Friday, September 27, 2019

Thames (NZ): Miss Collard's Postcard Collection of Thames

The following post features a collection of postcards that were recently for sale on the Trade Me auction site. Rather than spread-out the postcards over multiple posts,its worthy to see them in total, while we learn a little about life in 1905.

The Collector:
While a few of the cards are not used, many have a message and are addressed to Miss Bretta Collard of Hikutaia.

In September 1898, Miss Collard was a pupil at the Hikutaia School and she performed a recitation. Bretta performed another recitation in 1900 at another social event at Hikutaia.

Then on 11 June 1919, Miss Breta [sic] Collard of Auckland married Mr George Ralph Howie of Morrinsville. (notice on right) 

Bretta Howie's death was registered in 1983 - her date of birth given as 29 March 1887.

The Postcards:

Posted 5 October 1905 Thames and received at Hikutaia 6 October
View of the Kauaeranga River
Message: Dear Bretta, Hope you like this view. Does it not put you in mind of the Hikutaia River. Kind Regards D.

Posted 5 October 1905 Thames and received at Hikutaia 6 October
View of the Kauaeranga River
Message: Dear Bretta, one more for the collection. This is not a bad picture of the Thames. Best wishes from D.

Posted 17 October 1905 Thames and received at Hikutaia 17 October 1905
Message: ? ? many thanks for sending will return jar by next week. A Symes

This postcard was sent to Bretta's sister Lillian (Lil).
Posted 21 October 1905 Thames
The Thames Public Library
Message: Dear Lil, Wishing you many happy returns of today. This is a photo of our new library. Kia Ora, Mot.

Posted 23 October 1905 Thames-Auckland
The Fishing Rocks at Tararu
Message: Best wishes ?? (is this Syms)

Posted 23 October 1905 Thames-Auckland
Looking over Thames Hospital
Message: May you never have any use for this place, Symes

Posted 23 October 1905 Thames-Auckland
Victoria Park
Message: How would a short time here go. Fred.

Posted 28 October 1905 Thames-Auckland
Thames Hauraki Pumping Plant

Posted 20 November 1905 Thames
Block 27
Message: My last resting place, Amen. (Shortland Cemetery is circled top left) FRONT
Dear Bret, Many thanks for can ? Symes BACK

Posted 20 November 1905 Thames
View along Pollen Street
Message: Will see you next week Mrs S passing through to Hamilton one day next week. Bring the mail down that morning + see the ? mail. ?Symes

Several other postcards appear to be from the same collection but have been "unused".

Left: The Fishing Rocks at Tararu.  Right: Looking down Grey Street from top Jacob's Ladder.

Do you believe everything you see on old postcards?

What first captured my attention with these postcards was the following two of the pumping plant at Thames.  Spot anything???

Well, did you guess where the Thames Orakei Plant was??? 
The photographer obviously interpreting the word HAURAKI as ORAKEI!!!
So you guessed it, these two magnificent photographs are of the Thames Hauraki Pumping plant.

A special collection of postcards, I hope the 'future buyers' enjoy them as much as Miss Collard obviously did.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Thames (NZ): Archaeology 'diggings' at The Thames

Professional terms such as 'Historian' and 'Archaeologist' are all too frequently used haphazardly by the keen amateur researcher. This can lead to people accepting information as 'gospel' when extensive fact checking and research may not have taken place.

The work of 'Historian's and 'Archaeologists' can help tell us more about the places where our relatives lived and what their daily lives were like.

We preciously looked at the wealth of archaeology reports that are available online at places such as  the Archaeological Reports Digital Library. One archaeologist who has multiple articles in these files is Dr Caroline Phillips - who has explored multiple sites around the town.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 25 September at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre at 10.30am, Thamesites can attend a talk by Dr Caroline Phillips, Archaeologist.

Hope you can find to come along to this event that is organised by the Thames Continuing Education Group.

TITLE: "The Thames - Changes Through Time"

Door Charge: $3

Dr Caroline Phillips, Archaeologist & Researcher

Wednesday: 25 September 2019, 10.30am

Thames Hospital, Baillie Street. 
Dr Phillips carried out extensive field work when the hospital underwent major demolition and renovation projects.

Update 25 September 2019

There was a good turnout to hear Dr Phillips discuss " The Thames - Changes Through Time."

Dr Phillips started by showing drawings of what The Thames was like c1350. The land was different, covered with Kahikatea, swamps, but more importantly the shoreline was considerably further inland. In particular the Waihou River was considerably wider and there was an island north of Turua, which in Captain Cook's time he went up and down the river either side of. This information is in Dr Phillips book Waihou Journeys.

The geography of Captain Cook's map of the Firth of Thames (1), has changed when compared to present day maps. It was mentioned that while many Maori place names remain, the name for the gulf prior to Captain Cook's 1769 visit was Tikapa Moana. 

Dr Phillips outlined a few of the archaeology projects she had been involved with around Thames, and how her knowledge has grown allowing her to understand and interpret the findings at a given site examination. From Tararu to south the Kopu Bridge - along the Waihou River, have been the focus of her research. Sites discussed in depth were around Totara Palms, and the Pukehue Pa site at Kirikiri.

The closing portion of the talk dealt with Dr Phillips current work in the Bay of Plenty.

(1) Map: Cook Landmarks at 'The Thames' (New Zealand), November 1769
by Dave Wilton. The Treasury Journal

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Thames (NZ): Then & Now Albert Street to Upper Albert Street

Albert Street, looking east 1906 & 2016

I always find views of Albert Street captivating. Why? You drive there today, and its relatively quiet and free of traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) and one can't help think what it was like up to the 1920s at least. From that time on Grahamstown truly ceased as a shopping district and the remaining businesses moved to Pollen Street.

1906 Albert Street - Whats happening?

The description given for the photo at the Auckland Libraries site is:

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19060628-17-2

Premier Hon R J Seddon

The photo (above) appeared in the Auckland Weekly News 28 JUNE 1906 p017.

The Memorial service was one of many that were held around the country following the death of the Hon. R J Seddon (22 Jun 1845–10 Jun 1906). Seddon was New Zealand Premier 1 May 1893–10 Jun 1906.

"Richard Seddon’s nickname, ‘King Dick’, says it all. Our longest-serving and most famous leader not only led the government, many argued he was the government. For 13 years he completely dominated politics." NZ History

The Thames planned a large memorial procession for their beloved Premier. As there was no venue large enough to accommodate the crowds expected, it was decided to hold the event at Victoria Park.

On 21 June 1906, an impressive crowd gathered at the park, and eulogies were presented for the late Premier. There was high praise for achievements of 'King Dick' including the work he had done for Maori and Europeans throughout New Zealand.

Collage Views:

Below are a couple of 'collage mixes' that hopefully show you the changes to Albert Street over one hundred years.

While the Lady Bowen (aka Wharf / Park) Hotel building remains on the left, all the other two storey buildings that lined the street are gone. In particular the Bank of New Zealand (N-E intersection Albert and Brown Streets) and the Stock Exchange / Scrip Corner (S-E intersection Albert and Brown Streets).

Above & Below: Collage / combined views of Albert Street 1906 & 2016

 So, the next time you take a wander down Albert Street, stop and listen to the crowds of yesteryear that daily walked along the now quiet street.

Looking for more 'Then & Now' Views - Check out the Summary Page

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Thames (NZ): 79th Anniversary of 'The Battle of Britain' remembered at The Thames

A special event in Thames today, as King's School & King's College Old Boys gathered to commemorate the 79th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and in particular Sir Keith Park. There was a good turnout of Thamesites including local representatives: Mayor Sandra Goudie, Hon Scott Simpson MP, and TCDC Councillor Sally Christie.

The Sir Keith Park statue was unveiled 27 April 2019, and now provides a gathering place for people from all around New Zealand to come and honour this important man - who was born and started school in Thames.

The vital role that Sir Keith played in the winning of the Battle of Britain was stressed by RNZAF Wing Commander Rachel James, who was one of the speakers during the ceremony. While the Battle of Britain's timeline stretched from 10 July 1940 to 31 October 1940, the 15th September is the official day that the 'Battle of Britain' is commemorated in the United Kingdom. Wreaths were laid by a Park family representative, the King's School & King's College Old Boys, RNZAF, & RSA. Park had been a pupil at King's College.

The Last Post was played and the Ode read. Plus a flyover and some tricks performed by a member of the local aero club.

E kore rātou e kaumātuatia
Pēnei i a tātou kua mahue nei
E kore hoki rātou e ngoikore
Ahakoa pehea i ngā āhuatanga o te wā
I te hekenga atu o te rā
Tae noa ki te aranga mai i te ata
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them
We will remember them.

In the closing remarks it was mentioned that planning for the 80th Battle of Britain Commemorations at Thames are already underway. A book on Sir Keith Park's life was also recommended: Park: The Biography of Air Chief Marshall Sir Keith Park, GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL.

Photographs from the Sir Keith Park / 79th Battle of Britain Commemorations, 
at Thames 15 Sept 2019.
Thames War Memorial Civic Centre - people gathered for the commemorations, 
the Sir Keith Park statue taking pride of place on the red carpet.

The ceremony started and Wing Commander Rachel James addressed those gathered. 
(Above right & below) 

 Mayor Sandra Goudie spoke, and a lone plane flew overhead.

Wreaths were laid, the bugler played the Last Post 
and the RNZAF representative read the Ode of Remembrance.
The ceremony ended, with Sir Keith Park (statue) standing proudly and modestly, 
while photographs were taken.

Closing: The Kings College Old Boys went off for a formal function, while the Thames RSA welcomed those gathered to join them back at the club rooms at the Thames Workingmen's Club.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thames (NZ): The Treasury's Research Centre celebrates their 10th Birthday

Source: Hauraki Herald, 17 April 2009
2009 was a big year for Thames, research and the collection of archives pertaining to the Coromandel Peninsula / greater Thames Valley region.

In April 2009, the building that had started in 1905, as the Thames Carnegie Free Library, was restored and opened ready to become 'The Treasury' operated by The Coromandel Heritage Trust.

The official duties were carried out by TCDC Mayor Philippa Barriball and United States Consul General John Desrocher. (photo right)

"Ms Barriball said the library was not just about the books inside but about the people of Thames and their stories and the new project would ensure their history would be preserved."
"Mr Desrocher said. "I would like to thank those who made this happen...I think it would make Mr Carnegie very happy." Hauraki Herald, 17 April 2009

The official public opening of the Treasury, took place a few months later on 12 September 2009. Today (12 September 2019) marks the 10th Anniversary of the Treasury being open for 'business'.

Manager Rhonda Merrie and volunteers, open the doors at 11am, 12 September 2019.
The rooms and adjacent archive building, full of resources for researchers.

Ninety years apart, from Library (1929) to Research & Archive Centre (2019).

The Coromandel Heritage Trust - The History
There are two articles in The Treasury Journal that will give the reader a complete overview of what was entailed to get The Treasury doors open!

The Restoration of the Old Carnegie Library at Thames, by Anne Stewart Ball & Kae Lewis.

The Treasury Project – My Journey, by Geraldine Dunwoodie.

Slideshow The Treasury Journey - which shows the building of  TCHT Archives building adjoining The Treasury.

Do you want to Research / Support The Treasury Research & Archive Centre?

  • Coming to Thames? Drop in and see whats on offer.
  • Check out The Treasury website.
  • Want to know more about membership categories? Check out the application brochure. A great option that I took out today is the Research Membership ($100), full access for a year - no hourly charges. A great option for all members, drop in on open days, explore the resources at leisure, no need to watch the clock! Other options for students ($10), Single ($45) and Joint ($80) - Research hourly fees additional. Check out the brochure for specific details.
The Treasury building in the early 1900s.