Thursday 12 July 2018

2 July to 8 July, 1868

The first election at the Thames.

View of Newmarket showing Manukau Road, now Broadway, and the Cabbage tree known as Te Ti Tutahi, tents of the 40th Regiment, the Stitchbury house 'Clovernook', left, and
'Highwic' on the right
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-827

Thursday, 2 July
Voting for the Franklin election takes place today.  Polling at the new courthouse at the Thames has been proceeded with vigorously since opening this morning.  The miners are considerably interested in the event and the vicinity of the courthouse is crowded.  A large proportion of them, however, consist of those whose miner's rights are not sufficiently old to give them a vote.  They take an equal interest in the result of the poll.  It is expected that a large number of miners will come down from their claims after lunch to vote.  A number of claims will work till noon and then avail themselves of the protection offered to record their vote and hold high holiday for the remainder of the day, in celebration of the first election at the Thames.

At Tapu, diggers make it a general holiday and the town assumes quite a lively appearance from an early hour with flags displayed in honour of the event. There are no speeches and the polling is conducted very quietly.

By noon some 160 votes have been recorded at the Thames.

At Auckland a large number of electors throng the polling booth at Newmarket during the whole course of the day, and the carriages of both candidates are kept continually employed in taking their respective supporters to register their votes. 

There has been greater excitement in the Franklin district regarding this election than has been the case for years past, and throughout the whole province a great interest has been taken in the event.  William Buckland is an old settler and is well known as a politician, whilst Mr Swan is quite unknown in that character, but has been nominated to represent  the goldfields community.  The discovery of a goldfield in the Franklin district which was previously occupied by an agricultural population only has brought two discordant elements in contact.  The wants of a goldmining community and those of an agricultural one are so directly opposite that it is scarcely possible for both to be properly represented by one person.  Mr Buckland and Mr Swan promise to be the true friend of both the farmer and digger and aim at the support of both classes, but this has not prevented a strong antagonism from arising between the two parties. The total number of electors for the district previous to the introduction of a mining population was 974, but there are now four times that number of qualified voters.


DSC 2 July, 1868

Among the passengers who leave Auckland for the Thames in the Tauranga today are the celebrated artistes Mr and Mrs J L  Hall, who are to give a series of short entertainments at the Thames.   

In the shop of Mr F H Lewisson, jeweller, Auckland, there is exhibited a very handsome brooch which has been made for Lady Bowen, of Thames gold, and greenstone in a pretty combination.  The principal part of the brooch is a diamond shaped greenstone neatly mounted with gold, and to this are attached three pendants of greenstone, in the shape of meres, clasped by gold fern leaves.  These pendants may be detached and with two earring pendants which Lady Bowen possesses, may be attached to a neck ornament.  The design, materials and execution of the brooch are considered excellent.

Thomas Leffin, a miner at Shortland, writes cynically to his brother “I have been here on the diggings a few days, and do not know more than when I arrived other than seeing for myself, and I assure you there are some few rich claims, but I believe very few.  What one remarks immediately is of the small quantity of stone there is. The leaders are a jumble and claims I have been at this day that have been working eight or ten months cannot show a ton of stone, and I could not see a speck of gold in any I have examined today . . .  It is a very poor place and the people who have money are the new arrivals and there are a great many arriving.  I really think it is a gigantic swindle, but if it is to be good it will be better in six months than it is now.  When I asked any of them to show me gold they always said it was down at the tent . . .   Auckland people are very much excited; in fact they are going mad.  In about a month Hunt’s claim will crush, I am told, 10,000 ozs.  Well, that will cause a rush, but if they take my advice they will stop where they are.  It is no use coming here without money, and many of those who bring it will lose it.  There is no doubt about Hunt’s and two or three others being rich, but that will not keep the thousands who are coming here.  Butchers get their meat here in bags from Auckland, distant 50 miles by water.  Old Pridgeon is keeping a butcher’s about 15 miles from here, at Tapu Creek.  You have no idea of what a lovely “inland sea” as I call it, this is, it is 50 miles from Auckland, all by steamer and studded with islands all the way.  This is the place where Maori fighting was.  There are hundreds of Maori here and one must not cut down kauri trees unless he pays £1 5s each.  There is one claim called the Manukau, which crushed about 1200 oz out of two tons, but these were specimens which had been saved a long time.  The stuff they are now putting through the mills is like yellow clay, in fact I think it is and looks more fit for a pug mill.  The hills are very high and the sinking is pretty soft, so that one can easily see the amount of work done.  Some have had crushing’s and have got no gold – they lay it, of course, to the machine, others say it is too fine to be saved.  Well, time will prove, the country is large, but I do not think much of it.”

After the polling booth closes at Newmarket, several electors arrive to register their votes but the poll clerk has taken his departure.  A check is made on all the watches possessed by the disappointed voters and they unmistakably indicate that the poll clerk must have a fast watch.   A protest is to be entered should the result of the poll be adverse to Mr Buckland.

When it is made known to the electors of Shortland that Mr Swan has the majority of votes, he is carried on the shoulders of his constituents to Butt’s Hotel and then placed on the Maori image in front of the hotel.  He thanks the people before him for their support, and states that he will defend the interests of the Thames goldfield at Wellington, if he is returned for the Franklin district.  At this stage the result is Buckland 45 – Swan 33 – majority for Buckland – 12.

On the Thames the Victoria machine is stopped in order to make a slight improvement in the tables, which suggested itself to the manager, Mr Blezard.

The American Theatre at the Thames is well filled tonight on the occasion of the first appearance of the talented artistes, Mr and Mrs J Hall.  The excellent little character comedy 'Snapping Turtles' is performed as well as a musical and Terpsichorean interlude.  Mr Hall quite takes the house by storm, and his debut at the Thames is certainly most encouraging, if somewhat noisy.  The first appearance of Mrs Hall as Mrs Timms is at once the signal for a burst of applause that is repeated again and again throughout the evening, as every succeeding character furnishes fresh proof of her truly wonderful abilities.  Mrs Hall is an actress of the very highest talent; she sings sweetly and is a very admirable ballet dancer.  She is irresistibly charming and will undoubtedly become a great favourite.  Mr Hall’s really clever burlesque of 'Faust and Marguerite' finishes the evening’s entertainment, which is not concluded until a late hour.   The musical accompaniments on the piano are executed by Mr Seymour most creditably; not forgetting Mr Morris, whose impersonation of Dame Martha, in the burlesque, both in makeup and conception, are well worth seeing.   The NZ Herald correspondent, in writing up the night’s entertainment, observes “the visit of the troupe to the Thames in their theatrical entertainments was the signal for a new rush.”

Avon for Shortland with 4,000 ft timber and sundries

DSC 2 July, 1868
Nelson Evening Mail 2 July, 1868
The Goldfinder.

Friday, 3 July
Albert Potter, at his residence at Kohimaramara, Auckland,  is startled by a Maori passing his door who calls out that a white fellow lies dead about 20 yards from his house.  Albert, along with a man named Tucker, goes to the place.  They cover the body with bags and place an iron wheelbarrow over it to keep the flood tide from moving it before notifying the police. Jeremiah Corrigan, constable in the water police, and Constable McCaffrey proceed to Kohimaramara in the police boat and find a greatly decomposed body.  It is John Morrison who fell overboard from the Tauranga on her way from the Thames to Auckland on 20 June.

The English Mail summary notes that for the past ten days there has been the finest weather that can be desired, and for those at the Thames it must be a glorious relief from the previous heavy cold rains and wind which rendered everybody and every sort of work alike uncomfortable.

The Bank of New Zealand ships per the ss Taranaki two boxes of Thames gold containing 1,797 oz 14 dwts 12 grs gold, valued at £4,100.  The gold is transhipped at Wellington on board the Panama steamer for England.

The Goldfinder battery.
Courtesy The Treasury Collection. 

Steam is got up in the Shotover battery today to test the mechanical work and everything proves satisfactory as far as completed.
   It should be in motion in a week’s time and it is anticipated there will be a large addition to the amount of gold export.  The proprietors have named the machine the Goldfinder.  The work of christening the battery is entrusted to Miss E Horne, who breaks a bottle of champagne on the spot and pronounces the very appropriate name chosen by the proprietors of this compact battery.

The claim known as Powers-court, adjacent to the Nil Desperadum and Golden Fleece, in felling a tree to make some boundaries, expose a good leader from which a very rich specimen is taken.  The shareholders in the Prince Alfred claim on the Karaka are forming themselves into a company.  This claim has been steadily worked by the present shareholders for upwards of seven months.  They were among the first to erect machinery on the Karaka and being amateur machinists they had immense difficulties to content with.  Upon its completion it was found to be very imperfect, in fact almost useless so that very little gold could be saved by it.  The company plans to raise sufficient capital to erect machinery of the best description and engage an experienced miner as a working manager, together with a competent man to attend to the machine.  The Fear Naught claim, adjoining the Republic, Lizard and Waterfall claims, have some 90 tons of stuff in readiness for crushing and are awaiting completion of Stevenson’s machine, now being erected on the Waiotahi creek, on the Victoria and Britannia claims.

The complaint of want of machinery at Tapu is in a fair way of being rectified.  Amongst others being built there is one a little way above the Prospector’s claim, Golden Point.  Water power is to be used and for some time past a number of sawyers have been at work there.

Results of the Franklin election are still coming in with a majority for Mr Swan.  Returns are from Newmarket, Panmure, East Hamilton and Shortland.

A blacksmith residing on the Karaka is stuck up by two men and robbed of a sum of money and a watch at Tookey’s Flat.  He recognises one of the men named Ryan, as an old Auckland offender.  Ryan is found in a tent afterwards, his companion having fled on hearing rumours of an attack by outraged diggers.   Ryan’s tent is torn down, he is bound with cord and taken to the Karaka creek, where he is treated to a cold bath and afterwards dragged along the mud flats.

Otago Daily Times 3 July, 1868

Saturday, 4 July
The body of John Morrison is conveyed to the dead house at Auckland.

At the Thames the  police are informed of the Tookey’s Flat sticking up and proceed at the locality to inquire into the matter.  The money and watch are ultimately recovered.   “This little affair . . . contains a moral for the knights of the road and the light fingered gentry generally,” comments the Thames Advertiser.

The Daily Southern Cross are shown today two specimens of golden quartz, which, without exception, are the very richest they have seen yet from the Thames. In the largest specimen, weighing perhaps 3 oz, there cannot be less than 2 oz of gold.  There is a vein of gold about half an inch wide running through it which looks like a gold bar, and there are also two or three smaller veins equally rich.  The smaller specimen weighs about 2 ozs and contains fully an ounce and a half of gold.  The quartz is of a mixed colour – blue and white – and was taken from the ground about seven miles back from Shortland, but, for reasons that can be easily understood, the party possessing the specimens refuse to describe the locality.

The  Daily Southern Cross also receives a prospectus of a new pamphlet to be published in August – 'The Miner’s Guide and pocket companion: with a plan of the Thames goldfield, by a Reefer.' The pamphlet will be published at 5s, or with a map – 6s, and promises to be replete with useful information to miners.

Things at Tapu are settling down into a quiet way again after the excitement of the recent rush.  Sceptics who expressed an opinion that the ground was 'salted' have been allowed to use the pick themselves and succeeded in turning out some splendid specimens; the ground has been taken up all round them.  The Thistle claim at Tapu has obtained protection for three months.  They have suffered very severely from landslips.  Two additional public houses have been opened during the week and town allotments are becoming very valuable.

The Brian Boru claim, Waiotahi, seven men’s ground, has been opened since January but has only lately been put into good working order.  A drive is put in 90 ft on the hill above, with a view to cutting the Duchess of Kent leaders.  The Redan claim, Moanataiari, has been opened some eight or nine months as six men’s ground and now passes into the hands of speculators in Auckland.  It is worked on the principle of the Cornish mines of England, where the manager has had considerable experience.  The claim is on the opposite side of the Moanataiari creek to the site of the Thames Crushing Company which will be very accessible.

Although many are doing well at the Thames, others still struggle.  Half a dozen men will start to the Thames and peg off a claim, register it, and take out miner’s rights.  They have no money.  One of them works his trade as a carpenter, blacksmith or shoemaker to provide his mates with tucker.

The novelty of a Chinese man in Queen Street Auckland attracts the notice of a NZ Herald reporter who somewhat sarcastically scribbles  of  . . . . “ a real live celestial in full flower.  . . This individual . . . was the perfect specimen of the sons of the Flowery Land, reveling in all the pride and glory of expansive robes, broad brimmer and lengthy hirsute appendage.  He was the observed of all observers and he knew it.  He walked along the streets, hands in pockets, with an air of saucy nonchalance, evidently despising the barbarians who elbowed him on the pavement.  The arrival of a bona fide John Chinaman and the imposition of a poll tax form a curious and highly suggestive coincidence and that we should have already received a first installment of this much abused, but often highly useful, class of biped affords a powerful proof of the attractions of the Thames goldfields.  The new importation . . . is from Hokitika where, to use a commercial phrase, “the market is well supplied.” 

Wahapu for Shortland with 3,000 bricks, sundries and passengers

The Hawkes Bay Herald comments “The labouring population are, by slow degrees, leaving for the Auckland diggings – every vessel here taking a few steerage passengers.  This is to be regretted, especially as public works should be actively proceeded with during the ensuing year.  Should, however, the exodus continue, the want of labour will cause many of these works to be suspended, as well as seriously interfere with industrial pursuits generally.” 

An inquest is held at the Railway Terminus Hotel, Official Bay, Auckland, on the body of John Morrison who drowned on  20 June after falling overboard from the Tauranga on her passage from the Thames to Auckland. In the breast pocket of his jacket was a miner’s right in the name of James Archibald, as well as the deceased’s miner’s right, all rendered nearly illegible by sea water.  On the little finger of the right hand was a ring bearing the marks of a pick and shovel.  The body is identified by Mr James McLeod, miner, of Shortland, as that of his brother-in-law John Morrison.  John was aged about 35.  He was no swimmer. His head was nearly severed from his body.  It is probable, therefore, that the head of the man came in contact with the screw and it would account for the absence of any cries for help. The inquest finds that the deceased was found drowned, but that there was no evidence to show how he came by his death. 

Mr D Lundon, landing waiter at Shortland, writes his report for the quarter ending 30 June – “There is a marked increase in the number of passengers arrived within the above period principally from the West Coast of the Middle Island and I am happy to say that from inquiries made among them they are well satisfied with their prospects on these diggings."

Mr Swan is still ahead, the majority of his votes come from Shortland. The returns have still to come in from Tauranga, as well as the official return from Coromandel. 

DSC 4 July, 1868
The golden days are revived.

Sunday, 5 July
Divine service is conducted at Tapu by the Reverend F Nivard, Catholic clergyman for the Thames goldfield, and despite the inclemency of the weather, a large number of people attend the services, which are held in Mr Hawkes’ new building.  It is Father Nivard’s intention to have public worship conducted here about once a month.  The want of a public hall at Tapu is much felt but appears to have become a dead loss as regards anything being done.

A young man named Maguire is travelling on horseback delivering bread along Messenger’s Hill at the Thames when his horse slips and rolls down the hill into a shaft. The horse is killed on the spot but fortunately Maguire escapes with only some slight bruises on the chest.

The Provincial Hospital at Auckland, in the case of admission into hospital of Thames miners, are making them responsible for hospital charges, so that in the case of them shortly afterwards striking it lucky, payment can be enforced.  The latest hospital report of the Relieving Officer of the Hospital and Lunatic Asylum states that six cases weekly occur in which admission to the hospital is granted to persons on the Thames goldfield.  With regard to the distribution of the sick and destitute fund the report for the past half year shows a marked improvement in the state of the Province.  The total number of names on the ration books is reduced to something like a fair minimum.  Not only have cases of imposture been weeded out but the number of cases in which other than the sick, the aged, and the infirm are relieved is very small.  Only nine families, which do not come under the above designations, receive assistance.  The Thames has made work plentiful and remunerative for the able bodied.

At Hawkes Bay the mails are bringing more and more glowing accounts of the Auckland goldfields and the news brought today by the Taranaki causes quite a small rush to the Spit, to secure passages by the Rangatira.  At one time the agent’s office is quite full of applicants, and some 17 or 18 take their departure. The Hawkes Bay Herald optimistically observes “The news cannot fail to have an exhilarating effect upon the stock market of this province, already, indeed a marked improvement is perceptible in the prices.  Should this news from the goldfields of Auckland continue to be of the exciting character it has been, the mining districts will speedily quadruple and Hawkes Bay will naturally be looked to as a main source of supply as far as beef and mutton are concerned.  This will be good news to our sheep farmers, the position of many of whom have, through depression in the value of stock, been almost desperate, but who now have a fair chance of retrieving themselves.  The exodus of labour will no doubt prove an evil to some extent, but this will be more than counterbalanced . . . by enhanced prices and a ready market.” 

The funeral for John Morrison is held in the Presbyterian burial grounds, Symonds Street, Auckland.  A number of relatives and friends follow the body to its last resting place.

Reverend Harper, Wesleyan preacher, notes in his diary  "Sabbath preached at Shortland twice.  After the night service one decided for God and others were under conviction of sin."

Monday, 6 July
The schooner Hannah Newton sails from Sydney for Shortland via Auckland, with diggers and machinery for the Thames.

At Hamilton the quarterly parade of the 4th Battalion, Auckland Militia, takes place.   There is a marked falling off in numbers since the last muster.  A great many give in their arms after the parade as they are about to leave for the Thames.

Gold is found at Hokianga.  For some months previous to the Thames goldfields being proclaimed, William Hunt and a party of diggers were prospecting with most satisfactory results in the Hokianga district, but the Maori there were suspicious and watchful and little progress was made.  Since Hunt and parties lucky discovery at the Thames goldfield he is said to have received several letters of invitation from the most influential Maoris of the district to work the ground.  Other engrossing business prevented any attention being paid to these letters, but rumour this evening says Mr Hunt is about to visit Hokianga.

Triad for Shortland with 7,800 ft timber

The shortage of coal  continues and with difficulty 40 tons are got for the Rangatira from the Lorenzo Sabine,  but the sailing of the steamer is delayed, owing partly to the fact that the men refuse to work at the coaling unless they are paid extra.

At Nelson the John Penn leaves again with more diggers for the Thames.

The Nelson Evening Mail comments “The golden days of Auckland seem likely to be revived on a far more permanent footing, through the immense wealth which is daily being developed on the Thames goldfield.  The Auckland people are in excellent spirits and we hear that Queen Street has assumed much of its former aspect, being thronged, as of old, with busy passengers.   From private information we learn that the extent of the country, which is of the wildest character, consisting of high cliffs and ravines, is almost inexhaustible and in every direction gold is perceptible.  Still it must be borne in mind that the Thames goldfields are certainly not what is known as a ‘poor man’s diggings’, and no one should go thither who has not command of a certain amount of capital.  Provisions are attainable at a very moderate rate, and we understand miners live in far greater comfort than is usually the case, wooden houses taking the place of the ordinary tents, and many of them leaving the scene of their labours on Saturday to spend the following day with their wives in Auckland, returning on the Monday to work.  The rate of wages is from 30s to £2 per week, which appears very low, if judged by the usual tariff on other goldfields, but this is attributable to the cheap price of provisions etc.”

The steamer Star of the South arrives in Auckland from Tauranga tonight.  She left yesterday afternoon and experienced a heavy gale off Cape Colville and put into Port Charles, where she anchored for seven hours.  She brings among her passengers eight in steerage for the Thames.

Reverend Harper notes in his diary "Went with Mr White to his golden claim.  He showed me some of their recent specimens – large blocks of stone full of gold.  Said to him “The Lord have mercy upon you," at which he smiled."

Mr Swan is still ahead with the majority of his votes still coming from Shortland.

A regular digger's wedding.

Tuesday, 7 July
Boisterous weather settles in today.

Major Jackson Keddell, who has been appointed Resident Magistrate for the Thames,  takes his seat on the bench this morning, along with Mr Mackay.  Mr Mackay reads the commission signed by the Colonial secretary to the court, after which the business is proceeded with.  Several unimportant cases are disposed of.

A regular digger's wedding is celebrated today in true Victorian style. Jessie Ferguson and Edward Sadgrove are married at the Wellington Street Church, Auckland, by the Reverend James Hill.  Messrs Quick provide a carriage and four greys as well as two other carriages with a pair of greys each.  The whole turnout is first rate, and is quite startling to the ordinary steady going citizens of Auckland.  Edward Sadgrove is of the Middle Star claim at the Thames.  A few more such weddings and it will seem the glorious days of Ballarat are coming to Auckland.

Mr Swan is still ahead of Mr Buckland.  The only return still to come in is from Coromandel and is expected to arrive today.  Other areas now counted are Tapu, Papakura, Wairoa and Tauranga.

A model of a new quartz crushing and amalgamating machine is on display at the office of Messrs Dalton Brothers, civil engineers, Queen Street, Auckland.  The machine is eminently calculated to save the very finest gold – at least as much as an ordinary Berdan – with the advantage that as much can be crushed in a day as in the ordinary machines.  The model is inspected by a number of gentlemen, who after having seen it working, express themselves very highly in its favour.  If the real machines can only be made to act in the same manner, it would be a very great boon to the digging community, for neither steam power nor water power is required in the working of Dalton’s machine.  Mr Dalton has made application for a patent for the new machine.

Avon for Shortland with 6 bullocks, 3 tons hay, 100 posts, sundries and stores

  Stag for the Thames with 1,000 rails, 300 posts, 2,000 bricks etc

  Rangatira for Tapu Creek with 2 cows and a quantity of stores

  Julia for Tapu creek with stores

This evening, being the usually monthly parade of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers, a meeting is held in the drill shed at 7pm.  There is a large muster despite the unavoidable absence of so many of the corps at the Thames.

DSC 7 July, 1868

NZH 7 July, 1868

Wednesday, 8 July
Early this morning a severe storm sweeps over the Thames and continues with more or less violence for seven hours.  The wind rages at times with hurricane force and carries before it a number of frail canvas habitations.  The chimney of an addition to the Thames Hotel blows down and takes with it the rafters of the building, which give way, then the front of the building is carried away.   Another wooden building going up is blown down.  The sea continues high all day, although the wind moderates after a few hours.  The little steamer Maori Chief struggles to get out to meet the Auckland steamers, the Clyde however comfortably accomplishes the task.  One of the Auckland cutters, which is lying off Tookey’s Flat discharging firewood, parts from her chains and drifts ashore. The Tickler is driven ashore between the Garibaldi store and the Long Drive claim at Tookey’s Flat and is considerably damaged.  Some 20 small coasting vessels lie wind bound off Shortland, and a very rough sea is running off the mouth of the Kauaeranga river. The town of Shortland is a sea of mud, most of the thoroughfares being knee deep in dirt.

The Daily Southern Cross reprints some paragraphs from Southern journals which show that the Thames goldfield is beginning to exercise a most seductive influence throughout the colony. The Dunstan correspondent of the Otago Daily Times writes “The diggings at Auckland are creating considerable excitement.  Some few have left already for that province.  Should the news be confirmed, a great exodus of miners and business people is inevitable.”  The Wellington Post says “An exodus of miners from the south-west goldfields of Nelson, and from Westland, commenced sometime ago in the direction of the Thames  . . . a regular rush appears to have set in  . . . the township of Westport is reported well nigh deserted, and the gold workings in that locality exhausted.”

At Tapu a new leader is discovered at McIssac’s (the Tapu Gold Mining Co).  Sluicing operations had be to be suspended a few days since on account of leakage at the dam; today on searching for the exit of water, it is found to be along the course of a leader, which has till now escaped observation.  Several rich specimens are got out in a few minutes. Time is slipped apace and yet nothing has been done on the sites of either Sanderson’s or Fraser and Tinne’s machine.  Tapu is kept sadly in the background for want of machinery.   There has been, though, the arrival of a number of capitalists from Auckland and Shortland.  The prospects of Tapu take many of them by surprise; the diggers are invariably most courteous towards strangers, be they speculators or not, and think nothing of losing an hour to conduct one over the various workings on their claims.

Tapu has at last a plethora of bakers, and the price of bread is down 5 ½ d at the 2lb loaf.  Numbers of claims are continually being pegged off in the vicinity of the late rush, which still holds good.   An Auckland man has pegged off 20 men’s ground.  The portion of ground situated in the township and reserved on account of being tapu (sacred) has now been subdivided into about 20 allotments.  The lots are to be leased privately.  The owners are Messrs Ring and Coupland, Kapanga, Coromandel.

A strange case is heard at the Auckland Police Court.  R A Brown is brought before the court as being of unsound mind and dangerous to himself and others.  Drs Kenderdine and Baynton give evidence to show that the mind of the unfortunate man is deranged, and that it is necessary for the safety of himself and the public that he should be placed under proper restraint.  Information has been laid by a man named Frank Holt, who was a mate of Brown's in the Oak claim at the Thames.  About three weeks ago Brown showed signs of derangement and last week he had got so bad that it was thought necessary to bring him on to town.  With regard to Brown’s share in the claim they would register it until such time as Brown might be released from the asylum.  Dr Kenderdine observes that the fits of mental aberration would appear to be periodical.  About 12 months ago Brown was under his charge for a similar complaint.  He was at that time in the Waikato Militia and had been placed under arrest for some cause or another, which had so worked upon him that his mind was deranged for a time in consequence.  His Worship says he must be a person of extremely sensitive feelings, or the arrest would not have affected him so.  Dr Kenderdine replies that Brown was a most respectable man.  He had formerly been employed in the draper’s establishment of Mr Archibald Clark, of Shortland Street, Auckland.  His Worship makes an order for the unfortunate man to be conveyed to the Lunatic Asylum and directs Detective Murphy to see that his share in the Oak claim is properly registered.

The ship Racehorse from London anchors in Auckland harbour today dismasted and bearing evidence of having met with severe weather.  A seaman fell overboard and drowned during her voyage.  The Racehorse brings 34 passengers. Among them is the Reverend Morris, who has come out in connection with the Presbyterian Church.  It was intended that Mr Morris should be stationed at Tauranga, but as there has been an exodus from that place and an accumulation of people at the Thames it is not at all improbable that he may be stationed at Shortland.

The favourite steamer Midge will resume her trips to the Thames diggings on Friday.  During the time she has been laid up she has received very extensive alterations and improvements, in addition to having her hull and machinery thoroughly cleaned and overhauled.  Captain Stuart has spared no expense in order to make her one of the most comfortable passenger boats now trading between Auckland and the Thames.  The saloon of the Midge, being on the main deck has an advantage over the other steamers as passengers will have an opportunity of seeing the whole of the coast line between Auckland and the Thames.  This will be found a great relief to the usual monotony of the passage to the Thames; the saloon has been considerably enlarged and fitted with handsome cushioned seats.  It has a large dining table running fore and aft and a neat little bar in the corner.  It is well lighted and ventilated and has been painted throughout.  On one side of the saloon a bar has been fixed in order to prevent the steerage passengers from communicating with those in the cabin.  The butchers shipping meat to the Thames have, for a long time, required a place for hanging their meat, and the Enterprise has been the only vessel capable of supplying this want.  Now, however, an excellent place has been set apart for the conveyance of meat, immediately over the saloon of the Midge. The steerage accommodation on board has also been considerably enlarged and is now capable of seating at least 50 persons.  It has received an addition of about 20 ft in length and is fitted with a very neat and compact pantry and bar.  Two tables have also been fixed with suitable forms, and everything that can add to the comfort of the diggers has been thought of.  Beyond the cabin of Captain Stuart is a cabin that has been prepared for the ladies with conveniences which have long been required in the Thames steamers. It is fitted with several berths, water closet and neatly cushioned seats, and is well ventilated.  The Midge has never claimed to be the fastest boat in the trade, but she has the reputation of being one of the safest and most comfortable steamers trading on the New Zealand coast.  Immediately after the Midge resumes her trips to the Thames, the Tauranga will be laid up for Government inspection, Captain Sellars having kept her running during the past fortnight merely to accommodate the diggers until the Midge was ready for sea.

The sittings of the Native Lands Court at Shortland conclude today having continued every day since 23 June.  On account of the number of pieces of land that have been passed through the court, and their value, the session of the court at Shortland Town has been one of the most important ever held.   About 26 grants were ordered to issue for Grahamstown.  It was previously agreed that this land be leased by Mr Robert Graham and the whole matter can now be settled, and the parties who have leased for Mr Graham put in legal possession.  A number of titles were passed through the court to pieces of land on the Waiotahi Flat, which have been agreed to be leased or sold to Europeans.  On the Tararu block about 16 pieces passed through the court.  A piece of land at Kopu, which was in dispute, had ultimately nine names put on the grant, five of them Taipari’s party.  The claim to Port Charles occupied the court for three or four days and was decided in favour of the Manaia tribes.  A grant was ordered to be issued for a part of Kennedy's Bay to three Maori in trust for several of the hapus of the Ngatiporou tribe.  The last cases to be taken up were the claims for several pieces of land on the Thames.  One block of about 3,000 acres, named Omahu, was claimed by Pahau.  During the investigation it  was ascertained that two deposits – one of £20 and one of £30 – had been paid on this land by Mr D McLean.  It was arranged that a portion of the land should be ceded for the deposits that had been paid.  Several pieces of land at Tapu Creek, which were to be leased, could not be passed as they had not been gazetted.

The Halcyon experiences unusually boisterous weather on her way up to Auckland this evening and several passengers find that the sea is as rough as that experienced on the West Coast.

NZH 8 July, 1868

Papers Past

1868 Diary G S Harper – 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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