Friday 20 July 2018

7 May to 13 May, 1868

The indolent and the industrious. 

Thursday, 7 May
An immensely rich leader, some six feet through, is struck this morning in the Kuranui No 2 claim.

The Karaka claims are improving very much now that the roads are being opened up to them.  At the Lucky Hit claim a great deal of work has been done in facing down the creek, laying a tramway and timbering a drive.  A small hand stamper is at work and a site is about to be cleared near a waterfall on the claim with a view of erecting a water wheel and more powerful machinery. The Leatherbeaters (late  Shoemakers) claim, so called because it was taken up and worked some time ago by a party of shoemakers and then abandoned as worthless, consists of three men’s ground and now has a large amount of work being done upon it. 

An assay of a sample of gold from the Kerry Claim made at the Bank of New Zealand has proved to be one of the best tried yet.  The assayers note shows the sample is worth £3 17s 10 ½ d per oz.

At the Resident Magistrates Court, before Commissioner Mackay, John Collins is charged with stealing a flannel shirt this morning, value 5s, the property of George Glascock, restaurant keeper, Pollen Street.  Collins was observed by George Glascock taking a shirt off a fence and putting it in his bag.  George immediately informed the police. The Bench orders the prisoner to undergo one month's labour on the roads.

Superintendent Williamson and other officials leave for the Thames on the Tauranga to investigate the proposed public works at Shortland.  There is a suggestion that the rails and locomotives ordered for the Auckland to Drury railway are to be utilised  at the Thames.  If the province has no money to make roads at Shortland perhaps it can at least give money’s worth in this material. The province has brought and paid for a large quantity of iron rails and rolling stock and there are at least 10 miles of rails lying at Newmarket worse than useless, which might be turned to good account at the Thames.

The government are prepared to supply the rails, wagons and locomotives if capital is forthcoming, to form the line and lay the rails.  Considering that the ground is nearly level, the expenditure would not be large, and as the undertaking would certainly yield a handsome return for the outlay, some of the capitalists who have invested in the goldfields could unite with the government in carrying out the work. A line of tramway connecting the port of Shortland with the new township on the Waiotahi Flat, then to Tararu Point, where a wharf may be built for a moderate sum in deep water, is under consideration. There is a population of at least a thousand at Hastings.  Diggers are profitably employed at the Puriri.  Were the tramway extended north and south connecting those mining districts with Shortland, the businessmen would be the first to feel the advantage.

The cutter Catherine, having left for the Thames, is driven to return to Auckland by headwinds.  She was to bring up machines from the Great Barrier for the Kuranui claim.  On the journey she comes across a capsized boat, two miles southward of Taylor’s Island. The vessel is discovered with her oars floating beneath her, suggesting she turned over suddenly.  There are fears that lives have been lost. Rumour is rife when the boat is brought to Auckland as to her ownership.

DSC 7 May, 1868

NZH 7 May, 1868

Friday, 8 May
Early this morning at Auckland the capsized boat is identified as belonging to John Graham of the firm Graham and Kirkwood.  John Graham was intending to visit his family on Motuihi Island.  He is one of Auckland’s most respected tradesmen. He had set out in his boat from Queen Street wharf in doubtful weather. The wind continued to increase during the day and it is suspected the boat capsized during a fierce squall and drowned him. 

At the Thames, Shalder’s machine on the Hape Creek is now in full working order but there is a great deal of dust about, the result of dry crushing.  This is one of the greatest faults of the machine.  A brick works has been added to the Maori industries.  Cartage is so high that a load of 500 bricks would cost from 7s 6d to 15s for a mile.   A piece of, apparently, copper wire has been found in the City of Cork claim on the Waiotahi Creek.  It was found at a depth of 40 ft.  A prospector’s claim has been applied for seven miles down the coast – nearly at Puru.

The Shortland share market report of Messrs Beetham, Walker and Co observes that the wretched weather of the past week has not produced the decrease they expected in numbers of speculators.  There has been a constant demand for sleeping half and quarter shares for which inquiries are beginning to be made from Melbourne and Sydney.  A considerable sum of money has already been forwarded to Beetham and Walker from those places for investment, and further remittances are promised.  They caution parties in purchasing direct from shareholders to be careful of whom and from whom they buy.  In the absences of any title and without knowledge of the claim, it is not easy to ascertain the real ownership of a share.  Several large sums have been paid direct to shareholders for interests in claims whose locality, quantity of quartz and reputed richness do not warrant the expenditure. On another matter they would put the public on their guard.  Many claims have names so similar as to create constant confusion.  There are two claims on the field named Hand in Hand, two Union Jacks, a Star of the North and a North Star, a Bendigo and a Bendigo Independent, a Harp of Erin and a Harp and Eagle, an All Nations and a Hope of All Nations, among many others.

Many complaints are made on the goldfield as to the insecurity of purchasing sleeping or sleeping half shares, there being no means of ascertaining how many times the parties selling them may have sold them previously to other individuals, and having sold their interest to three or four parties, and got their money leave the district and the colony before the fraud is found out.  New regulations, though, now provide for the registration of all interests in claims.

Parties who have discovered claims are people who have not, as a rule, either the requisite skill or knowledge to satisfactorily work and manage a claim, or the capital to obtain machinery.  This leads to a system injurious to all concerned and it causes many hard working men to sell out their claim which they would not do under other circumstances.  At present the whole share is sold, or a half, or a quarter, sleeping or working.  The purchaser of a working half pays expenses for work done, but he is absolutely powerless to see that the work is done for the money he pays.  Some of the people who own shares in the claims, and who intend to work diligently and with skill, may be paired with men who are neither diligent or skilful.  One or two may skulk and not do half a fair days work, the remainder must either do likewise or else they must do more work than their lazy and incompetent mate, who then shares in their labour.  He reaps what he has not sown.  This unequal yoking together of the indolent and the industrious does not secure fair play.  But as claim holders are not formed into a company, they have no power to alter this state of things.

A license to kill game in accordance with the provisions of the Protection of Certain Animals Act, 1867, has been issued to Captain Eyre, Shortland.  Auctioneer licenses for Samuel Allan Wood and Robert Schultz, Shortland, are also issued.   Applications to register the Waiotahi Gold Mining Company, the Karaka Gold Mining Company and the Tapu Gold Mining Company are notified.

Superintendent Williamson is entertained to dinner by Robert Graham at Mulligan’s Bowen Hotel, Grahamstown, this evening.  

Tartar for Shortland with 12,500 ft timber

Industry for the Thames via Tairua with 17,000 ft timber

NZH 8 May, 1868

Wealth in the bowels of the earth. 

Saturday, 9 May
There is a marked improvement in the times showing that money is becoming more plentiful among the working classes and others.  At the various auction sales held in Auckland bidding has been spirited and brisk.  Another significant sign of the times is the number of marriages which are daily taking place.  The Thames has doubtless much, if not all, to do with this change in affairs.  The tide has turned and not only is money more plentiful among the working classes and easier in commercial circles, but there is a daily and increasing confidence felt in the assurance that Auckland has seen the worst of her bad times and is steadily and surely emerging from them.  A district that less than a year ago was hardly spoken or thought of, has become a township and place of importance. The Thames goldfields are silently impressing upon the Auckland public that wealth exists there in the bowels of the earth.

A scientific gentleman in Auckland suceeds in saving gold in large proportions from small quantities of stone.  The NZ Herald supplied him with a piece of stone from Tapu in which gold could not be seen and was considered of no value – but by subjecting 100 grains of this stone to his process he obtained from it six grains of gold.  The next trial will be made on tailings taken from machines now at work at the Thames.

Shortland, 1868, by John Hoyte.
Museum of NZ

Registration Number1993-0029-3

Fine views of Shortland and the diggings, painted by John Barr Hoyte of Parnell, are on sale in Auckland. They are executed in water colours and the features are accurately shown with a skill seldom attained by colonial artists; a person living in the locality can easily recognise each familiar spot.  The position of the various principal claims extending from the Shotover to the Royal Standard, Shortland, the digger’s camp proper, the Waiotahi Flat, the beach and digger's camps everywhere are all shown very precisely.  Mr Hoyte is par excellence the landscape painter of the colony and the speed with which he turns out sketch after sketch is astonishing.   None are fancy views, but taken from nature and represent the rich,  glowing and often grand landscape scenery with which the province abounds. Mr Hoyte has executed large commissions for settlers in the south and his paintings must by now spread in hundreds through the colony.  It is predicted the time will come when they will command a high price.

A semi official notice appears at the Thames  - 
 “Notice is hereby given that know horses or carts shall pass up this road.  Any person or persons doing so will be procicuted according to the utmost rigger of the law.” (sic)

Dixon’s claim No 1, Madman’s Gully, is still turning out to the satisfaction of the shareholders. The Lisborne and Dedham claims on the Collarbone have amalgamated, with a view to forming a company. Their claims differ from the majority – they have yet discovered no golden leaders. However, there are on the claims two reefs or lodes, ten feet in thickness, and steam power is required to crush these lodes and extract the gold. The claimholders on the Karaka creek have set to work with spirit making their road and so well have they worked during the last fortnight that it is now finished as far as the Hokianga Claim. A few stones thrown down, however, on some parts would be a great improvement. Spry’s claim, next to the Happy-Go-Lucky plan to construct a water race to drive a machine they intend to put up shortly. The Flying Cloud claim are now working their drive by night shifts.

Wahapu for Shortland with 4,000 ft timber, 100 bushells lime and sundry packages stores.

The Tauranga, on her passage to Auckland from the Thames, is about a mile and a half from Tararu Point and four from Shortland when a gentleman passenger notices an object which appears to be a man’s head floating some distance astern. Constable James McGinn, also a passenger on the Tauranga, is informed and the steamer is at once put round.  On approaching the object it is found to be a man floating upright. Constable McGinn recognises him  as Thomas Hayes, better known as Long Tom.  Many of the passengers also recognise him. The body is got on board the steamer and examined and searched.  It appears to have been in the water a day or two.  It is fully clothed and his boots are covered in mud as though he had waded some considerable distance out on the mud beach at Shortland.  Constable McGinn arranges for the body to be taken up to Auckland and then to the dead house. 

Superintendent Williamson is also a passenger on the Tauranga this evening.  He has made arrangements for the laying down of a railway at the Thames for several miles along the base of the range of hills by which the quartz from the various claims can be conveyed to a suitable place for crushing or shipment near the wharf at Shortland.  Provisions can also be sent up to a large number of the claims this way.  He has also secured the services of an engineer and has been promised the assistance of a number of the claimholders, who will co operate with the government and bear a portion of the expense.  He inspected the township in Shortland with a view to making several streets, but found that the whole place will require considerable raising and leveling.  He also talked to the Maori owners of the land and they seem willing to assist in putting the roads in good repair.

Late this evening Charles Snowdon and Alfred Newdick return to their house on the Long Drive Claim, Tookey’s Flat, after spending several hours in Shortland Town. They discover that the house has been broken into during their absence.  A large quantity of receipts, cheques, cash and pocket books have been stolen.  Two pocket books are afterwards picked up a short distance from the house.  Four £20 notes in the pocket books have been overlooked by the burglars who are suspected to have  thrown away the receipts in order that no clue might be given which could lead to their detection. The numbers of the stolen notes are unknown.  The burglars made forcible entry through a window. 

DSC 9 May, 1868
NZH 9 May, 1868

Sunday, 10 May
Thames residents are indulged in what proves an agreeable change from the monotony of everyday life by an excursion to the new town of Hastings (Tapu). The day is remarkably fine and attracts a large number of people anxious for a trip on the water combined with a visit to the new area. The Clyde collects about 60 passengers. The scenery along the ranges is a welcome change from the interior of stores, mines and tents. Two hours easy steam brings the passengers in view of their destination; on the beach there are indications of a rising township and good landing accommodation is at hand.  Vessels are able to go in with the tide, discharge their cargoes and leave again with the next returning tide.  There are a number of new stores and houses going up.  There are two hotels – the British and the Duke of Edinburgh (Mr Reid and Co).  The Duke of Edinburgh are making preparations for the construction of a much larger and more convenient hotel of two storeys, whilst three other hotels  are being built for Messrs Richard Cashels, Arthur Burke and Alfred Barchard. 

Two great wants appear to be felt by the 1,000 to 1,5000 miners and storekeepers who have pitched their tents at Hastings  – namely a branch post office and a branch bank.  The allotments are being rapidly taken up, perhaps owing to the fact that the high ranges which enclose the township render its future enlargement out of the question. Discoveries of fresh claims are an almost daily occurrence. The most noticeable sign of development is the work in progress about three quarters of a mile up the creek, where some 40 men are clearing a site and constructing a road for the proposed tramway.  It is intended to connect the mines by means of shoots with the tramway.  A site for a quartz crushing mill has been secured higher up the creek, in a more central position, where it is intended to build a larger battery of stampers than the one now about to be put up. The place is gradually throwing aside the canvas air of a rush for that of a substantial township.  There is a demand for reefers or practical men and the encouragement given by one or two storekeepers is great.  These excursions of the little steamers, which have been permanently placed on the trade between the Thames and Tapu Creek, deserve to become very popular with the Shortland people.  It is probable the next special trip will be up the river, landing passengers at the Puriri, and other places, where the scenery is said to surpass even the picturesque district just visited.

 Gold at Kennedy's Bay!
Monday, 11 May
Alluvial gold has been discovered at Kennedy’s Bay causing a considerable stir in Auckland today.  Various rumours are afloat, in one case that a number of men have been quietly working there for a week or two past and they have been averaging about one pound per day.  It is true however, that a fair sample of alluvial gold has been found there washed out of a small quantity of dirt.  It has long been known that gold in an alluvial state exists at Kennedy's Bay.  From time to time parties of diggers from Kapanga, Coromandel, have prospected there and the results have been favourable, although the prospecting forays have not at any time exceeded a day or so.  The prospectors have invariably been ordered off the ground as soon as the Maori saw the water in the creek discoloured by sluicing.

The news of the discovery having spread to Shortland, parties of men now start overland for the new diggings and a rush is certain.  There is also a fair bit of ridicule over gold being discovered at Kennedy’s Bay, particularly from Auckland.

The best approach to the new field is by way of Kapanga.  The Maori  track to Kennedy's Bay is a little above Ring’s sawmill, but goods must be sent by water, on account of having to cross a high range.  The distance from Ring’s mill is about five miles.  Seven Europeans are now prospecting the ground, under sufferance, and it is most likely they will be driven away until the field is declared open.

At the Railway Terminus Hotel, Auckland, an inquest is held on Thomas Hayes (Long Tom) who was picked up on Saturday in the Firth of Thames. Thomas was about 28, a native of Liverpool who had come out from England as a steward on the Queen of the Deep about three years ago.  He had been a barman in Auckland and a digger at the West Coast and the Thames.  He was subject to epileptic fits brought on by hard drinking.  Constable McGinn thought it was probable that he was making his way towards Tapu Creek and either fell off the cliffs into the sea or in going round them got into the tide and was swept out.  A verdict is given of found drowned, without marks of violence.

A meeting of the Thames Improvement Committee is held. Mr Beetham takes the chair.  The chief topic of discussion is the tramway proposed to be laid down by Superintendent Williamson.  After discussing the immense cost it is voted to address the Superintendent on the futility of the project.  The Timaru and Canterbury Protection Bill, the Hawkes Bay and Southland Separation Bills and the Westland County Act are discussed.  It is ultimately resolved to stand by the latter.  From the manner in which the Superintendent ignores the proceedings of the committee, they have no hope of remedy from the Provincial Government.  It is the unanimous opinion of the committee that the general government would support a petition from the Thames goldfield to separate from the province of Auckland and a petition is to be drawn up and signed by miners and storekeepers in the district and adjacent settlements. It is moved that Mr Carleton, member for the Bay of Islands, be requested to visit the Thames goldfield and give his views on local self government and the question of a county for the goldfields.  Hugh Carleton is  a controversial character, often regarded as self righteous and pedantic. He is a determined enemy of provincialism.

Portrait of Hugh Francis Carleton taken circa 1860s by James Dacie Wrigglesworth
                                  National Library Ref: PA2-1959

The Enterprise takes her departure from Auckland for Shortland at dusk.  She was delayed for several hours beyond her advertised sailing time today in order that the addition of a new boiler might be completed.

The Betsy sails for Kennedy’s Bay tonight from Auckland with a number of diggers. 

Triad for Shortland with 10,400 ft timber

Tuesday, 12 May
The Tauranga leaves Auckland intending to proceed around Cape Colville to Kennedy’s Bay with Commissioner Mackay, who is to open the district for goldmining.  Some half a dozen gentlemen from Auckland accompany him, amongst them are Messrs J Smart and Macready – the latter intending to build a hotel at Kennedy’s Bay  in anticipation of a rush.  A large number of diggers are anxious to go by the Tauranga to Kennedy’s Bay but as the ground has not been surveyed they are not permitted to go.

The Tauranga arrives at Kennedy’s Bay.  Mr Mackay, a large staff of surveyors and several other Auckland and Shortland gentlemen are landed. Commissioner Mckay enters into negotiations with Chief Ropata Ngatai and his people and succeeds in arranging with them to throw open the district on the same terms as those which were made with the Shortland Maori.

Despite a plea which has appeared in all the local papers  that a rush of diggers should not be made to Kennedy’s Bay, four vessels have already been laid on, and it is feared will be crowded with passengers intending to try their fortunes on prospecting trips.  There can be no doubt whatever that the presence of a large and irrepressible crowd of Europeans must seriously embarrass Mr Mackay in the delicate business which he has undertaken.

The cutters Shamrock and Water Lily are laid on for Kennedy's Bay and will take their departure today.   The cutter Whitby will sail for Shortland today, calling at Kennedy’s Bay to land passengers.

There is threatening and disquieting news from the Upper Thames.  Signs indicate anything but a peaceable disposition on the part of the Maori there.  Messrs Buckland and Frith’s cattle have been reduced to 35 head and others are believed to be scattered through the country.  It is openly announced that the Maori intend to shut up the Waihou River and stop the traffic from the mouth. There is to be a meeting of the chiefs near Matamata on the 18th. The matter has been kept a secret amongst the tribes and unpleasant consequences are expected to arise from this conference.   A rebellion is now definitely stated to have been fixed to take place during the present or ensuing month.

Several Maori come downriver to the Thames today, among them Hoterene Potipoti, a son of Te Hira.  Mr Edmonds interprets the conversation, the subject of which is chiefly on fighting.  One old fellow says that a prophecy has been told that so long as the white man did not interfere with the right of Maori to hold their land, the Maori would not take the initiative in the war.  But should those such as Mr Firth and Mr Buckland persist in their desire to stock the land or introduce European’s to their country, they would be resisted.  They want to know the position Europeans have taken up in a Maori country and the manner in which gold is worked.  Most of these Maori have never seen a white man before.  They have a very different style from the everyday Maori of the Thames who have mixed with the Europeans.

‘Mullock’ writes in high dudgeon to the Daily Southern Cross – “ Instructions have been given to Mr Beere, CE, to make preliminary inquires relative to the construction of a tramway between Shortland and the rising township at the Waiotahi.  The route of this tramway is to be by the base of the hills, and one of the great purposes served by taking this route is to enable the diggers whose claims might be close to the tramway to send their quartz to the machines.  What a wonderful display of engineering talent this is and what a benefit  to the diggers!  But . . . the quantity of stone already supplied to the machines is quite as much as they are able to get through . . . on account of the improvements which are constantly being made in the power, portability and cheapness of crushing machinery, the diggers will have quartz crushed on their own ground and by their own machinery . . . the only difference then being obtaining a supply of the wood and water.  A few defects – first – it would be much longer than a direct line across the flat.   Second - it would require to be securely protected from the debris falling from the hills.  Third – the bridges which would be thrown over the creeks would be in constant danger of being swept away by every freshet.  Fourth  – I object to the scheme altogether, because when the wharf is erected at the Waiotahi then nearly the whole of the trade in heavy goods between Shortland and the Flat will cease. The idea of a tramway from Shortland to Tapu is objectionable on many grounds.”

‘Excelsior’ writes in stirring style also to the Daily Southern Cross - “What are the Thames goldfields?   They are permanent, massive hills, which, the more they are dug into and explored, the more they will yield . . . these Thames goldfields will be the means of rearing a hardy race of men who will be of infinite value to the country at large,  they  will surely be no puny race who will in the course of the present and future generations bring out the hidden treasures of these vast hills,  the men who can tear down these ponderous masses of rock, who can face the days of the shaft and drive, and scale these giddy heights – the men who can deny themselves a good part of the necessaries of life, can live on the plainest and coarsest food, and  can fight against difficulties of an appalling nature persevering until they attain what they know is attainable.  These are no mean race of men either physically or intellectually, more especially when we know that their habits and general demeanour are so exemplary as to require but three policemen among a population of between six and seven thousand to keep the peace – a fact which must elicit the praise and admiration of the whole world.” 

The Tauranga leaves Kennedy’s Bay taking five passengers back to Auckland.  When it leaves there are upwards of 100 men at work on the ground.  Instructions have been received to lay off a township at once on the southern part of the river.  Mr Gwynneth the surveyor will lay off a small township on the northern side of the river, on land leased by J Smart, this being the most eligible site for the goldfield. Provisions can be readily procured at Mr Patterson’s, near the sawmill.

Commissioner Mackay leaves Mr Spencer acting interpreter in the Civil Commissioner’s office to transfer miner’s rights and attend to any questions. He considers the discovery sufficient value to warrant his awarding Messrs McLeod, Brimner, Keir and McGregor four additional claims as a reward for prospecting, and to Mr Hill, J McGuire and Mitchell, three additional claims, and to the Maori Wi Paikea, Eruena Perepa and another, two additional claims, He will report to Superintendent Williamson suggesting the propriety of proclaiming the whole of the peninsula up to Cape Colville to be a goldfield. Mr Mackay has acted in this matter with his usual promptitude and energy.

The Benevolent Society holds a meeting at Onehunga with full attendance of members. Mr Christy’s gift of a ton of potatoes, for distribution among the poor, is gratefully acknowledged, and it is hoped others will follow his example, for the heads of a number of poor families have gone to the Thames without being able to make a sufficient provision for those they have left behind them.

Robert James Creighton
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland Provincial District)

The Auckland Free Press, a penny morning paper recently started by Robert Creighton, comments on the Thames “It is a great pity that more of the monied men of Auckland do not put their shoulder to the wheel, in order to develop what will, no doubt, at some future time prove the richest goldfield in the world . . . their apathy is somewhat suicidal . . ."  Robert Creighton has for several years past edited the Daily Southern Cross from which he retired a few weeks ago. The first issue of the Auckland Free Press was run off the NZ Herald machine.

Despite a diligent search being made for the body of John Graham, whose capsized boat was discovered on 7 May by a vessel from the Thames, no trace of it has  been discovered, although clothing has been found.

News arrives of the demise of the cutter Ariel which left Auckland heavily laden for the Thames on 24 April and has not been heard of since.  She arrived safely at the Thames but while proceeding to Whangapoua in ballast for timber she was wrecked on 28 April by running aground between Cape Colville and Cabbage Bay during the same gale which compelled the Avon to put in at Great Barrier.  No lives were lost.  The Ariel was a Maori owned vessel and rented by a Mr McDonald.

The Tauranga returns to Auckland from the new goldfield at Kennedy’s Bay.  Mr Mackay has resolved to prohibit any prospecting taking place until arrangements have been finally come to with the Maori.  There are at present located at Kennedy’s Bay about 70 Maori, a substantial place of worship and comfortable whares.  There are many old hands at the Thames who will avail themselves of the opening of the new district to try their luck, leaving wages men to take charge of their interests in the Karaka field.

This evening the schooner Onward arrives at the Thames from the Bay of Islands with a full cargo of Kawakawa coal to the order of Mr McDonald.  A cargo of Whangarei coal is also expected daily, to the order of Daniel Tookey.

 Industry for Tapu Creek with 1 ton flour, 1 ton biscuits, 2 hhds ale, 1 horse, 1 dray, 4,000 ft timber, 10,000 shingles, 4 casks beef, 20 sheep, 6 pigs, 18 boxes luggage, 1 case geneva, 1 case Old Tom, 1 case brandy, 1 case bitters, passengers 10

Avon for the Thames with 1,000 ft timber, 1,560 bricks and sundries

Stag for the Thames with 140,000 shingles

Lady Rath for the Thames with 100 sheep

Eclair for the Thames with timber and bricks

DSC 12 May, 1868
NZH 12 May, 1868

A new era for industry.

Wednesday, 13 May
Thames township is a hive of activity - a bellman is calling the Midge for Auckland at 11 o’clock, the Clyde for Tapu at 12 o’clock, two boats for Coromandel, landing Kennedy’s Bay passengers, and another boat for Puriri.

The steamer Clyde leaves Tapu on her way to Coromandel full of passengers for Kennedy’s Bay.   They will land at Coromandel and walk overland. The cutter Janet Grey leaves about the same time direct for Kennedy’s Bay.  She is also full of passengers.  Many diggers are left behind at Shortland, the vessels being too full. 

At Kennedy’s Bay Commissioner Mackay proceeds up the valley of the Harataunga to inspect the ground prospected by George McLeod.  For the first two miles the river runs through a fine block of land very suitable for a township.  The eastern side has been leased from the Maori by James Smart and the western side reserved for cultivation.  Mackay is of the opinion that alluvial gold exists in payable quantities but does not believe that any very rich workings will be found.  He thinks good wages may be made by 300 or 400 men by creek and bank mining.   The general appearance of the upper branches of the river as regards formation of rocks and the character of gold is very similar to that of the Rocky River on the Collingwood goldfield at Nelson.  Mackay is borne out in this by McLeod and other miners, who have had some experience of that locality.  The Rocky River was a payable one, the gold being found in patches. 

Trade at the Thames has been rather dull and speculation not as brisk as it was a few days ago due to the rushes to Kennedy’s Bay.

The Daily Southern Cross growls that the settlers at the Thames are highly dissatisfied with the Provincial Government of Auckland. They want roads, bridges and wharves.  The country is a quagmire, and the Superintendent cannot even promise help in making roads.  The creeks are impassable and he cannot contribute anything for bridges.  The approaches to the district are over mud flats and he has not a word to say about helping to build a wharf.  What has become of all the money obtained for licenses, business and public houses that have been issued for the Thames?

Two of Auckland’s  leading iron foundries are now fully occupied in making machinery for the Thames goldfields.  At the Phoenix foundry in Mechanic’s Bay (Messrs Fraser and Tinne) they have on hand some very important works.  The partners in the Shotover have ordered a battery of 12 stampers to be driven by steam.  For the partners in the Hokianga claim there is in the course of construction a battery of four stampers to be driven by water.  There is a 6 stamper battery in the course of construction for the Duke of Edinburgh claim, and a battery of six stampers for the Karaka Gold Mining Company.  A battery of 12 stampers, driven by steam, has just been finished for Clark and Co of the Moanataiari.  Almost ready for delivery are four stamper batteries for Rhodes and Carter, Eaton and Co.  The workmen are engaged in planing the stamper boxes, in nibbling drilling and punching the masses of iron which the machinery is composed of.  At the Phoenix foundry the demand for workmen has increased from 30 to 60.  There are several large fires going in the blacksmiths shop, the steam hammer seeming like the deity to which the Cyclops were offering big pieces of iron.  The whole air and manner of the men is assuring.  The wages distributed by this firm amounts to from £160 to £180  a week.

At the foundry of Messrs Masefield and Co plenty of orders are on hand.  There are no less than ten, one a 12 stamper battery, a 10 stamper and others from eight stampers down.   In both places there appears to be on the part of employers and workmen the highest hope that a new era has opened for industry in these parts. 

NZ Electronic Text Collection

Mr Cox, senior, who is engaged in the Epsom Independent claim at the Thames, is felling a tree which slips unexpectedly from its position and precipitates him a distance of 15 ft.  He is much bruised and shaken by the fall.

The Auckland Free Press in its 7pm edition comments “Were it not for want of capital and machinery, these diggings would assume proportions unknown in the history of the goldfields.  There is no doubt that the whole formation from Cape Colville to some distance south of this township is a vast receptacle for auriferous quartz . . . Time, labour and machinery are required to convert this treasure into the current coin of the realm . . . .(but) diggers are frequently at their wits end . . .”

NZH 13 May, 1868


Cyclops in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology  were  members of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the center of his forehead.  They were strong and stubborn and  eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry or blacksmithery.  They were often pictured at their forge. 


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.

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