Sunday, 24 September 2017

25 September to 1 October, 1867

Should a single shot be fired.

A tent in the bush in a Thames goldfield gully (possibly Moanataiari)              
                                             Sir George Grey Special Collections 4-3681A-49

Wednesday, 25 September
“We were to have been all eaten before this but no-one has come to the feast,” writes the weary NZ Herald correspondent.  “It is still a steady drenching rain; either the night passed very quietly or I had heard nothing probably because I had been up all the previous night.”

Mr Lawlor, acting Resident Magistrate, addresses 300 to 400 assembled men. Captain Butt has been called to the chair and presides.  A motion is proposed that 250 men be sworn in as special constables.  The men who enroll themselves are to have 2s 6d a day.  They are not satisfied without seeing Major Von Tempsky, and after many consultations, the major comes out and addresses them.  He advises them not to be disorganised and not to neglect their work.  He says that they must fall back on the town should a single shot be fired.  There are arms and ammunition enough to hold their own should there be need until help comes, but in the meantime the men had best go back to work.

Two hundred and fifty stand of arms and proper ammunition are expected from Auckland by the Enterprise.  “As some will be anxious about us we are all well at 11.30,” notes the NZ Herald correspondent.

Rumours fly around the diggings - Rapana was at Mr Douglas’s store at the Kirikiri and overheard him saying something to the effect that the Hauhaus were to attack some place or other – maybe Rotorua.  Rapana perhaps misunderstood him and came and reported that they were coming to the Thames to attack the place.  Mr Douglas vehemently denies this. He has not seen Rapana since the diggings were opened and Rapana has never been to his store at Kirikiri.

The Thames Maori dismiss the threatened attack as an idle report got up by some wicked Pakeha to unsettle the minds of the European settlers. It is absurd to believe anything of the kind as Te Moananui is up at Ohinemuri and most of the Maori there are waiting to receive the tribes who are coming to cry for William Paka, Taraia's grandson.

The fact that arms have been sent for is condemned -   it will be thought of by all the Maori up the river that the Europeans are going to commence hostilities against them.  This could make them more stubborn in not allowing their land to be prospected.

The Daily Southern Cross says “There can be little doubt that the report is much exaggerated.  There is undoubtedly something going on just now in the interior that is not at all reassuring, but it is not at all likely that the Hauhaus would make an attack upon the men at the Karaka, as they are on Ngatimaru land, which has been opened up with consent.  Probably the rumour has arisen from some meeting of the King party having been held at the Upper Thames, at which there was some strong talk about keeping Europeans out.”

Over 400 miners’ rights have been issued but this most untoward interruption had caused the attention of the men to be taken off their work.

Arms and ammunition.

There is quite a race between the Midge and the Enterprise on coming in to the Thames, the Midge leads, but she touches the mud bank about two miles out, anchors, and is passed by the Enterprise amidst loud cheering.

A sample of quartz from the claim of William Messenger junior is sent to Mr Sceats’ British Hotel in Auckland.  Messenger lost the ground first marked out on the reef but he has got gold first.

Private letters from diggers on the Thames goldfields to Wanganui strongly urge friends and mates to come up to Auckland at once.  The most favourable accounts are continually being received from the Karaka diggings, they say, and there is no doubt that a rich payable goldfield has been discovered.

A general opinion is that the diggers at the Thames are very confident of the success of their work.  A competent judge of the value of the quartz estimates that there is gold to the value of some of some ten thousand pounds in the stone for the crushing.  Machinery will soon be ready.  There is a desire on the part of those who have capital to invest in mining and crushing operations, although the experience of Coromandel acts as a great check on the expenditure of capital in the Thames district.

 Saucy Lass from Napier arrives at Auckland bringing 14 passengers for the Thames goldfield.
Severn to the Thames with 200ft timber, 6 hhds beer, 2 cases wine, 4 cases champagne, 2 cases wine, 2 cases ale, 1 dozen chairs, 2 pkgs, 2 cases, 2 tons sundries, 6 sheep, 12 passengers.

Thursday, 26 September
Dr Pollen, accompanied by Allan Baillie, proceeds to the Thames by steamer this morning.  Instead of complying with the request for arms and ammunition Pollen intends to ascertain the facts for himself.

The panic has had the worst possible effect. It excited the men, brought them in from their work and tended to dissipation.  About 75 men enrolled in the special defence force. 

Some 20 miles higher up the Thames some Maoris are mustering for the purpose of settling a land dispute between them. It is possible that from this may have arisen the whole report of attack on the diggings.
 A new reef is discovered, whereabouts unknown at present. Walter Williamson’s party on the Moanataiari have struck gold. The quality of the stone is fine and the gold quite a “jewellers shop.”  Some very good quartz has been brought in from the claim of some men from Howick.  The claim is called Pakuranga.

First death on the Thames goldfield.

Hector McKenzie is worried about his mate, John Brown, who has been absent from his tent since going out to prospect yesterday. Hector looks for him in the direction John said he was heading.  He is horrified to discover John Brown’s hat floating on top of a water filled abandoned shaft.  He comes into camp and reports the find to the police.  The hole is dragged and the body of John Brown recovered.   John only arrived from Auckland last Tuesday.

The Enterprise reaches the landing place.  Dr Pollen is looked for amongst the passengers to give authority from the general government for the distribution of firearms and ammunition to the diggers.  When he lands, a deputation requests Captain Butt to wait upon him with the object of learning what the government intends doing about opening Maori country to the south of the Kauaeranga.  Dr Pollen asks for time to get his tea as he has just landed.

The miners are told by Captain Butt to meet Dr Pollen at the Shortland Hotel where they will have the opportunity of questioning him.The men who have been looking for alluvial diggings have heard so many glowing accounts of the Ohinemuri that they want to get there.

The large room at the Shortland Hotel is packed with men as full as it can hold.  A digger asks, on behalf of the mining population, what the policy of the government is regarding the opening of the country south of the district now worked.  The press have published that a goldfield has been declared but he for one cannot see it.  The government has published the fact that a payable goldfield has been found in the Thames, which has encouraged many miners from the South Island and Victoria to come to the Thames.

 Dr Pollen replies that the government had induced no-one to come and certainly would not prevent anyone going away.  He has every confidence in the richness of the field, but there will be men who are not fortunate. He sympathises with the men, but the fact of their not having drawn the prize at once does not make the country less a goldfield.  The men must be patient.

The government gave no guarantee of a payable goldfield, but he has communicated with the Maoris that under certain conditions they would derive emoluments accruing from the opening of their land. The land belongs to the Maoris and it was for the Upper Thames Maoris to declare when it was their pleasure to open their land to the newcomers.  The government could not interfere.

The chiefs of Ohinemuri will not permit the Europeans to work for gold on their land, but Dr Pollen considers that when they see the Hauraki chiefs deriving a benefit from the gold operations, they might think better of the interests they would derive from opening their country.

The meeting is considerably enlivened by succession of dog fights, during which men clamber on chairs and tables, the room being too densely packed to allow this belligerents out.

Dr Pollen adds that as to those who complain of the field not being payable he would again say that the government had invited no one to come  - it prevents no one from going away.

A vote of thanks is proposed to Dr Pollen for the straightforward way in which he speaks to the meeting.

Throwing cold water on the diggings.

Friday, 27 September
The Hauhau affair is laid to rest with an explanation of what precisely took place that led to the fright at the Thames, the panic of Mr Lawlor and his co-magistrate Taipari, and to the demand for arms which has been refused.

Commissioner Mackay wants to extend the ground which might be prospected up to Hikutaia, but he does not want the diggers to go close up to the boundary line; he has some doubts about the disposition of the Maoris.  A chief at Hikutaia, Te Herewini of Ngatimaru, wrote to the Maori King and the ‘potis’  (committees) of the King tribes  giving over his land at Hikutaia to the charge of the King and asking the Hauhau ‘potis’ to come down and assist him. 

The letter was dispatched but Te Hira, hearing of it, determined to stop it, saying it would give the more violent of the King party an excuse for coming down to the Thames and creating disturbances.  The messenger was stopped near Ohinemuri and the letter taken from him.  Shortly after, several Europeans made their way to Ohinemuri.  Te Hira said to Te Moananui “You are of that side, take care of these Europeans by sending them back again.”  This was done and the Europeans were sent back to Kauaeranga. The reason for the movement of the Hauhaus had been misinterpreted as aggression.  

The inquest on John Brown is held.  Evidence shows that returning to his tent late in the evening he must have fallen in the abandoned shaft.  The shaft is the second or third one sunk since the field opened. A verdict of found drowned is given.

John Brown is interred in a place given by Taipari  at the back of the courthouse.   He is the first of the Thames’ unrecorded dead.

The Day Dawn arrives at Auckland from the West Coast with three passengers for the Thames goldfield.

Saturday, 28 September  
The crushing of Tookey’s quartz was completed on Thursday and the gold is retorted and smelted at an early hour this morning, the result being two ingots weighing 14lbs troy.  This was ten days work for four men.  Daniel Tookey expresses himself perfectly satisfied as a result of the crushing and also at the way in which it was managed.

The Daily Southern Cross, having being accused by the NZ Herald of “throwing cold water” on the diggings, responds that the charge comes from a newspaper which is anxious above anything to create a rush.  The Cross says that nothing as yet been discovered to warrant a rush or even to justify the least excitement.  That gold has been found in the quartz already tested is true, that the stone crushed has proved eminently paying is otherwise true, but as yet there has not been an ounce of water-worn gold taken out of the district. They regret this as much as anyone, because nothing could be more fortunate for Auckland at the present time than a payable goldfield.

The Daily Southern Cross estimates the population is now around 750 people, 500 who have taken out miner’s rights.

From Barry’s claim 12lb weight of gold goes up to Auckland by the Midge. His party have 70 tons of quartz stacked up ready for crushing.

A NZ Herald correspondent writes cynically “I think it is a pity that the papers make so much about the Thames goldfield as it will give a wrong impression at a distance.  People are constantly arriving with the idea of diggings at the Thames when there is no such thing.”   It ought to be called the Thames Gold Reefing district he suggests. Any person with but a small knowledge of geology can see that all the flat land from Cape Colville to Ohinemuri is of too recent a formation to prove alluvial.

Recently arrived diggers from the West Coast put up a handbill offering a reward to any person who can show them the diggings,

NZH 28 September, 1867

Sunday, 29 September
There is a rush late this morning to a new reef called Break O’ Day.  Men are seen humping a quantity of quartz from a claim on Messenger’s reef.

Monday, 30 September
1.30 - 2am
The Midge arrives at Auckland with 157 6dwts of gold from Barry’s Reef.  It is originally stated as being 160oz.  About 3ozs will have to be returned as it has not been sufficiently cleaned. There are very imperfect apparatus for weighing on Barry's and the Shotover's  claims.  The Midge also brings five bags of very rich quartz from a new reef to be crushed and assayed.  The reports from the field are very encouraging, quartz leaders containing gold being daily discovered by prospectors, and nine claims are now producing valuable quartz.

At Cambridge two or three settlers receive letters from their friends at the Thames, speaking very favourably of the quartz reefs there. At Opotiki the usual monthly muster parade of the militia takes place, but owing to the encouraging accounts from the Thames goldfield, there is a visible decrease in the number of their inhabitants.

Pearl for the Thames with 6,500ft timber, 6 tables, 4 bedsteads, 6 kegs, 2 cases and 2 bags.  
Cornstalk for the Thames with timber, shingles, 10 passengers

The HMS Charybdis, Captain Algernon Lyons, comes to anchor five miles out near Point Tararu. The Charybdis is an English 21 gun Royal Navy screw corvette recently assigned to Australia.  She is on a cruise around New Zealand.  She left her anchorage at Auckland this morning for a cruise off Waiheke where the crew procured water and engaged in a big gun exercise.  She sails  across to the Thames this afternoon.

   The gastronomic wants of a digger.

Tuesday, 1 October
Captain Lyons, the doctor and the officers of the Charybdis proceed in one of their boats up to the landing place at Kauaeranga and are taken round the reefs.  They are highly delighted with their first views of a goldfield.  Amongst the places visited is the claim of Walter Williamson and party where they are breaking down a quartz leader and the stuff is splendid.

HMS Charybdis
Library & Archives Canad
PA-124061\Public Domain

British Naval Officer Captain Algernon Lyons
(Navy and Army Illustrated 1896
Public Domain)

The Tauranga, originally intended to be the first steamship to sail for the newly opened Thames goldfield, now finally leaves on her maiden trip there.  The Tauranga has kept up a hectic pace since Sunday after leaving Auckland for Tauranga where she arrived at midnight.  On Monday she discharged a large general cargo them steamed for Auckland at 7.30pm.  She arrived at Auckland at 10am this morning after a 15 hour passage.  She lands her passengers then goes alongside the hulk to load coal, after which she steams beside the wharf to take in passengers for the Thames. The Tauranga, Captain Sellars, was recently built for the Bay of Plenty Steam Navigation Company.  She will continue to make her usual trips to Tauranga as well as to the Thames.

The Enterprise arrives in Auckland bringing a parcel of gold containing 168oz crushed from the quartz taken out of Tookey’s claim.  Having had his specimens declared not gold in August,  a determined Daniel has set to work with energy, taken three tons out of a leader and having them crushed at Coromandel and this is the result.  The news is hailed with delight – the yield being much beyond anyone’s expectations. 

The Enterprise also brings up a parcel of amalgam from Matthew Barry and company’s claim which is forwarded to the care of Messrs Butt and Anderson, Ship chandlers, to be smelted and assayed in town before it is lodged in the bank.  The estimated yield is far greater than actually turns out.

 A Victorian miner and well known settler in the Auckland province, just returned from the Thames, speaks of the reefs as enormously rich and numerous, but says quartz reefers are sadly wanted – men who know how to work them. 

 A rumour is afloat at the Thames that alluvial diggings have been discovered back beyond the ranges.

Sixty miner’s rights are issued today making a total of something over 600.  

Seven Warden’s cases are heard, most of them arising out of disputes about claim jumping.

NZH 1 October, 1867

The Victoria Hotel is opened by Mr Joseph Mulligan. This makes the third licensed house in Shortland – the Shortland Hotel (Captain Butt), the Duke of Edinburgh (originally William Nicholls general store, sold to Mr Sheehan and turned into the Duke of Edinburgh)  and  now the Victoria.  There are also two very good restaurants – one kept by the celebrated pork pie man, Mr A Barnett, and the other by Mr Cummings.  All well provide for the gastronomic wants of a digger. 

The Willie Winkie comes into the Thames from Opotiki with flour and potatoes.

The Tauranga arrives off Point Tararu and lands her passengers.   She made the passage in four hours 20 minutes, the fastest passage to the Thames yet.  Her arrival increases the population by 110 and passengers include Samuel Cochrane and Mr Stewart of the Bank of New Zealand.  

Commenting on the quick passage of the Tauranga, a NZ Herald correspondent writes “It is certainly a great improvement on the passage of Dr Pollen and the first prospecting party, when they took 24 hours to get down and 48 hours to get back.”  *

The Enterprise comes up to her usual anchorage at the deep water landing.

The Karaka Flat prospecting party is now down 66ft with its upper shaft.  The indications are very good, but they have not reaped much advantage from the public meeting held to assist them in Auckland.  There are 24 men to find in tucker and these 24 men are giving their own labour to do a work that, whether successful in finding gold or not, will be a great public advantage. 

 At the Chamber of Commerce, Auckland, there is a meeting of persons interested in the development of the Thames goldfield and the putting down of the shafts on the Karaka Flat.  Only one member, Mr J Watson Bain, attends.  The meeting is adjourned until 3pm Friday in the hopes of getting a better attendance.   It is hoped that the gentlemen who allowed their names to be placed on this committee will attend - it is important that these claims should be bottomed.  They cannot be unless necessary funds are forthcoming. It would be deplorable, indeed, if they were allowed to be abandoned now.

This evening at the Thames the Captain and crew of the Charybdis return to their vessel taking with them several specimens from the reefs.

Shortland Town, deserted by day - in the evening, at the hotels, is loud with the music and singing peculiar to a digging community.

Emoluments  are a salary, fee or profit from employment or office.

Six ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Charybdis after the sea monster of Greek mythology.  The 'sea monster' was later rationalised as a whirlpool and considered a shipping hazard.

*The correspondent seems to have muddled this - it appears to be 48 hours to get down and 24 to get back. They left Auckland on Tuesday 23 July  arriving Thames on Thursday 25th,  returning Monday 29 July after negotiations to open the goldfield.
Papers Past

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017

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


Monday, 18 September 2017

18 September to 24 September 1867

A drinking doctor.

View from Hauraki Mission Station at Parawai, over the Kauaeranga River, towards Shortland.
Ref: 1/2-096131-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Wednesday, 18 September
In Shortland Town there is, as usual on a goldfield during most days of the week, except Saturday and Monday, little doing.

 All the men are on the claims are working away as hard as they can, but heavy rain during the early part of the week has required a day or two to repair the shafts and this morning the rain comes on heavier than ever. 

Many of the men at work are more than satisfied.  In one claim the crushing is done in a very primitive way.  Some of the claims are working ‘dolly’s’ or small crushing machines, but the quantity crushed in this way can never make any show. 

Amongst the most recent arrivals at the Thames are a chemist and a doctor.  Dr George Augustus Merrett is the first doctor on the Thames goldfield.  He was active in early goldfield meetings at Auckland’s British Hotel sounding a note of caution about men making mad rushes to the Thames or upsetting the Maori.  He is a kindly and good natured man who was educated in London and undertook medical studies there and in Bengal.  For some years he has practiced in Auckland and, although skillful in his profession, a drinking problem has prevented him gaining a large practice there.  Now, aged 37, he divides his time between Auckland and the Thames where he is his own worst enemy – attending any and every case regardless of whether or not  he gets a fee.

From noon there are fine clearing-up showers which have been so frequent since the goldfields opened.

At Howick, where things have been in quite a state of stagnation, an exodus is taking place with numerous parties leaving for the diggings.  Today some 12 or 14 more go down to try their luck.  Several who have already gone down from Howick have been rather successful – one named McGlashan having sold his sixth share in a claim for £40.  Coombes, of Coombes and Townley’s claim, is from Howick and has done well and several others hailing from the settlement are earning good wages at the Thames.  Most of Howick’s young men are determined to make a trial of the goldfields. 

Matthew Barry, the discoverer of the No 2 claim at the Thames, is carousing in Auckland when he assaults E G Steers of the City Club Hotel.  Barry is subsequently released on two gentlemen becoming his sureties.

The night is wild and furious driven by a strong south easterly wind and at the Thames captains of the coasting craft remain at anchor. The creeks rise to a height that sweeps away the sluice boxes on the Waiotahi and Kuranui.  

Thursday, 19 September
The wind and rain cause a cessation of all work.   The weather wets men through to the skin if they stick their heads out and a 16ft weatherboard is blown off a cart and carried for several yards.  There is no steamer in sight.

The Berdan brought down by William Hunt for the Shotover claim  is not acting as well as expected.

The popular locality just now is the spur on the Hape on which Murphy found a leader a month back.  Murphy is tracing this leader steadily and surely, the quartz is crushed in a dolly or one stamper box – the process is tedious, but no gold is lost.

Kennedy is on Tookey’s reef, Kelly a little way further up, all doing well.  It is not an unusual occurrence for a rush to take place at midnight, when the ground is marked off by the light of the moon, or in one instance, by torchlight.

 It is now raining and blowing a gale. 

NZH 19 September 1867

Samuel Cochrane, auctioneer and champion of the Thames district.
(Image supplied by family)

An alluvial field would be the salvation of Auckland.

Thursday, 19 September
A public meeting is held in Fort Street, Auckland, at the rooms of Samuel Cochrane, auctioneer, to hear Captain Butt’s report on the work done on the prospecting claims on the Karaka flat. Many of the principal citizens of Auckland attend.  The room becomes so crowded that the four or five hundred people assembled adjourn to the large hall below.

Two shafts are now sunk, one down 60ft and the other 45ft. Great difficulty has been encountered in consequence of the wetness of the ground and some delay experienced waiting for the slabbing timber to arrive.

There are now 24 men sinking the shafts. They are working day and night and receive no wages, merely their food and timber. The men have had to abandon one shaft at a depth of 18ft after striking a spring. At 40ft they have struck shell and sand.

The object of the meeting is to form a committee in Auckland to raise funds for the purpose of carrying down the shafts whether they go another 50 or even 2000ft. In Victoria shafts have been sunk to a depth of 600ft and there are wealthy banking companies that have risked money to put them down.

Captain Butt says the committee at the Thames is only paying for the rations of the men and the timber. They find their own clothes and tools and take their chances. Surely the men - experienced miners - must themselves have the greatest confidence in the undertaking, or they would never work like this.

He trusts that the people of Auckland will come forward liberally. An alluvial field would be their salvation. True there were rich quartz reefs in plenty at the Thames but it was only an alluvial goldfield that would attract population.

Loud cheers follow Captain Butt’s speech. There is doubt as to the existence of an alluvial goldfield but Captain Butt puts forth his request in so modest a manner that it is not thought the people of Auckland will refuse to contribute.

It is estimated that £250 will be sufficient for the work. Samuel Cochrane comes forward, remarking that nothing he could do towards developing the wealth of the Thames Goldfield should be wanting on his part.

Samuel is an Ulster Scot, an auctioneer and land agent prominent in Auckland and a champion of developing the mineral resources of the Coromandel district. He ran the government steamer Sandfly (later Tasmanian Maid) on the Coromandel trade for a number of years and was also the principal owner of the steamer Waitemata, now the Enterprise. He has a wealth of experience from the earlier Coromandel rush. He is regarded as an exemplary and energetic citizen. 

Mr Abbott adds that every nerve should be strained to respond to the request. The interests of the Province are bound up in the development of the Thames as a goldfield and every man should subscribe.

Mr Darby say that all should join hand in hand in assisting those who have not the means, but are willing to risk the loss of their labour.

A committee is formed to raise subscriptions to test the Karaka flat.

Ottoline, schooner, for the Thames with sundries.  Caroline for the Thames with 1cwt sugar, 40lbs tobacco, one box tea. 

 Fight rather than have more Europeans in his district.  

The disquieting  news of the decision made at the Maori  meeting on September 1st and 2nd,  that the Upper Thames auriferous lands in the Ohinemuri district should not be opened to the diggers and that Hikutaia should not be the boundary, begins to circulate. 

One of the chief’s requests a sample of gold given to Dr Pollen be sent back. Tukukino goes so far as to say that he will take to fighting rather than have more Europeans in his district.  

Lately a few prospectors have ventured up as far as Ohinemuri and have been watched very vigilantly and suspiciously and ordered to return.  It is thought there is a poor prospect of the Ohinemuri district being opened up by Te Hira. William Paka’s death is felt even more keenly as he was a good mediator and although some Maori are favourable to the pakeha, they are overruled by the others. 

The news is viewed as a sore disappointment.  Advice is given to let the Thames goldfield work out the problem without scheming or contriving or in any other way interfering with the Maori.   The Maori population, who still adhere to the old customs, stand aloof from the civilisation at the Thames.  It would be well not to go up to the extreme southern boundary of the open block at present, owing to the temper of some of Te Hira’s supporters.

At Coromandel Daniel Tookey unloads his quartz out of the Fly.  He burns about 2cwt of picked specimens to rid it of sulphur and copper as he considers these minerals will prevent the gold mixing freely with the quicksilver.  The specimens are so rich that he will not part with them for less than £500.  Some of the lumps of quartz are as large as two fists with gold all through; even when the quartz is in the fire the gold is distinctly visible.

NZH 19 September 1867

Friday, 20 September
The NZ Herald correspondent hears a faint sound in the night, like a boy whistling, but it is so intense he doesn’t think that it is coming from any pair of human lungs.  On getting up he finds the Enterprise has come in and anchored off Point Tararu with one of the largest cargoes of passengers she has ever brought.  She lands a few of the passengers who gamely walk through the mud and dark to Shortland Town.

Although it is late, Captain Butt,  who arrived by the Enterprise,  and many of his friends and others interested in the sinking of the two shafts on the Karaka flat call at the Shortland Hotel to hear what has been done in Auckland towards the working of the ground.  The particulars of the meeting are received with applause. 

The steamer has brought 127 passengers.    Some are returned miners, who had gone to town for tools, but the majority are new to the Thames.  Amongst the returns are William Hunt and Matthew Barry.

 Also on board is Captain Hannibal Marks, and the owner of the steamship Midge, which is about to be run on the Auckland to Thames line. The Midge has been on the Whangarei line but her draught of water has prevented her from continuing on this trade.

There is a change in the weather for the better.  For the last six weeks it does not seem there have been two bright days consecutively.  

The sluicing parties are busy repairing their races and dams and will not set in to work until Monday. Many of the shafts are damaged and some of the sides have fallen in.

Gold is struck in several new claims and is reported in two new rushes.  Seven ounces of fine gold is purchased by Mr. Levy, storekeeper, Pollen Street. 

No craft are in are the Thames except the Sydney from Waiheke with 25 tons firewood.

At Coromandel the Waihau Goldmining Company arranges to receive small parcels of quartz of one ton and upwards for crushing, at the rate of 30 shillings per ton.  As freight from the Thames to Coromandel is only 10 shillings per ton and cartage from the beach at Coromandel to the Waihau Company’s machinery only another 20 shillings, the whole cost of crushing will be confined to 30 shillings per ton.  The owners of many good claims at the Thames avail themselves of this opportunity.

The cutter Emma arrives at Coromandel to convey Mr Lawlor, RM,  to the Thames where he is to take the duties of Resident Magistrate during Commissioner Mackay’s absence.  Mackay has gone to Wellington and is not likely to be back for a month; during this time the Thames will be without a Magistrate or Warden.  Mr Lawlor has been RM at Coromandel since 1863.

Commissioner Mackay has had a rather busy time, for as the ground becomes valuable by discovery after discovery he is called on to say how far each claim has a right to hold.   Fifteen cases in all have been decided upon the ground and three in court.  A claim taken up by one of the prospectors in 1865 was lost by not having proper corner pegs in.

Doady for the Thames with 8 passengers and merchandise. 
 Annie for the Thames with timber and building materials.

Branded with tar.

Saturday, 21 September
Benjamin Turner writes to the Daily Southern Cross suggesting the formation of a company of 10 or 12 persons subscribing £20  each to enable young men of good character, out of employment, to go down to the Thames and prospect the ground.  He has been spoken to by many young men who would apply themselves to the work, if they had money for tools and to maintain themselves.  Should anything good be found, they then should all share alike in the profits.

Philanthropos writes to the NZ Herald about a cheap mode of crushing quartz - “Have a 6” plank, six or eight feet wide, firmly put together by being covered on the surface with sheets of wrought iron riveted firmly on the planks, have a heavy stone roller, such as are used by gardeners on gravel walks or bowling greens, this will effectually crush the quartz and nothing will be lost.”

Catherine for the Thames with 3,000 bricks, 30 bushels lime, 25,000ft timber.  
Sarah for the Thames with 1 ton flour, 4 bags sugar, 1 bag maize, 1 bag wheat, 2 pkgs tobacco, 1 pkg drapery.   
Severn for the Thames with 2,000ft timber, 1 ton sundries, 8 passengers.
Enterprise -  60 passengers, stores and timber.

 A meeting between the claimholders on the Kuranui and Mr Fraser, of the firm Fraser and Tinne, of Auckland, takes place at the Shortland Hotel.  It is arranged that machinery of sufficient power to put through 100 tons of quartz a week will be placed on the Kuranui creek to crush the stone taken out of those claims.  The engine house will be placed at high water mark, so as to enable the owners of adjoining claims to send their quartz.  A small machine of a single stamp will be provided to crush the specimens, so that discoverers of quartz leaders may form an estimate of the stone and whether it will be worth their time to continue.  Mr Fraser promises to place the machinery on the ground without delay. The Kuranui and Moanataiari reefs are on the surface and easily got at; it is hoped that in two weeks the claims will be fully manned and worked. 

Sunday, 22 September
The Rangatira, attempting to leave the Thames at flood tide yesterday, on tripping her anchor touched the bank, and was obliged to stay until this morning's flood, when she finally gets away.

The Enterprise arrives from the Thames alongside the T’s of the Queen Street wharf.  The night being very dark, a passenger mistakes the distance and steps off the paddle box into the sea, while another walks across the T clear into the tide on the opposite side.  Prompt assistance is rendered.

Queen Street wharf with North Head and Mount Victoria in the distance.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W718

Monday, 23 September 
At the Police Court, Shortland, before Henry Lawlor and Taipari Hoterene, William Rose and Charles F Lloyd are charged with unlawfully selling on 26 August, James Newton, saddle and harness maker, a bottle of rum.  They are found guilty and charged £10 and costs, or one month’s hard labour. 

William Henry Travers is charged with stealing one pick, the property of James De Hirsch.    He pleads guilty, saying he was under the influence of drink.  He is fined 20 shillings and costs, or one week’s imprisonment.

Joseph and Edward, two Maoris are charged with stealing and selling one sheep, the property of William Messenger, on Saturday.   Mr Spencer is sworn as interpreter.

 Mr Messenger had nine sheep escape while being unloaded from a cutter from Auckland.   He had sent men out daily to try and catch them ever since.  He kept his sheep in a ti-tree enclosure and they were branded with tar with a large W on their backs.   Mr Messenger had heard two Maori were offering a live sheep for sale and sent for Constable Wallace.  It was unusual to see Maori selling sheep although they often sold pigs and potatoes.  Messenger suspected the sheep was his. 

Constable Wallace had examined the sheep for a brand but only found a split in its ear.  Further examination by Detective Crick found the brand.    Mr Messenger identified the sheep but said the brand had been cut out.   The sheep was taken into care of the police.

Alexander Snowdon, a miner, tells the court he had brought the sheep which Joseph had got hold of by a piece of flax round its horn.  There was a sort of auction for the sheep and about 30 people present.  Snowdon was the highest bidder.  He had no suspicion the sheep was stolen.

When challenged by another miner, Richard Kennedy, who saw Joseph leading the sheep towards Point Tararu, Joseph said the sheep belonged to Mr Lanfear, a Missionary at the Thames some time ago.  He knew the sheep from Lanfears’ mark – which was a split in the ear.

Joseph tells the court that Mr Lanfear had sheep running wild in the bush, he didn’t know a European had lost sheep and he thought a sheep being so far away in the bush could only belong to Mr Lanfear.  A long time ago Mr Lanfear had authorised them to take any sheep they found at large.  All Mr Lanfear’s goats and sheep were running wild.

Riwai, chief of Kauaeranga, says the day Mr Lanfear left the Thames  he told him he had two sheep running about and seven goats – if they found the sheep in the bush they might have them.  The mark was on the ear – the same as the sheep now in question. Mr Lanfear was now dead.

The Bench says that in consequence of the way the sale of the sheep was carried out and Riwai’s evidence, the prisoners would be discharged.  The sheep must be given up as it had been identified. The Bench then calls attention to a book in Maori, held by Taipari, stating the English law as to stealing sheep or cattle, and the clause is interpreted for Joseph and Edward by Mr Spencer. The Court rises,  having sat seven hours.  

Four men, who have been out on a spur to the north of the Karaka, come into Shortland Town and divulge the existence of payable quartz.  There is a rush and several claims are pegged off within sight of the town.

Forty miner’s rights are issued.  The total number to date amounts to 400.

Snowflake – one plough, one rake, one box, 7 passengers.

James Hector on the right,1 

 Dr James Hector, Colonial Geologist, writes a pessimistic report on the Karaka goldfield for the Colonial secretary, based on the observations of Captain Hutton earlier this month. 

Hector concludes  “This report, I consider, provides satisfactorily the existence . . . of gold bearing  formations similar in their nature to those at Coromandel . . . I see no reason, however to expect any extensive alluvial diggings in the Karaka district or that it will afford a field for the employment of a large mining population.”

The Enterprise brings some of the Auckland land speculators to the Thames.  The steamer Midge  makes her first appearance, arriving soon after the Enterprise this evening.  The run is made in six hours and she brings 47 passengers who are landed in the ship’s boats.  This vessel will leave Auckland for the Thames every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  She has two commodious cabins and 17 sleeping berths.  Splendid accommodation is also being fitted for steerage passengers.  The passengers speak in the highest terms of her accommodation and the courtesy of the captain and officers.  

There are two new rushes during the night. One good reef has been discovered and there is some chance of alluvial, but not south.  The NZ Herald correspondent is up all night waiting for news.

West Coast Times 23 September, 1867

NZH 23 September, 1868

Hauhau attack on the Thames

Tuesday, 24 September
There is a rumour afloat early this morning that alluvial gold has been discovered. During the rush a man has a bad fall and breaks his collar bone.*  He makes his way to the tent of Dr Merrett where he is cared for.   He is sent up by steamer to the Provincial Hospital in Auckland along with another sick man. 

The two gratings of the small Berdan machine of the Shotover claim smash up immediately they are put to work.  This causes the claim to be again placed under protection for 14 days.

 The Betsey, from Napier, is detained at the Big River, Turanganui,  for three weeks with 11 passengers on board for the Thames goldfield.   She is waiting for a favourable wind to come on to Auckland.

Ariel for the Thames with a number of Maori passengers.

Chief Taipari is brought an alarming letter from one of the Waihou settlements of the Upper Thames informing him that Tana, a son of the late William Thompson, is gathering a large body of Maori to make a descent on Kauaeranga. Tana had corresponded with the East Coast Maori, in the neighbourhood of Tauranga, commanding them to assemble at Matamata to make an attack on Shortland. 

Taipari communicates with Mr Lawlor, acting RM, advising him to call in the men who are out on the creeks and ranges. Lawlor in turn requests Captain Butt to send to the Kuranui, Waiotahi and other places to call the men into town, leaving it to their own discretion to do so or not.  The messengers on their way raise a cry that the Hauhaus are coming down upon them causing considerable anxiety.

Taipari orders every Maori in the township to go to Parawai village.

Men flock into town and congregate around the Shortland Hotel, where Mr Lawlor addresses them to the effect that, should the occasion demand their united force to meet the Hauhau, he has arranged with Major Von Tempsky, who is here doing a little sluicing,  to organise a protection party. 

Mr Lawlor will enroll 200 special constables and order 250 stand of arms and 100 rounds of ammunition for each man. Should an armed force be required he promises they will be paid 2s 6d per day. 

The court house is besieged by applicants for the honour of serving in the newly-raised corps and there are fears work will stop on the claims.

Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky
 Reference Number 1/2-050850-F 

Major Von Tempsky consents to command the diggers, when danger is imminent, but until he calls them out, they had better go back to work.  He for one will go to his claim on the Hape Creek, and he hopes to see those around him shouldering a pick and shovel instead of a rifle. 

Taipari goes to Kirikiri, a Maori settlement past Kopu, from where he will send intelligence of the advance of any armed Hauhau. These precautionary measures give some semblance of truth to the affair and the men are expressing themselves pretty freely what they will do if the Hauhaus make an appearance.

The Hauhaus will be at the Thames at six this evening and terrible things are to be done. They will come in a great force of around 400 men and take possession of the diggings.

Mr Lawlor writes a despatch to Dr Pollen and Mr Mackay for immediate delivery to the Enterprise.

The NZ Herald correspondent hastily scribbles his report so as to make the Enterprise which has just come into the river and is returning to Auckland almost at once  - “There is some nonsensical report about the Hauhaus.  If any come here we shall eat them.  The steamer is whistling.”

The oblivious  Daily Southern Cross correspondent is also caught on the hop – “The whistle for her departure is blown to announce that all passengers must be on board as she will leave in 10 minutes.  This is a despatch with a vengeance.  The owners should have some consideration for those who have to answer letters.  I remember several occasions when this boat was on the mud when passenger’s had to land knee deep and often waited for their own convenience beyond the advertised time of sailing.”

The Enterprise leaves having only lain at Shortland Town for half an hour.

Despite the perceived peril,  dinner is eaten at the Shortland Hotel.  By now the news has spread to the outlying claims and the men come pouring into the township.  The crowds increase to a pretty dense mass.

 A special escort is dispatched to get Mr Lawlor and he comes down from the whare of Mr Mackay, where he is staying. A heavy and continuous rain begins to fall, and  the crowd make tracks for the large room of the Shortland Hotel. 

The committees of the Diggers and Storekeepers are called together for 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, so that the question of public safety can be addressed.   

There is much discussion amongst Maori and Pakeha. Kaipana, a friendly chief, scoffs that the white men are like sheep  - one day they follow gold and the next they run after a few words uttered by a Maori   He asks how is it that Thorpe and other white men who reside among the Maori up the river, and would hear what is going on, do not warn those at Shortland?

 Another Maori says the Pakeha are kuare (ignorant) to give credit to silly reports and should arms be sent for the Pakehas,  the Hauhaus might think that they were going to be attacked.

 Several Maori are indignant that the report should have been circulated by Taipari.  They are writing to the Superintendent to contradict the matter.  They say that Taipari, having heard some conversation that should the Hauhaus come down the Europeans would leave, got frightened that he should lose his revenues. 

It is not in accordance with Maori custom for one tribe to go on the land of another to exercise any authority whatever.

It was possible the Hauhaus might be coming down to observe for themselves the conduct of the Europeans.   The Maori beyond the Upper Thames are in favour of peace, and were it not for the advice of a few men fanatic in their opinion, then Te Hira would be more tractable.

 A large number of Maori were coming down the river after holding a tangi, and the report may have originated from that. 

The Enterprise arrives at Auckland bringing the very alarming news that the Thames is about to be attacked.

At Shortland Town there is some discharge of firearms and a bugle call but there is a good deal of fun going on too.   Most of the inhabitants make up their minds to go to bed.

The Hauhaus do not come.

Te Ua Haumene, who founded the Hauhau Church.
Alexander Turnball Library Ref: 1/2-005495-F

Dr Merrett – MD Michigan,1852.  Educated in London.  Medical  studies in Bengal and London.  Registered in UK 31 Oct 1859 with forenames reversed as Augustus George.  Wrote a medical thesis, University of Michigan, in 1857, on Necrosis.

*This accident leads to the area becoming known as the Collarbone.  The name of the miner is unclear - he is named as Quelly in one report;  a later court case names him as Tuelle.


Papers Past
Many thanks to Wanda Hopkins – Great, great granddaughter of Samuel Cochrane.
“Historia Nunc Vivat” – Medical practitioners in NZ 1840 – 1930 – Rex Earl Wright – St Clair.
Calendar of the University of Michigan, Harvard University

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017

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