZ): Checkout the 2019 History Gems

Tourist / History Attractions at The Thames

Before 1900, what did our Thamesites and their visitors consider to be "worth seeing"? While the history of the tangata whenua at 'The Kauaeranga' is another issue, what did our ancestors deem a tourist attraction?

Thamesites of old, loved to visit the Tararu and Spencer's Gardens (Parawai). They ventured up into the bush to admire the Giant Kauri and admire the view over their town. There was always the excitement of travelling on the steam tram or later the steam locomotives. A cruise up the Waihou or across the Firth of Thames to Auckland. Our Thamesites were living the development of Pākehā settler history at The Thames - aspects that we celebrate and remember today.

Present day History Attractions at The Thames

There are groups in the town that aim to preserve and celebrate the history of the goldfield town fondly known as The Thames. A new pamphlet is currently being distributed by the Thames Heritage Network. If you visit our town, or live nearby, I hope you can find time to visit one of fabulous seven attractions. BUT, please remember there are also many more attractions that do not fall under a society: Shortland, Tararu and Totara Cemeteries; WWI Memorials (Rhodes Park, Civic Centre & Waiotahi Hill) and a large group of landmarks that are commemorated by the Lions Club yellow heritage signs.

Thames Heritage Network Pamphlet

Looking for something to do in Thames?
Visit one of the attractions above.
Even better, 
become a volunteer / member of our history groups.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Thames (NZ): Hetherington Shop advertisement

The business folk of Thames were great entrepreneurs, the successful ones that is! There were hundreds of shops, of all variety on the Thames Goldfield - but you had to be clever to stay open and trading. One of the most iconic was Hetherington's, they sold sell clothes sourced from around the world.

The business had been opened in 1874 and traded until 1971.

At some stage Samuel Hetherington must have decided, why not have a brand that celebrates the Thames!

In the Thames Star newspaper from 1899 to 1926, are advertisements for the GOLD MINE BRAND clothing. The range included: Suits, Trousers, Coats, Denim Pants and Jackets. While the products initially were to do with menswear, in later years, the range expanded to boyswear.
Thames Star 4 September 1905.

Were the Clothes available in other towns?

Yes, the clothing brand "Gold Mine" was also available at the other branches. Hetherington's at Waihi had the range forsale. There was also a store at Te Aroha, which no doubt stocked the range of Men's and Boys' clothing.

Source: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1370-651-03
1937 View of Pollen Street - Hetherington's Shop centre right (opposite the Thames Post Office).
Below 2017 view, thanks to Google Maps

The question now to ponder and research, were there any other brands that celebrated the goldfield in their brand title?

Want to know more about the Hetherington family and business?

The Treasury at Thames have information on the business, plus two family history books.

The Thames Museum, has a display counter from the Hetherington shop at Thames, along with photographs of the shop interior, plus an overhead cash carrier machine.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Thames (NZ): Xmas Parade 13 December 2019

Where does the year go! Days rush past and here it was, time for the Thames Santa / Xmas Parade.

Change of day and time, this year held on a Friday at 6pm. The parade lasted approximately 30 minutes, and there was a wide variety of quality floats.

The photos below, tell the story, enjoy :)






 Thames Heritage Network's Float





Thames Museum


Thames Library






Thames Tongan Community