Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Thames (NZ): Thames 'boy' in Italy 75 years ago

From Thames to Italy 1945

Step back in time seventy-five years ago and many of our Thames 'boys' were in Italy involved with military operations - as they waited for the end of World War Two.

One of these men was Douglas Owen Barker of Thames, telegraph deliverer to signalman. Doug wrote many letters home, along with diaries - they all started with the identification details: eg. No. 459351 SGMN Barker, D O, SIGNAL COY, "A" Depot, 2NZEF NZ ADV. Base. (photo right)

Doug attested 28 October 1941, and entered camp 10 January 1942. He was stationed in Wellington, until leaving for overseas service 29 January 1945. L/Cpl Barker was based in Italy from 7 February 1945 until 20 March 1946 when his unit left Florence bound for Japan.

When MyHeritage recently had the offer of free colourisation of photographs, I had a few of Doug's photos processed. What a difference, as previously mentioned the years melt away when you see these images remastered.

Above: Doug (second from left) outside Hut 34.

The war experience was very real for these men, but imagine from Thames to Italy via Egypt.

In a letter sent to his sister Betty Barker of Thames dated 3/3/1945, Doug wrote (part of letter):

"Well here it is Sunday night, so I'll drop you a few lines while I have the chance. It has been snowing heavily all day and its been fun watching the snow turn into nice mud. But we cannot growl about the weather because for the last fortnight it has been lovely & sunny.

Had a great few days leave yesterday Bet. Went to Bari, arrived there for morning tea after which we all had a good look around the streets. Talk about thousands of kids on the street. They're a nuisance they pester you to buy your cigarettes boots or any article of clothing, and they follow you all around the place.

We had a nice tea at the Club and went to a large Italian Opera House which is used as a picture theatre. Imagine us Bett, sitting in a Royalty Box puffing cigs and munching biscuits..had another good hot meal and off back to camp...How is Cliff's Army life (his brother) coming along. I dont suppose he in camp yet?

Thats the lot for now Bett, Love to all, Your loving brother Doug."

Above a trip to Bari and below a meal with Reg at the Club.

In another letter to Bett dated 24 April 1945, thoughts of home seemed to be uppermost in Doug's mind.

Dear Bett,...Your mail is arriving in grand style - keep it up.  Tell Mum not to go to too much fuss over parcels (and you too) because already Millie, Mrs Reddish and Rose [his sister-in-law] say they have posted some...Wells I dont know, but ask Dad to send over the largest flounder he can find in a box of ice! No, really though, I cant say what is best to send. But I wouldn't mind some of Mum's fig jam special.

...See the 8th & 5th Armies have taken Bologna. Good going eh?...I can just see Grandad now that things are on the move again. Into Berlin I see! Can't last much longer. She may see the spring and summer out though.'..

And hows the third generation coming along. Fancy Pat going to school [Doug's niece], ...Finished my typing job tonight. What next?  Hope Mum is not worrying her head off. No reason to - D.

Love to Self and all, Doug"

While in Italy, leave was a special time, Doug and his mates took the time to visit many of the historic landmarks.

In letters around this time, Doug mentions that his cousin Bob Pascoe is nearby, along with one of the Senior boys from Thames. Maybe you know of other Thames men who served in Italy in 1945?

There were good times and bad times for these men, for while they were not actively involved at all times, they certainly had their moments. On two occasions, this 'boy form Thames' was tasked with burying a fellow soldier - so don't always be fooled by the smiling faces and positive messages home.

A night off at the Bar - Doug standing in the back row on the far left.

Lest We Forget

Photographs (c) 2020 Barker Family Collection

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Thames (NZ): ANZAC Day at the Thames 2020 and 1945

ANZAC DAY at THAMES 25 April 2020

What's your usual ANZAC Day routine?  Mine involves getting my father's medals out ready to wear, then starting at the Dawn Service, followed by the 10am parade. In between trips to the cemetery, the cenotaph and the Peace Memorial. So what happened this year (2020)?

First, the message had gone out to place a poppy at your letterbox or in you window. Around the town, households came up with innovative ways to make a suitable memorial, including printed poppy photos and other message. The crosses that usually adorned the war cemeteries, were spread out on lawns around the town.
Poppies made for the window. 
Twenty five flowers each representing ten Thames soldiers who lost their lives in WWI. 
**So far over 248 names have been identified for the Thames ROH list.**

Just before 6am, the people of Thames joined the plea to 'stand at the gate' and remember the men and women who served / serve in the defence forces. The Last Post played on street corners via mobile phone and radio. In those moments we all realised the gravity of the situation - this is what Covid-19 had done to us all, we could not commemorate our 'special' day.

The Thames RSA recorded an ANZAC Day Service for 2020, which is available to view on Youtube.

Never will we forget ANZAC Day 2020 - Lest We Forget

ANZAC DAY at THAMES 25 April 1945

Now, for some sense of normality, we will step back in time and look at how Thamesites commemorated 25 April 1945 - 75 years ago.

1945 April 23: The town had welcomed home 15 men who had served overseas. The men had travelled by train from Auckland to Paeroa, then bused to Thames. After a quick civic welcome, the men were reunited with family who they had not seen for years. There was also news that prisoner of war Sergeant Jack Cameron of Mill Street, was now safe in England.

1945 April 24: Notices were placed in the Thames Star newspaper by the Thames Returned Services Association informing residents of the proceedings for the following day. All returned service men and women were asked to meet at the Drill Hall in Mackay Street at 9.30am to prepare for the march.

A full article in this edition reminded folk that this was the thirtieth anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. Other groups had been invited to take part in the parade, including: home servicemen, Air Training Corps, Women's Auxiliary, school cadets, boy scouts, girl guides and school representatives.

The group would march from the Drill Hall to the temporary cenotaph at the corner of Pollen & Pahau Street. Flowers and wreaths would be laid, then the group would enter the nearby Kings Theatre for the official proceedings. At the completion the official group would march back to the Drill Hall before being officially dismissed.

The pupils of Thames High, South and Central Schools held on the 24th, poppy cards were also sold to the pupils.

1945 April 25: (reported in the Thames Star 26 April)There was a good attendance at the ANZAC Day parade, floral tributes were laid at the temporary cenotaph at the corner of Cochrane and Pollen Streets. Mayor Sid Ensor presided over the service inside the King's Theatre. The marshall of the procession was Major S L Smith.Other s in the official party included Mr W R McNeillie (president of the RSA), Mr F C Tuck (Town clerk), Mr S Hira (Ngatimaru rep) and Rev E T Olds of Auckland.

Rev Olds the principal speaker at the service, had served in WWI. He spoke of the 1914-18 war, and that sadly World War Two was inevitable given the happenings in Germany. Sadly it was a betrayal to those old Anzacs that another conflict had broken out. "All they fought for seemed to have been lost in the great cataclysm of another war...Our job was to win and keep the peace."

ABOVE: This appears to be the temporary cenotaph that was still in use for the last time in 1961.
The following year a new cenotaph was erected outside the Thames War Memorial Hall in Mary Street.

The Thames Star 26 April reported the sad news that a Thames soldier had been Killed in Action in Italy, 15 April 1945. Private Patrick Colin was the son of the late A J Brien and his mother was Mrs M Robinson of Waiotahi Road, Thames.


Background Reading / Photos / Music:
UPDATE 5 May 2020
Many thanks to Althea & Sonia for taking the time to lay wreaths on Anzac morning, at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre. Special thanks to all involved.

Lest We Forget

Friday, April 24, 2020

Thames (NZ): WWI ROH Board at the St James Church, Thames

St James' Church ROLL OF HONOUR Board
When the book From Gold Mine to Firing Line was published in 2014, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of The Great War, we sadly missed including the St James' Roll of Honour board.

The large framed 'ROH', has been beautifully hand crafted, the text immaculately formed. It hangs at the northern entrance as you enter the church on the western wall. While we usually interpret 'Roll of Honour' as meaning those who lost their lives in the war, this one records all the names of servicemen who went to the Great War 1914-1918.

Photo Courtesy of David Wilton, Thames.

Background Thames WWI:
In 2014, 2300 names were identified for men and women who served in World War One from the greater Thames-Hauraki-Coromandel region. The 'war death' rate was 26% for the Hauraki region. 

How many men from Thames township died in the war? Initially research found that over 200 soldiers died in the war (up to 1923 which qualifies for a war related death). When considering the Thames ward (from Kereta to Hikutaia, and Kopu Bridge to Hikuai hill) - this number increased to at least 247 men. This is the number of memorial trees that are planted at the WW100 Forest at Rhodes Park, Thames. 

Please note that memorials such as the Thames Peace Memorial do not record all the ROH (or returned soldiers), and is in fact missing at least 50% of the names. There is a remembrance board outside the Thames War Memorial Hall that has a more up-to-date Roll of Honour list.

The names on the St JAMES ROH Board:
* Indicates a war death eg. KIA (Killed in Action) or DOD (Died of Disease). NOK stands for next-of-kin. Place of death is stated as France for the war deaths, and is usually recorded in the war file as on the fields of France or Belgium - based on troop movements and battle dates, it is usually possible to research and get a more accurate location.

Interesting to note that no WWI Nurses are recorded on this board, this is possibly an error and / or only servicemen were deemed eligible to go on the list.

*AGNEW, Sydney Samuel: WWI 70149 - Died at Thames 3 May 1921. Sydney was schooled at Thames and worked at A & G Price.

*AUTRIDGE, Charles H: WWI 40271 - KIA 12 October 1917 France. A carpenter at Thames, son of Mrs M Autridge of Richmond Street.

*CAMPBELL, William John: WWI 13/2308 - KIA 8 April 1918 France. Husband of Florence Campbell of Beach Road, Thames.


CLARK, George Smeaton: WWI 45823 - NOK Miss Mira Clark of Thames. Working as a deputy-registrar at Supreme Court in Wellington on enlistment.

CLARK, James Patterson: WWI 25059 - Brother of George Smeaton Clark, born at Thames and attended Thames High School.

COUTTS, John Elrick: WWI 2/2801 - Born at Thames, father John lived in Beach Road.

COXHEAD, Robert Alexander: WWI 8/3223 - Working as a farmer at Miranda on enlistment, his mother Mrs R Coxhead lived up the Hape Creek.

CRAWFORD, George James: WWI 44828 - Born at Thames, a farmer at Totara on enlistment. NOK Mrs A M Crawford of Totara Point.

CRAWFORD, Thomas Henry: WWI 31957 -  Born at Thames, a farmer at Totara on enlistment. NOK Mrs A M Crawford of Totara Point. Awarded the Military Medal.

CROKER, Basil Warner: WWI 8/3228 - NOK Mr P W Croker (father), an architect from Thames. Basil received the Military Medal.

DUNLOP, Gordon Aitken: WWI 11/1540 - Working as a drover on enlistment, NOK Mrs T A Dunlop of Parawai.

FISHER, Walter Donald: WWI 39657 - NOK Mrs A Fisher of Karaka Road, a labourer at Thames on enlistment.

GILLAN, Alexander: WWI 37582 - NOK Mrs Mary Ann Gillan (mother) of Puriri.

*GLESSING, John Polton Hicks: WWI 31990 KIA 4 June 1917 France - Son of John and Margaret Glessing of Thames.

*GRAHAM, Albert Edward: WWI 24/769 KIA 12 October 1917 - Son of Mr & Mrs William Graham of Terrace Street. Albert was a miner at Thames on enlistment.


GRAHAM, James: WWI 12/3654 - working as a labourer on enlistment, son of  Mr & Mrs William Graham of Terrace Street, Thames. 

GRAHAM, Thomas Harold: WWI 24/770 - A grocer at Galloway's in Thames, the son of Thomas Graham of Mackay Street.

GRAHAM, William James: WWI 29392 - Worked as a letter carrier in Thames before the war, son of Mr & Mrs Thomas Graham of Mackay Street.

GUY, William Duncan: WWI 47591 - Born and lived in Thames, NOK was Leslie Jackson of Baillie Street (brother-in-law).

HINDMAN, E(a)rnest George: WWI 34472 - A baker in Thames, Mother Mrs E Hindman of Karaka Creek.

HINDMAN, Fredrick William: WWI 13/2334 - A baker in Thames, Mother Mrs E Hindman of Karaka Creek.

*ISAACS, Thomas: WWI 12/398 DOD 18 March 1916 Egypt. NOK MR S Isaacs (father) of Parawai.

JAMIESON, Herbert: WWI 25/886 - A bricklayer in Thames on enlistment, mother Mrs R Jamieson lived in Augustus Street.

LAPRAIK, George: WWI 3/144 - A GP in Thames, married to Marion Eliza Lapraik nee Bush.

LAW, John Leslie: WWI 49719 - attended Kauaeranga Valley School, E Law of Claudelands.

LAW, Robert Ruther-Glen: WWI 62341 - A labourer in Thames, son of Robert and Elizabeth Law, Mackay Street.

MACKAY, Donald Meredith Gordon: WWI 24381 - Born in Scotland, worked for the Lands & Survey Department, a member of the 6th Hauraki Regiment (Thames Territorials).

McCORMICK, Allan Loughlin: WWI 16109 -  NOK Mr F McCormick (father) of Tararu, occupation farmer and blacksmith at Turua on enlistment.

McCORMICK, William Sharpe: WWI 4/1627 - Born in Thames, a miner at Waihi.

McDONALD, Ernest Bert: WWI 65773 - A baker in Thames, mother Mrs Sarah McDonald of Edward Street.

McDONALD, John William: WWI 41370 - A miner at Tararu on enlistment, NOK Mrs S McDonald (mother), Block 27, Thames.

McDONALD, Robert Henry: WWI 2/143 - A baker in Wellington, mother Mrs Sarah McDonald of Edward Street. Awarded Military Medal.

McKENZIE, Allan Leslie: WWI 30827 - A farmer on the Thames Coast, NOK Mrs M McKenzie (mother) at Tapu.

MacMORRAN, Robert Glen: WWI 32529 - A surveyor at Thames on enlistment.

*McONIE, Colin: WWI 26661 - KIA 7 June 1917 France. Father P McOnie of Mackay Street

McONIE, George: WWI 10/3022 - Father P McOnie of Mackay Street.

MENZIES, Allen Gillies: WWI 46238 - Worked as a cordial maker, the family was part of Grey & Menzies, iconic Aerated bottlers of Thames.

MITCHELL, Samuel George: WWI 47598 - NOK Mrs R Wallace, Pollen Street, Thames. An orchardist at Te Puru on enlistment.

*POTTS, John Kirker: WWI 10/1142 - KIA 8 August 1915 at Gallipoli. Son of William and Jane Potts of Thames.


PRICE, Arthur Gorton: WWI 36791 -  Son of George Price of Queen Street, occupation on enlistment was traveller.  (Brother of Henry & John)

PRICE, Henry (Harry) Wooles: WWI 24/888 - Son of George Price of Thames, occupation on enlistment an engineer at A & G Price. (Brother of John & Arthur)

PRICE, John Lawrence: WWI 25/805 - Son of George Price of Thames, occupation on enlistment a farmer at Matatoke. (Brother of Henry & Arthur)

*RAMSAY, Harold T: Harold Vivian Ramsay,  WWI 18080 - KIA 2 April 1918 France. Harold was a Schoolmaster at Thames High School.

SMITH, Leslie John: WWI 12/868 - son of John Smith of Rolleston Street

SMITH, Reginald Trevor: WWI 26468 - Son of Mr W T Smith of Rolleston Street, later served in WWII and was also awarded an OBE in 1942.

TAIT, Alexander R: WWI -Not yet identified.

TROTTER, William John Russell: WWI 12/912 - NOK Mrs R R Trotter of Waiomio, William was a labourer at Tapu. Awarded Military Medal.

*WALLACE, William: WWI 12/3856 - KIA 30 May 1916 France. NOK Mrs R Wallace (mother) of Pollen Street.

WATSON, Donald Dr: WWI - Son of John Watson, attended Thames High, further details not known.

WATSON, William: WWI 13/2384 - A farmer on enlistment, NOK Mrs J Watson (mother) C/- A & G Price, Thames.

WYND (WIND), Sydney H: WWI 72923 - A battery-hand on enlistment. NOK Mrs Rose Wind (mother) of Franklyn Street.


Major George Lapraik
WWI Medical Corps
  • Of the 51 names listed above on the ROH board, 10 men lost their lives as a result of the war. Sydney AGNEW, Charles AUTRIDGE, William CAMPBELL, John GLESSING, Albert GRAHAM, Thomas ISAACS, Colin McONIE, John POTTS, Harold RAMSAY and William WALLACE.
  • There were nine sets of brothers: George & James CLARK; George & Thomas CRAWFORD; Albert & James GRAHAM; Thomas & William GRAHAM; Ernest & Fredrick HINDMAN; John & Robert LAW; Ernest, John & Robert MCDONALD; Colin & George McONIE; and Arthur, Henry & John PRICE.
  • Dr George Lapraik served as a General Practitioner in the town from 1899 to 1919, which included an incredible stint during the November 1918 Influenza Epidemic. Dr Lapraik was over 50 years of age when he served on the front line during WWI. George died in 1933, and  his friends at the Thames placed a headstone on his plot at Hamilton East Cemetery. The monumental inscription reads:In loving Memory. Geo. Lapraik M.B. Mast. Surg. Univ. of Glasgow 1887. Died 7th May 1933 Aged 69 Years. He gave of his best for humanity. Erected by Thames friends.
  • Another man on the list, is an example of the amazing folk that came from Thames. Reginald Trevor Smith was awarded an OBE in 1942. A boy from Thames who went onto oversee major civil engineering projects with the public works for decades. Including rebuilding after the 1931 Napier Earthquake, recovery operation at Tangiwai train disaster in 1953, conversion of trams to trolley buses in Wellington, and much more! Smith served in WWI (wounded twice), WWII with the 13th Railway Construction Company and later with the Indian Army. 

Background Reading:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thames (NZ): Take a second look 'in colour' Shortland Wharf Fishing Fleet

Yes, I am still distracted with the chance to colourise photographs thanks to MyHeritage.

As we proceed to Lockdown Level Three  (hopefully) on Tuesday 28 April 2020 - many Thamesites are debating what will be their first 'takeaway' meal!

Therefore, it is a good time to take a second look at The Shortland Wharf and the fishing fleet that was based at the wharf.

Shortland Wharf Thames - a colourised version of Dunnage Postcard No 43.
(c) A Barker Postcard Collection

I wonder how many Thamesites are craving a good old fashioned feed of 'fish & chips'?

Previous blog stories on Thames Fishing:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Thames (NZ): Take a second look 'in colour' at Broad Street

What can one say...yes I am addicted to the MyHeritage 'colorized' offer, generously allowing us in these difficult times to have some FUN colourising / colorizing our favourite photographs. So I will be inundating you over the following weeks.

Looking south from Upper end of Broad Street, over Shortland (Thames). At centre right of image (amongst small group of buildings on the flat), are the premises of Butement Brothers, Manufacturers of Aerated Waters and Cordials, situated along Pollen Street. The Butement Brothers had aerated water factories established in Dunedin, Greymouth, Christchurch, Wellington and Shortland. The long white building in the centre background is Smale's Folly (Smale's Boarding House), built 1868/9. Phoenix Brewery?, centre left.
Thames Coromandel Region (N.Z.)

Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A16669'

What do you think? Amazing! The roads in particular show up so clearly, the different shades of green are amazing. For some reason, the colour allows me to step back and feel a connection to the scene.

One day at a time, find something to learn, find a new skill to enhance your research or story-telling skills. Most of all, take some time to reconnect with the history of the Thames.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Thames (NZ): Add some colour to your old Thames Photos

Have you ever seen those sites on facebook where people produce the most amazing colourised photographs from faded old black and whites? Wish you could get some photos adjusted?

Well ponder no longer!  Thanks to Tom for the tip-off - you can now get your photos colourised in seconds.  See below the example - the transformation thanks to MyHeritage - beware its very addictive!!

Photo Source: Grahamstown, Burton Brothers at Te Papa Tongarewa.

 Can you believe the different perspective and imagery that is provoked by seeing the image in colour - looking over Kirkwood and Queen Street in the 1880s.

Lets look at a few more examples.
Early Etching, view looking south over Grahamstown to Shortland Town.
Photo Source: State Library of Victoria

View of Grahamstown from the Moanataiari.
Photo Source: View of Grahamstown, American Photographic Company; Te Papa Tongarewa  

View from Lovers Walk, Waiotahi to Grahamstown north.
Photo Source: View of Grahamstown, American Photographic Company; Te Papa Tongarewa  

Isn't the colour effect amazing showing up the roads and drains, even the water ebbing over the mudflats!

Now to my favourite. Butt's corner at the south end of Pollen Street, what will colour do for our perception of this iconic photograph?

Corner of Pollen & Grey Streets, looking north.
Photo Source: View of Pollen Street, American Photographic Company; Te Papa Tongarewa  

So now for today's CHALLENGE
Find your favourite photographs of old Thames, and go to MyHeritage. The instructions are simple, sign in /log in, upload your photo and await the magic to happen! Turn back time, see the town as our ancestors did - the spectacular 'colour' of the old goldmining town.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Thames (NZ): Take another look at Papers Past

How often do you search at Papers Past for news related to Thames?

Do you search multiple or single editions? Do you refine results or use various Search techniques?

Maybe, you have been overwhelmed by the number of search results.

How about taking this CHALLENGE. 
  • Try selecting one paper (preferably one of the smaller companies) and use various search terms related to your Thames research.
  • A new paper listed this April that I chose to look at is: The Saturday Advertiser 1875-1878.
The Saturday Advertiser - Any news from Thames?

Background on the paper: "One of the liveliest weekly newspapers began as a stand-alone publication but was later bought by a daily. It was also one of the earliest attempts to create a national newspaper." 

Search Results: Using "THAMES" there are 269 results, not all related to Thames, New Zealand. Here are a few examples.
  • Missing Friends. It was not uncommon for the papers of this era to have lists of uncollected mail, addressed to settlers who had long left their town and ventured elsewhere. In the newspaper 21 August 1875 was a MISSING FRIEND notice. Have you by chance seen Francis C Morpeth of the Thames Goldfield?
  • Good news on 4 September 1875, the Thames Gas Company had declared a 10 percent dividend.
  • 18 September 1875 it was reported that Mr Rees had challenged the leaders of the Government movement at the Thames to a meeting!
  • Floods had hit the town in November 1875.
  • The 'State' of the country was discussed 13 November 1875 - with mention of the Gold production at Thames around 1870 but then the disappointment that the hopeful leads had not produced more.
  • Lots of general news appears under the title "Watchman". Such as 8 April 1876, when it was noted that a destructive fire had taken place at the Thames which destroyed several shops and the Congregational Church at Grahamstown.
  • Maori Superstition was discussed 1 December 1877, relating to the death of a man named Te Moananui at the Thames.
  • In various editions the history of  Captain Cook visit to the Thames was discussed.
  • The paper 22 December 1877, reported that Mr Firth had liberated 9000 young trout in the Thames River tributaries.
  • The results of the Thames Electoral Census were reported 4 May 1878. The total population was 12,516; in 1874 it was 12,289 and in 1871 it was 11,950.
Births, Marriages & Deaths:
  • 13 December 1875: Mrs John Cashell of Willoughby Street, Thames had given birth to a baby daughter on the 29th October.
  • 29 January 1876: William Price (builder of Auckland) married Isabella Graham Aitken (daughter of Thomas Aitken the dispenser at Thames Hospital. The ceremony was performed by Rev Lush at the St George's Church on the 11th January.

Letters to the Editor: One of the most interesting aspects of the paper was the 'answers to correspondents' where the Editor explained to submitters why their letters had been refused or accepted. WARHAWK of Thames was reassured that the paper was independent regarding politics and M.C.T. from the Shotover had a reply on mining payouts. (see below)


On 15 July 1876, M.S.L of Thames was informed his letter would not be published "Its publication could do no good, and would only tend to lead us into a religious controversy, a thing which we are anxious to avoid."

A controversial issue was raised on 4 August 1877 - a letter from ORANGEMAN of Thames was refused publication. 'We must positively refuse to insert your contribution, as it is calculated to wound the feelings of a large number of our fellow colonists." A long explanation followed and ended with "Write sensibly and temperately, and our columns will be open to you, but not otherwise."

While there were Morpeth's in the Thames area, no evidence as yet that Francis Morpeth mined or lived at the Thames.

Showing interior view of St Georges Church, Thames looking towards the altar and a member of the clergy standing up the front, 1874

Monday, April 13, 2020

Thames (NZ): Karaka Road homes 1868 / 1870s - a Second Look

Description: Looking over Karaka Creek, Thames, showing Bulls Battery (centre foreground); St Georges Church (right rear); miners' tents, raupo huts (left foregound and centre), privies, and cottages.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-RIC134

Description: Shortland, view from Irishtown over Karaka Creek to Karaka Road. Block 27 (up to the right), and over to Sandes Street and Edward Street. Lower right centre is Rolleston Street and Shortland Town in the distance. George Bulls Battery front right.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 536-Album-285-12-1

Take a Second look! Do you sometimes look at an old photograph of Thames, and mentally just say, "Oh yes, I have seen that before - nothing new to see!?"

Stop, have another look at the two photographs above from Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Collection. While the angles are slightly different, you can see homes of varying construction material. There are tents (large and small), thatched roof huts, timber shops and houses, plus a mining battery in the lower view. Even a tramway track from up the Karaka / Una Hill.

Within a few months you can see how buildings were constructed to line Karaka Road.

If you need to get your bearings, here is a named photograph.

What fascinated me most when I had a second look, was the Thames' first pole houses!!! No time to dig out the site and get a level plot of land...just build and have the front half on piles resembling stilts! Also look for the houses and see if any changed over a couple of years in the early 1870s.


 The fenced sections on the south of Karaka Road make it easy to find the houses and what development has taken place. The two houses on the far right proudly standing on their 'stilt' piles. Did you notice that there is a front door? but no steps. Definitely have to use the back door until there is money for a front verandah and steps. Can you make a judgement on the weather in the photo far right? Check out the washing, its blowing and flapping on the long lines, no doubt supported by a good old ti-tree prop.

Lastly, to finish our second look, check out the businesses in Karaka Road. The two-storied one (with the rear entrance visible is almost definitely a hotel. Several up this road had accommodation on the second story, which was actually only tall enough to crawl in for most patrons.

Part of Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 536-Album-285-12-1