Monday 16 July 2018

4 June to 10 June, 1868

Golden prospects before them. 

Looking across a diggings, probably in the Thames area, showing mine heads (right and left rear); buildings and chimney (right); huts (rear); and waste heaps from mines.

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC139'

Thursday, 4 June
A West Coast miner, living at the Thames, receives letters from his friends at the Grey, Hokitika and other places on the West Coast saying there will be a thousand men at the Thames shortly.  Among passengers from Auckland during the past fortnight there have already been several new faces.  Though they are arriving during the winter, the weather is not so severe that they cannot take up new ground and settle on it.  The climate of the Thames is much more bearable in the winter than that of the West Coast.

A petition is signed by a very influential portion of the Thames community to have a branch bank established at or near Grahamstown, which is much needed due to the bulk of the rich claims being situated in the immediate neighbourhood.

The Princess Alice Claim, Waiotahi Creek, is expected to turn out remarkably rich.  This claim consists of six men’s ground and joins the well-known Liverpool Boys, Ballarat and Shamrock in the same creek.  The fortunate shareholders appear to have golden prospects before them.  The ground has only recently been taken up.

Mr Foley's menagerie opens at the Thames this evening and is well patronised.  The whole exhibition is unique and for those who have only seen these arrivals in picture books it has a sensational effect.  The lion and lioness are magnificent, the leopards are beautiful.  There is a great sea lion and a little guinea pig.  The most interesting performance is Mr Fernandez who enters the lion’s cage and proceeds to put the king of the beasts and his companion through a series of surprising feats, including putting his head in the lion’s mouth.  The leopardess also performs some interesting acts.  The animals are returned to their cages and the audience has the pleasure of seeing them fed.

Friday, 5 June
Kennedy’s Bay is very dull now compared with what it was three weeks ago, a large number of the population having left.   There are not more than one hundred men there now.   The miners remaining seem inclined to stay and give the place a fair trial but a large proportion of those who arrived in the first instance had very extravagant ideas of the place which have been doomed to disappointment for the present.  Perhaps the few plodding and hardworking men who remain will ultimately find the reefs and there will be a second rush to this place.

The Kingite party, observing  with intense jealousy the footing the Europeans have obtained at the Thames, have recently extended the aukati (ban) line to Whangamata on the east coast of the Thames peninsula, and opposite Shortland, and also to Mataora, a settlement of Ngatiporou, who claim the land at Kennedy’s Bay.  Te Hira has been advised to retire inland to the King's territory, but he says as long as the Europeans allow him to occupy his land in peace he will not move from it.

In the Moanataiari claim known as Williamson's a most important discovery of the Manukau leader is made.  When the leader was struck so rich in the Manukau claim about four months back the shareholders in Williamson's determined on sinking a shaft close to the boundary of the two claims.   A depth of 118 ft was attained when a drive was put in to the east and today the long wished for quartz is reached.  This claim will, for the future, be known as the Golden Crown.

The William and the Julia arrive in the Manukau bringing 15 diggers for the Thames goldfields from the south.

Whau for Tookey’s Flat with 6,000 bricks

A meeting is held at Captain Butt’s theatre to forward the election William Turnball Swan of the firm Kerr and Swan, and a member of the Thames Improvement Committee.  Swan enters the fray to contest the election for Franklin against William Buckland. The diggers rush the room, and irrespective of the much abused Thames Improvement Committee, appoint their own secretary and treasurer and form their own committee.  They object to the conditions on which Mr Swan is standing.   Mr Swan pledges to secure for the district the revenues of the place for local improvement instead of allowing them to be absorbed in the payment of the interest on provincial debt and other liabilities.  He will also secure the expenditure of public money on streets, roads, wharves and bridges. A committee is formed with a view of subscribing and depositing to the credit of the candidate in the bank, the amount of expenses of contest etc.  Mr Swan’s ability and honesty make him likely to be a true friend to the diggers.

NZH 5 June, 1868

Saturday, 6 June
As the steamer Tauranga leaves Auckland for the Thames this morning a man being conveyed from the wharf to the steamer in a waterman’s boat falls overboard.  The Tauranga is immediately stopped and the man picked up.  Persons proceeding to the Thames are admonished to be more punctual.  Seldom a day passes when one or more persons have to be taken to the steamer after she is under weigh and put on board at considerable risk.

The body of the eldest son of Rapana is brought to Shortland today by the relatives of the deceased, in order that a tangi may be held.  The boy had been taken to the Provincial Hospital in Auckland a few days ago, but was far too ill for any hope of recovery.

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 4498-14'

Tapu  is wearing an unusually bright appearance from the number of vessels laying in the river.  The numbers are daily increasing, no doubt owing to the satisfactory nature of these diggings as compared to Shortland.  Men are busily at work constructing the tramway at Tapu Creek from the landing place to Golden Point in order to facilitate the erection of Messrs Buckland and Co’s machine. The cutting for the site of the crushing machine of Gibbons and Co is completed, and the blocks for the building are now being placed in position, but the works are now almost at a standstill for lack of timber.  A large quantity of bricks is delivered for the construction of another bake house which is much required as bread is now selling at 7d for a 2 lb loaf.  The number of passengers who have arrived during the week coastwise is about 100; the departures are very trifling.  Numbers of fresh claims are being marked out daily.  Night and day the work is being carried out in shifts.  The people of Tapu are urged to call a public meeting for the purpose of constituting the area a mining district and employing a warden, so that in every little dispute they are not compelled to go to Shortland, to have cases settled.  The tender of Matthew Frost for constructing a bridle track between Tapu and Shortland has been accepted by the Provincial Government.  This work when completed will be a great public convenience.  No minister has arrived to conduct divine worship at Tapu tomorrow.

There is a rush to a creek at the Mata.  Prospectors in that locality have struck a well defined and payable reef.  The creek mouth on the beach is about three miles towards Shortland, to a place about a mile up it.  Some good looking leaders have been found there and it is in a good position, being in a line with the rich claims there.  Messrs Quinn and Cashell have succeeded in uncovering another leader of extraordinary richness.  The quartz is thickly studded with large lumps of pure bright gold, far surpassing anything which has yet been found there.

A miner’s committee meets at the Thames this afternoon and divides the whole goldfield into districts.  It issues the requisitions for signature by the miners of the Thames, Tapu Creek, Coromandel and other places, pledging Mr Swan support on the day of polling.  At Tapu 170 miners pledge to support Mr Swan.  Mr Buckland is absent from the Thames at present, no doubt feeling secure that his return is safe.

At the Upper Thames a long talked of aukati (ban) is agreed to by the Hauhaus and is established to last two months to the 8th of August.  The river is therefore closed against any Maori going down to Shortland or the coast, but not to Europeans.  Many of the Maori who were going to attend the Land Courts at Shortland on the 23rd agree to postpone their visit until the ban is up.

Triad for Shortland with 2 horses, 2,000 ft timber, 1 dray, 17 bags chaff, 4 bags potatoes

At Wellington this evening the ss Storm Bird takes 39 passengers for the North.  Most of them intend to try their fortune at the new goldfields at Kennedy’s Bay, or the Thames - the prospects of which improve by every account that arrives.  They cannot be blamed for leaving a district where men commonly offer their services on the country stations within a few miles of town just for their lodgings and food.

At Tapu Messrs Reid’s new two storey 16 roomed hotel is opened this evening, supplied with every requisite.  The hotel  excels any Shortland can boast of.

DSC 6 June, 1868

NZH 6 June, 1868

Hisses and yells.

Sunday, 7 June
A cowardly robbery is committed in the bush of the Karaka today on a youth who is delivering bread to the claims.  As the lad approaches a lonely part of the track, he is seized by a man who rifles his pockets of their contents – a half-crown and some coppers -  and takes away with him six loaves of bread.  The boy runs away from the ruffian as soon as he can, but is unable to identify him. 

There is another Sunday excursion to Tapu today, the Clyde leaving Shortland in remarkably fine weather with 60 passengers who enjoy the scenery along the ranges. After two hours they come into view of the rising township. Allotments are rapidly being taken up, perhaps because the high ranges which enclose the town render its future enlargement out of the question. The most noticeable sign of progress is the work about three quarters up the creek, where some 40 men are engaged in clearing a site and constructing a road for a tramway. A site for a quartz crushing mill is set aside higher up the creek and the installation of a Schieles water wheel is planned. There is a demand for reefers and practical men at Tapu and the encouragement given to prospectors by one or two storekeepers is very great. The 1,000 – 1,500 miners are in need of a post office and branch bank. Time does not allow for the visiting of more than a few claims but what is seen in a few hours is assurance that it would be difficult to overrate the resources of Tapu.

Monday, 8 June
Richard Matthews, of the Auckland Free Press, smarting over rival newspaper reports of the June 1 meeting at the Thames at which the controversial Hugh Carleton spoke, refutes  the Daily Southern Cross’ statement that Mr Matthews’ amendment was put and lost, amid hisses and yells of disapproval -  “This is untrue.  The amendment was not put to the meeting; consequently it could not be lost.”  Instead of being received with yells and hisses, protests Mr Matthews, the amendment was in the first instance seconded by five or six different persons but the chairman refused to accept it.  Matthews had to postpone its consideration until an hour afterwards and then he wished to withdraw it, but the chairman refused this.  On being put to the meeting it was allowed to then be withdrawn.

The Storm Bird arrives in the Manukau from Wellington this afternoon with diggers for the Thames.

Avon for Thames with 2,500 bricks, 20 cases kerosene, sundries, 4 passengers

 Industry for Tapu with 1,000 ft timber, 1,000 bricks, 8,000 shingles and sundries

DSC 8 June, 1868
Hawkes Bay Times 8 June, 1868

Tuesday, 9 June
A new rush takes place at Tapu Creek this morning, when seven claims are pegged off at the rear of Sceats' British Hotel.  Mr Sceats, with his usual enterprising spirit, has induced a party of miners to prospect the range lying at the back of the township.  The prospect obtained from the surface indicates the presence of a gold bearing reef in the immediate vicinity.  This is not the first time this locality has been rushed but this time all connected with the enterprise intend to see it carried out.  The Clyde brings a cargo of business people and is now expected to make the trip daily.  On the return trip the Comet claim and several others send up to Shortland specimens of quartz to be crushed there. The 15 stamper battery, in course of construction by Buckland and Co, progresses slowly.  There are five head on the ground but they require fixing while it is very uncertain when the remainder will be forthcoming.  Quinn and Cashell’s ground is yielding some extremely rich stuff.  Quinn  and Cashell have succeeded in uncovering another leader of extraordinary richness.  The quartz is thickly studded with lumps of pure bright gold, far surpassing anything in richness that has been found there.  The top of this leader was found about a week since but it was only today that the prolific nature of it was suspected, and its richness appears to be increasing with each succeeding foot in depth.  The leader is encased in the hard blue primary rock in which gold can be plainly seen.  It is perfectly astonishing how the gold appears to be outcropping on this claim.

Notice is given that tenders for the wharf at Shortland will be received for this work at the Superintendent’s office until noon of the 22nd instant, no eligible tenders having yet been received.

At the Auckland court John Thomas Berry, 24, a carpenter, is charged with stealing from the person of William Carruthers £14 in £1 banknotes at Shortland.  He is found guilty of larceny.  A previous conviction of larceny is also proved against him and he is sentenced to imprisonment for two years with hard labour.  This is one of those cases where the victim gets worse for drink and is robbed.

At the Golden Crown claim (late Williamsons) a body of stone containing gold is found in the presence of two of the Auckland shareholders and brought to the surface,  The gold is stunning and this is an example of energy and perseverance being ultimately successful. 

At the Waiotahi Gold Mining Company’s ground, an amalgamation of claims known as the Parnell Reef and Coombes and Townley’s claim, at the foot of the Waiotahi Creek, a large amount of work has been done during the four months it has been in the hands of its present manager, Mr Johnson.   A road was started with a view of carrying it round Mulligan’s ground, but the compensation asked by the latter man was refused and the work not proceeded with.  A substantial bridge has been put across the creek, which is a great convenience for the claims around, as well as those some distance beyond.

Dr John Aicken’s  new process of gold saving is said to have been very successful in an experiment on one pound of stone taken from Heldt’s claim near the Victoria  machine, Moanataiari Creek. This is a secret process – Aicken’s experiments demonstrate most satisfactorily the value of the discovery.  It is hoped Dr Aicken will lose no time in securing his discovery by patent, so that the advantage of it may become available to the owners of the claims at the Thames.

Ways to save gold occupy the thoughts of many.   H Chamberlain of St George’s Bay writes to the NZ Herald -– “Hearing that there is a great loss of gold at the Thames diggings through the finer particles being so light that they will not amalgamate with mercury, or by any other known means at present in operation, I beg to say that by using the art of electrometalling every atom may be saved and that the process is sufficiently cheap to make it pay.”

The miners seem to enjoy a joke at their own expense – a crushing of a ton of stuff from the City Board claim yields a tin tack. It is presumed this is meant to convey an idea of disappointment of the claim holders with the yield, although the quantity passed through is known to be of an inferior quality.

The Daily Southern Cross reporter hits back at Richard Matthews of the Auckland Free Press.   He writes that Matthews’ proceedings at the June 1 meeting did initiate the unseemly riot which then took place.  “The putting of his motion was received with uproarious dissention, and the chairman refused the repeated urgent entreaties of Mr Matthews to allow it to be withdrawn.”

Matthews is accused of very bad grace.  Instead of attending to his duties, he disturbed a meeting, the proceedings of which he was there to report.  The newspapers fire salvos at each other over the very partial, not to say cooked, reports of the proceedings appearing in the Daily Southern Cross and the Thames Advertiser.   The Thames Advertiser protests “We do object to their (NZ Herald’s) one sided schemes for possessing themselves of the miner’s wealth, since they have discovered the Thames goldfield to be one of great magnitude, instead of the myth they formerly characterised it.”

The NZ Herald thunders “We defy any person to find in the New Zealand Herald a single sentence characterising the Thames goldfields as a myth.  On the contrary from the very first this journal has, with a farseeing consistency, maintained against evil report, and in the face of much opposition, the importance of opening up the Thames district as a goldfield, and when opened up, the value of it as such.  When other journals day after day taunted us with having deceived the public and with having brought misery to hundreds of homes through our persistent advocacy of the Thames goldfields, how can the Thames Advertiser with any fairness apply to us the language we have quoted from its columns. Nay more, it was this journal, in the first instance that suggested the expediency of offering a reward for the discovery of the goldfield.  Mr Alfred Jerome Cadman  adopted our suggestion, and supported by our remarks, obtained the consent of the council to his proposal.  The Superintendant was recommended to offer a large sum (£5,000) for the discovery of a goldfield.  It was not until the present superintendent came into office that the reward - and this again at the insistence of this journal - was gazetted.  The consequence of the offer of this reward was Taipari’s willingness to enter into arrangements, and from this all has followed.  Our contemporary must remember that, as we have before stated, the interests of Auckland and the Thames are so interwoven, that we cannot consistently with our own welfare, run counter to the prosperity of the Thames.” Alfred Jerome Cadman, a cabinet-maker, and his wife, Ann Halyard, came to New Zealand from Australia in 1848.  A politically minded man, he has been connected with the Cape Colville/ Coromandel Peninsula from early in the fifties, being engaged in the mining industry there.  The first miner’s right in New Zealand was issued to him.

Mr J Wilson, of the Garibaldi store, Shortland, formerly of Freeman’s Bay, Auckland, dies suddenly this afternoon after an illness of 24 hours.  His body is to be placed on board the Tauranga and taken up to Auckland in the morning.

Spey for the Thames with 10 cases whisky, 10 cases brandy and stores

  Wahapu for the Thames with 6,000 bricks, 50 bushels lime etc   

Julia for Tapu Creek with 5,000 ft timber, sundries

  Mary Ann for Tapu Creek with 6 head cattle, 2 horses, 9 sheep, stores and passengers

NZH 9 June, 1868

Wednesday, 10 June
 A man named Hopkins is seriously injured at Tookey’s claim this morning.  Dr Lethbridge is sent for.

The Golden Cup claim, on the Waiotahi has, in the last 24 hours, produced several specimens of golden stone; one, quite a curiosity, shows a surface of solid gold the size and thickness of half a crown. 

The requisitions to Mr Swan to contest the Franklin district in the Assembly are coming in signed by the miners.  Tapu Creek has returned close on 200 names.  The male population in that quarter numbers about 350 who are qualified to vote.

 Rosina for Shortland with 5,000 bricks

NZH 10 June, 1868

DSC 10 June, 1868

Rapana’s son is noted in the Auckland Provincial Hospital return of the sick treated during the week ending 6 June 1868 as a case of dropsy, the subject of which was “ a Maori lad sent up from the Thames in a dying state.”

Papers Past
Graham Butterworth. 'Cadman, Alfred Jerome', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1993. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 10 December 2017)

© 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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