Friday 13 July 2018

25 June to 1 July, 1868

Desperadoes infesting the goldfields.

Thursday, 25 June
Police Commissioner Naughton and Detective Ternahan arrive in Auckland this morning from the Thames  by the Tauranga bringing with them the fruits of their labours, eight prisoners for the stockades.  Five received sentences under the Vagrants Act and three are convicted of larcenies. This is thought by some to be a great mistake.  Why send these men, whose labour would be so very useful if employed on the streets of Shortland, to spend the winter in comfortable quarters at Mt Eden gaol?  Labour is both scarce and dear on the goldfield and the work of a party of a dozen or more hard labouring men would soon cause a different appearance to the streets of Shortland.  If the prisoners were employed on the most public thoroughfares they would become thoroughly well known as criminals and so be less successful in their future raids upon society.  As it is, these eight men when they are liberated from Mt Eden gaol, will return to the Thames as new men, their faces will be forgotten and they will have a clear field for villainy before them.  It is hoped the visit of Police Commissioner Naughton will have the effect of striking terror into the hearts of those ruffians whose depredations have been so long an annoyance to the people of the Thames. It is expected the commissioner’s visit will have the effect of breaking up that gang of desperadoes who lately have been infesting the goldfields, preying upon the weak and the unwary.

Hotels and boarding houses at the Thames are now crammed due to the Native Lands Court hearings  and it is a matter of great difficulty to secure a bed, unless it has been ordered during the day.  A number of claims have been heard and Shortland is full of surveyors, interpreters, Maori and Pakeha.  Reverend Harper has had another frustrating day waiting to hear if the Wesleyan's will get their piece of land but the case will not be heard until tomorrow morning.  "Working hard to defeat our enemies but fear we have neglected it too long," he notes later. 

At Tauranga  the residue of the 1st Waikato Regiment, now receiving rations or ration money, are to be paid up today and will receive the full amount in lieu of all future rations to which they would have been entitled.  This will enable all those so disposed to proceed to the Thames and in a short time Tauranga will be almost deserted.

The Kuranui Company, in making a cutting for their tramway through the Shotover, lay open another leader in this wonderful claim. The ground had been little more than laid bare when a pocket, or blow up, of rich gold only partially mixed with stone is found and some 12 or 15 bags are taken out during the day which are estimated to yield some 60 oz each.  Nothing richer has been struck and the value of this already wealthy claim is said by competent authorities to be enhanced to the extent of £10,000 by the discovery.  An offer of £12,000 for a half share in the claim is refused.  The claim, which has been opening extraordinarily productive leaders recently, has been visited during the week by several speculators from Auckland and the south, who express their astonishment at the richness of the ground. One specimen is estimated to contain from 110 to 120 oz gold and weighs 56 lbs.  A 12 stamper battery erected by the proprietors will be at work in a few days and a large return from this splendid claim for the month of July is expected. Kelly’s claim,  a short distance up Moanataiari creek, also promises to prove an almost unfathomable mine of wealth to the fortunate shareholder’s. The visitor to this claim cannot fail to be impressed at a glance with the amount of practical skill and experience brought to bear in the various details of work and the systematic manner in which the men work. The Manukau claim begins crushing two tons of promising picked stuff. 

Arrangements are now being made for the publication in August of a pamphlet entitled ‘The Miner’s Guide and Pocket companion’, written expressly for the inexperienced miner and persons interested in mining operations.  A complete explanation of geological, scientific and chemical terms will be given, also statistics of mining operations in Australia and other parts of the world.  Such a work is very much wanted at the diggings.  The Daily Southern Cross announce that they shall be happy to receive the names of subscribers, but if 200 applications for copies of the work are not forthcoming previous to 29 July, the author will not consider it worth his while to incur the expense of publication, as he does not wish the price of a single copy to exceed 5 shillings.

Electric telegraph communication between Auckland and the Thames goldfield is called for. The line of telegraph into the Waikato was originally put up for the use of the military, of late  its chief use has been to enable the government to receive speedy intelligence of the state of Maori affairs upon the frontier.  To the people generally it has been of little or no benefit.  It is suggested that the main line starting from Mercer should run direct to Shortland, crossing the head at the Firth of Thames; once sunk in the mud banks of the Firth it would lie perfectly secure.  From there a branch of line might be constructed on the line of diggings opened as far as Coromandel and southwards to Napier.  The telegraph posts erected by the military are daily giving way, being mere saplings, and their renewal is expensive.  By closing some of the unnecessary line and by taking Shortland in their direct line of telegraph, a line which must  be kept open, the government would reduce their expenditure.  The business on the line between Auckland and the Thames, would from the very opening of the line, be a busy one.  There are other considerations too - it is expected that by the spring a diverse population will be gathered at the Thames from all the goldfields in the Australasian colonies.  Among them will be an increase in the criminal population in the province. In the apprehension of criminals and consequent suppression of crime, the telegraph has everywhere been a most important agent.  Auckland and the goldfields will naturally be the most attractive resorts for the unmoral, from one to the other, when either place becomes too hot to hold him.  The electric wire may neutralise a few hours start obtained by a criminal. After the commission of a crime and to his dismay the successful bolter may find himself, by the agency of the telegraph, arrested at the other end of his journey.  The use of telegraphic communication between Auckland and Shortland is fast becoming a necessity.

A few weeks ago a party of prospectors were sent out from Ngaruawhaia, the inhabitants clubbing together to defray the necessary expenses for food, tools etc being convinced that there was gold to be got nearer to their homes than the Thames.  They found a spot situated near Lake Waikare.  From the hills adjacent to the lake smoke can be seen from the crushing machines on the Thames goldfield and the town of Shortland can be distinguished as well as tents upon the ranges, which appear like white specks in the distance by the aid of the telescope.  The distance of Shortland from Lake Waikare is about 30 miles as the crow flies and the main line of the reef at this latter place is said to run in the same direction as that borne by many of the best reefs at Shortland and Tapu Creek.  Auriferous quartz reefs lie on the western side of Lake Waikare.  A rush is made to the place.

Onetea Stream, Rangiriri, with an eel weir (left foreground), and a thatched raupo hut (right). Taken during the Government Scientific Exploring Expedition, conducted by Dr. Ferdinand Hochstetter in 1859.
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A15828'

The spectre of a poll tax for Auckland, including the Thames, rears its ugly head at the Auckland Provincial Council meeting held from 3pm to 6pm tonight.   The purpose of the tax is for the relief of the sick and destitute.  The Provincial Council proposes 10s a head for the support of the Hospital, Lunatic Asylum and the sick and destitute.   It is hoped to raise about £10,000.  At the second reading of the Sick and Destitute Bill, Mr Wynn says “The poor and the lunatic and the neglected child must not be allowed to drivel about the streets or the country.”  The Provincial secretary says it is a duty they all owe as members of a Christian community, to find funds for the sick, destitute and lunatic. The funds in hand are not sufficient for these purposes.

A meeting of the Presbyterians of the Thames is held in the Presbyterian Church, Shortland, to decide upon having a resident minister located in the district, a want which is very much felt.  A good site has been secured for the construction of a Presbyterian church at Waiotahi Flat and money already collected for this purpose.

Mr Swan meets the Tapu electors this evening in the large room of the British Hotel.  The meeting is well attended by the miners and inhabitants of the township who applaud Mr Swan when he appears.  Captain Butt, chairman, briefly explains the necessity of sending a gentleman to Wellington to represent the goldfield interests and that Mr Swan is competent not only to do them justice, but to represent the whole interest of Franklin.  Mr Swan then addresses the electors.  Rival Mr Buckland enters the room and takes advantage to plead his own cause, but so far as the meeting is concerned, he utterly fails to shake Mr Swan’s position.  Mr Buckland is thought to have pretensions to the mining representations of the district.  Mr Swan is popular and the few who are holding back do so until they hear what both candidates have to say.  The general opinion is that a new element should be introduced into the legislature and as there are many of the electors on this field, who are new men in the province of Auckland,  Mr Swan will have their support.   Mr Buckland is known to have considerable interest in the Thames,  or will have, when his tramway and machinery are available, which will gain the support of a certain number.  There are very few miners on the ground between Puriri and Coromandel who will entertain any consideration for either candidate beyond that concerning the importance of the roads and the construction of public works, and the gentleman who can convince them that he is the most fit and proper member to represent them will have their votes. 

The Wallaby arrives this evening in Auckland with 50 diggers from the West Coast.

NZH 25 June, 1868

Dealing with the government is an evil.

Friday, 26 June
Queen St, Auckland, is enlivened by the West Coast diggers who arrived by the Wallaby last night.  They promenade the town and congregate in knots of four or five discussing the goldfields generally, and those of the Thames and Rangiriri in particular.  These miners seem a strong robust set of fellows, who are used to hard work and who are just the class of men wanted at the Thames. A number of them leave by the steamer Gemini for Riverhead, enroute to the Wairoa in the Upper Kaipara.  There is every prospect that both north of Auckland in the Kaipara and south of it in the Waikato, goldfields will during the present winter be discovered, that will vie with the Thames both in richness and extent. But the intelligence which has reached Auckland as to the prospects of a goldfield at Rangiriri has not been very precise.  This is unfortunate as there are many men in Auckland, recent arrivals and others, who are hesitant as to whether they should go to Waikato or the Thames.

At the Thames the Manukau party’s picked stuff, which has been crushed over the past few days, has yielded an astonishing 708 oz gold. The Manukau claim is known to be a prolific one, yet this crushing is rich beyond expectation.  The claim since it was first opened has been abandoned four or five times and on one occasion a full share in it was offered for 20 shillings, but no purchaser could be found.

Messrs Fraser and Tinne are about to erect a machine of 50 head of stampers at Tapu, to be driven by water power.  A site has been given for this on the Golden Point claim, but it is probable not more than 15 stampers will be erected in the meantime.

The Shortland share market reports improved confidence in the Thames goldfield and notes that purchasers of mining stock are adopting the very commendable plan of personally inspecting the property they propose purchasing.  This is a very desirable precaution.  Registering of mining property has become one of the most important branches of the goldfield regulations and when perfected will afford the only reliable evidence of title.  Upwards of 500 claims have been registered within a month and more than 500 claims are still unregistered. The accommodation for registration is much too limited and the provision for the protection and safe custody of valuable documents is almost entirely neglected.

At Otago a heavy snow storm causes much damage.  Mining matters have been at a standstill for weeks owing to the unsettled state of the weather.  The news received from the Thames goldfields is creating great excitement and a large number of diggers are only awaiting confirmation of the last good news received before leaving the south for there.

The Meteor arrives at the Thames after leaving Auckland on Monday having experienced calms the whole time with thick foggy weather.  The cutter Lizzie arrives in the Manukau today from the West Coast with 20 diggers for the Thames goldfield. The John Penn arrives back in Nelson and is announced to leave again with more diggers for the Thames.

Ringdove for Tapu and Shortland with 3,000 ft timber, 25,000 shingles and 54 sashes

Wahapu for Shortland and Tapu with 80 tons firewood, 4,000 bricks, 5,000 ft timber and 11, 000 shingles

The Native Lands Court hearings continue throughout the day.  To Reverend Harper's relief the Wesleyan block comes up but there are immense difficulties so the hearing is postponed.  He must leave tonight as he has to preach twice in Auckland on 28th.  He leaves by his favorite steamer the Tauranga which gets out of the creek about 10pm and sets off for Auckland under a  beautiful moonlit sky.  The Reverend falls asleep on deck and catches cold.   His time at the Thames has not been  enjoyable, having arrived to flea bites and leaving with a cold.

NZH 26 June, 1868

DSC 26 June, 1868

Saturday, 27 June
Mr Buckland addresses the Thames miners in the American Theatre which is crowded with an audience who are prepared to hear what he has to say before pledging themselves to either candidate. Mr Buckland and his friends, on appearing on the stage are received with applause, and Mr Swan, who takes a seat in front of the stalls, receives an ovation also. Mr Buckland says that regarding the immediate interests of the district he desires to act fairly.  Regarding the law affecting the sale of land by the government he would like to see them dispose of as much as possible but he has to acknowledge that dealing with the government is an evil.  What he desires to see is the land given away to every man who would cultivate it.  He considers the poor man would be better treated if he went to the Maori for his land.  He wants to see Maori possessed of a title by which they can transfer their land.  On the subject of gold revenue 3 shillings and 3 pence is imposed as export tax on every ounce of gold sent out of the country.  If he were elected he promises he would introduce a bill which would average the standard value of gold.  Instead of this tax being used for roads and streets it would pay the interest on the whole debt for the colony.  If he is elected he will endeavour to economise the public expenditure by cancelling offices which were of no public use.  Referring to the income derived from gold duty he would recommend that 6 pence per ounce should be imposed to meet the liabilities incurred by the government in the protection of the goldfield.  He would even go further than that – he would give the duty derived from the gold into the hands of the miners to be used by them in the formation of roads.  All he can promise is that he will use his best endeavours to promote the prosperity of the Thames.  After answering questions a vote of thanks is given and the meeting separates. For a Thames meeting this is the most orderly that has taken place since the goldfield has been opened.

This evening the Foley Juvenile Troupe performs at the American Theatre.  The Troupe quite takes the place by storm on their first appearance at the Thames.  Long before the advertised time for opening the doors a very large crowd has collected, some members of which are most clamorous in their desire for admittance, and the doors are hardly open when such a rush takes place as was never seen at the Thames on a similar occasion.  In fact, so impetuous are the expectant crowd that Mr Foley is obliged to refuse to play unless a little better order is presented.  Very few minutes elapse before the house is packed to capacity – literally hundreds have to be refused admittance.  There is a great variety of entertainment – Madame Tourner displays her skill on the tightrope and is very warmly received, as likewise are her subsequent terpsichorean performances.  The performances of the children are the greatest attraction.  Johnny Foley is certainly a youngster of much precocious talent, his imitative powers are of the highest order and he promises to become a first class Irish comedian.  His power of memory is great and he possesses gifted musical abilities.  His performance on the wire cord is quite artistic and executed with extraordinary confidence.  His sister Katy is a very staunch rival, but a most graceful little rival, who as a songstress will make a reputation for herself in the world.  Encores are most energetically demanded.  Mr Foley himself sings several local songs with capital effect.  Mr Hooper, well and prominently known on the boards, is another member of the company and possesses a natural flair for music.  Another useful member of the Troupe is Mr Temple, who has only just joined.  He writes excellently and some of his original songs are quite equal to anything of  Charles Thatcher’s, the well known goldfields entertainer.  Mr Foley is certainly without rival in the Colonies as a caterer of public amusement and he proposes to visit the Thames again shortly, and it is his intention to erect a permanent circus there, as in Auckland.

DSC 27 June, 1868

Sunday, 28 June
The Reverend A Macdonald and the Reverend G Brown, of Onehunga, preach at Tapu today – the first in the morning and the latter in the evening - to good congregations.  The absence of females is a feature particularly noticeable in these congregations.

Monday, 29 June
James Hickie for the last three months has been prospecting on the right side of the Tapu Creek with various success.  In many cases he found indications of gold in some of the blind gullies, all leading him to believe that there was one or more gold bearing leaders in the vicinity.  He and six of his mates pegged out a piece of ground and began working.  They had driven in one place at 100 feet,  also two other drives at about 50 and 60 ft each were being worked when accident showed them they were heading in the wrong direction.  This morning James Hickie sees quartz specimens on the surface that lead him to believe that the leader is not far from the vicinity.  He and his mates commence a drive and before they have gone a foot or two in come upon a very rich leader.  These facts they keep quiet all day.

Apart from politics, the most interesting topic discussed at the Thames is the wonderful yield of gold from two tons of quartz taken out of the Manukau claim; the result up to the present hour is 1,256 oz.   The Manukau claim is worked very successfully by four shareholders, who have held the ground for the past seven months.  The colour was first obtained last November, and heavy gold was struck in February.  The ground is turning out some very rich stone and a crushing has been made in the last few days.  The 1,256 oz  yielded  this morning when retorting was not quite completed is an enormous proportion which surpasses anything ever before seen in New Zealand and has seldom been equaled in Victoria, and the leader is thought not likely to run out.

Victoria St West, Auckland, a line of stores including that of J J Mills. 

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-248

At the Auckland Police Court Martha Gray, a respectable looking woman, is charged with having on 28 June stolen two bed ticks and a cruet-stand from the premises of J J Mills, Victoria Street.  Mr Naughton says he was informed that the prisoner’s husband is at the Thames. The court comments it is a pity that so young a person and one of so respectable appearance should be charged with larceny. Martha is sentenced to 14 days imprisonment.

The steamer Airedale leaving Auckland today is the bearer of 1000 ozs 4 dwts of Thames gold, to be transhipped on board the ss Ruahine at Wellington for Southampton.  The gold is valued at £2800.00.

Captain Ellis makes arrangements for the Thames steamers to have exclusive use of one of the T’s of the Queen Street wharf for the embarkation and landing of passengers and goods which will remove any difficulty that might otherwise ensue when the crowd of vessels now expected comes into harbour.

The last issue of the Tauranga Record is published.  This paper has been in existence about 12 months and the cause attributed for its demise is the great exodus of settlers for the Thames and scarcity of labour in the district.  This is also blamed for the demise of the Auckland Free Press which expired 10 days ago.

The NZ Herald is in a self-congratulatory mood announcing  “We have strongly and persistently spoken in terms of hope and praise respecting the Thames goldfield  from the time when it was first opened.  Our contemporary the Cross as persistently “threw cold water” upon it. Articles constantly appeared in that paper condemning us as rash and hasty and void of common sense, for telling people that the Thames goldfield  would turn out to be a very rich one.  The people generally, too, were very sceptical upon the matter  . . . our assertions  have been proved by time, and our prophecies have been literally and abundantly fulfilled . . . the success of the Thames goldfield is a matter for rejoicing, not only to the city of Auckland, not only to this province even, but to the entire colony.  Already, with a goldfield in an undeveloped state, the benefit derived from the goldfield has been very considerable but until many more machines are at work and better weather comes, we shall only have a very partial development and realisation of the wealth lying in the quartz reefs at the Thames.”

The cutter Bessy arrives at Auckland with about 20 diggers from the West Coast.

A Bank of New South Wales is to be built at the junction of Pollen and Richmond Streets, Shortland. The structure is to be of one storey only, the dimensions being 45 ft to Pollen Street by 35 ft to Richmond Street. It will be divided into a banking room, with two apartments for the accommodation of the manager, attached to which will be a smaller room.  The style of the building is simple in the extreme and the material will be wood.  The front elevation will be a simple rusticated Italian style, divided into five compartments with plain Tuscan pilasters.  This supports a cornice and entablature surmounted with a plain blocking course on which the words Bank of New South Wales will be placed in bold capitals.  The main entrance, leading to the banking room will be fitted with a strong door with twelve richly ornamented raised panels.  The total cost of the building will be £420.

NZH 29 June, 1868

The Pollen Street mob.

This evening Mr Swan addresses a public meeting, presided over by Captain Butt, at the American Theatre.  The theatre is crowded to excess and Mr Swan and friends are greeted with cheers as they appear on stage.  Captain Butt recommends the audience coolly consider the interests which are to be represented by Mr Swan and Mr Buckland. The great question at issue, says Captain Butt, is the reduction of the expenditure of the revenues of the colony by the general government and utilising those revenues derived in the district for its benefit.

Mr Swan comes forward amid prolonged cheering.  He says he will not take up the time of the meeting by talking of native lands and the relations existing between run holders and the Maori.  His own views differ from Mr Buckland, who he believes to be unsound politically.  Mr Swan stands on purely a mining ticket, having no antagonism whatever to the farming interests of Franklin. Protection of its income is required for the goldfield.  It has not received any revenue for expenditure on Public Works which is urgently required.  The Provincial Government has said they do not consider it warranted expending money on a township that has not gone through the Native Lands Court and they urge the inhabitants to expend private resources on public works.  This protection may be obtained in one of two ways - either by a County Bill or simple Act giving the Thames the control of the revenues. If a wharf is erected in Shortland and revenue from it accrued he was prepared to give such revenue to the town and not the Provincial Government.  He would do the same at every township on the goldfield.  There have now been issued 6,474 miner's rights, the whole of which money has gone to the Maori owners.

During the discussion which follows Mr O’Keefe says there are questions that have not been handled by either Mr Swan or Mr Buckland.  The first is the gold export duty.  This is a class tax and bears heavily on the miners. Mr Buckland had stated that he supported the tax.  Mr O’Keefe wishes to see the tax abolished altogether.  He says that if the two candidates were shaken in a bag it would be immaterial to him who came out first (laughter).  He anticipates that whoever went to Wellington,  little or nothing will be done for the benefit of the goldfields.  He considers that both Mr Swan and Mr Buckland are far below mediocrity as legislators.

Mr Swan is unpopular with some because he was put forward by the Thames Improvement Committee, which is seen as a clique and referred to as the ‘Pollen Street mob”.   Mr Swan says he distinctly repudiates this. After Mr Swan has done speaking, and a vote of thanks has been passed, a scrimmage takes place caused by a misunderstanding between a miner and a popular inhabitant of Shortland.  With the exception of this, the meeting is orderly and before the night sets in the majority of the miners go home to their tents on the different creeks. 
A party of West Coast diggers, recently arrived from the Buller River, have been for some few days prospecting in the ranges and have succeeded in discovering a quartz leader of great richness.  Tonight they bring in specimens to Shortland.  The locality of this leader is a considerable distance beyond Pat Nolan’s claim, the Candlelight, which is situated at the head of the Waiotahi.  This discovery of gold so far back will no doubt inspire great confidence in the West Coast men as to the richness and permanence of the Thames diggings, and good accounts will be sent to their mates down south.  It is hoped it will bring men determined to prospect and open up the diggings from shore to shore.

Tuesday, 30 June
This morning one of the greatest rushes to take place at Tapu occurs with the news of James Hickie’s find. The place is situated just in the rear of Mr Bruce Morpeth’s store at Golden Point on the Tapu Creek upon a spur of the main ridge which comes down from the Golden Horn towards the town.  The ridge has previously been prospected by various parties without any good result.  The gold is almost on the surface, being found in a mullocky leader intermixed with quartz. Several pieces of splendid quartz studded with gold have been taken out as well as several pieces of gold removed from the interstices of the quartz.  Some of these pieces are about as large as a sovereign, but very thin, as though they had been hammered out, and all of them show this leafy character. The weather has cleared up splendidly in the last few days and there has been an increase in activity in all kinds of business at Tapu Creek.  The Lord Nelson claim, in sinking a shaft to try and catch the main leaders running through the hill, strikes it lucky – at a depth of 60 feet a leader of surpassing richness is found.

The weather is now favourable to mining operations at the Thames and all are busy getting out and stacking quartz, which those who are fortunate enough to have machines can at once get converted into money.  But by far the greater number of diggers have no such luck and are stacking their stone in paddocks, patiently waiting for the spring to set in when roads up the difficult creeks will be in better order and machinery will be ready for work.  It is hoped that the long tried patience and perseverance of many thousands of diggers will then meet with its true reward.  The new road up the Karaka made about two months ago is dreadfully cut up.  The Karaka creek is rapidly losing the bad name it has had for a long time.  Fresh ground is being taken up and a large number of West Coast diggers who have recently arrived seem determined to give the locality a fair trial. A piece of ground on the Karaka, which has been several times abandoned, has this week been named the Blooming Rose of the Karaka.  A large leader, having more the appearance of a reef, has been opened on the ground by the present shareholders and great expectations are entertained of its worth.  A number of new arrivals have taken up patches on the Karaka.

Gibbon’s machine, at the foot of the Waiotahi, is making rapid progress.  Already a battery of five head has been erected and preparations for a second are being made.  A race of 1,000 ft has been put up at the junction of the Democrat and Star of the Karaka claims.  Workmen men are busy building a machine shed and next week will commence a tramway.  Besides water power, there will be a steam engine on the ground for when there is insufficient water.  The water wheel is 30 ft in diameter and capable of supplying a force sufficient for 30 head of stampers.  A tramway is built over Tookey’s, the Belfast and Kelly’s claims to conduct quartz to the Kuranui Company's machine.

The work of building the wharf at Grahamstown is started in earnest by Hector McKenzie, the sub contractor, from plans prepared by Mr Weaver, late engineer to the Provincial Government.  The wharf will commence at the beachfront in Albert Street and extend a length of 480 ft.  It will be 10 ft wide, with a T at the end 40 ft by 20 ft.  The depth of water at high tide will be 13 ft.  There will be a line of rails on the right hand side for tram wagons, in order to facilitate the discharge of goods.  The steamers at present trading to the Thames will always be able to run alongside and unload, together with the numerous coasting vessels now employed in this trade. There will be a hand railing along the sides for better protection of passengers.  The wharf is expected to be handed over to the inhabitants of the growing township in a few weeks time.

At the Resident Magistrates Court before James Mackay cases today include an assault, a claim for the use of a horse, a claim for costs for medical assistance by Dr Sam, a claim for board and lodgings and money lent, and a claim for boat hire.

Matthew Barry, from the Thames, arrives at Rangiriri this morning, with three of his companions.  He sets out to wash some stuff on the most likely places. 

An enterprising gentleman from Canterbury has come up to Auckland with a view to starting a line of coaches between Tookey’s Flat and Shortland.  A trap at the manufactory of Messrs Cousin and Atkin has been fitted by them for this purpose.  It is a light express wagon covered with a hood of American leather and intended to accommodate about 10 persons.  It will be found a great convenience by the inhabitants of Shortland to be able to travel about the flat without being ankle deep in mud.

It appears that the Australians have recognised the importance of interesting themselves in the development of the Thames goldfield.   Mr Mortimer, in Auckland during the last few days on behalf of Langland’s Foundry Company of Melbourne, is prepared to consult with the parties for the erection of crushing machinery at the Thames.  The machinery is guaranteed of first class quality and capable of saving the very finest of gold. The Melbourne Foundry has already constructed a very powerful machine for the Thames Crushing Company which is expected there shortly. They are also employed manufacturing a powerful machine for Mr Stevenson with 40 head of stampers and this too will shortly be ready.  If these two machines only carry out all that it is believed they will, then a great change will be effected in the state of the Thames goldfields.   Mr Mortimer is about to visit the Thames.  Several gentlemen connected with the diggings have already seen him and made arrangements for machinery on their respective claims.

 Catherine for Shortland with 5,000 bricks, 1,000 ft timber, 2,000 shingles, 2 horses, 4 tons flour

 Tickler for Shortland with 8,000 bricks, quantity of machinery

At the meeting of the Provincial Council in Auckland this evening Major Jackson Keddell is appointed Resident Magistrate for the Thames.  This will relieve Mr Mackay from a part of his present duties and enable him to devote himself more exclusively to his other functions.  Major Keddell has had experience as a magistrate on goldfields, and it is anticipated he will handle satisfactorily the difficult duties which will fall to him at Shortland.   Major Keddell, an Englishman, joined the Victorian Mounted Police in 1853 in Australia where he rose to the rank of sub-inspector.  In 1862 he settled in Otago and became coroner of the goldfields there.  During the Maori war he joined the military forces and served in the Waikato campaign obtaining the rank of major.  Mr John William Diddams is appointed collector of the despised poll tax, levied by the Provincial Council.  He is a member of the City Board. Every adult male in the Auckland Province, which includes the Thames, is to be charged annually with a tax of 10s.

The Herald reports in admiration that the fine little steamer Halcyon has returned  from the Thames this evening, having been absent only 12 hours, including a detention of an hour at Tapu and half an hour at Shortland.  The Daily Southern Cross also comments “This is certainly some smart travelling.”

DSC 30 June, 1868
Otago Daily Times 30 June, 1868

A stunning yield of gold. 

Wednesday, 1 July
A stunning yield of gold – 1,260 ozs  - is obtained from a ton and a half of stone taken out of the Manukau leader.  A rumour has been circulating Auckland that the Manukau leader is likely to run out.

Five new hotels licensed on the Waiotahi Flat (Grahamstown) were to have opened today, but the large amount of work still needing completion prevents several from being sufficiently ready to commence active business.  The following are opened and make a start – the Royal Hotel, Brown Street; Rising Sun Hotel; Muir and Sullivan’s (Prince Alfred) Hotel; Smith’s (Criterion) Hotel.  At each of these there is every accommodation for first class business.  Atkinson’s Hotel, Brown Street, is also still in the builder's hands.  This will be the largest and neatest looking building on the Flat when completed.  It contains 14 bedrooms on the upper storey, together with a billiard room and balcony with French windows and stained glass.  There is a double roof and 12 rooms on the ground floor.  The barn front will have stained glass windows, together with the commercial and smoking rooms.

A Californian quartz miner is wandering the Thames goldfield.   He goes up several creeks and sees more gold bearing quartz than he ever remembers seeing in one locality before.  Some of the mills, which although small, are neat and well built and reflect great credit on those who erected them.  The great cry of the mill owners however appears to be "how can I save my quicksilver?  It will escape in spite of all I can do."  He believes they must change their present mode of using it.  Why adopt a mode that was discarded 15 years ago in California?  Blankets and quicksilver were never intended to be used together.  A Brazilian or Mexican would laugh at the idea.  During four and a half years experience in quartz mining he never saw quicksilver put into the battery – a practice universally used at the Thames. Blankets are worthless where quicksilver is used.

Looking south west showing St Andrew's Church, Epsom. This building replaced the original St Andrew's in 1867 using the design of the Reverend John Kinder.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-8098

The Presbytery of Auckland meet at St Andrew’s church.  Amongst other business discussed the clerk lays before the Presbytery a petition he has received from the members of the Presbyterian church at Shortland and Grahamstown asking the Presbytery to empower them to make the proper call to some minister to officiate in that district.  It is signed by 84 Presbyterians, several of them the most influential persons both in Grahamstown and Shortland.   Mr Alexander Carson, one of the deputation appointed to support the petition, says that it is one which does not require many words to support it.  It speaks for itself.  He thanks the presbytery for the manner in which it has supplied the wants of the Thames so far, but now he thinks the time has come when they might ask the presbytery to grant them a permanent resident minister. The meeting agrees a minister is decidedly urgently required. It is decided that the Presbytery grant the petition and also appoint a committee to take measures to organise a church at the Thames with a view to the speedy location of a resident clergyman.  Reverend D Bruce tells the meeting that it is necessary to do something at Tapu as well.  The committee has twice sent down a minister to that place.  Reverend G Brown says that when he preached there, there was a very full congregation each time.  He also says there is no place of meeting and he has to preach in the open air.  He believes efforts should be made to get some kind of buildings erected.

The latest Provincial Government Gazette is published and contains a schedule of tenders for the construction of a wharf at Shortland – the highest being £1,200; the lowest, that of Mr Walter Siegley, (accepted) of  £700 6s 6d.

Coal barge at the old wharf in Whangarei
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1342-ALBUM-244-159-2' 

The ketch Isabella is taken up to Whangarei to load with coal for Tookey’s Flat.  Coals are realising 40s to 50s a ton at the Thames and are very scarce.  Firewood also maintains a high price and is unprocurable in large quantities.

There is concern that the requirements of the Thames district are by no means likely to be met for some time to come.  A great number of machines are talked of, and some are in the course of erection, but still they will not be able to do half the work necessary.  It is impossible, owing to the absence of water and other causes, to get machines into proximity to many likely claims, and to many others in which there is an immense body of stone.  The 'small machine mania' is considered a mistake and the only thing which will eventually give entire satisfaction will be the building of large mills and cheap crushing.  Messrs Du Moulin and Johnston have persevered well with their machine and the difficulties, which have been neither few nor small, have been successfully overcome with energy and pluck.

 Spey for Shortland with 8,250 ft timber and stores

As announced last week on a board outside the Telegraph Office, Princes Street,  Auckland, business is commenced in the new offices, Fort Street, this morning. Many will doubtless avail themselves to the convenience. The removal of the department to its new location will also be found exceedingly advantageous to merchant shippers and others, inasmuch as the arrival of the steamers at Onehunga will be duly announced on a blackboard outside – there are so many steamers now being laid on for the Manukau with large numbers of diggers from the West Coast anxious to try their luck at the Thames or elsewhere in this auriferous portion of New Zealand.

At Puriri the Alliance claim exhibit half a tin dishful of specimens.  The claim contains four men’s ground and was taken up on 11 March.  Stevenson and party have washed a prospect of 1 dwt to the tin dish from the mullocky leader in their ground.  Working shares in the Prospector's Reef have changed hands, having been purchased by a party of practical miners who propose working the ground in earnest.  The reef is a very large one and takes a straight course though eight claims, as many as 48 men are at present working on it.  Puriri  has been kept very much in the background, through an entire absence of machinery.  Shortland sharemarket reports of this area, however, say the magnificent reef running through the seven claims in the Prospector’s Valley will shortly take its place as a notable and valuable feature on these goldfields when the proper machinery for which the shareholders have been so long and anxiously waiting shall start to work.  Two separate parties are contemplating the erection of machinery on that ground.

The NZ Herald are shown by Mr Pollard, of the Caledonian claim, Moanataiari, a splendid specimen which was broken from a leader struck at 3.30 yesterday afternoon.  The stone is full of gold.

DSC 1 July, 1868

Poll Tax - This most hateful of taxes was a tax levied on every adult, without reference to their income or resources, aka as a  per head tax.  The word poll was an archaic term for “head” or “top of the head".  The sense of counting heads is found in phrases like polling place or opinion poll.  


Papers Past
Methodist papers,  David Arbury collection, the Treasury, Thames
Major Jackson Keddell -

© 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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