Saturday 28 July 2018

12 March to 18 March, 1868

A fife and drum band c1860s.
Alexander Turnbull Library 
Reference: PAColl-9765-1

A Prince and a Peer.

Thursday, 12 March
The proposed reception of the governor of New Zealand, Sir George Bowen, at Auckland is postponed.  Rifle Volunteers include many who have come up from the Thames in order to be present at the parade of their companies.  Despite the postponement the men muster and march merrily down Shortland Street to Queen Street.  The spectacle is really very imposing and in their new uniforms the men present a fine soldierly appearance.  They are headed by a band and fifes and drums playing lively marches and are followed by a large crowd of admirers.

Speeches have been written and Auckland is a blaze of bunting and flags.  The decorations, viewed from the harbour, are striking. Extensive preparations have been made in Auckland and bitter disappointment is felt at the postponement. The people, though, take their dissatisfaction good humouredly, which is a result no doubt to the weather being extremely favourable for holiday making.

Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, is also expected in New Zealand on the first royal visit to the colony.  He is on a world tour on board the steam frigate HMS Galatea.  He arrived in Sydney on 21 January to a most enthusiastic welcome and has attended many events that have been organised in his honour.  He now decides to delay his visit to New Zealand by another month.

Warden Baillie posts a notice at the Thames -  “As many miners are desirous of proceeding to Auckland during the contemplated visit of his Royal Highness, it is hereby notified that all claims within the Thames goldfield will be protected from noon on Saturday 14 March, until 8am on Wednesday 25 March.” 

HMS Galatea, ca. 1868. Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh was a naval officer and the H.M.S. Galatea was his first command.
Public Domain

There will not be any further returns of gold for the next two to three months from the Shotover claim until they have procured and erected a crushing machine on their own ground.  It is the intention of William Hunt to leave Auckland for Melbourne by the first opportunity to purchase a machine built with the latest improvements.

Messrs Brien and Goodall, civil engineers and surveyors, are making a general survey of the Thames goldfield, the plan of which will contain the trigonometrical survey of the immediate district, the position and configuration of the various auriferous creeks and ranges, the situation of the townships, the roads, the sites of the crushing machines as well as the positions of the various claims which have already been surveyed.  Inhabitants are advised, that in order to have the plans more complete, as much information as possible should be given to these gentlemen.  Claimholders who wish to have the position of their claim recorded accurately on the plans should make immediate application for a survey.


Thefts from the Thames 

From the store of Asher Castles, Tapu Creek, on 18 January,  one half dozen plush hats, 10lb tobacco, one cheese, one half dozen corkscrews, one half dozen leather purses.

From the store of L Harris, Tapu Creek, on 18 January, two cwt flour.

From the whare of Thomas Jones, Karaka Creek, on 30 January, provisions to the value of 15s and a Crimean shirt.

From the tent of Robert Smith, John Walton, Edwin Williams and James Stonier at Karaka Flat, on February 14, a Crimean shirt, flannel shirts, dark tweed trousers, flannel belts (soldiers), light cord trousers, blucher boots, checked tweed coat, common leather purse containing Miner’s Rights Numbers 1,332 and 1,333, one muff, almost red, and one red and black checked scarf.

From the premises of David Sheehan, Shortland, on the night of 11 February,  a square tent, two brown blankets, one towel, one pick, one shovel, one tomahawk.

In Clontarf, Sydney, despite rumours of possible sectarian strife, Prince Alfred attends a picnic fundraiser for the Sydney Sailor’s Home.  Suddenly a shot rings out and a bullet strikes the Prince’s back.  An assassination attempt has been made on him by Henry James O’Farrell, a mentally unwell Irishman. O’Farrell is almost torn to pieces by the outraged crowd and with difficulty rescued by the police.  The Prince is taken to hospital. The John Penn leaves Melbourne for Williamstown, one of its suburbs, carrying a report that the Prince has been shot, but the atrocity of the deed is so great that it is thought a lie. 

Henry O'Farrell seized, Clontarf, 1868 

This evening the Ladies Benevolent Society holdstheir eleventh annual meeting in the assembly room of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Auckland.  The opening of the Thames goldfield is noted as having relieved the committee of a large amount of responsibility, by providing for those cases of distress arising from want of work for able bodied men.

DSC 12 March, 1868

For the salvation of the bodies of men. 

Friday, 13 March
A man comes into Shortland from the Puriri intending to get the Warden to ride up and settle some mining dispute.  He reports that prospectors have struck gold heavily about 15 ft from the surface and he shows some good looking specimens around.

A number of men working at a face at the side of the range at the Kuranui Company are directed to go to higher ground while some logs are being rolled from the top of the range.  The men do move away for a time, but owing to some misunderstanding return again to the lower working.  A man named Dabb is struck on the side of the head by a log and is badly cut.  He is attended by Dr Lethbridge in Mr Rowe’s hut.  

The Auckland Regatta Chairman, Captain Daldy, circulates a notice amongst the Thames Maori, regarding the intended visit of Prince Alfred, unaware that he has decided to delay his visit.

"NOTIFICATION - The landing of the Queen's son will be on the 19th day of March, 1868. This will be a great gathering. The vessels with two masts and one mast (schooners and cutters), the gigs, the whaleboats, the waka taua war canoe, and the whole of the canoes. The European side must assemble; also the Maori side. The reason is to show to Prince Alfred the Duke of Edinburgh. There will be 14 races, together with the vessels, the boats, and the Maori canoes also. But the desire is this, that all the Maori canoes should be brought, even large and small. There will be consideration for the fast canoes to [the extent of] £80, to [the extent of] £20, to [the extent of] £10. Do not leave the ornaments of the canoes behind. At the conclusion of the races there will be a dance. This is all. "
(Translated by a Daily Southern Cross correspondent)

The news that Prince Alfred has decided to delay his visit to New Zealand by a month has filtered through and is given as the reason for the postponement of the visit of Sir George Bowen.  The NZ Herald comments acidly on the non-arrival of Governor Bowen as “a matter of both surprise and regret to the people of Auckland for he fixed the date of arrival himself and notified that the people might be prepared to receive him. He should have kept his engagement even though the Prince’s visit was delayed nearly a month.”

In consequence of the postponement of the Prince’s visit, Warden Baillie withdraws the claim protection which was to have been granted from tomorrow.

A committee, calling themselves the Digger’s Sick Club, meet in the Roman Catholic chapel, Willoughby Street, Thames, to discuss the much-needed hospital.  It is determined that the proposed institution should be called 'The Thames Hospital and Relief Institution', The  committee then inspect sites for the hospital an an area  which has been  generously granted by Chief Taipari  is chosen.   The site is elevated, towards and partly bounded by the Karaka Creek, about an acre in extent.  Eighty five names are added to the committee. 

Tay for the Thames with  3,000 ft timber, one ton potatoes, ½ ton flour, 4,000 shingles, five mats sugar.

The Tauranga brings up to Auckland 177 oz of gold.  One parcel is the product of the Rising Sun Claim, on the Waiotahi.  The quartz was crushed at Scanlan’s machine, on the Karaka, the machine being generally satisfactory.

A man named Hammond arrives at the Thames on the promise of work at a claim belonging to Peter the Dutchman (Anderson).  Hammond met the Dutchman at the Greyhound Hotel, Auckland, and the Dutchman said he could find Hammond employment.   Hammond arrives at the Thames with no money, not even a shilling to pay for his lodging, to find he has been duped.  The Dutchman has no claim,  and has only a right to use the name of the claim holder who he owes some £20, and from whom he has run away to evade payment.

DSC 13 March, 1868

Saturday, 14 March
Goodall, at Moanataiari, Thames, the wife of John Goodall, Esq, of a son.

Mr Mulligan obtains a license for a new hotel at Tookey Town.  The hotel, which is to be named the Sir George Bowen, is a most commodious one, and will help to supply the wants of an already populous locality.

Butchers are now prohibited from slaughtering within the precincts of Shortland Town, and Messrs Walter’s and McLeod’s slaughter yards are in future to be used by them.

The claims on Murphy’s Hill are showing better now than ever, several of them having recently struck gold.  The Lord Ashley claim, which was deserted by the gallant Major Von Tempsky, is also turning out well.  Von Tempsky worked this claim for months and months until, losing every penny that he was possessed of, he  was obliged to abandon it.    

A proclamation is issued by Mr Mackay warning all parties that the leasing of the lands from the Maoris, which has lately been so freely carried on in the case of the Waiotahi and Moanataiari flats, is illegal, and that no leases save those under the hand and seal of Mr Mackay himself will be held valid by the government.  It is feared this will annul those leases now held by European's for lands at Tookey Town.

Trade in Auckland is noted as continuing dull.  The Thames diggings find employment for a large proportion of surplus labour, but agricultural operations have been affected by the diggings.

An adjourned public meeting regarding the forming of the Digger's Sick Club is held in Butt's American Theatre.  Allan Baillie reads the minutes of the meeting held yesterday in the Roman Catholic chapel.  Mr Baillie says that the committee first elected should be the Executive Committee and that the gentlemen subsequently added should be the Working Committee.  Other business is dealt with  and the thanks of the meeting are given to Chief Taipari  for the acre of land.  Taipari replies (interpreted by the Rev  G Maunsell)  "Friends l am glad to hear that my giving land to the different churches, and to this hospital has met with your approval. Churches are for the salvation of the souls of men — the hospital is for the salvation of the bodies of men,  so I am willing to give land for these objects. From personal observation, I know that death is inevitable ; and the church is for the welfare of the souls of men — the hospital for the bodies. Friends, I thank  you. I have nothing more to say."  A vote of thanks is  qiven to Mr  Baillie for his kindness in acting as chairman, and to Captain Butt for the use of the theatre which are carried with applause, and the meeting disperses.

Spey for Tapu Creek with 4 hhds ale, one keg rum, six  packages, potatoes.  

Triad for the Thames with  8,000 ft timber, two tons coal, five parcels.

  Rosina for the Thames with 4,000 bricks, 50,000 shingles. 

Clyde for the  Thames with two tons luggage, one case brandy, one case gin, one case wine, 10 passengers.

  Rob Roy for the Thames with 5,000 ft timber, one engine and boiler, three mats sugar, five packages sashes and doors, one ton sundries.

  Avon for the Thames with  20 tons coal, 45 bags sugar, eight chests tea, eight casks beer, six hhds beer, four cases brandy.

NZH 14 March, 1868

Sunday, 15 March
The bodies of two young men are found drowned in the Mauku Creek, Waiuku.  They were in the employ of Mr Keleher, who is presently away at the Thames diggings. 

Monday, 16 March
At Tapu Creek various claims have struck good and payable gold.  The want of machinery is much felt.  Speculation, however, is rife, and shares have changed hands for as much as £250.   A large mass of earth falls on Mr Foster, who is working his claim, he luckily escapes with a few severe bruises and a good shaking  Mr Tiddey is building next to the British Hotel, and intends starting as an auctioneer broker and commission agent.  The Tapu bay today looks lively, there being no less than four sailing vessels and one steamer in at the same time.  The Clyde commences a daily run between Tapu Creek and Shortland Town today.

A letter from 'An Old Reefer' of Tapu Creek is published in the NZ Herald - "Seeing that the mining interest of Tapu Creek is now becoming notorious for jumping and other unmanly practices, I therefore, as a digger of many years standing, consider that it is high time for all honest miners to come forward and speak on this subject . . . I do protest against such unseemly conduct as is now being carried on. Indeed the decision of the late McIssac’s case only goes to show that Mr Mackay is not only fit for his present responsible position, but also fit to contend with all the unforeseen difficulties that may arise under such circumstances. When we consider the present difficulties and want of proper mining laws for this important district we need not wonder at people working on the strength of their nerve . . . Unfortunately Mr Mackay has no precedents to guide him in giving decisions on such grave questions, and this is the very reason which I can assign that all experienced diggers should come forward and give our hearty support to the gold commissioner . . . you must be aware that many inducements are held out to diggers to leave the place for Queensland, and many are preparing to leave and sell out their interests through disgust."

A meeting is held this evening in the large room of Messrs Swan and Kerr’s store at Shortland  to secure the addition to the Electoral Roll of the Franklin district of all the names of holders of miner’s rights not now on the roll, and have the  district specially represented in the House of Representatives and in the Provincial Council.  It is moved that a public meeting of miners and business people  be held on Saturday afternoon next, at 4pm, in order to add to the Franklin electoral roll the names of all persons living in the  Thames district, who are properly qualified, but not already on the register.

DSC 16 March, 1868

Tuesday, 17 March
St Patrick’s Day passes over very quietly at the Thames.  The only sign of it is the national banner hoisted over the Victoria Hotel, inscribed with the words “Erin go Bragh”  (Ireland Forever).  At Tapu it also passes very quietly – so quiet indeed, that some of the leading publicans and merchants take active steps in collecting the necessary funds for some afternoon sports.  These consist of footraces, hurdle races, high leaps, hop, step and leap, vaulting the pole and other games, all of which are well contested

Catherine for the Thames with one crushing machine, 8,000 bricks, 5,000 shingles. 

  Wahapu for the Thames with  300 bushels lime. 

Spey for Tapu Creek with  one ton potatoes, five cases ale, two casks ale, five cases brandy, one keg brandy, two cases biscuits, two casks beef, 30 sheep, four packages luggage, one case gin, one box sundries, one quarter cask whiskey, two bags potatoes. 

Tay for Tapu Creek with 300 ft timber, two tons flour, two casks beer, one cask bottles beer, four cases porter, one case crockery.

At Tapu this evening the winners of the sports  meet at Mr Reed’s hotel, where they spend a very pleasant evening,  separating about midnight, well pleased with their landlord's entertainment.

Wednesday, 18 March
There is unrest at the Upper Thames following the forwarding of a canoe laden with £300 worth of stores to Josiah Firth’s run at Matamata.  It was stopped by the Maori at Ohinemuri pending the settlement of a dispute.  The stores were taken to Mr Thorpe’s place at Ohinemuri until the matter is decided.  John Thorpe today goes up to Ohinemuri to attend a large Maori meeting. The Maori have sent word down to Mr Thorpe, whose land has been in the hands of him or his father for at least 25 years, that he must clear out.  Thorpe has ignored the message.

At the New Caledonian claim, Karaka North, two leaders within a foot of each other and running parallel, are discovered.  In one of these gold is visible in a clean white stone.  The other leader is about four inches thick, black as charcoal, and very brittle.   It contains tin. The claimholders think these leaders are branches of a larger one, and they crush the stuff taken from the mystery black leader with the auriferous quartz without realising  what they are doing.  After crushing 10 tons of quartz at Scanlan’s machine in which gold is visible to the naked eye, to the surprise of everyone the gold is lost, except about one ounce and a half. The opinion of the observers is that the stone will turn out well, when it comes to be retorted,  however, it is found that the tin in the amalgam forced the gold through the pipe of the retort.  The retorted stuff is taken to be melted at Messrs Spencer and Co, where the result is found to be more than half tin. The cause of the apparent failure of gold is that the tin and the quicksilver amalgamated, the fine gold instead of combining, passed over the tailings, to the great loss of the owners. On examination it is found that a large quantity of tin had got amongst the quicksilver which it thickened; the gold would not go into amalgamation and was lost. In consequence of the loss, and the necessity for making a minute examination of the minerals in the claim before proceeding with the work, the Warden grants a protection for claim owner George Haigan for three months.  This is an interesting discovery although the shareholders in the New Caledonian claim have lost heavily by making it. 

The Annual Report of the Auckland Provincial Hospital for 1867 includes details of an advanced case of fever which was sent to the hospital from the Thames goldfield.  The complication in this case was pulmonary and the patient had a deep, somewhat purple, suffusion of the face.  There was much dyspepsia, cough, low muttering, delirium and diahorrea.  Death took place ten days from admission and in addition to numerous ulcers in the small intestine,  the right lung was found extensively hepatised.


John Goodall was a Thames goldfields surveyor who had started a private practice as a Civil and Mining engineer.  Born in India, educated in England, he arrived in New Zealand in 1863 and worked as an assistant engineer on the Auckland- Drury railway line. Between 1864 - 1866 he surveyed land for military settlers.   He served in the Waikato campaign and received a NZ war medal.  Not to be confused with the Coromandel Waihau Mine Manager John Goodall.


Papers Past
The Pioneer land surveyors of NZ Part IV

© 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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