Sunday, 11 February 2018

12 February to 18 February, 1868

Broken arms and sly grogging.

The Bendigo diggings 1853, by WL Walton.
National Library of Australia.

Wednesday, 12 February
The result of yesterday’s great court case is discussed at the Thames and at Auckland with much passion.   It is being very loudly argued at the diggings that the decision will tend to make capitalists wary of investing on the goldfield.   A man has a right to what belongs to him and that was all that was sought by Captain Butt.  The NZ Herald correspondent notes “all things considered we have already a very pretty crop of litigation for a place born six months ago.” The correspondent also ruefully observes that  the filthy old whare where the case was heard is  “by courtesy  . . . called a court house."

 Catherine for Shortland via Tapu Creek with 7,500 ft timber, 23,000 shingles and 10 tons stores

There is still no news of any importance from the new country towards Hikutaia.  It is expected that the ground will be thrown open publicly on Monday next.  At the present time all men going out must have permission from Mr Mackay or they will be turned back by the Maori.

John Barron breaks his arm this evening while working on a claim on the Karaka.  He is taken up to Auckland by the Tauranga where the broken arm is set by Dr Merrett.

Otago Daily Times 12 February, 1868

DSC 12 February, 1868

Thursday, 13 February
Captain Burgess, Port Master at the Thames, is in the pilot cutter buoying the channel opposite Shortland Town.  The old buoys were washed away during the recent heavy floods inconveniencing the masters of vessels trying to navigate the river.

A port of entry at the Thames is not to be granted for some reason best known to the authorities in Wellington.

 Amongst other cases heard at the Resident  Magistrates Court  this morning are those of Messrs Allen, Barchard, Skete, Bluden and Carter - all storekeepers charged with sly grog selling at Tapu.  They plead guilty and are fined £10 each and costs.

The NZ Herald has very carefully read the proposed mining regulations for the Thames goldfield drawn up by the committee of miners appointed at the suggestion of Mr Mackay. The rules are very liberal and comprehensive and reflect a very large amount of credit on the men who compiled them. 

Fly for the Thames with 400 ft timber, sundries

 Spey for the Thames with 15,000 ft timber

The new steamer Jane leaves the Queen Street wharf on her first trip to the Thames where she will be a regular trader. Owing to some slight defect in her machinery the trip is not so fortunate, but the fault is to be rectified. 

Two miners who started on a prospecting tour in the vicinity of the Miranda Redoubt, and were furnished with packhorses and a sufficient supply of stores for a long absence, are ordered back to the Thames by a party of Maori.

DSC 13 February 1868

NZH 13 February, 1868

Friday, 14 February
John Barron, despite his broken arm, is back at the Thames, and with Thomas Horsefall, from Melbourne,  pegs off some ground close to the township.  John Barron  is a hard working man out of luck but in  a few hours today they take out five tons of stone, three tons of which is crushed at Stone’s machine and yields 13 oz 12 dwts.  The claim is just on the boundary of the township and the men want to have the machine for a month to keep the claim going.  The Inverness claim strikes fine gold today. The claims at the head of the Waiotahi and Moanataiari are still maintaining their supremacy.  The machines are all working well and with little pause.  Several parties have gone to Omahu and Hikutaia to try their luck.   

The American Theatre is drawing big crowds and the actors are very polished.  Clifford, Gibbs, Hill, Hesford and Donetti appear in ‘Bombastes Furioso’ and 'The Fast Train’ both of which pieces are praised as exceedingly creditable to the management.

Bombastes Furioso by George Cruikshank 
Reprinted in The Musical Quarterly, October 1950
Public Domain

Rob Roy for the Thames with  20,000 ft timber, sashes and doors, ½ ton potatoes, ten packages stores.

  Avon for the Thames with six hhds beer, eight barrels beer, four tons flour, two tons coal, one ton coke, ½ ton sugar, one box tobacco, two tons bran, one ton maize, four cases, four bags, one keg, ten head cattle, eight passengers.

Saturday, 15 February
It pours bucketsful’s of rain and the men are all wet to the skin.

The Tauranga arrives shortly after 6pm at Auckland this evening with 185 oz gold, 120 oz of which is from Scanlan and Co’s claim, and the product of the first quartz crushed by their new machinery.

15 February, 1868

Sunday, 16 February
It is rumoured in Shortland this morning that a party of two men who ventured too far up the river have been seized by the Maori of the Upper Thames and taken away to be tried by the Maori King. These are men who were prospecting and were stopped some time ago, when a gun was taken from them, causing Te Moananui to go to Te Hira to demand restitution in which he succeeded.  There are still two parties of prospectors out on the ranges between Ohinemuri and the east coast.  Te Hira’s tribe warn that if any persons are found in a similar situation they will be dealt with in a like manner. The occurrence has been reported to Mr Mackay who goes up to Kirikiri tonight and it is speculated he may go up country to sort out the matter.

Monday, 17 February
The Shotover's 'Goldfinder' machine  commences crushing this morning. At Manaia there are about 25 men at work, but the diggers are now tempted in a different direction. The Karaka is maintaining its character as the leading gold producing district in the Thames

The chiefs Te Moananui and Pita Taurua, from Coromandel, pass through the Thames and stay in the tent of the Daily Southern Cross  correspondent. The chief topic of conversation is the removal of the tapu from the entrance of the Waipatukahu (Tapu) Creek, and the portion of the ground situated on the southern bank.  Should this be done vessels drawing five feet of water can enter and anchor in ten feet of water at high tide.  At low water there is only a running stream at a depth of two feet.  Major Heaphy  is now at  Tapu making a survey of that part of the coast.

A party come into Shortland Town for provisions and report Puriri as worth trying.  There are about 50 men prospecting on the ground at present but when Mr Mackay officially declares the ground to be open to Europeans, a larger rush of men is expected to take place.

Little London at Puriri.

The NZ Herald correspondent, along with a gentleman who has been several times up the Thames River, attempts to visit the new ground at  Puriri.  They come across two boatmen who have never been up the river before and whose boat ought to have four oars, but  has only two, one of which has a broken blade. After a good deal of getting ready, they start off.

It is nearly top of flood tide and they hold their course across the mud flat that divides the Kauaeranga Creek from the channel of the Thames River.  After a little mud larking, that is, getting stuck in the mud and sticking there, they get into the channel of the Thames that is broad enough to carry a 150 ft vessel.  The little craft catches the breeze and they hoist sail.  Five miles up the river they pass Kopu, the site of Purchas and Ninnis’ flaxmill.  Here there is a wharf and a fairly big house. There is no sign of life though and they conclude that it is a deserted village.

The left bank of the river shows fine country; the right bank is low lying, but evidently good land, covered with an  apparently inexhaustible supply of flax.  About four miles from Kopu they come upon a number of canoes with Maori fishing from them  and near some whares on the bank are  several  women and children. This is a fishing place of the Ohinemuri people.

 As they sail along flocks of snipe rise from the riverbank, one flock being estimated at 500 strong.  The men have now come  so far that all eyes are straining to find the opening of the Puriri Creek.  They hail a boat standing downstream and are told they are a mile and a half from the Puriri.  The land is so low and so overgrown with flax that it is difficult to see more than a mere opening that may or may not be the mouth of a creek.  They have been told to look out for an island in the middle of the river.  They sight a boat that had preceded them pulling steadily down the stream for a small opening out of the river.  They follow suit and find themselves in a fine deep creek with the most delicious water.  Although the Thames is a tidal river it also has very fine, sweet water at this distance (around 16 miles) from the gulf of the Hauraki.

They come to the settlement of Puriri - a number of whares, all now inhabited by Europeans.  There are numerous indications of cultivation from some 700 previous occupants. ‘Little London’,  as the diggings are known, are a mile and a half away towards the base of the ranges.  A  Maori who worked on  New Zealand Gully in Bendigo shows them the road.  After wading through water above the knee they start for the diggings.  They pass a field on their right of rather poor looking potatoes behind a brush fence. 
The land is watered by several small streams and has a view of the Puriri creek and Thames, winding like molten silver in the distance.  The country is swampy, but still very rich and easily drained with no timber or stones. The land, observes the NZ Herald correspondents  companion,  belongs to the Church Missionary Society, 700 acres of it belonging to the Reverend Barrows, who resides in Parnell and who purchased it for knives, blankets and other sundries. 

The sun is so hot on their backs that they are obliged to tie their handkerchiefs round the back of their heads and necks.  After five Irish miles of travelling, they come to one of the greatly talked about claims – that of the Maoris, and on hailing the whare, out comes a Maori known as Jimmy Sinclair. They want a cup of tea they tell him. Jimmy says he hasn’t any tea, hasn’t any bread, hasn’t any grog – however he does raise a pot of something like tea, the colour of strong sherry. While this is being prepared the NZ Herald  correspondent examines all the stone that there is to show, but can find no show of gold in any of it.

At the settlement a miner shows them a half ounce sample of what he calls alluvial gold.   They cannot see that it is alluvial and disgust the miner by saying so.  Gold is being got by washing in the creeks at the base of the ranges here.  They are now prepared for another start but as the sun is getting low down in the west they do not make it to Little London.  They can see it is a city of some half a dozen bell and two square tents.  They head back to the settlement, taking with them Jimmy Sinclair, on the promise of some tea and sugar in lieu of what they have consumed. It is just dark when they reach the whare and they find the younger men there entertaining themselves playing a game called the Parish priest.

The new screw steamer Jane leaves Auckland for the Thames.  The defect in her machinery which hampered her first trip is now fixed and this trip is very exciting and thoroughly enjoyed by the passengers. The Enterprise having started some 8 or 10 minutes before the Jane is overtaken by her after a short race of about six miles, and while the boats are abreast of each other there is a little good tempered chaffing indulged in by the passengers of each boat.  In about three hours the Enterprise is “nowhere”.  Now the Tauranga appears, and under full pressure of steam and canvas, follows hard after the Jane.  The new boat very cleverly manages to keep away from the Tauranga until each boat takes a different route - the Tauranga for Tapu and the Jane for Shortland Town.

The NZ Herald correspondent at Puriri is a little anxious about their provisions, although he and his companion have provided for themselves.  They have somehow collected  three  extra to provide for up the river and two more are now added for their guides down. They discover their grog is all gone although they left a man in charge of the stores and another man in charge of the boat.  Owing to the heat  a keg with a gallon and a half of colonial beer in it when they left for the ranges is now found to contain one quart only of the beverage.

What is to be done?  Could the storekeeper have a little rum?  No, owing to the recent sly grogging  cases at Tapu and Waiotahi he has determined not to keep any. What grub has he?  None.  They sold out yesterday and again today, the rush of men being considerable. But as it is the NZ Herald correspondent he will give him a little rum which is kept for medicinal purposes and then there might be something done for a feed. They have the grog and Jimmy, having ascertained he is going to get some, disappears and in a moment  reappears  bearing in triumph a billy full of potatoes.  With the addition of some salt, these are devoured.

And now for the boat.  Which is the best road Jimmy?  The boat is high and dry.  They have come too far up the creek and have to carry the boat into deep water, wading above the knees.  If they cannot get down to the mudflat at the mouth of the river by high water they will be  stuck on the bank in sight of Shortland for five or six hours. But for the indefatigable Jimmy, who is said to be a great scoundrel, they would  never have got out into the river.  He jumps overboard and pushes the boat sideways and lengthwise, helped by a  European river pilot.

Shortly before 10pm
The Jane reaches Shortland Town having made the run from Auckland in five hours and 50 minutes.  Captain Thwaites is highly complimented by his passengers on the smartness of his boat. 

DSC 17 February, 1868

Tuesday, 18 February
 After some hours of hard pushing and pulling in the boat from Puriri the exhausted NZ Herald correspondent and his companion  reach the landing place at Shortland. As they have arranged to go up a mountain at 8 this morning they make what haste they can to bed.

Considerable numbers of diggers are still making for the new field at Puriri; amongst them Mr Joseph Newman and a fully equipped prospecting party.

A  large congregation of Maori gather at the rear of the Thames Hotel, Grey Street, to remove the bones of Titi, the first wife of Hoterene; the father of Taipari, who is buried there.  The tapued spots at the Thames have been a cause of difficulty to both Europeans and Maori.  As a rule, the miners have put themselves to inconvenience to avoid violating a tapu, but several pieces of ground are in most awkward situations.  There are a good many complaints by the miners of Tapu Creek about the problem of the tapu there.  Waipatukahu  is a most sacred spot in the eyes of the Thames tribes – a kind of Westminster Abbey of Ngatimaru and Ngatimatera, whose ancient chiefs are buried there.  Canoes passing used to go miles out to sea to avoid infringing on this tapu.

Wahapu for Tapu Creek with 60,000 shingles and sundries.

 Tay and Aloe for the Thames with sundries.

The Bank of New Zealand ship their second parcel of Thames gold to England today per the ss Phoebe.  The parcel comprises 1,745oz and a small box of silver containing 144 oz.

Clark and Kersteman, of Melbourne, launch a large boiler off Custom House Street wharf, Auckland,  to be towed down to the Thames by the cutter Diamond.  This is one of the largest boilers that has been sent to the Thames goldfields and is part of an extensive plant of crushing machinery now being erected by them.

NZH 18 February, 1868

Bombastes Furioso, subtitled A Burlesque Tragic Opera, is an  1810 drama with comic songs, that satirises the bombastic style of  tragedies that were in fashion at the time.

The companion on the Puriri trip has the purchaser of the land wrong. In 1835 John Preece and William Fairburn were instrumental in purchasing the estimated 500 acre Te Puriri block for the Church Missionary Society  to the value of £300. Payment included 16 blankets, 16 iron pots, 12 axes, 12 adzes, 18 spades, 4 shirts, 12 handkerchiefs, 18 pounds tobacco, 72 pipes, 24 scissors, 24 combs, 12 knives, 6 razors, 100 fish hooks, 20 plane irons, and 20 dollars (sic).  The Reverend Robert Burrows (not Barrows) was the secretary of the Church Missionary Society.  

The Irish mile measured 2240 yards: approximately 1.27 statute miles or 2.048 kilometres. It was used in Ireland from the 16th century on plantations until the 19th century, with residual use into the 20th century.

The Priest of the Parish is a call and response game which warms up player’s vocal cords, legs, and memory muscles. It also goes by other names, including The Prince of Paris.
The game can be for  50-150 people with  one chair for each person. The chairs are arranged in rows of equal numbers (for example, ten rows of five), half of them facing the other. Each row of chairs is given a number from one to ten. The players get into teams of five and each team sits in one of the ten rows. One person, who is running the game (who is called the Gossiper) says: "The priest of the parish has lost his considering cap. Some say this, and some say that, but I say it was team number X." That team stands up all at once and says (in unison), "Who me sir?" The team and the Gossiper have a conversation, which runs like this:Gossiper: "The priest of the parish has lost his considering cap. Some say this, and some say that, but I say it was team number X."Team X: "Who me sir?"Gossiper: "Yes, you sir."Team X: "Couldn't be, sir!"Gossiper: "Then who, sir?"Team X: "Team number Y, sir!"
At this point, all of team Y stands up and says "Who me sir?" and so on. This continues until one of the following happens: A team doesn't stand up together, a team speaks out of unison or the wrong team stands up. When one of these happens, the team that made the mistake goes to the bottom row of chairs (in our example, row 10), and all of the teams below them move up. The whole process starts again with the Gossiper talking to a team. The aim is to be Team 1 at the end of the game. The game ends when the Gossiper decides that the players have had enough.

Papers Past
Puriri – A History of the school & district, Edited Rex Clark

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018
Please credit Meghan Hawkes/ First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018 when re-using information from this blog.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

5 February to 11 February, 1868

 James Mackay addressing gold miners at Thames. "Proceed good people with your buildings and improvements; continue to behave yourselves, and at the end of seven years I will raise everybody's rent."
Alexander Turnball Library Ref: MNZ-0427-1/4-F

Wednesday, 5 February
The weather is still unsettled and stormy and so is the Whittingham marriage.   George continues his violence and orders Jane and the children out.  He strikes Jane twice and then drags her from the tent.   On knocking her down he says “You shall not have a chance of showing two black eyes.”  A friend of Jane’s comes and tries to make peace but he strikes Jane again.

A rumour has surfaced that arrangements are being made amongst the Maori to open the Upper Thames.  The rumour has now reached The NZ Herald correspondent from so many quarters, and on such varied authority, that he feels warranted in making it public

At the Resident Magistrates Court, Shortland, Edward Mooney and his brother Thomas Mooney are charged with having, on the night of 29 January, at Tapu,  stolen one bag of flour, value 2 shillings, the property of Lovat Thoroughgood.  Edward Mooney pleads guilty but Thomas Mooney is discharged, there being no evidence against him.   Edward Mooney is then charged with having stolen one pick, the property of John Law.  He says that he only borrowed it,  as he had been in the habit of doing.  He is sentenced to one month’s imprisonment on each charge. Detective Crick applies for a remand for this one man crime wave  as some of the witnesses in another case are unable to come up from Tapu Creek due to the state of the weather.  The case is remanded until next Saturday.

Mr Ellis’ quartz crushing machine makes a private trial today.  It is situated near the mouth of the Karaka Creek and is a copy of the one so long and successfully used by the Kapanga Gold Mining Company at Coromandel.   It is guaranteed to crush 70 tons of quartz a week. Messrs J R Clarke and Co, of Melbourne, have arranged with Mr Inglis of the Grand Junction claim to place on their ground 12 head of stampers.

Avon for the Thames with 1 ton potatoes, 2 tons biscuits, 6 cheeses, 1 ¼ cask brandy, 6 hhds beer, 4 kegs butter, 4 tons hay, 10 bags sugar, 12 packages groceries, 1 ton coal, 3 passengers.

Thursday, 6 February
At the Resident Magistrate’s Court before James Mackay, George Whittingham is charged with assaulting his wife and using threatening language so as to put her in bodily fear.  He is fined, himself in £25 and two sureties of £10 each, and bound over to keep the peace for six months. 

The Enterprise arrives at Auckland with 237 oz gold, the result of a crushing from 40 tons of quartz taken from the Long Drive Claim of Messrs Snowden, Newdick and others.  About 100 oz of gold from another claim is brought up in the hands of a passenger.

A prospecting claim has been applied for at a place called Puriri about 10 miles from Shortland and Commissioner Mackay goes there to look at the ground.  The prospects are not much as yet.

Stag for the Thames via Tamaki with 2,000 bricks and sundries.

NZH 6 February, 1868

Friday, 7 February
It is said a great number of claims are lying abandoned on the Thames although there only appears to be one.  Around twenty men are said to have tried and deserted this one claim, but there is no doubt gold in it.

Several men have brought in some blue stone (granitic quartz) from a claim about a mile beyond Mundic Reef, on the Waiotahi.  There is no sign of gold in the stone, but it is carefully roasted and tested, and the testing gives 20 oz to the ton.  Of this stone many thousands of tons have already been thrown away.

The reported opening of the Upper Thames country seems to have arisen from some misunderstanding and it remains closed to gold mining. 

NZH 7 February 1868

DSC 7 February, 1868

Saturday, 8 February
A number of men and the surveyors start this morning for the new country towards Hikutaia.

Tartar for the Thames with six bullocks, one wagon, ½ ton hay, 500 ft timber, sundries. 

Tay for the Thames with five tons stores    
At the Resident Magistrates Court  Edward and Thomas Mooney are charged that they did feloniously carry away one bag of biscuit and one bag of sugar, the property of William Bartley Montgomery.  Thomas Mooney is discharged due to insufficient evidence and Edward is imprisoned for two months with hard labour at Auckland. 

A public meeting is held in front of the Shortland court house.  It is an adjourned meeting of the committee appointed to draw up a code of mining rules and regulations in December. A large number of diggers are present, and after a few preliminary observations are made, Mr Mackay proceeds to read the rules, one hundred and one in number.  The reading occupies quite some time and is not concluded without considerable interruption and discussion on the part of the assembled miners.

After the reading it is proposed the rules should be printed and brought into operation, but objection is at once made, and a large amount of discussion follows. Ultimately Mr Rowe proposes an amendment to the effect that the meeting be adjourned for a fortnight and in the meantime four or five copies be posted in various parts of the township and on the flats and one or two on the ranges.  Any of the miners can make suggestions or additions in writing to be left at Mr Mackay’s house and brought before the public at the next meeting, 

A long discussion now takes place as to the formation of a Mining Board for the Thames district.  It is moved and carried that a committee be formed to draw up a petition to the Superintendent of Auckland for the formation of a board. Mr James Boyd, on behalf of the miners, then asks Mr Mackay about the Upper Thames.  Mr Mackay says he now has great pleasure in informing them that he has succeeded, after great difficulty, in getting some 10 to 12 miles of ground thrown open further south.  The boundary lines will be cut on Monday next, after which the miners will be allowed to go in with pick and shovel and try their luck.  Probably by the end of the week all the land between the Thames and Omahu, near Hikutaia, will be thrown open.  This is met with cheers.

Another miner asks if the Ohinemuri will be thrown open.  Mr Mackay replies that he was sorry to say that Te Hira is as far off opening his land as ever but it all lies with the miners themselves.  As a general rule, their conduct on the goldfields has been more orderly, but there are one or two instances which have come to his attention, which have been very strongly disapproved of by the Maori.  For instance the burial ground at Tapu Creek has been invaded, and fires made over the bones of some 200 warriors who were calmly sleeping beneath. This kind of thing was not right and would do more to keep the land closed up than anything else. How, asks Mackay, would the miners like to have the graves of their friends and relations lying in the Auckland cemetery treated in such a manner? There is little chance of Ohinemuri being opened for some time. A vote of thanks is passed to the chairman with three hearty cheers, and the meeting disperses.

There are a great number of people in Shortland – the appearance of Pollen Street this evening is something akin to the throngs of people in Queen Street, Auckland.

Mr J H Clifford, the well known and favourite Auckland actor, makes his first appearance at the American Theatre tonight and is received with the thunder of applause. There is a crowded house as an entirely new change of performance has been promised. Mr Clifford makes his debut on the diggings in ‘The Day after the Fair’, as well as a new burlesque written for the occasion by Mr Monkhouse and entitled ‘Oh-tell-her’.

Grey River Argus 8 February, 1868

NZH 8 February, 1868

A clique in the claim.

Sunday, 9 February
The Roman Catholic Chapel at Willoughby Street, Shortland is opened today and is attended by a large congregation. The Very Reverend Father Dominick, assisted by the Rev Father Boibieux, and Father Nivard, the priest of the diggings, consecrate the church. The church is overcrowded even before the ceremony commences. The ceremony starts with a prayer sung on the porch, then the asperges* are intoned and the 50th psalm recited while the officiating priest sprinkles the walls of the outside with holy water.The procession enters the church as the litany of saints is sung. Other psalms are sung as the inside of the building is sprinkled with holy water. The imposing ceremony is concluded by a prayer for God to shower his grace not only on the material building, but especially on the people coming up to worship Him. High mass follows and then Miss Donovan, Miss Sheehan and Mr Hesketh sing very beautifully. The church is attractively decorated with flowers and evergreens.  The altar has a very striking appearance and to the whole of the service the most devout attention is paid. The patron saint given to the church is St Francis of Assisium, the founder of the Franciscan order in the 13th century. 

This evening Rev F Boibieux preaches a sermon on the meaning of the ceremonies performed this morning.  The sermon is followed with the benediction of the blessed sacrament.  A collection amounts to £11 17s 2d.

Monday, 10 February
The barque Dominga, Captain Wing, arrives in Auckland Harbour from San Francisco early this morning after a good passage of 53 days.  She brings a small miscellaneous cargo and 45 passengers for the Thames diggings. Captain Wing reports that the American schooner Alice, recently stated as also having passengers for the diggings, has been taken off berth for this port.

 Amongst the passengers by the Dominga are a number of people who took their passage in the unfortunate brig Flying Cloud which was involved in a protracted legal wrangle that saw them stranded on the ship, waiting to go to San Francisco and in danger of becoming destitute. They have been attracted back by the success of the Thames goldfields

The diggers are now beginning to feel the need of roads to their claims.  A meeting of miners, representing over 350 on and in the neighbourhood of the Moanataiari Creek is held at the mouth of the creek where it is unanimously agreed that the present part of the finished road should be completed to the head of the creek. There will be little beyond the Point in View and the Star of the South claims.  Four men are appointed as gangers and overseers.  Mr Smart, of Cruickshank, Smart and Co, is present at the meeting.  He intends to erect a crushing machine of 24 stampers on the field.

Although several Maori have returned from the great meeting at Tokangamutu (Te Kuiti)  on  25 January, no information can be gleaned on the vexed question as to whether the goldfields boundary is to be extended. 

Rob Roy for the Thames with 20,000 ft timber, five cases brandy. 

Otahuhu for the Thames with  6,000 ft timber, sundries. 

Avon for the Thames with a quantity of luggage, ten head cattle, sundries.

A passenger on the Midge, named Roach, brings to Auckland a specimen of platinum struck in a claim on the Waiotahi Creek.

At Gibbon’s Battery their new machine has started work, as has Scanlan’s and Ellis' new machine after a private trial.

The number of miner’s rights issued at Shortland Town is now 3,764.

DSC 10 February, 1868

NZH 10 February, 1868

Tuesday, 11 February
Three Maori, one a chief, arrive in Shortland Town and inform some friends that they have discovered what they know to be a new gold reef, 12 miles up the river. The Maoris with their European friends immediately start for the new field. 

Catherine for the Thames with stores, 5 passengers

The Warden’s Court at Shortland sits for a marathon 14 ½ hours today. The place is crowded.  The great case of the day is the suit of Captain John Butt against  William Rowe, manager of the mining operations in Barry’s Claim, Kuranui Reef. It is tried before Commissioner James Mackay, Warden Allan Baillie and four assessors. Mr Joy and Mr Dodd appear for Captain Butt, and Mr MacDonald for William Rowe.

Mr Joy says John Butt is one of the oldest settlers on the goldfields and one who has done much to encourage and foster the interests of the district.  His claim is for £180 dividends of gold taken from the claim by Rowe. Butt is an original shareholder of one twelfth share of Barry’s claim. Formerly,  a man named Sullivan had been manager and during that time three dividends had been declared.  All this had now changed and a clique had got into the claim led by a Mr Whitaker.  He represents money, announces Mr Joy dramatically, and strides like a giant anxious to devour all who come to impede his progress.

A company had been established which had attempted to thrust in the face of Captain Butt and Matthew Barry a sum of £40 as their share of the proceeds of the claim.  Ever since the formation of this company there had been something like collusion throughout.  Machinery had been purchased at more than half as much again as it ought to have cost.  Other things were being done every day to damage the interest of Captain Butt.  Quartz specimens had been taken from the claim and no account rendered. 

After several hours of evidence, with one break of an hour at 8pm, the court is cleared of all but the assessors, Mr Mackay and Warden Baillie.  During the whole of this day and night the place is crowded and towards midnight densely so, the windows and outside the building being crammed at every point where the proceedings can be overheard.

The court is re-opened after an interval of about half an hour. The verdict is read – Captain Butt is entitled to a one twelfth share of the sum of £1665 less expenses of carting, crushing and blacksmith’s work. Mr Joy asks the assessors to assess the amount of damages.  After very considerable opposition from Mr MacDonald it is decided the £138 6s 8d is also due to Captain Butt by William Rowe.

The court fee which is required from Captain Butt and which was supposed to have been paid into the court cannot be found.  Counsel is indignant, they haven’t got the money, it has been paid over to the clerk.  The clerk denies this,  when Captain Butt enters the court and being asked about it, replies with the greatest innocence imaginable “I believe, sir, I’ve got it in my pocket.”  Such a roar of laughter follows which has never before been heard at the Thames.

Court rises at 12.40am after an interminable and draining day.

DSC 11 February, 1868


*Asperges is a name given to the rite of sprinkling a congregation with holy water.

Papers Past

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018
Please credit Meghan Hawkes/ First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 -2018 when re-using information from this blog.