Saturday 4 August 2018

22 January to 28 January, 1868

Auckland Provincial Hospital
Sir George Grey Special Collections Reference: 4-305  

A bundle of clothes.
Wednesday, 22 January
The Tauranga reaches Auckland wharf early this morning with 800 ozs gold from the Kuranui Reef Company’s claim. Mr Rowe, manager, bears the parcel.  The Shotover claim is intending to send up 1,000 oz in a day or two for export by the next Sydney steamer.

James Mackay walks from Manaia to Tapu Creek and on arriving marks out a small 
township.  Once the allotments are pegged out, all 49 of them are promptly taken up for business sites. McIssac’s claim at Tapu is yielding gold in the casing and when the solid reef is met with there are expectations it will rival the Shotover.

Hugh Coolahan steps from the top of an oven now in the course of construction for him at Shortland, treads on some loose bricks and falls.  When picked up he is discovered to have two broken ribs.  Mr Coolahan is immediately attended by Dr Hooper and  prescribed a few days rest. Dr Hooper has also been continuously attending Kate Brown at Tapu but she is now in a dying state. 

There is another ill woman on the goldfields.  Dr Groth, on his way to the Waiotahi Flat, is called by several people to a tent. The Waiotahi Flat is a sort of sub-township which is springing up on some land that until very lately was supposed to have been reserved for Maori cultivation, but is now being leased

Dr Groth finds Mary Lapine lying on the ground with a bundle of clothes under her.  She is a Frenchwoman of about 25 or 26.  Since Saturday she has been vomiting and in great pain. Dr Groth concludes she has an inflammation of the bowels and recommends her immediate removal to the Provincial Hospital in Auckland.  He gives her an injection, prescribes some medicine and advises hot water poultices be applied to her stomach.  A woman with several children is also present.

The Wesleyan's are building a chapel at Shortland -  the timber has been purchased at a cheap rate and the nails etc have been contributed by several gentlemen in Auckland.

Willie Winkie for the Thames with one case bacon, five cases brandy, one package currants, one box candles, one case pickles, one parcel Vesta matches, one half chest tea, four barrels ale, two hhds ale, three barrels ale, one case ale, 4,500 ft timber, 5,000 shingles, one case glass, two packages sashes, five doors, two kegs nails, six packages.

The report of Auckland's Medical Officer for the year ending December 31, 1867 is published and makes grim reading.  Owing to the continued depression of trade and commerce, and consequently diminished demand for labour of all kinds, the number of patients who have applied for relief during the year again increased. The exodus of the labouring population from Auckland to the Thames goldfields does not seem to have alleviated the distress existing in the city, as in the great majority of cases the wives and families of miners are left in Auckland and are supported on government rations or by charity. 

Numerous cases of dyspepsia and debility have come under treatment, owing no doubt to the want of sufficient nutritious food; the staple diet of a large number of the poor being bread, tea and sugar.  Animal food in any form is quite a luxury to many. Amongst the dispensary patients there does not seem to be any case in which remittances have been sent to support the family of a Thames miner in Auckland. During the past year there has been no outbreak of disease of an epidemic character, with the exception of a slight one of scarlet fever.  There has been remarkable immunity from typhoid fever, due most probably to the lessening of the overcrowding of dwelling houses in Auckland which was so common until recently.

At Tapu a meeting of miners is held this evening in a large marquee adjoining Mr Sceats’ hotel.  John Chute, an old experienced digger, is unanimously called upon to the chair.  The object of the meeting is to secure due representation for Tapu Creek mining interests – the peculiarity of this place, consisting of both quartz reefing and alluvial sinking, require different regulations to what is applicable to the Karaka, where all is quartz reefing.  In many cases where a claim is struck at Tapu, it requires experienced diggers to say whether the claim should be defined as quartz or alluvial.

Thursday, 23 January
A crushing for Daniel Tookey is finished this morning at Goodall’s machine. There is some 47 lbs weight of amalgam – about 200 oz of smelted gold.  The gold is the produce of eight tons of quartz, most the result of fossiking in the claim during the Christmas holidays.

The Papatoetoe claim on the Moanataiari Creek has discovered some exceedingly fine stone -  as fine as flour. For the last four months auriferous quartz has been got out at Messengers claim, now a very rich leader has been struck, from which nearly 50 tons quartz have been taken and stacked ready for crushing.  The partners in Messenger’s claim are waiting for the completion of a crushing machine brought from Sydney.

Dr Groth finds Mary Lapine in a worse condition and she appears to have been drinking as a bottle is lying close to her. She has not followed his advice in taking the medicine he prescribed for her.  No-one appears to be looking after her.   

Otahuhu for the Thames with 10,000 ft timber, two cases port, case oil, three passengers.

  Rob Roy for the Thames with  two tons potatoes, 1 ½ tons hay, 2,000 ft timber, four hhds beer, eleven barrels beer, one bale, one cart and harness, four cases sundries, one fly wheel, ten drums oil, ten tins paint, one horse, one dray.

Sarah for the Thames with two casks ale, one box soap, six bags sugar, two cases drapery, one bale drapery, one cask rum, one box candles, one parcel, two boxes biscuit, three packages drapery, one keg rum, one passenger.

The rush continues to the diggings at Tapu Creek.  It is the opinion of experienced diggers that this place will turn out a good poor man’s diggings, the gold being more equally distributed than at Shortland, with a chance of turning out what is called by miners a “heavy pocket.”

Kate Brown is still living as the Fly leaves Tapu this evening with the newspaper correspondent’s reports.

An absolute necessity for a hospital.

Friday, 24 January
The Resident Magistrate and Warden’s Courts at Shortland sit for some hours today with a large number of cases.

A smart new customs boat is towed to the Thames by the Tauranga. It was built at Messrs Clare and Waymouth’s yard in Custom House Street, Auckland, for the use of the Acting-Sub-Collector of Customs at the Thames and on arrival is duly handed over to the Custom officer, Mr Lundon.

Constable John Wallace is at Waiotahi Flat when a person approaches him and says there is a woman dying in a tent and a doctor is attending her.  At the tent Dr Groth tells Constable Wallace that it is imperative Mary be removed to the hospital.  He gives the constable a certificate stating her disease and recommending her removal to Auckland.  Constable Wallace takes the certificate to Commissioner Mackay who gives him authority to have Mary conveyed to town.  Constable Wallace takes a spring cart down to the tent but on arriving finds Mary in a very weak state.  Wallace goes and gets Dr Groth who accompanies him back to the tent but within ten minutes, around 1pm, Mary dies.  A woman present scornfully says “Look at this poor woman.  It should be a warning to others not to drink.”  She adds she believes from marks she has seen on the body that she has been ill treated - Mary appears to have a black eye and her arms are blue.  Archdeacon Lloyd, of Auckland who is at the Thames, has been informed of the unhappy state of the woman, and though greatly fatigued, he rushes to visit her, but is too late.  Rumours sweep the gold field that Mary Lapine has been grossly maltreated.

The Venerable Archdeacon Lloyd is announced to preach at the diggings on Sunday,  and on February 2 the Right Reverend Bishop Pompallier is to open a new Catholic Church at the diggings, according to the Daily Southern Cross.

Avon for the Thames with 12 head cattle, nine tons flour.

    Rangatira  for the Thames with ten cases wine, 22 cases spirits, three kegs spirits, ten tons potatoes. 

Fly for Tapu Creek with 15 sheep, one cask beef, ten packages, two parcels, three cheeses, three cases, one cask etc.

DSC 24 January, 1868

Saturday, 25 January
An inquest on Mary Lapine, who died horribly in a tent on the Waiotahi Flat, is held at Frank Furlong’s Reefer’s Arms Hotel, on the corner of Pollen and Richmond Street’s. The jury views the body which has been removed to the outer portion of the hotel. Mary is described as being of slight build and middle height, with dark hair and features.  She seems to have been a person who had both education and position.  Mary was a single woman who had been living in a tent at the Thames  with the Kennedy family for about five weeks. She had been in New Zealand for two years.  Mary never seemed to eat but took milk and brandy in quantities of a cupful at a time.  She was addicted to drink and was always falling about and had recently been in a quarrel.  Dr Groth believes the cause of death was typhlitis brought on by constipation of the bowels and accelerated by the excessive drinking of ardent spirits.  Some evidence is elicited showing that she had been maltreated.

After more than two hours consideration the verdict is given that Mary died of typhlitis (inflammation of part of the large intestine) accelerated by excessive drinking and want of proper care and nourishment.  Contrary to gossip,  there were no marks of violence on the body.

Mary’s death causes outrage.  There is a gross want of humanity in leaving a fellow creature, and a woman too, to die alone and uncared for.  There is an absolute necessity for some hospital accommodation at the Thames.  Mary may have lived had she been cared for.  The Provincial Government will give some old beds and bedding towards hospital accommodation at the Thames but a building is needed, and a medical officer, medicines and attendants.

A sample of gold obtained from Thompson’s claim, Karaka Hill, is shown around.  The gold is of a very fine quality. Mr Thompson disapproves of the practice at present adopted of squeezing the amalgam through chamois leather - all the fine gold is lost.  The whole of his amalgam shall be retorted, without using the chamois leather.

 A great Maori meeting of the King tribe is held at Tokangamutu (Te Kuiti).  There are between 3,000 and 4,000 assembled.  The Kawhia people are still on their way, bringing up supplies of fish etc, anticipating a prolonged meeting.   Information leading up to this meeting has been vague and uncertain – evidently discussions on the question of peace or war will be carried out.  Thames tribes attend to discuss the goldfields boundaries.  However no discussion whatever takes place.  The assembled tribes form themselves into a circle – the King and his councillors in the centre.  The meeting opens with a religious service after which there is silence for some time - silence ultimately prevails for the rest of the day.

The company performing at the American Theatre at Shortland have had several very successful performances during the week and as the ‘rawness’  gets worn off, they are coming to their work very well.  Tonight they have one of best attendances yet.  In addition to the amateurs themselves the singing and dancing is of more than average order.  Each and every one connected with the theatre seem determined to pull well together.  A really enthusiastic audience tonight enjoys a very full programme opening with a one act drama – ‘The clock on the stairs', followed by a vocal, acrobatic and terpsichorean interlude. The farce of 'The four wheeler’ is well played and received capitally,  as is the burlesque opera. Captain Butt’s American Theatre is now open every evening.

DSC 25 January, 1868 

Labouring under great difficulties.

Sunday, 26 January
Archdeacon Lloyd preaches this morning in the American Theatre at Shortland before a crowded congregation.

The Rev Father Nivard officiates today at the newly opened Roman Catholic Church at the corner of Willoughby and Baillie Streets.  Matthew Barry has undertaken to have the church lined and provided with 28 seats before the end of this month at his own expense.  The body of the building is well lighted and passing through the entrance the appearance of the altar and rails is striking.  Adjoining the church is a four roomed cottage built as the residence of Father Nivard.   A large congregation attends.   The ceremony is very imposing and Father Nivard is praised for the efforts he has made to obtain a place of worship. 

Meanwhile the members of the Church of England at the Thames are in need of a church and still have to walk a long distance to the Maori mission station.

Kate Brown dies at Tapu this morning thirteen long days after shooting herself.  It is thought she too may have survived had there been a hospital at the Thames.

At Tokangamutu, on the second day of the great Maori meeting, another silent gathering is held.

This evening Archdeacon Lloyd preaches again to a large congregation in the American Theatre.  The theatre is nearly full to its capacity of 600.  The attendance on the previous Sunday for the Rev Mr Hall’s sermon at the American Theatre was 537. 

Archdeacon Lloyd
Webster, Hartley, -1906. Webster, Hartley (Auckland) fl 1852-1900 :John Frederick Lloyd. Ref: PA2-1475. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22893790

Monday, 27 January
Two raupo sheds in Grammar School Road, Parnell,  go up in flames.  They are the property of a Mr Anderson who is at the Thames diggings.   There is a considerable quantity of oats, hay and other inflammable material in the sheds.  Two pigs are burnt to death but several calves are saved.  The wife of Mr Anderson had left a few days before to stay with friends during the absence of her husband at the Thames.   The premises were temporarily in charge of a woman named McIndoo.  Just before the outbreak she saw a boy running across the gully from the direction of the shed. 

The inquest on Kate Brown is held at Tapu in Mr Sceats’ marquee, Alan Baillie, coroner, having arrived from Shortland by the Midge.  Dick Taylor isn’t at the inquest having gone to Auckland with a view to getting Kate admitted to hospital there.  Dr Hooper says he considers the cause of death to be injuries received by a pistol shot.  Kate had a wound to the spine and spinal cord ending in extreme debility and fatal paralysis.

The evidence taken is withheld at the request of the coroner for the furtherance of the ends of justice, there being some suggestion Dick Taylor was involved.  The verdict reached though is that Catherine (Kate) Brown died from injuries received from a pistol shot by her own hand while labouring under mental anxiety caused by reasons unknown.

Arrangements had been made to remove Kate to the Provincial Hospital and the Midge was to have called at Tapu this morning for that purpose.   Kate is buried in the tapu ground to the north of Waipatukahu (Tapu) Creek.  Photos of her brothers and sister are placed in her coffin.

At Tapu a gully on the right bank going up the main creek has been rushed and the ground pegged out.  Weatherboard stores are going up.  Pumping gear has been sent for and Mr Sceats is building a substantial hotel, 40 ft by 24.  Trade at Tapu in general is very dull; business people are living in hope but diggers are apparently satisfied, many making more than average wages.

There are rushes towards the Manaia block where about 60 miners are on the ground.
At Waiomu, specimens of silver and copper ore are gathered from the lode of the indefatigable Walter Williamson and Joseph Smallman.  The lode is 3 ft wide and crosses the beach from the sea, passing up the hills.  The mine is leased for a term of years and it is the intention of the proprietors to commence operations at once.  About 30 tons will soon be ready for shipment to Auckland from where it will be sent on to Australia for more thorough testing.

By now the appearance of the Thames diggings has a striking quality which highlights the difference between them and other diggings.  On other fields, especially alluvial, there is nothing but calico shanties, but all doing a very brisk trade both day and night with constant arrivals pouring in, increasing the lively and business like appearance of the township.  At the Thames diggings though – a place of only five or six months standing - the calico shanty is the exception, and the wooden building is the rule.  The trading part of the community is not nearly so busy and work appears very dull.  A short distance from Shortland into the bush in any direction on the eastern side of the Karaka creek the claims generally are worked in a systematic manner. There is no doubt that many of the claimholders at present labour under great difficulties, some not knowing the proper way to work their claims and others suffer from the want of roads to a machine. Despite the difficulties there is strong anticipation that the Thames goldfields will last for years, and afford many a poor man a decent reward for his labour. The claims now producing gold bearing quartz have over two thousand tons weight waiting for machinery.  The labour employed is estimated at 1200 men. 

On the Kuranui Creek there is an area of ground worked extending over one thousand acres.  The miners have named the ground ‘Golden Hill’ and from the yield of gold in the Shotover, Barry’s, All Nation’s, Tookey’s, Levy’s and the Homeward Bound and other claims, the name is appropriate. 

The only machines in operation now is that at the mouth of the Kuranui and Mr Goodall’s, which crush together about 16 tons in 24 hours.  In a few days two more engines will be at work, one at the Waiotahi and the other at Karaka. Besides these there are several Berdan machines worked by single claims. 

A party of experienced miners who went to Hikutaia to prospect return to Shortland today without success.

A building is very rapidly being built upon Lot 28 Pollen Street and is intended as a branch of the Bank of New Zealand.

At Tokangamutu, on the third day of the great Maori meeting, silence again reigns. The meeting which was expected to last for weeks disperses in sadness, uncertainty and bad humour. Many are sorely grieved that not one subject out of the many which were to have been submitted to the meeting is settled, including the Thames tribes and the goldfield boundaries question.

Willie Winkie for the Thames with  30,000 ft timber, one box meat, one can nails, one case, two bags, four barrels, 3,000 shingles, four cases, four bags, six passengers. 

  Wahapu for the Thames with 11,000 ft timber, 3,000 bricks, one horse, one dray, 24 bags lime.

This evening a meeting is held at Captain Butt’s Shortland Hotel regarding raising funds for the construction of a church for the members of the Church of England. Archdeacon Lloyd takes the chair.  Chief Taipari has given a suitable site of a quarter of an acre of land situated beyond the Willoughby Hotel.   The burden of expense must rest with the Thames, although the Diocese has contributed £10 and around £4 have already been collected.  Twenty pounds have been promised from the church committee in Auckland.  It is estimated that a build 60ft by 30ft will cost £150. It is mooted that the inhabitants of Auckland should be canvassed for subscriptions but the meeting is unanimous in their opinion that no money can be got out of Auckland.  Subscription lists will be sent round among the diggers without delay. The Rev Mr Maunsell proposes a vote of thanks to Chief Taipari for his liberality in giving a piece of ground for the church.

Tuesday, 28 January
Among the visitors to Shortland today are Mr Corbett, Chief Postmaster, Mr Grey, Inspector of Post Offices and Major Cadell.

The Resident Magistrates Court at Shortland hears the case of James Doran v David Snodgrass.  Doran had been in the employ of Snodgrass, a baker, and had sustained a fracture of four ribs caused by the carelessness of the defendant in pushing a sack of flour while it was being carried to the bake house.  Doran is claiming eight weeks wages.  Evidence is called to show that Snodgrass was labouring under excitement from drink at the time of the occurrence.  David Snodgrass denies he was drunk.  He says he had discharged Doran that day before the accident happened.  Doran had volunteered his assistance and was told that he was not wanted.  Doran at that time was standing near the trough and as Snodgrass was lifting the sack of flour, the sack fell over and fell against Doran. Doran alleges Snodgrass was not quite sober.  The judgement of the court is that there is no doubt that Doran had suffered a certain amount of injury by the act of Snodgrass, but it is not proved that it was either wilful or negligent on the part of Snodgrass.  

Other cases are heard including John Murphy v Captain Seon with an action to recover the value of a chest of tea lost on board the steamer Enterprise.    Murphy exasperatedly states this is the fourth time he has attended this case, whereas Captain Seon never appears. This case is adjourned.  

As the court is about to rise Samuel Hamilton, William Hunt, William Rowe, Captain Butt and others well known to be interested in the first three claims on the Kuranui appear in court.  They state they are waiting on the reply of Commissioner Mackay regarding a tramway through Hamilton and Robert’s claim, for the convenience of the Shotover and Barry’s claim.
Mackay reads the document aloud and it appears that while the Shotover and the Kuranui Mining Company are anxious to have a tramway which has already been contracted for the Kuranui company, the two shareholders in Hamilton’s oppose it and are backed by 34 of the shareholders in the All Nations, Homeward Bound, Goldworthy’s and other’s claims up the creek.  They say the tramway would interfere with future operations. A line of tramway has already been contracted by the Kuranui Company, sanctioned by the Shotover party, to be tunnelled through their claim into Barry’s.  Considerable capital has been invested by the Kuranui Company providing employment to a large number of men, and they are aggrieved that their operations will be stopped after being led to understand that they were working in accordance with the lay of the goldfield.  Mackay states that he will hear the case at the ground in one hour.

On going to the ground there is a large muster of men from the upper claims.  A discussion is held and Mackay, having heard the evidence decides that there should be a public road pointed out and marked by the goldfields surveyor but that anyone or party wanting a tramway or other road, must make their own arrangements with the holders of the claims through which they wish to pass and pay for this if necessary.

 Henry for the Thames with  five tons sugar, three tons potatoes, 20 packages, three horses, two drays, 15 boxes tea. 

  Caroline for Hikutaia, Thames, with one box candles.

Of the party who went to Wairoa to investigate the story of the area being a gold bearing district,  one returns to Shortland today but reports having failed to discover anything payable.  Though the look of the country is very promising, only the colour in exceedingly minute specks was obtainable.  The remaining two men are still at work.

DSC 28 January, 1868

NZH 28 January, 1868

John Frederick Lloyd had been a clergyman at St Paul’s, Auckland, for nearly twenty years and was Archdeacon of the Waitemata.  He was notable for his affectionate relationship with his parishioners.

The Daily Southern Cross report stating that Bishop Pompallier was to open a Catholic church on the diggings was an error. The opening of the church is misreported by the DSC twice giving two different dates - first saying it happened on January 9 – a Thursday. (DSC 2 March, 1868) then saying it was Sunday 9 January – when that Sunday was actually the 12th (DSC 11 February, 1868). The church actually officially opened on 26 January and Father Nivard officiated as above.

Papers Past
E. R. Simmons. 'Pompallier, Jean Baptiste François', first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 1, 1990, and updated online in November, 2010. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 August 2017) 

© 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.

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