Times are mending.
Grey Street, Shortland, showing the same woman and the first Post Office.
National Library Ref: 1/2-096130-G
National Library Ref: 1/2-096134-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 centreHouse 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.
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.
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.
© 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.