Sunday, 29 April 2018

30 April to 6 May, 1868

Times are mending.

Recent arrival at the Thames, surveyor Daniel Manders Beere, was also a keen photographer.  Here he has photographed the family of his brother Gerald Butler Beere on the veranda of a house in Shortland, 1868
Interestingly the woman seated on the left also appears in the following two images.
National Library Ref: 1/2-096138-G

Grey Street, Shortland, showing the same woman and the first Post Office.
National Library Ref: 1/2-096130-G

The same woman at right centre
House and garden of Wirope Hoterini Taipari 
National Library Ref: 1/2-096134-G 

Thursday, 30 April
A rumour is current in Shortland this morning that information has been received from Auckland via Tapu Creek, of the accidental drowning of Matthew Barry, a pioneer of the Thames goldfield.  There is general disbelief and then relief when it is realised the origin of the rumour is the fact that Mr Barry, of the Kuranui company’s claim, accidentally fell in the water on Tuesday night, when boarding the Enterprise.

A parcel of 18 lbs stone brought to town from the Puriri is crushed and retorted, yielding 47 oz gold.

Mr D Lundon, landing waiter at Shortland, writes his report showing the number of vessels, the nature of their cargo and the number of passengers arriving and leaving Shortland to the fortnight ending 30 April.  “The population of this district is increasing steadily, the building trade is brisk, and in consequence, timber is fetching higher rates, stores and cottages are springing up in all directions, and on the whole this place is assuming the appearance of a settled population.  At Hastings (Tapu Creek) there are new discoveries of gold every day and the Clyde is now a regular trader between the latter place and Shortland, and is doing great passenger trade."

During a quarrel this evening a miner named James Clarkson, working in Mulligan’s No 1 claim, has his leg fractured. Dr Sam is sent for to set the injured leg. 

                           Fly for Shortland with 8 trusses hay, 2 bags flour, sundries

Friday, 1 May
There is now a growing sense of optimism and hope around the Thames goldfield.  The Daily Southern Cross comments “It is agreed by all businessmen in the community that the depression under which the city and province has suffered is fast passing away and that we have prosperity in view of a better character than we have had in war times . . . the Thames goldfield has progressed steadily and rapidly since it was opened, and has been of great assistance to Auckland.”

The NZ Herald editor agrees -   “It is indeed with thankfulness and pleasure that we are able to write more cheerfully than for some time past . . . of the condition and prospects of the Province of Auckland . . . not only are we assured of the certainty of prosperous times in the future, but we are already beginning to enter upon them.  We have passed through the worst, and to use a homely phrase 'times are mending.'  Of course very much of this is owing to the Thames goldfields.  The yield is as yet comparatively small, but its effects have been the more felt since it has fallen almost entirely into the hands of Auckland men and has found its way to the city, instead of Melbourne or Sydney, as in the case of the Otago and West Coast diggings.  That the yield is not at the present moment equal to the return from the southern goldfields is simply owing to the fact that all hands are either engaged in the erection of machinery, or are waiting for the erection on neighbouring claims . . . The Thames has justified all our expectations.  The field is very extensive and almost uniformly auriferous, and what is more, cannot be worked out in a generation.”

At the Auckland Police Court Mr Coombes, proprietor of the Empire Hotel, stands accused of having music in his hotel.  He produces a permit for dancing and singing but His Worship says “You are asking me for what I cannot do.  What is it for?”
Coombes says “It is a provision for some friends - some diggers.  I want a little singing going on in the house."
His Worship asks “Do the diggers want singing at the Thames?”  Mr Coombes replies ‘They are up from the Thames”
 “Are they, indeed?” says His Worship.  “The sooner they go back, the better.  This is no special occasion.  What I call 'a special occasion' is not meant for a number of diggers and others.  The diggers are generally a class of good and orderly people, as far as we find, they are a marvelously well behaved set of people down there – remarkably well behaved, and don’t require this sort of thing.  There are only two policemen down there to preserve order, and it shows very clearly the diggers don’t require this dancing and singing you hope to provide for them.”
Mr Coombes concedes “No dancing your Worship.”
His Worship replies “They require no singing; they prefer going to bed and resting themselves to be prepared for the labours of the next day.  You desire to keep them up nearly all night and they would rise in the morning with a headache probably.  This is not a special occasion and I cannot grant a permit.”   There is some question over the authenticity of the permit and the signatures of justices of the peace on it.

Apprehension is felt for the cutter Avon, which left Auckland for Shortland heavily loaded on 25 April and which has still not arrived at the Thames. She had on board merchandise for several storekeepers to the amount of £1,500 together with casting for a crushing machine.  At the time of leaving Auckland rough weather ensued with fierce squalls of rain and gales.

Mr John Lambert Tole is appointed Mining Registrar for the Thames Goldfield.   Mr Tole, J Breen and Daniel  Manders  Beere are appointed as mining surveyors for the Thames Goldfield. Daniel Beere, an Irishman, is a civil engineer as well as a very good artist and keen photographer.  He has spent time in Canada and the USA doing survey work on the railways while continuing his sketching.   He came to New Zealand in 1863, and in 1864 was appointed to serve under the Provincial Government as a surveyor at Auckland.  He then worked in the Waikato District, leaving the service in October 1867 after completion of the road from Mercer to Ngaruawhahia.  He and brother Holroyd now live at the Thames, surveying the goldfields and dealing in fractions and shares of claims.  John Lambert Tole is the son of John Tole, an early Auckland surveyor. 

Map of the Karaka block, Thames goldfields,  survey by D.M. Beere.

Joseph Mulligan gives a grand ball and supper at his new house, the Governor Bowen Hotel, Waiotahi.  Everything is done in the first rate style for which the house is celebrated.

Wahapu for Shortland with 2,000 bricks, 1 ton machinery, 2 packages drapery.

DSC 1 May, 1868

NZH 1 May, 1868

The slight flavour of winter. 

Saturday, 2 May
An address from the inhabitants of the Thames will be forwarded this day to the Agent of the General Government for presentation to his Excellency the Governor, George Bowen.   It is plainly embossed on parchment.  

George Hamlin and his mates, the last of the Manaia prospectors, have been obliged to leave that locality through lack of supplies, which they depend on receiving from Auckland.  These men are experienced miners and deserve encouragement for their perseverance.

The Shortland sharemarket reports a week of wet, cold and boisterous weather which has had more effect in depressing the share market than usual.  The slight flavour of winter experienced during the past week has considerably damped the ardour of speculation, roads have been rendered impassable and one of the largest crushing machines has been brought to a standstill.

Seaflower for Shortland from the Bay of Islands with a cargo of coal.  

Stag for the Thames with 15,000 ft timber, 4 tons sashes and doors, 7,000 shingles, ½ ton coals.

Captain Thomas Seon, master of the Enterprise, is obliged to put pen to paper and writes to the Daily Southern Cross to contradict a statement which has appeared in the Thames Advertiser  respecting Mr Barry having fallen overboard from the Enterprise.  In fact Mr Barry fell from the Maori Chief on her way to the Tauranga, the Enterprise being in Auckland at the time.  He adds that the death of Mr Peck, found drowned in the Hape Creek, was attributed to the Enterprise as well, which is an untruth, the man never having been on board.  “I should not trouble you with these remarks, only that any accident happening is always put down to the Enterprise,” he huffs.

At Nelson, Mr Stafford addresses the electors of the district, saying in part,  “I accompanied the Governor lately to the gold district of the Thames and did not meet with a single  discontented person.  I met as I walked along the beach more women and children, asking how they were doing and with a single exception (and this man admitted that he had made 30s the previous week) all said they were doing well and were contented.  The tents are disappearing and give place to substantial houses, and the diggers are daily sending for their families . . .  that goldfield has saved Auckland, by preventing the loss of population, and population is the strength of our country.”

This afternoon, as with every Saturday afternoon now at the Thames, there is a great gathering of men at Butt’s corner.

The missing cutter Avon arrives safely at the Thames. She left Auckland on Saturday 25th April at 8pm for Shortland and was compelled by calms to bring to off Taylor’s Island, where she remained for the night.  She left there on the evening of Sunday between 10 and 11pm heading for Shortland when, about three or four miles off the sandspit, her starboard rigging was carried away in a squall.  This necessitated the vessel being put on the other tack and stand away down the Thames and out to sea.  Cabbage Bay didn’t have sufficient shelter so she made for Great Barrier, arriving on the 27th about 2pm. The wind freshened and as the night was murky, there was no possibility of repairing the rigging.  At daylight the Avon was below Waiheke. She put into Tryphena Bay and while there was fitted with temporary rigging. The wind continued to blow for three successive days and the Avon was unable to get out until Thursday night, 30 April.   The Avon, in the company of the cutter Waterlily, then started for the Thames.  

A complimentary benefit is being given tonight by gentlemen amateurs to Mr Clifford, lessee of Captain Butt’s theatre.  The house is a bumper one and the performances – farce, tragedy and acrobatic feats- are received with appreciation.

Various garbled reports reach Auckland this evening regarding the missing cutter Avon but there is little doubt that she is safe, whether at the Thames, Cabbage Bay or the Great Barrier. On the arrival of the Enterprise it is reported that the Avon is at Cabbage Bay dismasted, but the Tauranga, which arrives about an hour later, reports her safe arrival at the Thames.  It is thought possible, however, that the Sumter may have been taken for the Avon.  It is hoped the Midge will bring some reliable information as to her whereabouts.

NZH 2 May, 1868

Sunday, 3 May
The new Presbyterian Church at Shortland, fronting the Karaka Hill, is opened for Divine Service today by the Rev James Hill of Auckland.  The new gentleman conducts three services, but due to  the very unfavourable weather the attendance is not large, and collections made at the close in aid of the building fund total only  £4 17s.  The church building is almost complteted, although it was only begun five weeks ago.  It is a spacious but plain building and has 46 rows of seats, capable of accommodating 300 persons.  It includes a vestry and there are 12 windows, affording ample light.   A platform with a book board and panel front will serve as a pulpit until the requirements of the Thames warrant a more suitable church.  The present building will then be converted into a school room.   The church, built by George Heron, reflects great credit on him with its neatness and general workmanship.  The simple style of the building with no ornamentation is eminently suited for the purposes of a goldfields church.  Rev Hill reflects  “We commenced our services in the old court house, but by and by our worthy friend John Butt gave us use of his theatre . When I first came here there were only two ladies in the place.  No community can prosper without ladies.

Monday, 4 May
It is a day of incessant rain; it rains, then pours and then mildly rains again.  Despite this the NZ Herald correspondent does his rounds of the claims, going up to Moanataiari Creek as far as Punga Flat to see the new road there.  Taking the line of creek he passes several claims in various stages of industry.  At Carpenter’s he observes an attempt has been made to put up machinery but it does not look likely to succeed.  There is a very small engine which is intended to drive eight stampers but somehow the steam is not sufficient to drive the one stamper already erected.  Leaving these claims he sees men who are sawing large and small timber for the machines.  He is shown over Clark and Kesterman's machine but by now he is wet and hungry and doesn’t have the concentration for absorbing scientific knowledge that he usually has.  The report generally along the whole of Moanataiari Creek is favourable but there is not the crushing power for one-twentieth of the stuff ready for the mills.  If this is what it is now, what will it be by the time fine weather comes again to dry the roads?  There is nothing for it but roads and tramways and the sooner the better.  Two or three weeks ago the cartage of 1000 bricks was 10s, now it is £5.  A two horse sled can just dray along 100 bricks – a man sinks to his knees on the same road. 

A shaking machine is in the course of completion by an enterprising gentleman on the Karaka which will prove very valuable in saving the gold with the use of quicksilver.  Already a test has been made and gold saved from the tailings.   The men of the  Bobbie Burns claim at the junction of Karaka and Collar Bone have been busily engaged during the week at several new drives, with a view to testing the ground.   This claim was one of the earliest taken up but until recently little was done in the way of systematic working.

A very large extent of ground at the Thames has now been prospected and pegged off into claims and proved to be auriferous.  Gold is regularly sent to Auckland.  Machines are being put up in every direction, but the hilly and broken character of the country renders it difficult to transport heavy articles up the numerous creeks and gullies and hillsides.  There is a large and daily increasing population.  The flat land at the foot of the hills from Shortland to Kuranui is being rapidly covered with houses and stores. There are plenty of unemployed men, but it is anticipated this will change shortly as more machines get into operation.  Wages vary from 5s to 10s per day, bread is 6d to the 2 lb loaf, beef and mutton 5d to 7d per lb, butter 1s to 1s 4d.  Groceries are a shade over Auckland prices, so that the cost of living is not very high.  The Warden’s court has a good deal of business and lawyers are making money rapidly.     

The question of street formation and the construction of roads and other public works is one of pressing and immediate necessity as winter sets in. There is a suggestion that, with the abundance of material close at hand for making good roads and streets,   60 or 70 prisoners from Mt Eden could be drafted in to the Thames. A rough suitable building could be put up for them at very little expense.  The cost of keep and guarding them would be very little more.  As an inducement for diligence and good behaviour, they could be granted certain luxuries in the shape of tea and tobacco and a small weekly sum.  To those who labour diligently three weeks of labour could be counted as five weeks imprisonment.  

The NZ Herald notes approvingly of the Thames “the very glowing accounts with which we are now favoured from so many quarters leaves little room for mere everyday reports of what a more commonplace observer may be able to see . . . those who but a few short months ago declared we were all mad to come here at all, are now rushing about looking out for interest in claims and bank managers are to be seen speaking to fellows with blue shirts on their backs. “
 Spey for Hastings (Tapu) with sundries. 

Rosina for the Thames with 6,000 bricks.

 Stag for the Thames with 15,000 ft timber, 4 tons sashes and doors, 70,000 shingles, ½ ton coals.

The first meeting of the members of the Auckland Institute is held this evening in the Museum Room, Provincial Government Buildings, Princes Street, Auckland.  Mr Gillies reads a note that had been left at the museum stating that a number of miners from the Thames had visited the collection, and were much interested and gratified at examining the minerals there. Several items have been sent to the society including part of a porpoise's head and a piece of copper off the ship Boyd, the crew of which had been massacred and eaten.

Dwellings too numerous to count.

Tuesday, 5 May
Early this morning the Harriet leaves for Shortland taking down a steam engine which has been obtained by Mr Fleming to drive a battery of stampers on the Royal Duke of Edinburgh claim, Moanataiari.  The engine is of English manufacture.   During a recent disastrous fire in Grey Street, Auckland,  the machine was only saved from complete destruction by the energetic efforts of Mr Hawkeswood of Chapel Street.  The fire, which broke out at quarter to 4 on the morning of 28 April, originated in the kitchen under the shop of Mr Teasdale, baker.  Nine shops and houses were destroyed.

The injured cutter Avon arrives safely at Auckland harbour eleven days after leaving.  She will remain in harbour for repairs until tomorrow night. 

Up the Waiotahi new ground is being taken up in advance each week. Some new ground of considerable richness has just been pegged out high up on the Moanataiari and causes a slight rush in that direction. From the Waiotahi Hill overlooking the low land where, only  a few months ago, nothing save the scrub and patches of green foliage could be seen with Maori habitations dotted here and there, there are  now  tents and dwellings too numerous to count, and a host of busy people at work.  The most notable feature is the prominent machines with their water wheels steadily turning and the reverberation of the stampers.  Of these there are three at work and two others nearly ready. There is perhaps no prettier picture on the field than a neatly arranged quartz mill nestled by its stream of water under the shelter of the evergreen hill, with its white steam escaping and evidences of life and labour around it.    .

Passing over the Karaka, the men of the Cuckoo claim  with others from the Tui and Captain Cook claims immediately underneath them, are felling huge trees to clear a road to get to the nearest machine and are also bridging over the creek at the foot of the hill leading on  to Waiotahi. Mr Roennau, manager of the Two-Fingered claim, Waiotahi, calls at the Cross printing office with some magnificent specimens of gold bearing quartz taken from five distinct leaders.  The gold is exceedingly fine in character and it appears likely that machinery will have to be obtained from Australia to work the claim to advantage.  The gold is so scaly and light as to float away on top of the water supplied to the stampers. The owners of the Star of the South claim are leveling a piece of ground today for a tent and discover close to the surface a leader of extraordinary richness.

Mining matters at the Puriri are assuming quite a business-like aspect.  There are no less than five claims on the ground in which auriferous quartz has been found and the majority of miners have only been at work on the ground a few weeks.  Samples contain alternate patches of brown and blue quartz which is the general run of stone there.  There are occasional runs of snow-white crystals in which gold has been discovered.  A party of Maori are at work on the opposite spur, with a tolerable prospect of success.  There are about 100 miners on the ground altogether.  Messrs Buckland, Wrigley and Co will be erecting 10 head of stampers on the Puriri in a few weeks time.

The Colonist informs its readers that over £100,00.00 has been expended on the goldfield alone in buildings and machinery since it was leased from the Maoris.

A NZ Herald correspondent notes drolly that lately  “the roads, the wharf and the local independent committee are in a state of coma.”

During this afternoon at Auckland a shocking report gets afloat about town that the boiler of the Enterprise has burst at Shortland injuring a number of passengers and considerably damaging the vessel itself.

Dozens of people arrive at the Thames by the Tauranga tonight – so many indeed that the Clyde as well as the Maori Chief have to convey passengers from the steamer to the landing place.  The visitors have come to assist at the Presbyterian Church Soiree which is held at 6pm.  The church is profusely decorated with flags and evergreens.  More than 300 people are present during teatime.  Ladies contribute trays of cakes and there is a very good assortment of flowers.  After the tea tables are cleared a meeting is held.   ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ is then sung by the full choir.  Rev Hill announces that a picnic will be given tomorrow to the children who attend Mr James McKee’s school.   

The Enterprise’s whistle is heard at Auckland and in a few minutes she hauls alongside the Queen Street wharf without a trace of any damage whatever.  The report that has been circulating throughout the day is found to be nothing more than a disgraceful hoax.  The NZ Herald correspondent scribbles furiously  “We cannot strongly reprehend the malice, stupidity or culpable carelessness of parties who fabricate or circulate such canards without reflecting upon the anxiety or mental anguish they might cause to many persons in town.”

 Harriet for Shortland with 5,000 ft timber, 2 tons hay, 2 bags oats, 2 bags bran, 2,000 bricks, 1 boiler. 

Rob Roy for Shortland with 5,000 ft timber,  2 tons hay, 3 tons flour, 2 horses, 1 dray, 5 bags sugar, 5 cases kerosene, 5 boxes candles, ½ ton cheese and 4 tons groceries.

Wednesday, 6 May
The children belonging to the Presbyterian school at Shortland have their first treat today.  About 80 boys and girls assemble in the school room, and headed by their esteemed master, James McKee, march through the town to the new Presbyterian Church.  The children indulge in the usual games of innocent enjoyment during the morning.

At the Resident Magistrates Court before Allan Baillie and Archibald Clark, JP,  James Horn is charged with stealing on 30 April 2 oz gold, £4 in money and two miner’s rights, the property of Alexander Smith, a miner from the West Coast.  He is committed to trial at the Supreme Court, Auckland.

Considerable interest is taken in a case which is about to be heard at Shortland in connection with McIssac’s claim (now the Tapu Company’s).  An injunction has been obtained to prevent the working of the surface ground by a party distinct from the company and every effort is now being made to get rid of the unwelcome neighbours.  The Thames diggings have certainly been a harvest for the gentlemen of the legal profession.

The NZ Herald makes a scathing observation of the fledgling township of Grahamstown at the Thames. “The whole line of beach from Shortland to Waiotahi is being rapidly covered in houses.   Giving new names, such as Grahamstown, to what is in reality part and parcel of Shortland, is the opposite of wisdom and the attempt to have duplicate sets of officials and expenses for two ends of the same town is something more than foolishness; it is seeking to burn the candle at both ends.  A few houses have sprung up a little more than a mile from the centre of the goldfields and we are virtually asked to form these into a new town, with all the attendant waste of public money.  The expense of carting goods from Shortland to Waiotahi is put forward as a grievance.  We look upon this as the merest childishness.  The distance between the two places is a little over a mile . . .  a few roods of land is called after some English town covering an area five hundred times as large, such as Devonport and Cheltenham, for instance, at the North Shore, and now we have Grahamstown at Shortland, as if Grahamstown at W(h)angarei was not quite enough.   The Provincial Government has not received one penny from gold duty during the last ten months.  The general government has retained all that has been paid and if the goldfields were made a county tomorrow, the general government would not pay any portion of the gold duty to the new county, anymore than it does now to the Province.  It is the merest folly imaginable that the General Government is a most liberal stepmother, and will give the Thames more than it receives from it.”

The children of the Thames Presbyterian School are sumptuously regaled with cake and buns and then resume their games.

A shareholder in the Fitzroy claim at Tapu, Peter Brown, a Swede, is engaged in opening the face of the hill when a large quantity of earth falls on him from a considerable height.  One of his ankles is fractured. His comrades promptly secure a stretcher and have him carried over the hills and through the gullies to Tapu township,  a distance of three miles.  He is put on board the Clyde to be conveyed to the Tauranga later this evening which will take him to the Provincial Hospital in Auckland.  One of his mates accompanies him. 

The master of the cutter Sovereign of the Seas, on arrival at Auckland from Whangapoua, reports that some good gold has been found at Kennedy’s Bay.  

The young folk of the Thames Presbyterian School are marched back to the schoolroom and disperse, evidently well pleased with their day’s amusement and recreation.

The new Presbyterian church is crowded this evening by the residents and other members of the denomination, to celebrate the opening of their first place of worship in Shortland.  Ministers of the Church of Scotland from Auckland assist.  Ladies who have never been on a goldfield before are amongst the visitors. In the preliminary part of the proceedings Chief Taipari and many of the influential Maori in Hauraki take part.  Mr James Gillespie makes some remarks on the early state of the Scotch church in connection with witchcraft.  Whatever witches might be in those days, he could not say, but he is quite sure that the ladies present now are the most bewitching.

A meeting of the Thames Improvement Committee is held this evening at Butt’s Hotel.  Replies and answers to Superintendent Williamson respecting the wharf and tramway are received.  Four diggers are added to the committee to represent the digging community.  A NZ Herald  correspondent, Charles Mitchell, resigns, reserving himself the right to report on the proceedings in whatever manner he pleases.  The committee resolve that members of the press be not admitted to these meetings, but reports of the committee will be sent to newspapers. The question of a Shortland county is discussed, and after lengthy debate, the meeting is adjourned to Monday next.

The American Theatre is crowded this evening, the occasion being the complementary benefit to Mr J Hooper, one of the members of the corps.  A very large bill is provided, including the French play 'Camille', the part of the heroine being played by Mr Hooper with considerable skill.  The make up and general conception are very good and do not fail to receive the applause of the audience.

Sketch for a "closer wood" stage scene at Shortland's American Theatre by Thomas Monkhouse.

On board the Tauranga, a passenger from Shortland, Mr Aicken, of Newton, kindly applies bandages to the injured leg of Peter Brown, party relieving the suffering of the poor fellow.

DSC 6 May, 1868


Mr Lundon's report also noted the number of vessels arrived at the Thames from 16th to 30th April were 62, showing a total tonnage register of 1,862. The passenger arrivals were 1,415 and departures 975, leaving a balance in favour of immigration of 446 souls in a fortnight. Dutiable goods imported – Spirits – 878 gallons, wine – 57 gallons, tobacco – 778 lb. Fifty tons of Kawakawa coal also arrived direct from the Bay of Islands. During the month of April 5047 ozs 0 dwts 5 grs of gold from the Thames was exported from Auckland, yielding a revenue to the colony of £634 5s 1 d.

The Boyd was a 395-ton convict ship  that sailed in October 1809 from Australia's Sydney Cove to Whangaroa, NZ, to pick up kauri spars.  The ship carried several passengers, including ex-convicts who had completed their transportation sentences and four or five New Zealanders who were returning to their homeland. Among the latter was Te Ara, or Tarrah, known to the crew as George, the son of a Maori chief  from Whangaroa.  The Boyd massacre occurred in December 1809 when Māori residents of Whangaroa killed and ate between 66 and 70 Europeans.  This is reputedly the highest number of Europeans killed by Māori in a single event in New Zealand, and the incident is also one of the bloodiest instances of cannibalism on record. The massacre is thought to have been in revenge for the whipping of Te Ara by the Boyd's crew.  In retribution European whalers attacked the island pa of chief Te Pahi in the possibly mistaken belief that he ordered the killings. Between 16 and 60 Maori and one European died in the clash. News of the events delayed the first missionary visits to the country, and caused the number of shipping visits to fall to "almost nothing" over the next few years.

The land for Graham(s)town at Whangarei was purchased by Henry Walton  and William Smellie Graham in the mid-1860s. It was then called Kaiwaka Point, but they renamed it Graham(s)town. In 1912 it was renamed again to Onerahi to prevent a conflict with Grahamstown at the Thames.  

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.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

23 April to 29 April, 1868

Don't let any more strange Europeans interfere. 

Thursday, 23 April
Mr Mackay attends a korero with the Ngatipoura at Tararu Point where there is a large gathering of tribes.  The Ngatipoura are owners of most of the auriferous ground not only in the Shortland district, but for miles beyond. It is hoped satisfactory arrangements between the government and Maori for the leasing of much valuable country beyond the township can be achieved.The korero involves lots of speechifying and many professions of loyalty. 

In consequence of Mr Mackay being absent all day and Mr Baillie being at Tapu, the Warden's court is postponed.  It had been adjourned until yesterday and was again adjourned until today but on the opening of the court this morning is further adjourned until Tuesday. This is causing great loss of time on the part of witnesses and solicitors.  Some gentlemen have come up from Auckland in order to be present at the case of Dixon v Graham, which is one of considerable importance.

Superintendent Williamson issues a notice calling for plans for the building of the much needed wharf at Shortland Town.  He invites tenders, receivable until noon on Friday 22nd May, for the construction of the wharf.  Plans and specifications of the proposed works may be seen at the office of the Inspector of Works, Princes Street, Auckland, on and after Thursday next.  Tenders are also invited until Monday 18th May, from persons willing to undertake the formation of a bridle track to connect the town of Shortland and the Tapu Creek. The Superintendent returns to Auckland by the Tauranga.

This evening Mr Mackay leaves for Auckland also, in the cutter Emma, in order to proceed to the Waikato with the Governor. 

Butt’s American Theatre will be closed for alterations this evening and tomorrow, and will re-open with fresh attractions on Saturday night.

Tickler for Shortland with 60,000 shingles.

NZH 23 April, 1868

Friday, 24 April 
A deputation from the the Ngatimaru tribe hold a meeting this morning at Robert Graham’s store, Waiotahi.  Chief Aperahama says  “I have come to speak on account of my brothers and chiefs concerning three subjects, that we, the natives, have all  agreed upon.  First, that we have come to the conclusion that all the land between the Karaka Creek and the Waiotahi shall be called 'Grahams Town'.  Second that all the streets that are laid out in Grahams Town shall all be newly baptized and not allow any of the names of streets in Shortland Town to pass the Karaka Creek, and we leave it all in your hands to see it is carried out.  Third.  Now, listen to me Mr Graham – we have all agreed that you will act for us as our father, and all my brother chiefs have consented that if you wish to make a wharf on any part of the beach of Grahams Town, one and all of us gives you full power to do so, and for you to decide on the best site for the construction of a wharf. We don’t wish to have any payment whatever, and you are at liberty to make use of all the stones and any timber.  If wanted, you can get it cut from any of the forests situated on the side of the Grahams Town township.  And furthermore, that we will not allow any of the stones within the boundary of Grahams Town to be taken for the use of paving the town of Shortland.  Now, further, listen.  Don’t let any more strange Europeans interfere with the survey or make any alterations whatever with the roads at Grahams Town.  We leave all that entirely in your hands, so that we have no more disputes as we have had.”

There is concern that this area is to be given a different name from  the already laid out township of Shortland but it is because  the land leased by Mr Graham  belongs to a different tribe to that of Shortland. 

The Thames Crushing Company make an offer to the claimholders in the Moanataiari  to construct a tramway along the creek to the machine,  the claimholders to  give the necessary labour and receive credit for its value when they send stuff to the machine to be crushed,  The project is very favourably received.

At Tapu Creek, now called Hastings, rumours are circulating of the fabulous wealth of Quinn and Cashell’s claim.    Publican’ and storekeepers are unanimous in their praise of the claim.  It is said that gold and quartz are taken out of the drive in barrowsfull and gold is seen in solid lumps.  A sample being exhibited shows gold lying between a casing of blue quartz.  Like all the other claims in this district, the seam consists of loose blue slate and quartz thickly impregnated with gold.  Messrs Quinn and Cashell appear to possess one of the best claims in the Thames district.

A footpath for the Ladies.

A meeting is held this evening at the Governor Bowen Hotel, Waiotahi, for those interested in the result of the deputations to Superintendent Williamson regarding roads and wharves. Some two to three hundred people gather.  Robert Graham presides.  The report  is read by Charles Mitchell and Mr Brackenbury.  It states the Provincial chest contains no funds for the purpose of constructing the streets and as to the wharf at Waiotahi – the Maori will not concede a site. If a wharf was built at Waiotahi , in the event of dutiable goods being landed, a customs officer would have to be appointed and his salary paid.  With regard to the roads the Superintendent has said the government has no money, however, if  a Highway Board were formed, land scrip could be given to them.  The government would spend no money on the roads until the native title was extinguished and the roads dedicated to the government.
The Waiotahi deputation recommends unity of action between the people of Waiotahi and Shortland.

Discussion takes place as to the Maori allegedly refusing the right to a site for a wharf.   Robert Graham states that the Maori had spoken to him this morning and had absolutely assigned a site without charge to the inhabitants.   As to the formation of a roads board, he did not see how it could be done, but if voluntary contributions were spent on the roads, then legally the Superintendent could still give them the scrip. There could be no jealousy between the two places, they were only two ends to the same town,  As to the government assisting Shortland it was natural they should do so, as Shortland was their first child, but afterwards they, at Waiotahi, would have a good claim on them. Robert Graham recommends instant action with regard to the roads and says he himself is prepared to subscribe £30. Mr Plaice suggests that if a certain proportion of men were taken from each claim for a week, this in addition to a subscription, would enable them to finish the roads in a very short time. Mr Mitchell proposes that a subscription list be opened and that those who cannot subscribe might put their names down for a couple of days work towards the formation of a road from Waiotahi to Karaka. Dr Sam inquires whether the road is to be made and then abandoned, or whether a reserve fund would be kept to repair it.
Mr Graham replies that that would be an ulterior consideration, the first object would be to make the road, then if further repairs were required, another meeting could be called.  Dr Sam says that in that case, the proper course will be to form a county and so obtain their own revenues for expenditure on their own roads.  This suggestion is met with considerable applause.

A passionate Robert Graham says he quite agrees with the idea of the place being constituted a county, similar to Westland, and a memorial signed by the Thames miners would secure such a step. The revenue arising from the export of gold must be expended in the district, however much the Superintendent says there is not  the means. If they only had a footpath for the ladies to walk upon, he should like to see it done. If it could not be done any other way, let them set aside a road and tapu it, as the Maori do, so that no cart should go that way. They must have roads and a wharf in order to convey goods as cheaply as possible to their doors.   If the government erects a wharf they will be taxed to pay for it, and they have had enough of that already. Goods must be landed at Waiotahi and not sent on to Shortland, in order to add a 5s expense to every ton they required.  It had been ordered at Shortland that all goods were to be landed there, but no such order could be maintained.  Goods that require duty to be paid could be landed at any part of the coast.  He had called upon the Collector of Customs in Auckland and was assured of this.  Let the people of Waiotahi and the people of Tapu get wharves of their own, and have their goods brought to their own doors as cheaply as possible.  (Cheers)

Mr Plaice says he thinks there is a little jealously on the part of Shortland with regards to the wharf, but certainly not  so far as roads are concerned, because they will benefit both parties.  He is in favour of making the roads at once and seconds Mr Mitchell's proposal for a subscription list. Dr Sam proposes that the meeting should be suspended until after a public meeting which is to be held at Shortland on Monday.

Tensions simmer as the representatives of the Shortland deputation speak. Mr J Horne says the Shortland people are bringing their own matters to that meeting on Monday. He will not consult with the Waiotahi deputation on the matter now.  He also suggests that this meeting adjourn until the plans and estimates are before them.  With regard to the roads it appears to him they need not expect anything done for them and if they can do it themselves, they should set about it. Mr Swan says he has learned tonight something that he did not know - that there are two townships forming at the Thames. 

Robert Graham replies somewhat defensively that he has taken up the land in the same manner as the miner took up his claim and he has a right to do so.   He has not been able to ascertain where the roads were to be, or more would have been done in that respect.  Every crossing had been bridged by his orders and he has been waiting until the line of roads is settled by the government before doing more. He will take care however, now that the roads have been dedicated by the Maori, that no alteration is made by Mr Mackay or the Governor.  He says this in order that the persons present who have been holding back the improvement of their property might take the hint.

Mr Mitchell moves and Mr Plaice seconds that a deputation be appointed to attend the meeting at Shortland on Monday and confer with them on the subject of roads.  Three cheers are given for the chairman and the meeting separates.

The Evening News correspondent notes of the Thames that   "an epidemic in the shape of a rash desire for public meetings has broken out amongst us and the number of assemblies has become so large that one’s ideas about them are apt to get confused.  A distinguished public character was heard last night to mutter in his sleep “Unless your Honour, we get a wharf, light house and a life boat (with a rocket apparatus) at the Bobbie Burns Claim, and a permanent road across the mud flats, Shortland Town is drowned.”   Though we may joke on this subject, however it is none the less a matter for the most serious consideration.  The roads are at present simply frightful and the want of proper wharf accommodation is severely felt.”

Ariel for Shortland with 7 cases bottled beer, 3 cases geneva, 21 bags sugar, 1 ½  chests tea, 3 cases brandy,  4 cases whiskey, 1 hhd brandy, 12 kegs rum, 4 cases wine, 1 case champagne, 3 cases Old Tom, 4 sashes, 1 horse, 4,000 shingles, 5 bags flour, 2 cheeses.   

 Clyde for Tapu Creek with 4 tons luggage and 40 passengers.

DSC 24 April, 1868

Richness beyond doubt.

Saturday, 25 April
The Union Bank of Australasia open their new branch at the corner of Willoughby Street this morning under the management of Mr Grant.  The bank has secured the services of a professional analytical chemist in order to separate the metals on the spot.

Mr Shalder’s machine which was started during the week has turned out several tons of stuff.  The machinery will be got into more perfect working order after a few days trial.   The patent amalgamator has been found to work exceedingly well.  The machine consists of four hammers and anvils giving a pressure of 70 lb each, two only of which are at present in use. The Good Hope Claim, Murphy’s Hill (Mr Mells and five others) have been working for four months and have cleared the top off the reef so effectively that they can now work at the drives for the next twelve months.   Braithwaite’s claim, Vinegar Hill, promises to be a good thing for the proprietors, who only opened it about three weeks ago. The Ben Lomond have a small Berdan on their claim, but are compelled to resort to more powerful machinery in order to clear the bulk of their stuff.  Mr Bull, whose model stamper has gained such high repute on the goldfield, is about to erect a new six stamper machine on his ground, to be driven by water power.  His present stamper will continue to work up to within a day or two of the time his new machine is ready. The Hand-in-Hand claim have their machine, consisting of four head of stampers, at work and are expecting a good show of gold. The Fear Naught claim, on the Waiotahi, situated next to the El Dorado and Waterfall claims, have struck a very promising leader.  The Young Canadian claim on the Moanataiari is uncovering some rich leaders on what is strongly supposed to be a reef.  At the Tweedside claim, Hape Creek,  a large boulder which had been washed out of its position during recent rains fell in.  The stone was thickly impregnated with gold, but its value has not been estimated.  Another boulder found by some miners in the Moanataiari Creek, weighing 30 lb and for which £30 has been offered, has been crushed and the result is a yield of 8 oz of retorted gold. 

A small crushing a machine of a somewhat novel construction has been erected on the Karaka Creek, which only requires a small supply of water to put it in full working order.  The inventor, Mr R N Smith, intends to provide such machines to those almost inaccessible claims where carriage is an object, so that each may do their own crushing on their own ground. 

The Good Hope, Head Centre and other claims in the vicinity of the Auckland Reserve claim have put in opposition to the application of the Auckland Reserve claim for a water race, which they contend would give the claim a monopoly on the water.  The application is for three sluice heads, running north and south, eighteen inches in breadth, which will comprise about ½ a mile of water.  The Head Centre is now considered the crack claim of the Murphy’s Hill group.  They have some 10 tons now ready for the machine.  This valuable claim has been taped off by the surveyors during the week and a surplus of 49 feet taken off.

At Tapu arrangements are being made to construct a powerful crushing machine at No 3 Creek, which will be the first on the ground, with the exception of a Berdan.  The machinery is being put up by a company under the management of Mr John Gibbons.  The timber for the mill has already been put on the ground at Tapu and some two miles of tramway along the creek will be completed.  The engine will be a portable one driving 15 head of stampers, each having a Chilean mill attached. It is also intended to erect an iron water wheel and turbine capable of driving a battery of 50 to 60 head of stampers.

The Shortland sharemarket report notes this week has been marked by the arrival of a considerable number of speculators who have been investing with avidly. Shares in well-known claims are more inquired about and claims of less repute bargains are to be had every day.  It is now beyond doubt that a certain portion of the Thames goldfield, comprising about 2,000 acres,  is of amazing richness, and the fear once entertained of the leaders running out or becoming unproductive is rapidly disappearing.  The demand for sleeping shares continues and there are a great variety of shares available.

Just before sunset 12 year old James McDonald stumbles across the body of a man lying in the scrub at the junction of the Hape Creek and the Kauaeranga.  About quarter to five Constable Lipsey is informed. The body, lying on its face in the swampy mud, is taken out of the Hape Creek at low water. It is of slight build, with very dark hair and rather above average height.  It is thought to be a man who has been missing from the Mount Pleasant claim for the last eight days.   A man answering this description had started for his home in Auckland and had been seen on board the Maori Chief by his mates, but as he had not reached home his mates realised he was missing.  They did not, however, inform the police.  A miner’s right is found on the body in the name of William Peck. 

 Avon for Shortland with 2 drays, 38 pieces machinery, 10 cases beer, 5 cases Old Tom, 3 cases whiskey, 1 case ginger wine, 1 case bitters, 2 cases port wine, 2 cases gin, 3 cases brandy, 4 cases stout, 4 cases ale, quantity ironmongery, 3 cases boots, 18 bags salt, 2 cases sardines, 2 ½  tons flour, 4 ½ tons chests tea, 6 boxes candles, 2 casks glasses, 6 tins biscuits, 2 cases weighing machines, 30 packages sundries, 1 ton hay,  20 kegs butter, 7 ½ boxes tea, 10 bags sugar, 1 box soap. 

Tartar for Shortland with 10,000 ft timber, 10,000 shingles.

Rob Roy for Tapu Creek with 1 engine and boiler, 8,900 ft timber, ½ ton flour, 3 bags potatoes, 1 keg rum, 10 packages sundries.

A boat too heavily loaded with potatoes is upset at the mouth of the Thames.  The potatoes are all lost but the men get safe to Kauaeranga. 

Heavy rain sets in tonight.

DSC 25 April, 1868

NZH 25 April, 1868

Sunday, 26 April
It is a day of pouring rain.

Hastings (Tapu) is fast assuming the appearance of a nice little township and is wearing quite an air of importance and activity.  The nucleus of the crushing machines has arrived and the managers are employing men to cut roads to the spot on which they are to be erected.  There is an immense quantity of quartz on the ground ready for crushing.  Claims are opening up in all directions and parties are out in different parts of the country prospecting.  There has been a great rush of miners and visitors from Shortland and Auckland, so much so that it has been barely possible to find accommodation for them.   The only two licensed houses are full to overflowing.  Buildings are going up in all directions, from public houses to cottages and fresh streets will soon have to be laid out. Cargoes of timber, most of it for machine purposes, arrive almost daily.  Tenders are now out for the formation of the bridle track to Shortland, which, when finished will prove a great boon to  travelers.

Barrack Hill, Auckland, 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-8987'

Despite being the Sabbath, a young man who has recently married, is about to leave Auckland for the Thames this evening, with all his worldly goods. Having loaded a spring cart with furniture he drives it up to the Barrack gate, just at the very moment respectable observers of the Sabbath are wending their way to church.  He succeeds in getting as far as the front gate of the barracks when he is met by the band of the 18th Regiment leading the column on its way to attend Divine Service.  Startled by the music and the sound of the big drum, the horse sheers off the road, capsizing itself and the cart down the Barrack Green. The goods and chattels are distributed about in the grass in the most admirable disorder, and the horse and vehicle perform an interesting series of evolutions. The damage however, is confined to the furniture, several portions of which sustain very ugly compound fractures.  The horse and cart are returned to normal position and driven off, while the furniture is carried to its destination with the aid of several little boys.

The Clyde leaves Auckland this evening with a large boiler in tow for Tookey’s Flat.

Monday, 27 April
The rain clears this morning.

Notice is issued that all claims will be protected from tomorrow night  until Thursday morning, in consequence of the Auckland Regatta.

Mr A Andrews of the Auckland Post Office is promoted to the position of Postmaster at Shortland Town and will commence his new duties on 1 May.

The inquest on William Peck is held at the new Thames courthouse.  William was 48 years old, a married man, a native of Devonshire, England, who had been in New Zealand 13 or 14 years.  William was a member of the Wesleyan Church and a man of strictly sober habits.  He was well known in Auckland as a highly respectable and steady hardworking man.  William had served with credit in the 58th regiment. He was, however, subject to pains in the head and had been known to fall on the footpath in Auckland from imagining obstacles in his way.  He had had medical treatment for epilepsy in the past and a year ago had had an attack of paralysis.

William was seen on the 17th by his son-in-law, Edward Cook, when he left Edward’s hut at the Thames to go to Auckland. He was unwell at the time and his mates advised him to go.  Later that evening they saw him aboard the Maori Chief, tender to the steamers, but William never reached Auckland.   They were alerted to this fact when a letter to William, written by his wife, arrived at the Thames two days later. Inquiries revealed the captain of the Maori Chief recalled helping a man from shore to the steamer. The only solution to the mystery of his disappearance appears to be that during the transhipment from the Maori Chief to the steamer he had taken a fit and had fallen overboard in the dusk unnoticed. Constable Lipsey found one track in the mud, but no return track.  The mangroves near where he lay were broken, as if he had made a struggle for his life. He had a lump of mud in his hand. Dr Lethbridge examined the body and could not distinguish any marks of violence. An ear appeared to have been torn off which was most probably the work of a rat. William appeared to have been in the water 8 to 10 days.   Dr Lethbridge considered the man had drowned. The jury return the verdict that William Peck was found drowned on the bank of the Hape Creek but how or by what means there is no evidence to show.  It is presumed he was seized with a fit.

Colours of the 58th Regiment.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19001228-6-4

Dueling deputations
The dueling Shortland and Waiotahi deputations meet in the American Theatre adjoining Captain Butt’s hotel. There is a large attendance of townspeople and miners.  Captain John Butt takes the chair.  The report, read by Mr Mitchell, says  the superintendent is not in a position to grant any assistance from provincial or other funds for the making of roads or streets, or building wharves in the district, but states that, as soon as the Maori owners of the land obtain their certificate of title from the Native Lands court, the roads and landing places can be handed over through the government to a board of trustees, appointed under the Highways Act, who will have the power to levy rates to be expended in making roads and streets and, under the Marine Act to erect wharves, and collect dues. The superintendent also said that he will be prepared to give, under the Compensations Act, Crown land scrip for the value of £1,000 which will be available for the contemplated improvements. 

It is moved that a committee be appointed to watch the proceedings of the Native Land court respecting the passing of the certificate of native titles,  and take measures to secure to the inhabitants of this township, under the Marine Act, the collection and expenditure of all duties leviable at the wharves of Shortland, and have the power to take any steps considered necessary in the interest of the township, with respect to the proposed concession of a tramway between Shortland and the Kuranui.  The committee is also to be empowered to take such steps as will be necessary to form the Hauraki and Thames districts into a county.

Captain Butt, in putting the resolutions before the meeting, says the Superintendent has already advertised for tenders for building a wharf, but unless roads are made, of what value will a wharf be?  Quartz is lying on the ground waiting for transit to the crushing machines, and without the aid of roads it is impossible to move it. Albert Beetham rises to express the dissatisfaction he feels at the trivial manner in which the Thames is treated by the government. Beetham is a land agent and share broker who has recently opened the premises of Beetham and Walker at Shortland. He has traveled all over New Zealand during the last 17 years, and more contempt he has never witnessed than is shown by the Superintendent in the refusal of granting assistance for building a paltry wharf. He adds that they are told that Auckland is in difficulties – that officer’s salaries had to paid.  No doubt they had to be but certainly not out of the revenue from the Thames. “When we ask for money taken away from us, we are refused.  We must show the government that we are entitled to some attention and consideration and it is therefore necessary that the committee should go further than the resolutions made,” he thunders.

The Westland Act is well adapted for the Thames.  There is a clause in the act which provides for the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, wharves and other public works.  Beetham and some committee members have compiled an estimate of revenue, which he reads out.

Mr Beetham's estimate of revenues.. 
DSC 29 April, 1868

Mr Beetham proposes that the committee be empowered to take the steps necessary to form the Hauraki and Thames district into a county.  This is carried unanimously.  After a vote of thanks to Captain Butt, the meeting separates.

NZH 27 April, 1868

Tuesday, 28 April
The streets at the Thames are in a shocking state, and if the wet weather really sets in the roads will be almost impassable, unless by canoe.  In Pollen Street the vast quantity of liquid mud has sent such swarms of fleas indoors that in some of the accommodation  establishments it is utterly impossible to indulge in the luxury of sleep, the lively creatures being so assiduous in their attention, especially to visitors.

Great preparations are being made for the erection of new machinery.  Holman is erecting a small machine the stamper of which is slotted and filled with iron pins.  A Greenshields model, which raises the stampers by means of rollers, is on view at the office of the Thames Advertiser.  A party has consequently gone up to Auckland for the purpose of getting a battery made upon that principle – there is more mechanical ingenuity to be seen in it than in all the other machines put together. The only other machine on the ground for dry crushing is one of Hall’s patent ones in the possession of James Horner.  Like Shalder’s machine it is quite different from anything else on the ground. It revolves with great rapidity, the arms of the spindle throwing the quartz with violence against the serrated sides of the cylinder.   Unfortunately it is not erected; instead it lies idle and rusting in his yard. Bull’s machine is one stamper, driven by water power and so carefully does he attend to it that it is always engaged beforehand for weeks. The stampers of Pratt’s machines are far too light to be of much practical benefit.

Things appear to be going faster ahead at Tookey’s Flat than at Shortland, but in another year’s time it is expected it will all be one town. For broken down swells the Thames is a quite a city of refuge, and at all corners and out-of-the-way places they are to be seen in every conceivable rig-out in fashions new and fashions old, looking for quartz with gold.

There is a discovery of auriferous gold at Tapu by Stanley and party, to the south east of Quinn and Cashell’s claim.  The spot in which the pick is first struck is similar in appearance to the famous waterfall over which the Kuranui Creek runs in the Shotover claim.   Shortly after the discovery a half share changes hands for £300.00.

Spey for Tapu Creek with stores and 3,000 shingles

DSC 28 April, 1868

NZH 28 April, 1868

Permission to use adhesive stamps.

Wednesday, 29 April
The newly named Thames Goldfields Improvement committee meets at the Shortland Hotel this morning and elects to carry forward with the improvements of the district with respect to roads and wharves, and the separation from the Auckland Province.   The secretary is  to write to Superintendent Williamson inquiring as to the terms the Provincial Government will hand over the management of the Shortland wharf with power to collect dues, request information as to the state of negotiations regarding the right to lay tramways in the district, write to authorities regarding bringing the new goldfields regulations into practical operations, and write requesting permission to use adhesive stamps in agreements and transfers of property, until a registration officer is appointed to the Thames goldfield,  to remove the necessity of sending deeds to Auckland.  The returning officer of Franklin district is to receive a memorial signed by 30 electors requesting him to appoint a polling place at Shortland.

James Chartington is sentenced to one week’s imprisonment with hard labour, for stealing a pair of trousers.  A constable will have to be held off every day to see that Chartington does his work in filling up some of the dangerous holes on the Karaka.

Chief Taipari shows some splendid stone taken from the claim in the Hape, Karaka.  The stuff is so rich as to look more like Tapu Creek stone than Karaka gold.  Three European’s and seven Maori have taken up ten men’s ground there.

The town of Coromandel now bears quite a deserted appearance to what it did formerly.  The only activity is Mr Goodall who is superintending the dismantling of the Waihau engine, which he has sold to a party on the Thames goldfields. 

Rumours surface regarding the opening up of Kennedy’s Bay for gold mining.  A large number of Europeans are already working and prospecting in the district.  Messrs J  McGregor, McLeod, Brimner and Keir organised a prospecting party and have been prospecting all this month.  It is said Ropata intends to turn off all Europeans at present working there on sufferance, and will declare to treat with the government with regards to the opening up of that bay if Mr Mackay does not meet with him by this Saturday, 2 May. The gold in that locality is said to be of a very superior quality and it is not improbable that a rush might take place if Kennedy’s Bay should be opened.

Looking south across the Auckland Harbour showing the race of the Maori war canoes during an  Auckland Anniversary Regatta, 1860s

Views in the Province of Auckland New Zealand' by F R Stack

The annual regatta is held at Auckland today. It has been always previously held on the 29th January, the anniversary of the foundation of the colony, and the day and season most appropriate for it.  But this year the annual celebration was delayed in the full expectation that the Prince of Wales would be in New Zealand to witness it.  Instead, after the assassination attempt thwarted his plans, it was decided that the regatta should be held in the presence of the Governor before he leaves for the South.  A lingering sense of disappointment hangs over the day however.   The wharf is too exposed to be pleasant;  nevertheless the outer T is crowded and there are crowds on the high ground along the harbour.  The harbour is filled with small craft rushing through the water at a tremendous pace.  The harbour is not as animated as on previous occasions, in consequence of the entire absence of foreign vessels.  The steamer Tauranga has been selected as the flagship, and is anchored in a suitable position and cheerfully decorated with bunting.  Owing to the roughness of the water visitors to her during the day are comparatively small and several of the ladies who venture on board are compelled to leave due to sea sickness.  At 10am the gun on board the Tauranga announces the first race of the regatta of 1868 has commenced.

The Thames is represented in the second race of yachts 8 tons and under.  There are four entries including the Prince Alfred built at the Thames by Richard White for Mr McGregor. At 10.30am the vessels are off to an excellent start, the yachts running beautifully despite the rough sea.  The race is pretty evenly sustained until the North Head is rounded.  The Prince Alfred has to retire when it passes the flagship heading westward. The wind is dead against the competitors and there is a strong head sea. 

NZH 29 April, 1868

Parliament passed the County of Westland Act in 1867 and the county came into force on 1 January, 1868.  Westland County was a local government area and constituted the government for the area that was split from the Canterbury Province.  It had the same administrative powers as a Provincial Council.
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.