Saturday 14 July 2018

18 June to 24 June, 1868

Miserable  makeshifts.

Thursday, 18 June
On the Karaka a water wheel 30 ft in diameter – one of the largest on the goldfields – is being erected for Messrs Pascoe and Company.  These gentlemen have by far the best site on the Karaka for the construction of machinery.  The water wheel is sheltered by a large spur and the heaviest fresh cannot possibly affect it.

At the Tapu Golden Valley claim (Messrs Rice, Braggins, Mills and Adair), after some very discouraging work in sinking their shaft to catch Allen and Hall’s leader,  they finally strike gold close to the creek.  Shares unsalable a few days ago at £100, are now held for five times that amount in this claim.  The West Coast diggers who have visited the Thames show a decided disposition in favour of the Tapu district – influenced no doubt by the superior price of gold over that of the Karaka district.  Several shares in golden claims have passed into speculators hands during the past week at prices varying from £20 to £350 per share.

There are fears that the cutter Henry, a regular trader between Auckland and the Thames, has met with some mishap.  She left Auckland port with a full cargo of sundries for the Thames on Monday and has not arrived at her destination.  During the past week the wind has blown strong from the NE and SW and unless she has met with some accident, it is thought she would have by now arrived safely at the Thames or run back to Auckland.

Public Domain

Syenite is found at the Thames.  It crops out close to Shortland in quantities sufficient to quarry as a building stone, and is conveniently situated for transport to Auckland, where the luxury and refinement of the rising city demands handsome ornamental buildings.

The Auckland Free Press, the vexed penny morning paper managed by Mr Creighton, comes to an untimely end today after a brief existence of a few weeks.

The tent of the Cremorne claim, on the rise, Karaka, is burglariously entered and 17s in cash, a railway rug, blankets and other property stolen.  Two men are seen to enter the tent at the time of the robbery.

The cutter Lizzie sails tonight for the Thames diggings from Westport taking away some eight or ten miners. Others are leaving or thinking of leaving for the same ground but an old and respected resident of Charleston, 30ks from Westport and founded as a gold mining town after a major gold rush in 1867, who is at present mining at the Thames, warns that although there is obvious ultimate richness in the area, his mates should delay going north until the winter at least is over. 

Nelson Evening Chronicle 18 June, 1868
NZH 18 June, 1868

Friday, 19 June
Police Commissioner Naughton, accompanied by Detective Ternahan, visits the Thames today to address the insufficiency of a police force and the need for a permanently located and qualified Resident Magistrate at the Thames.  The commissioner will remain some days to thoroughly acquaint himself with the workings of the branch force. Prisoners recently brought before the court suffer nearly ten days incarceration through the want of a Resident Magistrate, and when their cases come before the Justices an acquittal is recorded showing that the men suffer an unwarranted period of imprisonment.  Miners, prosecutors and witnesses are frequently kept waiting at the pleasure of the judges, hour after hour, and day after day.  The Resident Magistrates court has called a large number of miners from their occupations for four day sittings, on each of which the court has been adjourned and their time wasted. A report is forwarded to Superintendent Williamson recommending immediate steps be taken to appoint a permanent magistrate. 

The current crime wave at the Thames appears to be due to the recent release of several inmates from Mount Eden gaol whose sudden disappearance from Auckland has coincided with a rapidly increasing number of robberies at the Thames.  Some of these robberies are of a most daring nature -  a man has been  'bonneted' in his own house by two men who came in to have a 'quiet yarn' and then robbed him. Several petty robberies have been reported as occurring at Waiotahi during the past week. At Mr Thornton’s Victoria boarding house a blanket, which was lying on a bench outside the house where it had been laid after washing, was stolen last week. The Police Commissioner holds a thorough investigation into the cases of robbery and concludes from inquiries and observation that indeed a very large number of scoundrels who have recently been liberated from the stockade have made their way to the Thames, thinking, no doubt, that now the crushing machines have got to work they will  reap a rich harvest.  These scoundrels, who are too proud to work, but who are not above sticking up and knocking down any unfortunate who happens to be passing lonely spots late at night, are quickly found out by the Commissioner. 

The Midge is placed on the hard at Mechanic’s Bay this morning for a thorough overhaul.  Extensive alterations in the cabin accommodation are also to be made.

An inconvenient scarcity of coals in Auckland results in numerous complaints from masters of steamers and others in the port.   It is with the greatest difficulty that sufficient coals can be obtained to keep the Thames steamers going.

The inclement weather partially puts a stop to surface workings; the underground work is pursued with as much vigour as ever.

A man named Patterson, in the Summerhill claim, Tapu, is working in the shaft, which is 44 ft in depth.  He sends up a bucketful of quartz but just as the bucket reaches the top, the wooden hook  gets disengaged from the handle.  The bucket falls to the bottom - fortunately the shaft is considerably widened below or nothing would have prevented the man meeting a sudden and shocking death.   There are many dangers with the miners trusting these miserable makeshifts.

The Westport Times notes that a northern exodus has commenced and Auckland is the latest El Dorado for their ever shifting mining population.  “Without doubt the news from the Thames is encouraging, but at the same time the field is very limited, as most of those now going will discover.  Fortunately, the distance is not so great, but the wanderers may be able to retrace their steps, and we have every confidence that in a very short time we shall have a large proportion back again - poorer and wiser men.”

The Evening Post pours cold water over the Kennedy’s Bay rush, which it says has been proved without any further doubt to have been provoked without the slightest cause. “It turns out that not even traces of gold were ever found in that locality. The gold alleged to have been discovered at the place turns out to have been found at the Thames.”

Seven hundred and twenty seven miners have signed the requisition to nominate a duly qualified candidate to represent the electoral district of Franklin.  Only one third of the requisition lists in circulation have been sent in, due to the very unfavourable weather experienced for four days past.  Tapu Creek - 168 signatures, Puriri – 62.  The requisitions from the creeks in the vicinity of Shortland have not yet been received.

In anticipation of the Act being passed granting representation in the Provincial Council for the Thames goldfields, Charles Featherstone Mitchell announces himself as a candidate.  An advertisement also appears in the Thames Advertiser cautioning electors to reserve their votes, saying that “two proper candidates will be forthcoming.” 

The steamer Ahuriri  from the south is now overdue, and has not arrived up to the hour of The Daily Southern Cross going to press.  She was expected yesterday.  There is a probability of her being put on the Thames trade.

A robbery is committed at the Thames Hotel this evening. A person taking some refreshment is relieved of £14. 

DSC 19 June, 1868

NZH 19 June, 1868

Lyttleton Times 19 June, 1868

There is enough room for all.

Saturday, 20 June
The Reverend George Harper, of the Wesleyan church, who arrived at the Thames yesterday, wakes at Mrs McCarroll's  after a disturbed night on account of fleas.

Although the sun comes out today, from the landing place through every exit to the diggings the streets are a mass of black mud more than ankle deep and in some places there are holes that sink a cart wheel up to the axle tree.   Shortland, for mud and discomfort, beats Ballarat and Bendigo in their early days.  The tracks up the Moanataiari and Waiotahi Creeks are even worse.  Three horses struggle mightily attempting to draw four cwt of quartz from a claim to Messrs Clarke and Kestermann’s crushing machine, the distance being only 300 yards.  A team of eight bullocks can hardly pull half a ton through the mud a short distance up the creek.  The customary style to urge them along is to no avail; ultimately the load is conveyed to its destination after four hours have been spent in the endeavour.  Two trenches formed on each side of Pollen Street, which is the lowest ground in Shortland, leading to the Hape Creek, would go some way to fixing the problem but there seems no rush to remedy this evil.

Some important claims have suffered from the overflow of water caused by the recent rains.  Several tons of quartz are expected up from the Puriri next week, the yield of which is anxiously looked forward to by a number of claim holders having ground along the line of reef there.  The heavy rains of this week have flooded some of the shafts to a great depth, one having no less than 50 ft of water in it.  The rains have proved disastrous to claims in this vicinity.  The Golden Crown has been flooded to a depth of 18 ft and others have a much greater depth of water in them.

The missing cutter Henry, for which fears regarding her safety were held, arrives safely at Shortland today. She experienced very heavy weather and had to seek shelter.

The John Penn leaves the south bringing up 100 men from Westport and Nelson for the Thames goldfields.  Another hundred are expected to follow in a few days by the ss Wallaby.  The John Penn will return immediately for another cargo of passengers.   A Nelson paper comments - “We are not at all surprised to find that the continuous good fortune of the miners who have settled permanently at the Thames . . .  has created a feeling of confidence elsewhere in the value of the goldfield.  Were machinery equal to the requirement on the ground we should have a rush not of hundreds, but of thousands in a week, and for this we must be prepared at no distant date.  Machinery is in the course of erection and other machinery is on its way from Australia, and machinists themselves are making arrangements for opening branch establishments.  Nor need we fear that any ill consequences will follow a rush provided only that the miners coming fully understand that it is to a quartz field and not an alluvial diggings.  There is room enough for all. “

The splendid plant and machinery of the Aotea Copper Mining Co, imported at great expense from England, is now in the course of construction on the ground.  The engine is a condensing one of 25 hp, working up to 40 hp.   The boiler is 28 ft long of Cornish make.  The battery will comprise 20 head of stampers to begin with and is capable of being enlarged to 40 in the future.  A substantial drain has been dug along the centre of the claim at a considerable outlay of capital and labour.  The gully is cleared of trees and roots and the drain timbered at the bottom.  A tramway from the Kuranui beach is now being laid down at the claim for the conveyance of the boiler and machinery, and a large flat bottomed punt is being built on the beach to be used in the conveyance of coals etc from vessel’s lying off the place to the tramway.  The battery will be supplied with a Chilean mill, rollers and all the latest processes for securing an adequate return from the quartz.  It is also intended to fix a patent puddle for dressing the tailings of the machine, together with a calcining oven, in order to abstract the sulphur, and economise the yield by every modern improvement available for use on the Thames goldfield.

At Tapu, although business has been brisk, money is not very plentiful.  Numbers of buildings are approaching completion and many more are started, among which are two bakeries, bringing a promise of bread at 6d in a week or two. Although there is no Inspector of Weights and Measures at the Thames the present baker’s bread at Tapu is very full weight and also of capital quality.  There are also four butcher’s shops, all doing an excellent business.

 Ringdove for Shortland with 15,000 ft timber, 23,000 shingles, 8 doors, 13 sashes

 Albert for the Thames with sundries

The Shortland share market report by Messrs Beetham, Walker & Co for 15 -20 June notes that despite the unusually boisterous weather, a considerable amount of business has been done, and shareholders in first class claims continue to withdraw their property from sale and refuse tempting offers.  Every week brings to light one or more 'pile claims' and however sceptical many have been, they can no longer sneer or refuse to acknowledge the facts that stare them in the face on every spur and in every gully throughout the field.  There is a growing conviction that the Thames diggings have not been estimated at their real value.  A considerable sum is expected from Canterbury for investment.  Foreign capital is now pouring in and before many months are past it is anticipated there will be a plethora of money.  The turning point in the history of this goldfield has been reached; confidence is rapidly being established and a rush of no ordinary magnitude is expected.  When this does occur purchasers are warned to be on their guard.  The need for an effective system of registration has produced the material for a harvest of litigation fearful to contemplate.  The want of proper machinery is still severely felt and will retard the progress of some otherwise valuable claims.  The want of water is another problem - before long one or more companies must be formed for the purpose of fluming the Tararu or Kauaeranga for the supply of the town and machines, a system that has to be resorted to in the hills and is equally required on the flat. In Otago and Hokitika larger fortunes were made by companies forming for the purpose of conveying water to the spots where it is scarce and largely needed, than by working the richest claims.  

A proper system of registration of shares is needed.   It is the absence of security to purchasers of shares which has caused one half of the litigation at the Thames  and which has interfered very largely in preventing capitalists from speculating in mining property.  Insecurity at present exists in the holding of title of mining shares.  Half a dozen own a claim, and any one of them may sell what portion of his share he pleases.  It will occur that men are unprincipled enough to sell it all in sleeping halves or quarters.  The only check upon this has been the system of registration, but it is not properly carried out, for the simple fact that business has so accumulated that it may be three months before a share or portion of a share can be officially registered.  During that time fraud may be perpetrated almost without impunity, with very little prospect of being discovered before loss is incurred by the later purchasers.

The Tauranga with around 100 passengers on board is steaming up to Auckland from the Thames and is between Rangitoto and the North Head.  Captain Sellars and several passengers are on the bridge when they see a man sitting on the forepart of the Tauranga’s bridge, on the port side, suddenly roll over and fall into the water. A cry is raised of man overboard.  The steamer is going about 9 knots and Captain Sellars immediately stops the vessel and turns the engines full speed astern.  The boat is lowered but by the time this is done the man is about half a mile astern. It is a very fine night but there is no moon.  The water is as smooth as glass and there is not a breath of wind.  The man is believed to have been sitting on the rail and overbalanced himself.   A Mr and Mrs Miller on board know a young man called John Morrison who can’t be found and it is concluded it is him.  After searching for 40 minutes no sign of the man is found. Morrison is a shareholder in the Middle Star claim at Shortland, and for the past two nights has been superintending the crushing of stone from his claim, so that he would be able to get over to town for a few hours without losing time. It is suspected he was suffering from lack of sleep. He was coming up with a parcel of gold, the result of the last crushing, and was anxious to see his wife at Freeman’s Bay; they have not been long married. When John Morrison went overboard, he had slung over his shoulder a haversack.   A carpet bag with a lock belonging to him is found on board the steamer and is sealed by Mr Baillie to be handed over to the police. The Tauranga, with crestfallen passengers and crew, arrives at Auckland at 11.30pm.

Otago Daily Times 20 June, 1868

Nelson Evening Mail 20 June, 1868

Carrying stone on their backs.

Sunday, 21 June
The Halycon has been reported by the Enterprise as having broken down on her passage to Tapu.  She, however, has landed her passengers there and now arrives back at Auckland.  One of the bolts in her machinery jerked out when she was off Maraetai which impeded her passage for a few hours.   Some of the packing of her steam pipe being displaced, she had to continue the remainder of the passage under half steam.

A fine day dawns and Sergeant Major Molloy sends out the police boat to find the body of John Morrison who fell overboard from the Tauranga.

At Waiotahi Flat, Thames, Mrs Honiss, a daughter

Reverend Harper preaches to a chapel nearly full and the singing is excellent. 

There is no minister at Tapu today where there are a large number of people of all denominations, who would be delighted to see the face of one.

Reverend Harper preaches again in the open air at Grahamstown, where he is wanting to build another chapel as soon as land is secured.

John Barry of Shortland is in the company of a friend on a shooting exercise in the Piako Valley.  The men are hunting ducks together, and Barry fires at one from a stooping position.  As he stands up his companion, who is behind him, also fires at the same duck and the shot passes through Barry’s hat, taking with it a portion of the scalp, but none of the shots lodge in his head.  Barry bleeds profusely and is helped back to Shortland.  Dr Lethbridge is called and finds a lacerated wound extending some four to five inches and laying the bone bare.  The wound is dressed by the doctor.

Reverend Harper preaches on ‘Knowing sins forgiven before death’ to a full congregation.  He notices several Papists but no penitents.

Monday, 22 June
After enjoying two days sunshine, this morning is ushered in with a drenching rain and at Auckland owing to the bad weather, the police boat is unable to continue the search for John Morrison.

At the Thames, despite unsettled weather and the worsening condition of the roads, things in general are looking brighter and contentment seems to prevail everywhere.  A great many shares have changed hands during the past week at good figures. A number of piles have been brought from the coast for the new wharf at Grahamstown and a start is made on it. 

The Daily Southern Cross correspondent visits 37 claims on the Waiotahi and finds not one of them barren.  The men in the Golden Cup are carrying stone to McLeod’s machines on their backs.  Mr Townsend’s party are forming a road on the side of the hill to meet the Great Republic track.  In the neighbourhood of the El Dorado’s claim several substantial huts are being built on a slope which commands the sun, when it comes out, during the whole day.  In more than one instance adjoining patches of land on the claims are laid out in vegetable gardens.

A claim on the Hape, known as Kelsall’s, which consists of five men’s ground, and has been worked since December, are in the expectation of getting something good. Their shaft is timbered together with a drive running out of it, but when the cap of a reef is struck, the ground releases a large amount of water.  As a basket containing water is hoisted up, a portion of the slabbing is displaced, the upper right portion of which then gives way during heavy rain.  The tools and gear of the party are buried.

The Ahuriri, which is expected to be put on the Thames trade, after a delay of two days in Wellington due to bad weather, arrives in Auckland today. In addition to the numerous sailing vessels now entirely devoted to traffic between the Auckland port and the various branches of the Thames goldfield are the steamers Tauranga, Midge, Halcyon and Enterprise.  Other Auckland vessels among which are the Royal Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Bowen and Jane are undergoing completion and will soon be added to their number.  The Beautiful Star is also to shortly supply communication between Westport and the Thames.

The Twin Screw Steamer John Penn for New Zealand,1868
Antique wood engraved print taken from the Illustrated London News. 

The steamer John Penn arrives today in the Manukau from Westport and Nelson with 100 diggers for the Thames.  Her passengers also include his Lordship, the Bishop of Nelson.  The ss Wallaby is expected at Onehunga tomorrow with about 120 passengers.  It is thought the miserable weather which has prevailed at Westport for some time past may in a measure account for the large number of diggers leaving there.

Matthias Whitehead witnesses the landing of around 100 fine stalwart miners from the West Coast who have come on the John Penn.  It is an eye opener to see such a fine body of men who have been on alluvial gold at Nelson, the Grey, Buller and Hokitika, full of hope as miners generally are. The John Penn is of great interest to the Auckland public and Captain Carey invites newspaper correspondents to inspect her before her return to the West Coast. The John Penn was built last October at the London Shipbuilding, Engineering and Dry Docks at Blackwall for Captain Johnson of Nelson.  She arrived in Melbourne in January this year, inadvertently sailing into the chaos of news reports that an attempt had been made to assassinate the Prince of Wales.  Since her arrival in New Zealand she has been trading exclusively between Nelson and the West Coast.   She is a twin screw steamer propelled by a pair of magnificent engines of 25 hp each.  She can carry 50 tons of coals in her bunkers.  She was christened the John Penn in honour of the celebrated engineer of that name who, at his extensive works at Greenwich, has constructed engines for some of the finest steamers afloat.  Her passenger accommodation is spacious and includes an elegant saloon with 18 couches convertible into sleeping compartments enclosed by curtains,  She is constructed to carry 21 head of cattle in each side of her deck and double that number in her hold.  Everything about her clearly demonstrates the fact that she has been built at a first class ship yard. The John Penn is to become a regular trader between Auckland and West Coast.

Twelve good men have been summoned from the Thames to attend the Auckland District Court as assessors in the case of McIssac’s v Long.  The summonses were issued in due form, impressed with the court stamp and signed by the Clerk of the Court.   Accordingly, the men left Shortland on Saturday morning as no steamer runs on Sunday in order to attend court today. But once at court the men find they are not wanted.  Neither of the parties in this suit require assessors to be summoned The men have been brought to Auckland at great inconvenience, a distance of 50 miles, and kept there for three days. When they make inquiries respecting remuneration for loss of time, expenses etc they are informed that there is no money for remuneration, and that as no penalty was in the Act attached to the non attendance there is no reason why the men should have come to Auckland at all. The men are furious and feel hoaxed.   It is the first time assessors from the Thames have been summoned to Auckland.

It seems crossed wires have led to the debacle. The clerk of the Warden’s court at Shortland had been written to notifying him that assessors would not be required in the case but he failed to notify the assessors.  Why the assessors were summoned from Shortland at all is puzzling as it is not necessary for them to be holders of miner’s rights, although it has been the practice at Shortland only to have miner’s with rights on the jury in such cases.  Regarding court duty, the general opinion is that there does not seem to be any very great inducement for a man to spend his time idling about Auckland if he receives only 10s per day for his time and expenses. John Brown, one of the assessors, writes an indignant letter to the Daily Southern Cross  “As  an assessor summoned from the Thames goldfield on a case known as McIssac’s versus Long, do you think it is right that I and 12 other gentlemen (miners) should be brought to Auckland and kept from Saturday to Tuesday and then when wishing to receive their expenses reasonably due to be told that there is nothing in the Treasury to remunerate us with.  I ask you as a man, and a man of judgement, is such a decision not ridiculous – nay, more putting it in as  mild a form as possible, scandalous?  In fact, I should use such strong words, and say is it not a swindle – a complete swindle?”

An assay of gold from Kennedy’s Bay made by the Bank of New Zealand finds that the gold is of superior quality, comparable to that of some from the Coromandel creeks.

Gold bearing quartz is discovered at the Kaipara, which looks much like that which is found at the Thames.  Some Kaipara settlers head for the Thames for a few days to observe how the claims are worked there.

At the new Toll House, Tamaki Bridge, the nomination of candidates to represent the electoral district of Franklin is held. William Buckland, who has long served the country settlers both in Provincial Council and also in the General Assembly of New Zealand, is one candidate.   He is nominated by Mr McLean who says Buckland is well acquainted with the Waikato, having farms both at Cambridge and Hamilton.  No man has a greater interest in the district and no man has done more to develop the goldfields. Mr Buckland is known as an independent man and an old settler, and has served them faithfully, while the other candidate, Mr Swan, is a stranger.  It is hoped the residents of the Thames will strenuously oppose the nomination of Mr Swan.  

Mr H S Andrews nominates William Turnball Swan and says a change is wanted.  Mr Buckland is esteemed as a settler, but politically as the representative for Franklin, he is behind the age.  New blood is wanted – men with good and staunch principles.  Mr Swan is the son of a respected minister of the gospel and he is intuitively a politician.  He is thoroughly educated and knows the difficulties to be encountered.  He will be the proper man to be the representative for Franklin.  These are the only two candidates.

There is a show of hands in favour of Mr Swan to be a duly qualified candidate to represent the electoral district of Franklin which includes the Thames.  The attendance is not large, being composed principally of citizens having property in the district who have ridden out from Auckland, and several miners from the Thames goldfields who have accompanied Mr Swan.  There is also a minority of country settlers present.

The Auckland Gas Company announces that the absence of lights at the Queen Street wharf was caused by a derangement of some of the apparatus connected with the supply of gas, a circumstance wholly unavoidable, reflecting blame upon no-one.

A meeting is held at Mr Skeen’s house, Waiotahi, regarding the building of a Wesleyan chapel.  There is a good turnout and a building committee is formed.  Collectors are appointed to solicit subscriptions and it is hoped as soon as the Native Lands Court hearings are finished that a plot of ground will be secured on which to build at once a place of worship and Sabbath school which are very much needed. The Wesleyan body contemplates the immediate construction of a chapel on the Waiotahi Flat.  A site is expected to be given by the Maori.  Reverend Harper notes a good attendance and a liberal spirit manifested at the meeting.  Afterwards he wades through water and mud to go to sleep at Shortland. The road is fearful  He is exhausted having today gone up Karaka creek with old Mr White to see his nephew who is digging gold and erecting machinery.

NZH 22 June, 1868

Horrid gullies of mud.

Tuesday, 23 June
Constables Callaghan and McCafferty leave the Auckland wharf  to search round Drunken Bay and adjacent bays for John Morrison who fell from the Tauranga on Saturday but no trace of the unfortunate man is discovered.

At the Thames the Army and Navy claim, summit of Karaka hill, adjoining the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales claims, is now being worked with vigour under the management of Mr John Brown.  The prospects are very good, several leaders having been struck.  Two shafts, 60 feet in depth have already been sunk.  Two long drives are also put in – one running north east, which is designed to cut Murphy’s leaders across, whilst the other below Captain Pye’s residence is intended to catch the leaders in the Duke of Edinburgh.  The Mariner’s Reef, Waiotahi, strikes an excellent gold bearing leader this morning.  Some highly auriferous stone is taken out and is of a rich, leafy character.

A batch of vagrants are brought up before the Police Court before Mr Commissioner Naughton JP, and Mr Robert Graham, JP, this morning.  John Johnston, John Baker, John Warmill, Michael McDonald and Henry Richard Walker are charged under the Vagrant Act with having no visible means of sustenance.   Four of the prisoners indignantly deny the charge and allege that they have been at work within the last 14 days.  John Johnson says he has been working a boat with a man named Lovett; Richard Walker says he has worked in a claim for Mr Mackay and Mr Baillie.  Another of the vagrants says he worked with the Liverpool Boys in a claim on the Moanataiari bearing that name.  John Johnston calls an impromptu witness who he observes standing in the court to depose to having seen him working in a drive but unfortunately for him, the witness cannot recollect the circumstance.  The Commissioner remonstrates with the men on their conduct in refusing to work, where work is so plentiful.  He says it might naturally be asked why so many of the men are charged with having no visible means of support in so prosperous a district as the Thames, the reply would be simply that they are not desirous of being legitimately employed; not a man of them need to remain idle if they only had the will to get employment.  The men appear to have formed part of a gang who have lately been very busily employed in the 'sticking up' line. They are sentenced to undergo two months imprisonment each with hard labour in Mt Eden gaol.  As the prisoners are being removed, one of them, Henry Richard Walker seizes an ink stand which lies on the table in front of the clerk of the court, Mr Young, and aims it at the Bench with great determination. Sergeant Lipsey is successful in diverting his aim, and the missile hits the seat, not, however before it comes in contact with Mr Young’s head.   The court papers, the sergeant and others nearby are bespattered with ink.  The prisoner is brought into court again by the sergeant and charged with an assault by striking Mr Young with the inkstand and ordered to undergo two months additional imprisonment for the offence.  He is also charged with contempt of court and receives an extra 14 days hard labour.

Judge Henry Alfred Home Monro
NZ Cyclopedia

The sittings of the Native Land Court at Shortland begins today and are expected to continue every day for two or three weeks. Land grants issued for the new Grahamstown are among the business expected to be settled.   The sittings are in the new courthouse before Judge Monro.

Reverend Harper intended leaving the Thames today but as the Native Land court is being held he remains to see how the Wesleyan's getting a piece of ground might turn out.   He later notes  “A native promised us a large piece when I first went down and it was left in the hands of J E and F White but I am afraid through their neglect we have lost by its becoming so valuable and Europeans offering them large sums of money for it."  The piece of land does not come before the court today so the Reverend must stay a little longer. He is afraid the Wesleyan's will lose the land.   He finds it very interesting listening to the large numbers of Maori putting in their claims for a Crown Title to their lands,  although he cannot understand their tongue. He is impressed by their oration and gesticulations.  They address circles of their countrymen, squatting on the ground, receiving applause.  Some of them are very fine men, but others have  adopted the vice of the Europeans -  smoking and drinking.  Alcohol is so plentiful that they can get it easily, though the law says Europeans are not to sell it to them. 

At Auckland a visitor from Newcastle, Australia, boards the Tauranga in steaming rain, rain such as is never seen in NSW.  After  much squealing on the part of pigs, which are being shipped and who seem to foresee their ultimate fate as sustenance for hungry diggers, the passengers proceed down the harbour in a very moist condition, under the skillful guidance of Captain Sellars, a jolly old salt, better known by his familiar title of ‘Dan’.  On the deck of the little Tauranga are a crowd of lusty diggers with their swags, as well as businessmen, the lucky ones up for a spree and now going back to work, and the Officials, European and Maori,  of the Native Land Court being held at Shortland.

The Tauranga speeds on her way passing among the various islands and volcanic rocks of the Hauraki Gulf giving a good view of Rangitoto said by Maori tradition to be the last volcano which shot its lurid glare upon the waters, now at rest.  After a run of six hours, embellished with unexpected showers of rain, the lights of the township scattered all up and down the hills and beach are seen. As the water is too shallow passengers wait until the Maori Chief (a flat bottomed abomination in the opinion of this Australian) comes alongside to take them ashore. Landing at Shortland, scrambling ashore in the mud, he proceeds to Barnett’s establishment, where a good supper prepares him for the duties of tomorrow's inspection of the diggings.  He observes that like all new diggings Shortland is a sea of mud, but it contains quartz claims of great value.  For the same reason cheap labour has made Shortland in 10 months a finished city (excepting its horrid gullies of mud, called by courtesy streets) and many buildings in it would not disgrace Newcastle. The town of Shortland is crowded with Maori of all sorts, from Taipari, who draws £2,000 a year from the ground rents, to the country Maori dressed in flax mat or English blanket.  The women have their shawls put on so as to make a kind of pocket in the back for their children to lie in with their arms around their mothers’ neck.  Almost all the ladies smoke a short block pipe and shoes and socks are very scarce, though black silk and velvet are not uncommon.  In a gulf of mud are a lot of Maori children groping for pence cast there by half drunk diggers from the public house opposite, much patronised by Maori and doing a roaring trade.  

The ss Wallaby sails from Westport for Auckland.  Yesterday her hold was thoroughly cleaned and arrangements made for the accommodation of passengers bound for the Thames district.   She brings 16 from Hokitika and the Grey, and her agent shipped some 30 more to her before sailing.

At Tapu the Golden Horn, Luck’s All and Evening Star claims are highly spoken of, but the best find is that of Messrs Chute and party who now strike a slate and mullocky leader of surpassing richness.  The gold in this claim is taken out in its pure state.  A new drive is started by Messrs Walker and Co in the hill at the back of the Melbourne store.  This is intended to cut right through the hill and is calculated to extend some 300 ft.  The present work is now only some 30 ft but it is hoped this enterprise will set at rest any question as to whether or not there are gold bearing leaders in the hill in rear of the township.  The Golden Valley claim finishes the trench they have been cutting for some time, to drain off the surface water from the shaft.  It is about 150 ft in length and 10 ft deep.  At the lower end a layer of about two feet of stones are put in, covered with ti tree and the trench filled to the surface with soil.  All hands are at work in the shaft– five minutes suffices to bail out the water which has soaked in during 16 hours.  This may be attributed to their admirable slabbing which is backed with a thick layer of clay.  Naysayers who foretold that the claim never could be worked on account of the watering have  been confounded by the perseverance of the shareholders.  One of Mason’s machines arrives at Tapu by the Julia and is erected at the rear of the British Hotel.  Some loose stuff is put through it and the result is highly satisfactory.  The machine will be available to all parties.

The John Penn leaves Auckland for Westport and Nelson to bring up a similar number of diggers as she did yesterday.  

The Thames Advertiser notes with jubilation -  “We do not remember having been called upon to report so large an amount of business in one day on any former occasion and regard it as a sign of the times encouraging to the miner and proof positive of the wealth of the district.  Speculation to the extent of £4,210 in one day is reported. “

The NZ Herald says “ We are not at all surprised to find that the continuous good fortune of the miners who have settled permanently at the Thames, and the fact that nearly all of them are perfectly satisfied with their present gains or future prospects, have created a feeling of confidence elsewhere in the value of the goldfield.  We have not yet made, it is true, alluvial discoveries worth talking about, but our quartz reefs are so numerous, rich and easily worked that they present almost as great an attraction as alluvial goldfields would do.  Were machinery equal to the requirements on the field we should have a rush not of hundreds, but of thousands in a week and for this we must prepare at no distant date.”

Politics are on the minds of many at the Thames.  ‘A Miner’ writes to the Daily Southern Cross - “I wish to know whether every holder of a miner’s right at the Thames will be entitled to a vote in the forthcoming election of a member for Franklin, or whether there are any conditions or restrictions in the matter.  There are thousands of miners at the diggings who are in a state of blissful ignorance as to whether they are entitled to a vote, they surely should not be permitted to sign requisition to different candidates.”   The Editor responds  “We believe that every holder of a miner’s right for six months is qualified to vote at the forthcoming election.”

A great political meeting.

A great political meeting of the electors of Franklin and Raglan is held at the Public Hall, Otahuhu.  Long before 2pm the electors from Papakura, Mangere and other districts came into town, as well as a large number of miners from the Thames goldfield.  This is one of three most important meetings which have taken place in the Province for some time, held at different settlements.  The vexed question of local self government and insular separation are discussed. At the Thames local self government is required and a petition is to be sent to the Assembly.  If the assembly will not listen they threaten to ask the Governor to resume the powers delegated to the Superintendent. The first resolution advocates a change in the system of government and recommends the formation of counties.  It is proposed the political separation of the Northern Island from the Middle Island with one separate government for it and a subdivision into counties is adopted. A second amendment suggests a delay in a fundamental change in the constitution of the colony until the electors have a voice in the matter.  The final resolution is that the Auckland representatives should be urged to advocate a change, with a view to the establishment of a separate and independent legislature in the north island. At the end of the meeting there is a tremendous uproar and confusion ensues and as it is growing dark, the amendment, with the addition, is put to the meeting by the chairman and declared to be carried.

Tartar for Shortland with 2,000 ft timber, 2 horses etc

  Spey for Shortland with 4 tons flour, 13 hhds ale and a quantity of furniture and sundries

   Industry for Tapu Creek with 5,000 ft timber, 6,000 shingles, 7 sashes, 40 sheep, 3 horses and stores

 Avon for Shortland with one boiler and machinery, four tons flour, 10 bags sugar etc

A passenger by the Tauranga falls overboard while stepping on to the Clyde this evening, but is speedily recovered.

DSC 23 June, 1867

NZH 23 June, 1868

Wednesday, 24 June
“There is a great deal of claptrap that has a decidedly mischievous tendency,” thunders the NZ Herald regarding the various meetings that have been held concerning the Franklin election.  “The basis of the whole argument is that the miners at the Thames are not as much settlers of Franklin as the farmers at the Wairoa or Tamaki.  The miner at the Thames and the farmer at Papakura have an exactly equal right to vote, both legally and morally.  The fact that one votes because he is registered and the other because he holds a miner's right makes no difference. . . . (there has been an)  absurd attempt to treat the Thames population as one of  mere interlopers, which is all very well, so long as they will confine themselves to digging, but who must be put down if they want to have any say in elections for this district . . .  it may be true that the West Coast diggers are a nomadic race here today, and in Queensland perhaps, in a month  . . . the people at the Thames are for the most part, quite as much settlers of New Zealand as are the farmers at Otahuhu.  At least 9 out of 10 of them are settlers of long standing in the province . . . The Thames will not attract a nomadic population.  Its miners will, in most cases, be as firmly attached to their districts as the farmers of Franklin are to their farms.  The candidates now before the public are not so very unfairly matched – from the speeches made, both appear inclined to support the same general policy but Mr Buckland looks at it from the agricultural point of view – Mr Swan more from the miner’s standpoint. There is a good deal of folly in the great talk of disfranchising Franklin in the elections . . . the Thames is quite as much Franklin as the Wairoa or the Tamaki.”

At the Thames Resident Magistrates court, before James Mackay,  Alexander Reid and William Bryan are brought up charged by Henry Keesing with stealing on the 23rd, one blanket valued at 12s, from his shop.  William Collins identifies the property and William Rae deposes that the prisoners offered the same blanket for sale at his store the same evening.  Both are found guilty and sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour.  James Tackaberry pleads guilty to a charge of stealing one swag containing a pair of blankets, value 30s, a pair of trousers, value 10s, and other garments, value 63s, the property of Denis Hogan, and is sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour.  Archibald Nesbett is charged with using obscene and threatening language towards William Parker and is bound over in two sureties of £10 each and himself in £20, to keep the peace towards the complainant for six months.  Mitchell Nesbett is similarly charged and bound over for the same period on finding two sureties.

Reverend Harper spends most of today at the  Native Lands Court. He later writes  "Oh the dishonesty of Godless men!  We have found out a scheme to deprive us if possible of the land promised by the natives.  Hard fighting to try and keep them to their promise and defeat the plans of mammon worshippers.  Our piece of land did not come on again."

The Westport Times cautiously observes that “the Thames fever is strong on the population and a good many unsettled spirits are ready to take wing, if the news is at all good by the next vessel.  The Wallaby took away 51 in all, 16 of whom were from the south.  We may state that  . . .  for those who think about going, that recent news from there, whilst confirmatory of the existence of some exceedingly rich claims, state distinctly that there are already more men  on the ground than there is room for and the new rush will doubly occupy the limited area on which mining is permitted.  . .  In a few days we may expect the John Penn with the latest news from Thames.”

At Tapu the boat which takes passengers on board the Clyde is  leaving for the shore when she comes in contact with the paddles of the steamer.  Before she can be disentangled the boards on one side are ripped off almost to the water’s edge.  Despite the mishap the Clyde is doing a good business.  She carries a large number of passengers between Tapu and Shortland, and her daily trips are a great convenience to the inhabitants of both districts.

The Hit or Miss claim at Tapu has at last, after a gallant struggle with the difficulties they have encountered, been obliged to obtain protection for three months, as they have had a great deal of water to contend with.  It seems very hard that men who have laboured as they have done for the last four months should have to succumb to the water when they may be within a few feet of Quinn and Cashell’s leader.

Rosina for Shortland with 14 tons flour etc

 Wahu for Shortland with 4,000 ft timber and stores

This afternoon, at the Auckland wharves, as the Enterprise leaves there are a considerable number of people assembled to witness her departure.  Mr Swan, the candidate for Franklin, is a passenger by her and is loudly cheered by his friends ashore.  

The Tauranga and Halcyon also leave for the Thames this afternoon causing considerable excitement when it becomes known that they are to test their powers of speed as far as the sandspit.  Several bets are made – the little Halcyon finding the most supporters.  She leaves the wharf laden with passengers prior to the Tauranga and waits out in the stream for her. Bystanders watch the start of these rival boats with some interest and it seems to be a matter of dispute with the public as to which is the fleeter vessel.   During their progress down the harbour, they are neck and neck, their respective living freights interchanging cheers and chaff to a large extent.  The Tauranga follows the Halcyon and when abreast it is evident by the dense smoke issuing from the funnels that the race is not to be lost without a struggle. The Halcyon, when approaching Brown’s Island, is some 12 lengths ahead of the Tauranga.

NZH 24 June, 1868

DSC 24 June, 1868

Papers Past
Methodist papers – David Arbury collection, the Treasury, 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.

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