Miserable makeshifts. Thursday, 18 June On the Karaka a water wheel 30 ft in diameter – one of the largest on the goldfields – is being erected for Messrs Pascoe and Company. These gentlemen have by far the best site on the Karaka for the ...


18 June to 24 June, 1868 and more...

18 June to 24 June, 1868

Miserable  makeshifts.

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

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

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

Public Domain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC 19 June, 1868

NZH 19 June, 1868

Lyttleton Times 19 June, 1868

There is enough room for all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Albert for the Thames with sundries

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

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

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

Otago Daily Times 20 June, 1868

Nelson Evening Mail 20 June, 1868

Carrying stone on their backs.

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

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

At Waiotahi Flat, Thames, Mrs Honiss, a daughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NZH 22 June, 1868

Horrid gullies of mud.

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

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

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

Judge Henry Alfred Home Monro
NZ Cyclopedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A great political meeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC 23 June, 1867

NZH 23 June, 1868

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosina for Shortland with 14 tons flour etc

 Wahu for Shortland with 4,000 ft timber and stores

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

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

NZH 24 June, 1868

DSC 24 June, 1868

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

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018
Please credit Meghan Hawkes/ First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018 when re-using information from this blog.


11 June to 17 June, 1868

Tents blown to ribbons.

Thursday, 11 June
The day begins showery.   At an early hour this morning the Taurangaarrives at Auckland from the Thames with 1,515 oz 15 dwt of gold, to be shipped on board the barque Novelty later today for dispatch to the mint at Sydney. Of this amount the Bank of New Zealand contributed 600 oz and the Bank of Australasia 300 oz.  

New machinery is being designed for the Thames Crushing Company for erection on the Moanataiari Creek where the ground is being already prepared. This machinery will drive 40 head of stampers and to the efficiency of the crushing power will be added every convenience and improvement known for the effective operation of the amalgam by which elimination may take place without loss or waste.  The building in which the machinery is to be enclosed will be up in a week or two and measures  86 ft by 32 ft and will contain the whole of the machinery under one roof. The machinery will be driven on a high pressure engine of 35 horse power.  The engine and machinery were made at Norman’s Broomhill Foundry, Glasgow, and the stampers are supplied by Langland’s Foundry, Melbourne. The whole of the machinery will be here in the course of three weeks and the cost of construction -  building and machinery – is estimated to be about £3,500. 00.  In addition to the numerous machines that are now in place for crushing Thames quartz it is anticipated many more will arrive before the summer, and when summer does arrive a busy and profitable season for the gold miners is expected. It is confidently thought that in the course of a few weeks – two months at the outside – the necessity which exists at the Thames for increased crushing power will be met by the introduction of machinery upon a scale adequate to the wants of the mining population ending complaints that the Auckland capitalists do not take an interest in the development of wealth at the goldfields. 

A miner, recently arrived at the Thames from Westport, writes to a friend “I have been here eight days and find things in an unsettled state.  Living here is very cheap.  The greatest part of the ground is held by Auckland men now, who know nothing about digging, but get quite excited when they pick out a small specimen.  There is no regular defined lead of quartz reef but the ground is full of small undefined leads, some of which are very rich.  There are from eight to a dozen West Coast men who have got very good shows and who expect £500 to £600 for their interests.  The Commissioner’s report of Kennedy’s Bay was false.  There were no alluvial diggings there and the people have all returned here.  There are from six to seven thousand people here and with the exception of a few quartz reefs, Hunt’s party and a few more  are more getting gold.  I intend remaining for some time to see how things will turn up, as living is so cheap.  Beef, pork and mutton we can buy from 5d to 7d per pound, and the 4 lb loaf for 1s, and other things in proportion.  The wages for miners and labourers are from £1 10s to £2 per week.  There is a large town here and it is daily increasing.  Some capitalists from Victoria are expected over to enter into the quartz reef speculations.  But this I think is only talk, as in my opinion the richness of the quartz reefs here is blown up far above its value.

At Auckland the steamers Midge and Tauranga are hauled from the wharf and anchored  leeward of it for the day, no passengers for the Thames having put in an appearance.

The weather deteriorates and the barque Novelty, laden with Thames gold, delays her departure from Auckland for Sydney until tomorrow.

This afternoon the remains of the late J Wilson, storekeeper at Shortland, who died on Tuesday,  are buried.  Having been a member of the Naval Volunteers it was determined to give him a military funeral.  The coffin is placed upon a gun carriage, covered with the Union Jack and headed by the Naval and Rifle Corps bands, the melancholy cortege moves up Queen Street, Karangahape Road and onto the cemetery.

Early evening
At the Thames a very severe gale of wind accompanied with heavy rain from the NE starts to blow in and increases in violence. The wind passes over in furious gusts, tearing down numerous tents in which the miners and their families are preparing to rest for the night.  Frequent heavy squalls of rain, as well as the wind, make re-erection impossible so the unfortunate occupants take refuge with their neighbours who are lucky enough to possess a weatherboard building, or whose tent can withstand the violence of the tempest.  In some instances the tents are sent rocket-like into the air and in others razed instantaneously to the ground to the surprise of the occupants.

At Waiotahi, a large weatherboard building in the course of construction for Mr Ledyard is literally blown to pieces by the force of the wind.  The building, which was 46 ft long, had been completed with the exception of the shingling.  On the Karaka a dwelling house is lifted off the blocks and deposited a short distance away.  At Shortland portions of galvanised iron roofing and loose timbers are flying about in all directions, rendering the streets dangerous to pedestrians, the ‘streets’  now being just streams of mud.

The gale is also felt severely at Tapu – a number of tents are blown to ribbons and one or two half built buildings are blown down.  Inhabitants of the wrecked tents, with difficulty, make their way through the pitchy darkness to the safety of the hotels. The schooner Julia and the cutter Mary Ann which have just finished discharging their cargos, are driven ashore.  The Mary Ann succeeds in getting off again without much trouble, but the Julia lies high up on the sand.

The Enterprise returns to Auckland after a tempestuous passage. It is one of the severest storms experienced at the Thames.

DSC 11 June, 1868

During June the artist William Eastwood made a series of images of Kennedy's Bay.  This one shows  a sailing ship at the bay 12 June, 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections 7-C1331

Kennedy's Bay shoreline  12 June 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections 3-698-76

Friday, 12 June
At the Thames and Tapu this morning the canvas dwellings present a very doleful appearance. Great numbers of tents are blown down in all directions and many others are torn to shreds,  Scattered provisions and clothing have been left to the fury of the storm, and blankets and garments are picked up and hung out.  At Tapu provisions in most instances have been spoiled or devoured by the pigs and dogs with which the place abounds.  These brutes cause much mischief forcing their ways into tents by day and night.  Luckily for the vessels lying at Tapu the wind was from the land, had it been otherwise, those beached in front of Sceats’ hotel would have sustained severe damage.

The Taranaki brings with her to Auckland 60 miners from the south.  These men are principally from the Buller, the Grey and the West Coast, and many more are expected by theAiredale.  Even more are anxious to try their luck at the Thames and will come at the first opportunity.  The Auckland Free Press notes “Diggers elsewhere have up to this time been rather shy of the Thames but we may now expect a considerable number to arrive.  Many miners now on the West Coast resided formerly in Auckland and will be glad to have an opportunity of returning at this season to a more genial climate.”

The Otago Daily Times sounds a cautious note though -  “There is every probability that the difficulties of Auckland will be resolved by the discovery of the goldfields employing a large European population.  A letter has been received in town (Dunedin) from a resident at the Thames goldfield, giving very good accounts of the returns, and also telling that there is considerable speculation in claims going on.  Where good veins are struck, the quartz appears very rich and yields 30 to 40 oz to the ton.  He however warns his friends that gold mining is a lottery.  There are drawbacks also, to the comfort of mining in Auckland.  The goldfields are too near the territory of disaffected tribes, and the only alluvial gold discovered has been upon 'rebel ground'.  Flattering as are the accounts, we cannot see that the temptations presented would justify anyone already employed going northward.”

In the commercial sector the fine weather which has prevailed during the early part of the  week has given a tone of animation to trade.  Rumours have been prevalent of new gold discoveries, both north and south of Auckland, at present however they can only be looked upon as rumours, and as such are worthy of little attention.  Meanwhile the working of the Thames district progresses slowly but surely, several remarkably rich yields having been recorded during the week.   In consequence of the non-arrival of any vessel with a general cargo, the prices of most articles have remained firm.  A considerable quantity of inferior beer is in the market, believed to be quite unsalable.   There has arrived in town several parcels of really good provincial bacon. Price’s Belmont sperm candles  are always more saleable than any other brand, however very few are offering them at the moment.  Raisins are becoming scarce.  Drapery, pending the arrival of the Racehorse, remains scarce. The arrival of several large shipments of 2,280 bushels of wheat from the south has rendered the breadstuffs market firm.  Biscuits are now very dull of sale.  Messers L D Nathan and Co held a sale of oilman’s stores, groceries etc which included soap (Primrose, household blue mottles and best pale yellow),  Reynolds purified prepared clay pipes, Coleman’s mustard, dried apples and Melbourne-made oatmeal.

Saturday, 13 June
 At Tapu the Julia’s ballast is thrown overboard but this does not help float her.  Another attempt will be made on Monday morning and if unsuccessful, she will probably remain there for some time.

At the Thames a large marquee, the property of Mr McDonald, is carried away.  The marquee blew down in the recent storm and although it required three men to lift it into a dray when packed, the thieves appear to have made a clean sweep of it when saturated with rain, without anyone detecting them.  The poles, ropes and other fittings are also carried off.

The latest news from Kennedy’s Bay is of a more satisfactory character.  Mr T Macready comes up from there today to Auckland bearing a small parcel of about 1 oz gold of apparently superior quality to that of the Thames.  It resembles very much that of pure metal.  There are also several nuggets as large as a common pea.  Other nuggets have been found by other diggers, and reefs abound but have not been found to be auriferous.  Diggers are constantly passing through Coromandel and back again to the Thames.  They are found to be chiefly well-to-do shareholders at Shortland who do not care to commence prospecting at Kennedy’s Bay during winter.  It is very unfortunate that the place was not opened sooner as this is evidently the wrong time of year to proclaim new diggings.

The Auckland Free Press  says ”We are glad to hear better news from Kennedy’s Bay . . . the absence of intelligence within the last few days and the return of many diggers from that place to Shortland gave rise to the idea that Kennedy’s Bay was likely to turn out a duffer.  We learn however . . . the diggers there have been very successful.  There are about 50 diggers there, some are making £4 to £5 per week, and the others 'tucker' if not wages.”

The drops before the shower.

There is considerable briskness in sales of mining shares and speculators are awakening to a sense of the extent and importance of the Thames field for mining enterprise.  Eighty five miners have arrived from the West Coast in steamers coming into the Manukau during the week, and a much larger number are reported to be following in another vessel.  The Thames population will very speedily receive an accession of nearly 1,000 miners from the West Coast alone, while the skilled practical men in the Australian colonies are directing their attention to the same field, and may be expected to follow the example of the West Coast miners before many weeks elapse.

An instalment of capital for investment has been received during the week and money has been judiciously placed in the interests of the capitalists.  A sale this week effected in a claim at the rate of £800 per share, whilst ten days ago the same interest changed hands at £300 per share - this is only one of numberless similar instances.  New machinery is on its way from Melbourne for the Thames Crushing Co which will see a vast improvement in the yield of quartz.   It  has been made expressly to the order of James Cruikshank, who, as their agent, visited the principal machines at work in the Melbourne district, and received the advice of practical men. The works at Clunes, which are considered the most efficient in Australia,  have been taken as a model and improved upon. These are merely the drops before the shower, before many months elapse it is expected a large amount will find its way into the hands of trustworthy agents for investment in the Thames goldfield..

The ss Beautiful Star sails today from Wellington with a number of miners bound for the Thames goldfields.

Whau for Shortland with sundries

A miner named William Seymour is passing along the corner of Willoughby Street, near the Bendigo Hotel, when he is stuck up by a person who seizes him from behind and robs him of an open-faced gold watch, marked 'Chadwick, Liverpool', a gold watch guard, a magnifying glass, memorandum of accounts of the Bobbie Burns and Lucky Hit claims, a £1 note, some silver, a morocco cigar case containing spectacles, a miner's right (number 306) and a pocket book.   Andrew Hevey is also robbed this evening at the Bendigo Hotel of one escapement watch, one gold guard, half a sovereign, some silver, a meerschaum pipe, four £1 notes, a large size magnifying glass and agreements.  Andrew is somewhat the worse for liquor and the robbery is committed after he leaves the hotel.

Saturday evening brawls at the Thames are a great annoyance to the peaceful inhabitants.  No less than 12 fights have recently been reported to the police sergeant on one night.  The cause to some extent is attributable to the insufficiency of the police force, which consists of four constables and a sergeant to a mining population of some 8,000 souls, which is increasing.   Yesterday two constables were dispatched by steamer to Auckland in charge of a dangerous lunatic leaving two men to do duty in Shortland and one at Waiotahi – not enough.  The time of constables is greatly occupied with summonses and other duties arising out of the Warden’s Court, so that at least six constables could be fully employed in Shortland and two at Waiotahi. There is concern that it will be necessary for those who have to be out after nightfall to carry with them weapons of defence.  A gentleman who recently had occasion to go from the Waiotahi to Shortland was accosted by a rough looking fellow,  but on presenting a small saw, which, in the dark looked much like a short sword, the fellow decamped.

DSC 13 June, 1868

NZH 13 June, 1868

Sunday, 14 June
The lodgers at the West Coast Boarding House, kept by Mrs Mounce, are unceremoniously deprived of their breakfast this morning, when a hungry imposter sits down at the table as soon as the food is served and does not rise until he has completely devoured 12 men’s breakfasts.  The man is worse for liquor and on being remonstrated for his gluttony, attacks a man named Nolan with a knife, inflicting a small wound.

The Reverend Thomas Norrie, of Papakura, conducts divine service in the new Presbyterian church at Shortland this morning.

The Airedale arrives at Auckland from the South Island bringing up some 40 miners for the Thames.

A strong gale from the NE prevails throughout the day at Auckland, accompanied by heavy rain, and the steamers Tauranga and Enterprise for the Thames and several small sailing craft are unable to leave the harbour.  The schooner Rose Ann puts in through stress of weather.  She is from the Thames, bound for Great Barrier.

This afternoon the Reverend Norrie again preaches – this time at Mr Skeen’s schoolroom, Waiotahi. Reverend  Norrie holds divine service this evening. The attendance is very good and very excellent discourses are delivered.

Stormy weather sets in this evening at the Thames.   A gale sweeps in accompanied by very heavy rain, from the north east.

Monday, 15 June
The schooner Julia, which was laid high and dry in Tapu Creek during the gale of the 11th, is floated off successfully today, despite more deteriorating weather.

Jamieson and party, Tapu, open a new claim on the Big Creek, and obtain the satisfactory prospect of 2 dwts to the dish.  The Falls of Niagara, a new claim opened by Messrs Sceats and Co, on the hill in rear of the British Hotel, also get a good prospect and numerous claims are pegged out.  Trade at Tapu seems to be improving and it is rumoured that the ss Halcyon is to be laid on regularly.

The West Coast boarding house glutton is brought before Alan Baillie JP for his punishment as a drunkard.  Nolan declines to prosecute on the graver charge of cutting and wounding.

The Golden Cup claim (late New-Found-Out) situated on the Waiotahi, consisting of six men’s ground, which opened about seven months ago, has been turning out some magnificent patches of golden quartz during the last few days.  The Pai Maire claim, comprising three men’s ground and opened about six months ago,  has been abandoned by no less than five different parties – gold has only been discovered during the past three months and is now taken out in very satisfactory quantities. The present holders are not so easily led away and appear to have commenced operations at the proper spot.

Sully and Wardell’s sharemarket report notes that owing to many causes, the share market is decidedly dull.  They strongly advise those miners who can manage to hold on to their claims to do so, for the majority will be amply repaid in the spring for trials endured during the winter.  A good many claims on the Hape and Karaka creeks are turning out very good quartz.  Magnificent specimens are to be seen at Sully and Wardell's office taken from the Lucky Hit claim.  From Tapu favourable accounts are daily being received, but many claim holders are compelled to sell shares in first class claims for want of funds.  The great drawback to the full development of these districts is the absence of machinery.

At the Police Court, Shortland, George Roberts is brought up charged with stealing one butcher’s steel, value 5s, the property of William Rae, of the Mundic Reef store, yesterday morning.  The offence having been proved, the prisoner is ordered to undergo one week’s imprisonment with hard labour.  John Boyce is brought up charged with stealing £5 and an agreement of £20, the property of William Wilson, on board the steamer Tauranga on her passage to Shortland, on Friday last.  Boyce is remanded for the production of witnesses, who were on board the steamer at the time of the occurrence.
A pony race between animals owned by Mr Mulligan, of the Governor Bowen Hotel, Waiotahi, and Mr Wilson, pound keeper, for £10 a side, is held on the Flat today and results in a victory for the latter. The race is closely contested throughout and the stakes will be doubled for a second event in a few days.

 Henry for the Thames with a full cargo of sundries

The 23rd session of the Auckland Provincial Council is opened today. Superintendent Williamson delivers his usual opening speech.  He admits to having failed to accomplish as much as he desired but hopes to be able to effect a great deal in the future, relying on brighter and brighter prospects, restored confidence among the commercial and trading classes and the development of the Thames goldfield.  He looks to the Thames goldfield to better the conditions of the Province, but concedes they have done little for it yet.  He regrets that he has not been able to spend an adequate sum on public works on the goldfields, as the General Government have impounded the gold duty, amounting to £2,334.  He also informs the council that it will be invited to make provision for neglected and criminal children, and destitute persons, and for a lunatic asylum and hospital, by means of a rate.  

The Midge is laid up for a thorough overhaul.  Her cabin will also be enlarged and she will be fitted with every comfort and convenience for the cabin and steerage passengers.

The steamer Halcyonmakes her maiden trip to the Thames today.  She is a very pretty little steamer which behaves remarkably during stormy weather at sea.  The Halcyon will prove a formidable rival to the other Thames traders.  When leaving today in a hard gale she was intently observed by several spectators, and her qualities as a sea boat and her style of tripping through the water are undoubtedly very superior.  She was well filled with passengers – a good omen for the prosperity of her owners in their new enterprise.

During the day at Tapu tents are blown down, many which stood well during the gale of the 11th succumb to this one.  The creek swells to such an extent that communication with the two sides is entirely cut off except by means of boats.  All mining enterprise stops. A party of men, whose combined judgement and skill are not equal to their pluck, leave Tapu at the height of the gale for Shortland in a whaleboat.  They don’t get very far however before they find it necessary to put about for the beach.  They all succeed in reaching the shore in safety, but the boat is speedily broken up by the fury of the surf. 

Tonight the gale which has been intensifying all day veers round to the northwest and reaches its peak.   The creek at Tapu becomes a large river, overflowing its banks in many places and carrying down with it large quantities of debris and washing away a large portion of the roadway.  The tide is at its highest also about the middle of tonight which increases considerably the volume of water in the creek.  A family residing on the bank of the tidal portion of the creek are placed in considerable jeopardy.  The water is two feet high in their frail canvas tent.  The Clyde is driven from her moorings a short distance downstream, and the yachts Rosalie  and Huntress  drift onto the spit, where they are secured and have a narrow escape from destruction, the beach there being very stony with a heavy sea  rolling in.   A considerable portion of the bank near the landing place is washed away and the landing place itself, which is composed of large logs, almost entirely disappears.  The channel is fouled by a large number of tree branches which will prevent the ingress or egress of any craft except small boats.

DSC 15 June, 1868


Tuesday, 16 June
Landslips at the Thames and Tapu are numerous – a great deal of land is loosened also and may fall at any moment.  The slips about the claims are chiefly at the face of the drives, it is here that the crushing stuff from the leaders is kept.  These slips may cause a great loss eventually of ready money, as well as present labour, the heavy rain having washed a great deal of worthless rubbish into the heaps of selected crushing stuff.   Several trees of a large size have come down with the earth, completely blocking up the way.  A number of men are engaged today in clearing the rubble away.

Rumours surface that gold has been found in the neighbourhood of Rangiriri.  For the last two or three years there have been intermittent rumours to this effect but the reports invariably die away.  However, now actual specimens of gold bearing quartz have been seen by a favoured few and the exact locality made known to be near Lake Waikare.  Other recent discoveries of gold have been made at Te Arai Point, Wellsford; Newton and the Whau (present day Avondale); suburbs of Auckland; at the Wade (present day Silverdale) and at the Wairoa, Kaipara.

A frog is found alive in one of the drives on the Karaka Creek. It is left for exhibition at the shop of Messrs Spencer and Co, chemists, Willoughby Street.

NZH 16 June, 1868

The Inspector of Sheep notes in his report that exports have diminished materially within the last 12 months, and although there is now a prospect of fat sheep being in demand in the Auckland market for the Thames diggings, there may not be that many sheep in the province in sufficiently good condition to take advantage of it.

A letter appears in the Thames Advertiser lamenting the postal irregularities at Shortland –
 “Sir – Having noted in your paper a general desire to get justice for miners when they make their grievance known . . .  I think we are very badly treated here by the Post Office authorities, who have sent a person as postmaster to Shortland to humbug us miners.  They do not seem to think it is sufficient to prevent us receiving our letters except on Saturdays, as they have effectually done by keeping the office open only from 9 to 5, during which hours not one miner out of 50 can call for letters, but even when we do come on Saturday afternoon the postmaster will not take the trouble to look for them or give them to us, but tell us “nothing for you.”  But to give you a case in point I was anxiously expecting a letter of importance from Auckland about the 1st of last month.  Well, sir, as I happen to be a working miner and live far back in the ranges, I could not call for letters except on a Saturday, so I called for this letter on three consecutive Saturdays and got the stereotyped answer “There are none.”  I got an opportunity of sending an order during the time, when, lo!  I received my long expected letter bearing the Auckland post mark of May 1st and the Shortland postmark of May 2nd, which clearly showed that it must have lain from that date until the 17th which was the day I received it.  Now, Sir, I ask you – is this to be borne or have I no remedy.  I have lost seriously by not receiving that letter in due time, and would like to know can I make the postmaster make good my loss.  A MINER."

Private letters from the West Coast and Melbourne suggest that there is quite an excitement at these places over the Thames goldfields.  At the West Coast it is said that there are some hundreds of diggers preparing for a start for the Thames, while at Melbourne there are not less than 800 who intend at once to give the goldfield a fair trial.  

An extensive mosquito steam fleet at Auckland now plies the waters.  Eighteen months ago there was but a single steamer on the Waitemata.  There are now, or will be, no less than 14 steam boats of about 500 nominal horsepower belonging to Auckland port.  Whatever depression which has been suffered from, this does not look like collapse, as there is also the finest mosquito fleet under canvas in the colony, which is almost as large as that of the rest of the province put together.  The Thames trade has had much to do with this, as well as the Bay of Islands coal fields having been opened.  Steamers are now able to obtain a better quality of coal, at a lower price, the saving in burning Bay of Islands coal over Newcastle being very considerable.

This evening five pairs of boots are stolen from the new store opened by Mr Levy.

NZH 16 June, 1868

Buildings on the foreshore and Mr Macready's hotel at Kennedy's Bay  16 June 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections 3-697-76

Wednesday, 17 June
The roads between Shortland and Tookey’s Flat are almost impassable.  If the government would lay out £10 and put a footbridge at the mouth of the Karaka Creek, a good road could be had along the beach.

The engines and machinery come down from Auckland today for the Shotover battery – the machine is expected to be at work in about a fortnight.  While excavating for a kiln, the party strike a new leader, very rich, about 9” in thickness.

A meeting of the Thames Crushing Company is held today at their office, Canada Buildings, Auckland, at which 15 shareholders are present.  The site for machinery has been completed and ready for the construction of the necessary buildings, the excavating work has been executed in a most satisfactory manner, but the roads are at present impassable for the transit of heavy machinery. 

Stone from the Bobby Burns claim, Karaka Creek, forwarded to Melbourne for the purpose of being experimented on, has been carefully analysed, and the results show a marked increase in the yield of gold when properly crushed and treated with hot water and sodium.  The company’s machinery, with patent steam ripples, will be a very great acquisition to the goldfields and promises to be remunerative to shareholders and employers.

The fine little steamer Halcyon arrives in Auckland harbour this evening from the Thames. She made the passage in four hours 15 minutes.  It is Captain Wing's intention to proceed right up to the creek in Shortland in future, and land his passengers at the town.   The Tauranga and Halcyon have proved themselves very equally matched; the Halcyon had 25 minutes start today and maintained it undiminished throughout the passage.

There is at present quite a dearth of coal in Auckland.  Messrs Henderson and Macfarlane advertise for vessels to bring coals from the Bay of Islands.  Thames steamers are experiencing great difficulty in supplying themselves.

Not a single lamp has been lighted on the Queen Street wharf for the past two nights.  Various masters of the Thames steamers complain to the newspapers and ‘Observer’ writes “I am informed that we have a Port Master, and I also have heard of such things as Port Regulations but all such 'institutions' seem to be a dead letter if one may be allowed to judge by the evidence of one’s eyes.  This evening strolling along the wharf about 10.30 I observed that the triangle beacon at the end of the furtherest T was not lighted.  When the master of a vessel rounds the North Head all he has to look for guidance is the beacon, which he expects to see in its usual place.  The coal hulks and other vessels in harbour exhibited no light, as they should have done, and if any collision should have taken place or any damage been done by the omission of ordinary precautions to any of the Thames steamers on their arrival, who would have been to blame?

Spey for Shortland with 20 bags flour, 5 casks zinc, stores etc

  Avon for Shortland with 48 boxes candles, 1,000 ft timber, 5 tons flour and sundries, 2 passengers

Lyttleton Times 17 June, 1868
Water colour sketch of cottage along the shore of Kennedy's Bay 17 June, 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections 7-C1336
Cottage at Kennedy's Bay  17 June, 1868 
Sir George Grey Special Collections 7-C1337 

Papers Past

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018
Please credit Meghan Hawkes/ First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 - 2018 when re-using information from this blog.

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 8thof 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 22ndinstant, 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 theAuckland 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, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2c2/cadman-alfred-jerome (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.


28 May to 3 June, 1868

Politics and progress.

Thursday, 28 May
Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday
The day of Queen Victoria’s birth is 24 May but as it fell on a Sunday this year  the government has set aside today for the commemorations.  In Auckland there is gloriously fine weather with a clear sky, a bright sun and gentle breeze from the south. There are not such large crowds of people as on previous occasions, due to the absence of so many at the Thames. Although today is pretty generally observed as a holiday with many of the business places closed, at the Thames the protection to the claim holders is not taken advantage of and the men are hard at work on the field.  At Tapu the Queen’s Birthday is celebrated by outdoor sports during the day. In front of the British Hotel substantial refreshment is provided by the landlord, Mr Sceats,  who freely welcomes everyone on the ground to partake of it.  There are quoits matches, running, jump, and sack races, hurdle races, putting the stone and a half-mile race.  Warden Baillie, who is on a visit, contributes towards the prizes which include cash, gold lockets  and gold pins. The quoits match is played for a silver watch.The sports are excellent and the attendance large. Several buildings are decorated with bunting and a considerable number of well-dressed and orderly diggers amuse themselves in various ways, winding up with a chase after a pig with a greasy tail, which culminates in a fair stand up fight between two sturdy Britons.  A ring of considerable size is speedily formed by the diggers and the combatants engage with much effort.

Queen Victoria with her grandson, Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein,
 June 1868.

Politics are now the only talk at the Thames.  Mr Buckland’s address is looked upon interest, although he is not thought likely to get the support of either the miners or the business people. As for Mr Brackenbury, he has never displayed any special aptitude for political affairs.  The Thames is so new a place that the inhabitants can scarcely be expected to find a candidate of their own.

Building of stores at Grahamstown proceeds with accelerated speed.  There are concerns that the place will be overbuilt; the general progress is astonishing.  

Nothing very startling has happened  at Kennedy’s Bay – a large number of men have left without putting a pick in the ground, somewhat disappointed, having left good claims at Shortland and Tapu Creek.

At Tapu the Queen’s Birthday is celebrated with conviviality’s into the night. 

At Otahuhu this evening a concert and ball, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and in aid of the Digger’s Hospital at the Thames, is held.  But due to either the great attraction of the Vice Regal ball given by the Governor or the coolness of the weather, leading settlers do not attend. The programme is excellently rendered and after the concert the hall is cleared and dancing is kept up till an early hour. There is disappointment at so small an audience, for such a worthy object as the Thames hospital deserves greater support especially as so many of Otahuhu’s young men are at the Thames. Mr Allom, conducting the proceedings, says he thinks that as country settlers are depending so much upon the success of the Thames goldfield they ought to have patronised the event.

Friday, 29 May
During the past week upwards of 1,600 oz of gold has been brought up to Auckland by the steamers Tauranga and Midge from the Thames, the Bank of New Zealand receiving 860 oz, 660 being from the Kuranui, 160 from the Long Drive and 40 in small parcels.  About 100 ozs is expected up today from the All Nation’s claim.  The Bank of Australasia has received between 700 and 800 ozs from the Middle Star, Tookey’s and other claims.  Many other claims are now crushing with very good results.

A party of miners from Shortland including Messrs Hunt, Barry and Goldsworthy, accompanied by Mr Murdoch of the Bank of New Zealand, approach  the Honorable Major Richard, Commissioner of Customs in Auckland, with a view of soliciting a reduction in the amount of duty now extracted from gold.  The deputation, who deserves the thanks of the miners of the Thames, set forth the excessive charges made and the unfairness of this compared with other gold producing localities.  The result remains to be seen.

Calendar of prisoners for trial at the Supreme Court Auckland, commencing 1st June 1868 

 John Carpenter, per ship Tory in 1847, free, English, Labourer, 46 years, single, Church of England, can neither read nor write, committed March 4, 1868, by Resident Magistrate, Shortland, for stealing from the person.

James Lawlor, per ship Bennetta, 1865, free, Irish labourer, 36 years, single, Catholic, can read and write, committed May 6, by JP, Shortland, for stealing from the person.

James Rodgers, per ship  Flying Foam, 1864, free, English, carpenter, 42, married, Church of England, can read and write, committed May 20, by Resident Magistrate, Shortland, for stealing from the person.

A building has been erected at Shortland at the corner of Pollen Street for the Union Bank of Australasia.  The building has a 28 ft frontage, the front elevation is 18 ft, and the height to the apex of the roof is 21 ft.  The building is entered by two handsome doors inside which are a passage and a lobby leading to the managers and gold buyers offices.  The smelting house is to the rear, 12 ft by 20 ft, and approached by a covered passage.  The windows and door sashes are of plate glass – the windows being surmounted by a cornice, and supported byan ornamental buttress, the front is topped by an entablature with ornamental brackets supported by Tuscan plaster.

In the commercial sector many articles of hardware are scarce, the demand for the Thames diggings having materially reduced stock.  Nails of several sizes are much needed, although there is a fair supply of all kinds now on the way from London. The need for all other kinds of goods for the Thames diggings is causing much improvement in business. Bottled beer, bacon and hams continue scarce.  The demand for coal is fully equal to supply. Candles are easier, coffee well supplied, chicory scarce, flour is expensive, Canterbury wheat is available, oats are very plentiful, malt is scarce, maize is declining in price, there is no barley offering.  Hops are in good demand but stocks are limited.  Stocks of oilmen’s stores have been replenished during the week.  Sago continues scarce, starch, salad oil and bottled fruit are all available.  Stocks of kerosene have been further increased; Linseed colzo oil is sometimes scarce.  Rice stocks are very light. The necessity of importing soap is over, first class Auckland soap is now available.  Salt is scarce and increasing in price, caustic and crystal soda are remarkably scarce and will remain so until after the arrival of a vessel from England. Several kinds of spirits are almost entirely run out of stock.  Moist sugar the market is fairly supplied with, loaf and crushed sugars are very scarce.  Good Congo teas in half chests – stocks continue heavy.  Languid sales for tobacco, cigars are somewhat scarce. Wool is now out of season and the market is depressed, none is offered.  Hides and sheepskins are available, leather –the  market is fully supplied with this, tallow – prices somewhat lower than usual.  The demand for bone dust is almost nil – the season in which it is most in demand is now over.  Dried fruit – the market is rather bare of this, there are no dried apples but currants are overstocked.  Pickled salmon is almost a drug in the market.  Starch is plentiful, pickle prices up, no jams but parcels are on their way.  Wines – all kinds fully supplied, there is a good deal of inferior sherry on the market.  Nothing but the best port is saleable right now.  

Avon for Shortland with  2,000 ft timber, 500 bricks, 15 chests tea, sundries

  Spey for Shortland with 9,000 ft timber, 3 packages sashes, sundries

DSC 29 May, 1868

Satin wood panels and maple stripes.

Saturday, 30 May
Two of the finest machines on the ground, Messrs Clarke and Kesterman’s, on the Moanataiari, have made a start and there can be little doubt of their success. Messrs Fraser and Tinne have had orders for no less than nine machines within the last three months, and Messrs Vickery and Masefield are also busily engaged in their manufacture.   A powerful four stamper battery on the Karaka creek has been completed by Messrs De Wolff.

A great number of Hamilton settlers are leaving for the Thames, if the exodus goes on as it does, labour will be dear in the Waikato next spring, but it will ultimately do much good for the district, as many of those leaving express their intention, in the event of their making a pile, to come back and settle permanently in the Waikato.

Hamilton 1860s
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A10635

The Australasian comments with admiration “Late New Zealand intelligence enables us to congratulate our neighbours on the energy which is laying the sure foundation of an early and active prosperity to these fine islands . . . the efforts of explorers  in  several parts of Auckland province have been rewarded by the discovery of a productive field in the Thames district . . . nor is the Thames the most likely district of the North Island whose mountainous ranges are still unexplored and possibly some day may be found as auriferous as the highland of Otago or Westland . . .”

The steamer Enterprise, undergoing a complete overhaul for the winter,  is announced to resume her traffic between Auckland and Shortland on Monday.

Another new steamer for the Thames trade, the Royal Alfred, is launched from Messrs Beddoes yard on the North Shore. The Royal Alfred is a beautiful paddle steamer of much larger proportions than the Lady Bowen. She has very spacious fore and aft cabins, and roomy holds, her saloon being beautifully grained with satin wood panels and maple stripes and is fitted with stuffed cushions.  The saloon will accommodate 20 passengers.  Her boiler, which is of great power, is on the wharf at Sydney awaiting the arrival of the Prince Alfred, and may be expected at Auckland in about a fortnight.  The Royal Alfred, with a 60 hp engine, is expected to steam at 14 knots an hour.   If it had not been for the prosperity of the Thames diggings many of the steamers which are now doing a brisk trade would be idle. The Royal Alfred will be completed in about six week’s time.

The Shortland share market reports that in spite of the undoubted richness of a large portion of the ground, the supply of shares still continues in excess of demand, but prices in most cases are maintained and continue to improve.  The diggings are producing wonderful results, but money for speculative purposes is most unusually scarce. 

Sketch map of the Tapu-Creek diggings, Thames goldfield, 1867-1868. Surveyed by A. and H. Fisher Bros.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 69

The unfavourable accounts which have been received at Tapu during the past week from Kennedy's Bay have been most beneficial to the mining community, by teaching them that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush and the reward of their perseverance has been the uncovering of a number of fresh gold bearing leaders during the past week  Numbers of diggers are arriving back at Tapu reporting that they could not find the colour. There are now about 700 diggers engaged at various claims. The colour of the gold found at Tapu is better than at Shortland and worth more an ounce.  As yet no crushing machine is erected although every claim has an abundance of stone ready for the mill.

The Tapu claims generally lie high, from 10 to 12 hundred feet above sea level. The road is terrific, the first burst is a hill of about 700 feet, and by the time one has breathed freely there is another similar steep hill to encounter.  From a few straggling tents there is now the appearance of a fine township.  Where one trading vessel was sufficient now two or three are barely sufficient to maintain the demands, several are seen at anchor in the bay or moored in the creek at the same time.  The Clyde, running daily between Shortland and Tapu, affords an opportunity for Auckland visitors to go to Tapu without going in shore at Shortland.  The Clyde goes alongside, and after receiving the Tapu passengers, proceeds there without delay.  Passengers from Tapu are put on board the Tauranga which conveys them to Auckland.  The convenience to passengers is obvious, there is no risk of delay, and time is saved.   The Clyde is now established as a regular trader between Tapu and Shortland and judging from the amount of patronage she enjoys, seems to be a favourite boat, no doubt owing to her good natured and enterprising owner.

Fresh stores are being opened at Tapu as fast as the buildings can be constructed, a large quantity of timber is now on the ground, scattered here and there all over the township canvas is fast being superseded by wooden buildings.  A fresh spirit has been infused into the settlement now that machinery is being erected and very few loiterers are to be observed.  Labour is plentiful and supplies are well kept up by schooners and cutters arriving from Auckland.  Some articles have been reduced in price.  Business has been brisk and numbers of miners have laid in good supplies.   Very good accommodation is to be had at the Tapu hotels.  The cooking is undeniably agreeable.  Everything is clean and the plates are brought hot to the table.  A bright future is before this place. There are a great number of tents around the Fitzroy claim.  Building sites have been marked off on the flat, adjoining the mill site and large numbers of claims have been pegged off.  The magnifying glasses, which are so much used at Shortland, are not required at Tapu at all, as the gold is coarser, brighter and generally in greater quantities. There is much distress, however, among many of the miners, by reason of which they have been compelled to sell.  It is expected that this state of things will not last much longer, as crushing operations will soon commence and then parties will be able to carry down small quantities, and get a return sufficient to keep them in the necessaries of life, until other machines are established in their neighbourhood. The Golden Valley has succeeded on hitting the leaders of the Golden Point claim – more commonly known as Allen and Hall’s.

Joseph Cochrane and party have been working on the Mata Creek and have discovered a large body of stone bearing gold.  The spur on which the reef crops out is a continuation to the north of McIssac’s hill.  The prospectors have obtained protection for the purpose of going to Auckland to negotiate for machinery. Joseph Cochrane is the brother of the entertaining auctioneer Samuel Cochrane.  Joseph is also a favourite in Auckland, having tried auctioneering as well.  Unfortunately the collapse of the Auckland economy put an end to his ambitions and in late 1867 he had to file for bankruptcy. Joseph, an honest, genial and kindly man, made his way to Tapu and a fresh start.

NZH 29 May, 1868

 Wahapu for Shortland with 1,000 bricks.

Sunday, 31 May
At Tapu the Rev David  Bruce, Presbyterian,  preaches morning and afternoon to large and attentive congregations,  The reverend gentleman announces that it is the intention of the different churches if possible, to organise a weekly service, but this would cost money.  

Mr D Lundon, landing waiter at Shortland, writes his report for the fortnight ended 31 May. “The population of Shortland, including Puriri and Hastings, is estimated at 9,000, and the number of miner’s rights issued to date is 6,483.  The number of miner’s rights is not a fair estimate of the actual number of miners at work on the ground, for when shares are sold the parties purchasing them have to provide themselves with miner’s rights to enable them to hold their shares.  Now that the winter has set in a large number of the claims are being registered to enable parties to return to their homes for a short time, and until the necessary machinery in their immediate neighbourhood is completed.”

At Tapu this evening a meeting is held at Mr Bruce’s store to discuss collecting subscriptions towards building a Presbyterian Church.

A controversial character.

Monday, 1 June
At an early hour this morning the inhabitants and miners of the Thames are informed by placard that Hugh Carleton, member for the Bay of Islands, will address them this evening in Captain Butt’s theatre on the subject of a county separated from the province of Auckland.  Mr Carleton is coming at the invitation of the Thames Improvement Committee which to  date has obtained a mining and property registry office, had the Post Office hours of delivery conveniently altered, corresponded with the proper authorities connected with the roads, wharves and tramways, and also with the Native Lands Court. 

The Enterprise, having undergone a thorough overhaul, resumes her traffic between Auckland and Shortland today.

 Otahuhu for the Thames with 10 ton potatoes, 6 sheep and 20 packages furniture

The Day Spring claim, situated about a mile and a half up the Waiotahi creek, commences crushing today.  This claim is an example of what may be done by steady perseverance and energy.  The claim was taken up by a party of Auckland mechanics.  As soon as they struck gold, some six weeks since, they came up to Auckland, bought an engine, procured a battery of four stampers from Messrs Fraser and Tinne, and these, together with the bricks and material for erecting  their machinery, they themselves picked up from the beach, a distance of nearly two miles. 

Numerous rich leaders are said to have been struck and several payable reefs discovered at Tapu.  The news causes considerable excitement at Shortland and a rush is anticipated.

The Tauranga reaches anchorage and shortly after Mr Carleton is received by the chairman and secretary of the Thames Improvement Committee.

Punctually the doors to Captain Butt’s theatre are thrown open to the public who fill the house in a few minutes. Besides the members of the Thames Improvement Committee, Messers Buckland, Rowe, O’Keefe and other champions of the Provincial Government are seated on the platform.  The object of the meeting is to hear Mr Carleton’s opinion of local self government.  Mr Beetham, chairman, apologises for the short notice given to the miners who live outside the town. Carleton addresses the meeting at some length and offers his services towards obtaining local self government for the Shortland district and the administration of their own revenue.  He urges the miners to apply to the Assembly to separate their district from Auckland and form it into a county.  Mr Carleton’s speech is considered weak and he himself is regarded scornfully as somewhat a controversial character.  He is opposed by Mr Richard Matthews (a correspondent for the Auckland Free Press) who is violently abusive; by William Rowe, who is not much less so, and by Mr O’Keefe and Mr Buckland. 

Resolutions are put to the meeting by members of the Thames Improvement Committee. The first, that the people of the goldfields ought to have the power of administering their own revenue, being misunderstood, is lost.  One of the miners jumps on the platform and says “Boys, you did not know what you were voting,” whereupon there is a call to “put the question again.”  The chairman is of the opinion that he cannot put it again, but an even stronger resolution differently worded, is moved by Robert Graham and carried by acclamation. Several amendments are negative, or withdrawn. Resolutions are carried to petition the general assembly to constitute the Thames district into a county and that local boards be established under the provisions of a County Bill; also, that the Provincial Government should be requested not to proceed with the construction of a tramway until its utility has been recognised by the residents.

The meeting is confused and rowdy and a number of gentlemen present seem thoroughly convinced Carleton’s presence is uncalled for and his mission bunkum.  There are hisses and yells of disapproval.  Carleton wanted to persuade the people of the Bay of Islands to get out of the hands of Auckland and is perceived as having come to the Thames to do the same thing.  At the close of the meeting, the Thames Improvement Committee invites Mr Carleton to an entertainment at Butt’s hotel.  The viands and wines are of the choicest character and on a liberal scale.  Every attention is paid to the wants of the guests.  Mr Beetham, Mr Swan and Captain Butt are croupiers. Mr Carleton’s health is toasted with enthusiasm.

The steamers Midge and Tauranga arrive at Auckland tonight bringing reports of a very encouraging nature from Tapu Creek.

There is a crowded house at Auckland’s Prince of Wales theatre this evening where the talented and promising juvenile artistes  Miss Katy Foley and Master Johnny Foley are performing. They display a natural aptitude and genius, developed by careful and judicious training.  They sing comic songs, perform a nautical drama and act.  The boy is intrepid on the wire cord and rivals the most celebrated acrobats.  Katy possesses a voice whose sweetness and power are most remarkable.  He promises to become an actor or comedian of the finest quality  She is likely to take high rank as a vocalist.  She also performs on the wire cord – unrivalled by any girl of her age in the colonies.  At the conclusion of the performance two envelopes are found on the stage addressed respectively to Miss Katy and Master Foley.  Upon opening the former it is found to contain a valuable gold watch and chain, with a slip of paper on which is written “Presented to Miss Kate Foley, as a token of respect, by a few of her admirers, for her youthful talent and ability.  Auckland 1 June, 1868.”  The other envelope contains a seal skin purse containing £5 for Master Foley and a similar note.  The generous donors are unknown, but it is surmised that some of the Thames diggers are not altogether unconnected with the gifts. Mr Foley, on behalf of his children, replies with thanks.

Any amount of monkeys.

Tuesday, 2 June
The cutter Lizard sails in ballast for Shortland.  One of the hands on board, Charles Farrow, falls overboard in endeavouring to avoid a blow from the boom when jibbing, but is promptly picked up in the dinghy.  In another mishap the gear of the jib of the steamer Tauranga runs afoul of the Novelty  when starting for Shortland, and has to be cut in order to prevent damage, both to the Novelty and to the new steamer Lady Bowen, lying alongside to ship her boiler, which has recently arrived from Sydney.

Mr Foley’s Royal Menagerie Touring Company, a zoological exhibition which has lately been in Auckland, is moved to the Thames today. The animals include very fine specimens of the African lion, a lioness, a leopard, two Himalayan bears and any amount of monkeys. 

NZ Herald

Daily Southern Cross

The shareholders of the Grand Truck Claim, Waiotahi Creek, strike gold of a very heavy character.  The claim is next to the Lizard and next but one to the Great Republic, which lies almost at the junction of the Waiotahi and Karaka creeks.  The shareholders in the Grand Truck have been working their ground since January with indifferent success but as gold was being obtained in large quantities nearby they resolved to persevere.  They have now struck a gold bearing leader over three feet thick and the gold can be seen running right through the stone.

The various iron foundries in Auckland are unusually busy owing to the demand for the construction of crushing machinery at the Thames.

The continued development of the goldfields and the necessity for increased shipping traffic between Auckland and the Thames has had a beneficial effect on  ship building.  There have been two launchings of steamers during the past month.

The NZ Gazette notes that the court house, Shortland, and Allen and Halls’ store, Tapu, are now polling places for the electoral districts of Franklin.

A difficulty arises out of a case of gold stealing at the Thames, which is tried today.  The thief sold the gold to the Bank of Australasia.  The manager of the bank gave the police every assistance when enquiries were made and handed over the gold to the police that it might be identified by the prosecutor.  The gold was identified, the thief convicted and the gold was restored not to the bank – but to the original owner from whom it was stolen.  The bank manager says that this is not the usual custom in other colonies.  It is certainly a hardship that either the original owner or the bank should lose the money, but no doubt the effect of the decision will be increased caution in the purchase of gold.

The Bank of New Zealand ships, per ss Taranaki, two boxes of Thames gold containing 1797 oz, 14 dwts, 12 grs, valued at  £4,100.00.  The gold will be transhipped at Wellington on board the Panama steamer for England.

Auckland tradesmen and businessmen now regard their prospects with more hope and confidence than for many months past.  This is largely owing to the absence of commercial failures and the stimulus of the increasing productiveness and rapid development of the Thames goldfield.  Mining speculation is still carried on to a considerable extent.  Already the yield from the Thames goldfield has produced good results.  The demand for goods for home consumption is rapidly on the increase while a profitable field for the employment of surplus labour has almost entirely removed the commercial depression until recently hanging over the province.  Still the want of machinery much retards the rapid development of the goldfields and the yield of gold has been small indeed compared to their known richness. Confidence however is firmly established and machinery is being fast imported or turned out from local factories.

Firewood has become exceedingly scarce, the rates offering for freight to the Thames district inducing most of the firewood boats to place them on the line between Auckland and Shortland.  The scarcity and high price of firewood will doubtless induce many to burn coal who would not otherwise do so.

A public meeting of the electors of Franklin is held at the Governor Bowen Hotel, Thames, tonight, having been convened in the interest of Mr W C Brackenbury whose address is before the electors.  But circumstances over which he has no control have compelled him to withdraw his name from the contest against Mr Buckland.  Mr Brackenbury’s name is not on the electoral roll for the district, although with many others it was sent in for registration in due time.   It is with profound regret that he has to withdraw from the contest.

Another meeting is held  this evening in Graham's building regarding the construction of a Presbyterian church at Grahamstown.  The Rev David Bruce says that they are to consider what measures should be taken for providing religious services for the increasing community at Grahamstown and Waiotahi Flat.  One of the first matters to be considered is the securing of a place for the conducting of divine service.  The Reverend had previously secured at sale certain allotments at Grahamstown which could be held as a site for a church, but since then Mr Graham has very kindly offered another site in an equally eligible situation free of rent for 14 years and it was now for the meeting to say which of these sites should be selected.  Mr Graham’s offer is accepted and a committee appointed to decide on the best possible arrangements for holding of divine service at Grahamstown.

DSC 2 June, 1868

NZH 2 June, 1868

Wednesday, 3 June
The appalling state of the roads at both Shortland and Grahamstown provoke a distressing scene.  The streets at both places are in very bad repair, and up some of the creeks the roads are very much worse.  A few loads of sea sand on the top of the clay would greatly improve the creek roads, and give much relief to the poor horses and bullocks.  A team of ten bullocks are stuck fast in the mud and the poor things are smashed over the nose, eyes and ears until they are quite stupid.  A coloured gentleman, called 'Snowball', is chief driver and to add to the tortures of one of the bullocks he gnaws its tail between his teeth.  The sledges used for conveying the quartz are badly constructed for clay in wet weather, as the bottom pieces are too deep and too narrow and instead of sliding over the clay, they plough through it.

DSC 3 June, 1868

At Grahamstown the buildings are so irregularly placed that they look as if they have fallen from the clouds.  Dwellings are now occasionally to be seen at the very hilltops behind the Thames. 

Above the town Gibbon’s machine is going full speed while up the Waiotahi a machine, based upon the principle of the Chilean mill, with four edge runners, is being drawn by a horse. Up the Moanataiari a body of men are at work excavating a site for Smart’s Thames Crushing Company and on the flat Grahams machine is thudding away.  The Kuranui battery is going full steam, hot water being applied to the one stamper with the Berdan.  Shalder’s machine is suffering from paralysis and Ellis and Scanlan’s machine is also in a state of palsy, while Goodall’s machine is enjoying a rest.

A collection of massive machinery from the Great Barrier is accumulating at the Kuranui.  The Ballarat Star, on the Moanataiari Creek, a party of four men who have been working this claim for about five months, have sunk two shafts through very hard rock, but without finding gold bearing quartz.  Now however, when clearing a site for their tent they discover the long sought for reef within a few inches of the surface.  The claim is bounded by the Carpenters and Clyde on one side and Bendigo Independent and El Dorado claims on the other.

 Avon for Shortland with 4 horses, 2 tons hay, 1 ton maize, 4 ton flour, 1,300 bricks, 2 tons doors and sashes, 15 cases kerosene, 20 boxes candles and sundries

  Whitby for Shortland with miscellaneous cargo of stores

 Julia for Tapu Creek with a full cargo of stores

The botanic beauties of Tapu catch the eye - on the beach is one of the finest puriri trees that can be seen – it is a great ornament to the place, as well as providing good shelter from the sun and rain.   There are also at Tapu some extremely beautiful shrubs and mosses which have not been seen before in the neighbourhood of Auckland.

Auckland Supreme court 1868
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2645'

The criminal sessions of the Supreme Court at Auckland are opened today, at their new buildings, before his Honour Justice Moore who comments on the very marked increase of crime which has lately taken place.  Auckland, having “turned the corner” shows an increase of crime nearly two thirds greater then when she was most depressed.  The Thames goldfield has contributed a little to the criminal statistics of the last three months, but when the population of the district, temptation to crime and the inducements to dishonest acquisition are considered, the wonder is rather that more cases have not been sent up from there.

John Carpenter is charged with stealing 23 banknotes, value £48 and one pocket book from Peter Guilfoil at Shortland.  He is found guilty and sentenced to one years imprisonment.  James Lawlor is charged with stealing 2 oz gold, £4 and two miner’s rights, the property of Alexander Smith at Shortland.  He is sentenced to one years imprisonment.  The prisoner hands up a number of certificates testifying to his good character – the judge comments that it is lamentable to see a man with such certificates of good character in this predicament.  James Rodgers is charged with stealing a watch, chain, key and greenstone,  the property of James Rotherell, at Shortland.  He is sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour.

The Tauranga arrives in Auckland with a parcel of between 300 and 400 oz Thames gold for the Bank of New Zealand.

NZH 3 June, 1868

Croupier is a historical term for the assistant chairman at a public dinner, seated at the lower end of the table.

Many thanks to Wanda Hopkins, great granddaughter of Samuel Cochrane.

Papers Past
NZ Family & Social Heritage face book page

© 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.


21 May to 27 May, 1868

Digger's whares Thames goldfields - Tararu Creek
D M Mundy, Auckland Museum
The hardships endured by diggers.

Thursday, 21 May
A visit to the different claims can only give a faint idea of the amount of work performed and hardships endured by the diggers, reflects a weary newspaper correspondent on his rounds.  On leaving Shortland and taking the ranges over Messengers Hill, after much toil, he reaches the Great Republic claim where there is a great quantity of quartz stacked and active preparations are being made to make the claim productive.  The same may be said of the Lizard, Waterfall, Mocking Bird, Vale of Avoca and all claims on the Waiotahi creek.  Roads are impassable for pedestrians and he returns to Shortland “as perfectly tired as anyone can be.” 

At the Break O Day claim, Waiotahi, which adjoins the Rising Sun and Peep O Day,  the amount of work achieved by the claim holders and the vast improvements made through their energy and perseverance is staggering.  The area of their claim, which a few short months since was thickly wooded with the growth of years, has been transformed into a well organised quartz mining ground.  Liddle and party’s claim on the Moanataiari, which comprises seven men’s ground, has been worked for four months.  A drive has been put in 20 ft and as well as a shaft of 50 ft.  The latter has, however, been abandoned for the present and unlike many other parties, they have taken the precaution to cover up the idle shaft to avoid the possibility of accidents which are of too frequent occurrence on these goldfields. 

The population now located at the Thames is estimated at around 10,000.

The Taurangabrings about 59 diggers to Kennedy's Bay.

9 – 10 pm
A cry of fire alarms the inhabitants of Shortland.  A  raupo house in the open space on the beach nearly opposite the office of the Thames Advertiser, and at the back of the Union Bank, is ablaze.   In a few minutes the frail structure is razed to the ground and all the household effects it contains are destroyed. The large hut has not long been built and it is said to have been tenanted by persons of questionable repute.  There is something mysterious about its destruction.  The tenants are absent at the time, and it is strongly suspected that the fire is the willful act of someone wanting to rid the locality of unwelcome neighbours.  Several complaints have been lodged against the tenants with the police.

Friday, 22 May
Carters are wanted at the Thames; a few good bullock teams would pay their owners handsomely.  At present so much of the quartz comes from a distance to the machines on the beach and there are really so few teams at work, that occasionally a mill or two are seen not working for want of stone, while up the Moanataiari, Waiotahi and Kuranui there are thousands of tons of quartz lying on the ground.

Several claims have lately been pegged out on the right hand branch of the Tararu Creek.  Some very fine lodes of blue and grey quartz have been found cropping out there. The leveling and filling up for a site for the new company who are going to erect 50 head of stampers on the beach beyond the Kuranui Company’s machine is rapidly progressing.  The large boiler from the Great Barrier has arrived by the Clyde Messers Cruickshank, Smart and Co are also leveling a large space in the Moanataiari Gully for large and efficient machinery there.  There is some talk of a tramway being made from the beach up to the Moanataiari as far as the Grand Junction claim; this will be a great boon to the diggers, it is almost impossible to convey quartz in any quantity down the gully due to the present state of the road.

Considering the short time since the Thames goldfield has been discovered and the disadvantages under which miners have laboured, the hilly character of the country and the lack of sufficient machinery,  it is astounding the way in which the men have cleared the country, cut roads and tracks and achieved an immense amount of work.  To sink a shaft or put a tunnel into a large hill, patiently to work away day by day, week by week, month by month, waiting wearily for machinery and managing day by day on only little means – such is the case with hundreds.

At the residence of Mr Williams (Australian Store), Willoughby Street, Shortland, 
Mr Andrew D Fitzpatrick

A leader is discovered in the Shotover claim, surpassing in richness any other found on the Thames goldfield.

The Resident Magistrates court at Shortland is formally opened this morning, but then adjourned until Monday next, pending the completion of improvements at the new courthouse.

Three tenders have been received by the Provincial Government for the construction of a wharf at Shortland and the lowest tender, that of Mr Cadman, is accepted.

 Wahapu for Shortland with 8,000 bricks, 30 bushels lime, 1 ton chaff, 2 doors and 2 windows

NZH 22 May, 1868

Sago and starch, chicory and kerosene. 

Saturday, 23 May
The new goldfield at Kennedy’s Bay has provided further work for the owners of small craft - the bays at the Thames, Tapu Creek and Kennedy’s Bay are studded with fleets of them.

A railway line to the Thames is called for and the powers that be asked to consider whether the present existing highway over the sea is the only route by which the El Dorado can be reached. There has already been a survey of a line of railway or tram road to Drury and the Waikato – perhaps  a deviation could be made from that district to the Firth of Thames.  Looking at the maps of the province the scheme appears reasonable enough. The distance from Drury, by way of the Hunua and Banks County, to the Firth of the Thames, in a direct line, is probably not more than 20 miles.  The sea passage to Shortland, or the new wharf at Grahamstown, would be about 11 miles.  Presuming that these distances are roughly correct, and Drury about 24 miles from Auckland, the latter place may be said to be 55 miles from the Thames.  Eight or nine hour’s sea passage is wearisome and fatiguing and the hours of arrival mean that little or no business in the evenings can be attended to.  The population of the goldfields is swelling and by spring may number, with wives and children, some 15,000 people.  If rail could be managed Shortland Town might be said to be about three hours from Auckland.  The country would also be opened up and instead of the western port monopolising machinery, other areas would reap considerable benefit.  Fresh provisions, vegetables etc could readily be conveyed to the shores of the Firth and landed in Shortland Town with little loss or deterioration. The goldfields are rapidly increasing in importance and communication with the district would be improved. 

A house is being built on the Prince of Wales claim No 1, Karaka Hill, at a height of no less than 1,000 ft above sea level, the hill appearing to rise almost perpendicularly. At the Ruby claim,  on the Waiotahi, near the Rising Sun two fine leaders are uncovered.   A great deal of labour has been expended on this claim without success until now.  The Just in Time claim, Moanataiari, has been worked for seven months as seven men’s ground.  Several samples of their stone resemble a coral formation in which rich particles of gold stud the interior of the snow white cavities and are very pleasing to the eye.  The famous machine of Clarke and Kesterman has been erected a short distance up the creek, and a corner of their own ground  has been handed over to the Thames Crushing Co on payment of a bonus of £100.  It is being excavated by about 30 workmen for the powerful 24 stamper machine which the company intends to build there.  The Dumbarton Castle party, Waiotahi Creek, strike gold surpassingly rich.

The Provincial Hospital report notes in its return of the sick treated during the week ending today that there was one fatal case of typhoid fever from Tapu, the patient expiring after three days in hospital.

The Commercial Report advises that the demand for all kinds of goods for the Thames diggings is doubtless the cause of a steady improvement in business.  Bottled beer of good brands is scarce, bacon and hams are wanted, candles are scarce, and although there are good stocks of coffee, chicory is scarce.  American salmon is in excellent supply, hardware stocks are light, hops are available in small quantities, oilman’s stores are in fair demand, sago and starch are scarce, bottled fruits are inquired for but consumption is very limited.  There is a  full supply of kerosene, linseed is scarce, there is very little rice, soda crystals are scarce, caustic soda much wanted, spirit stocks were until recently excessive – they are now however bare, heavy stocks of tea are being reduced, tobacco is available, and the demand for cigars is not great.

Stag for Kikiwhakaere, Coromandel and Shortland with 15,000 ft timber, 50 lb blasting powder and sundries

 Fortune for Shortland, Mercury Bay and East Coast with 6,000 ft timber, 22 pieces ironwork, 20 packages groceries and sundries

DSC 23 May, 1868

NZH 23 May, 1868

A fiddler astride a boiler.
Sunday, 24 May
St George’s church at the Thames is opened.  The Venerable Archdeacon Lloyd of Auckland officiates before a crowded congregation.  After Holy Eucharist, the Morning Prayer and the litany,  two infants are baptised.  The whole of the church service is chanted, including the litany.  Vocal assistance had been promised from Auckland but unfortunately the inclemency of the weather prevented many ladies and gentlemen from visiting the Thames to assist with the opening services.  The choir, thrown upon its own resources, renders the choral portion very creditably, especially as the music sung would try the capabilities of the best trained choir.  The church is tastefully decorated with ferns and has an eminently ecclesiastical appearance, although it is quite a plain structure.  The edifice is of good dimensions, the altar has above it a window of three lights, and there are two entrances. Additions in the domestic Italian style, such as the pinnacles of the gables, are not appreciated by some who would like to see them replaced by something more in keeping with the rest of the building.  Archdeacon Lloyd regrets to announce that,  through a failure in the lighting of the church, evening service will be celebrated two hours earlier than usual, namely 4pm.  Plans for a musical soiree this evening are also abandoned. 

The remains of Andrew D Fitzpatrick, a miner who expired on Friday evening, are interred at the Roman Catholic burial ground.  Fitzpatrick was formerly of the Waikato Militia, stationed at Ngaruawhaia, and was highly respected by a large circle of acquaintances.  The Rev Father Nivard reads the burial service.  Mr George Whittington officiates as undertaker.  A number of the deceased’s friends and miners accompany the remains to their last resting place.

A boiler intended for the Star of North claim makes a start for its destination and a number of diggers from that and adjoining claims are on the spot to assist.  A fiddler placed astride the boiler plays inspiring and lively tunes urging the miners in the work of hauling and pushing the unwieldy mass up the hills.

Substantial huts and whares of every description are being built about the Thames and miners are making themselves comfortable for the approaching winter; though the climate is not so severe as that of Otago or Westland, still it is advisable for the diggers to house themselves well, as there promises to be a great deal of rain this coming season.

Monday, 25 May
All talk of Kennedy’s Bay is dwindling and it seems the nine day wonder is over.  Men begin to think there is little or no alluvial gold in the area, many contending that if there is - it is up the Thames before the Ohinemuri and not to the north.

The Thames hills and various claims are progressing very favourably due to the energy and pluck, and indomitable perseverance displayed by the men of this goldfield.  In spite of the lowering clouds and threat of winter, work is everywhere the order of the day.  Unfortunately, regardless of the determined courage shown by the diggers, there will be some distress when the winter comes.  The majority of the men on the ground have but small means.  There is much hope, though, that spring will do great things for the Thames. 

The NZ Herald correspondent writes rousingly of the Thames “I have been gold digging in many countries – California has seen me amongst its fortune seeking denizens.  I have camped with the dark and swarthy people of the 'Far West', among the Cascade and Rocky mountains – sought for gold in the canyons and on the banks of the mighty 'Fraser', and  . . . stripped the banks and bottomed the bed of many a rocky creek in the broken, mountainous country of Otago, but never have I seen such a promising field as this . . .  were a man to go blindfold up the Moanataiari Creek and choose one piece of ground I verily believe that it would turn out well – such is the richness in every hillside bounding the gully. “

Messrs Clarke and Kesterman are making a tramway from Tookey’s Flat to the Grand Junction claim, a distance of nearly three quarters of a mile to facilitate the carriage of coal etc up the Moanataiari.  Permission has been granted to Clarke and Kesterman to lay a tramway down the creek to the beach which should be completed in one month’s time. From 30 to 40 men will be put on this work at once. These gentlemen can be looked upon as nothing short of being public benefactors, as they have already laid out several thousand pounds in improvements and speculations.  Machinery is still wanted – not 10 or 12 stampers, situated at large distances apart, but machines of 40 or 50 stamp heads, at almost every quarter of a mile up all the gold bearing creeks.

The Royal Blue claim will soon be possessed of a very powerful Chilean wheel to be worked by steam.  The boiler is 22 ½ ft by 3 ½ , and a new system is to be adapted in regard to the pan and rollers. The Nil Desperandum has struck a leader of extraordinary richness and a large heap of quartz is piled up outside their drive.  The reef runs down and forms the vertebrae of a thickly wooded spur. For some time the shareholders of the Star of the Karaka have been unsuccessful in their search for the precious metal, but upon taking up two men’s ground, which was abandoned about six weeks ago, they almost immediately strike gold on the abandoned field.  They set to work, felling the bush, stripping the earth and expose a hillock of casing.

At Tapu Creek, the Full Moon claim have struck a rich vein of auriferous quartz which is dipping into the ground of the New York claim.  In the New York claim gold is frequently seen in the large six foot reef that the party have opened up. There have been a great many complaints at Tapu lately about the Post Office at Shortland – anyone seeking a letter is frequently obliged to wait half an hour: there is generally a crowd collected around the small window from which the letters are issued, the one clerk is totally inadequate for doling out the epistolary effusions to the Thames diggers.  There should be three or four windows and three or four clerks to issue letters – one has far too much to do.

The Thames is assuming the habits and manners of a town, with the exception of good streets and roads. It is intended to open a lodge at Shortland for the Ancient Order of Foresters, the lodge to meet at the Bendigo Hotel, Pollen Street.

Rosina for Shortland with 3,000 bricks, 2,000 shingles

Eclair for Shortland with 2,000 ft timber and a quantity of household furniture

NZH 25 May, 1868

The town's urgent wants.

Tuesday, 26 May
Robert Graham has resigned his seat for the electoral district of Franklin in the House of Representatives; the election of his successor will rest with the miners of the Thames district.  Twenty year old William Francis (Frank) Buckland enters the field as a candidate for the vacant seat and Mr W C Brackenbury prepares to issue an address to the electors. Frank Buckland is a politician, privately tutored and a previous attendee of Parnell Grammar School and St John’s College. He has trained as a civil engineer and was employed by the engineer's department of the Auckland Provincial Council before joining the Colonial Survey as a surveyor.   His father is William Thorne Buckland, member for the Raglan electorate.

A miner is sluicing in a creek a little below Tapu township when a large boulder rolls down the hill and hits him, breaking his leg.  Mr Clayton, who has just arrived at Tapu to act as chemist and druggist, is at once in attendance and succeeds in setting the broken limb.  The sufferer is much relieved.

NZH 26 May, 1868

Wednesday, 27 May
The first annual inspection of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers is held today by Colonel Kenny, Inspector of Colonial Forces.  The weather is wet and squally, disrupting the original arrangements.  At 11am 170 volunteers, including a number from Thames, muster in the drill shed, Princes Street.  They are put through manual and platoon exercises after which they are marched into the Albert barracks for Inspection.  Colonel Kenny says, with regard to absentees from the Thames, he would recommend that they should be leniently dealt with, but it rests entirely with the Government to decide whether fines would be enforced or not against those volunteers living at the Thames.   About 250 officers and men are present, some of whom, at great personal inconvenience and expense, have come up from the Thames expressly for the parade.  One member of the corps, who is seriously indisposed and not wishing to have to pay the fine for non-attendance, has not been there long before he faints in ranks and has to be carried away. The men, having been drilled for about two hours in the shed, are then marched to the Barrack square and undergo a very minute inspection by Colonel Kenny. He puts them through a series of manoeuvres and this is no easy matter, owing to the very soft and slippery state of the ground,  the rain at last making it necessary for them to return to the drill shed.  On the whole, the volunteers acquit themselves with credit.  This corps, which is the youngest in the province, having only been formed last November, is now one of the best drilled.  The number of members on the roll is at present very small,  with several of them absent at the Thames. The Rifle volunteer penalty is £5 and widely thought to be unfair to the members of the corps at present on the Thames diggings.  The fine is most harsh and arbitrary, since no provision is made for bringing them up to Auckland free of expense, and members of the diggings do not care to leave their occupations for several days at considerable cost and great personal inconvenience. The men are dismissed having been on drill 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Colonel W H Kenny, circa 1865
(Te Papa)

There is a sense of dissatisfaction over the Provincial Government’s lack of communication with the Thames Improvement Committee.  The government proposes to send to Shortland a plant to lay down a tramway from the beach at Shortland to the Kuranui, round the base of the hills.  They invite the diggers and shareholders in claims to contribute labour and money in laying down the rails and in forming branch lines from the several creeks to the main track, on the very shadowy chance of getting back a portion of their outlay in dividends. The scheme is quite inadequate for the town’s present urgent wants.  If the government polled the district man by man, nine men out of 10 would condemn it.  The Provincial Government further sketch out a visionary scheme of an extension to Puriri on the south and Hastings/Tapu on the north of Shortland.  But what the Thames wants is, firstly a wharf, and secondly one great main-metaled road from Shortland to the Kuranui. The tramway should be taken along the beach in as direct a line as can be struck to the Kuranui.  It is considered monstrous that, in a place where good plain roads and a wharf are all that is wanted, the government comes and offers, not the residents, but a body of contractors, the use of a plant which has cost the province not far short of £50,000, with liberty to cut up lines of road, and by refusing to make the streets compel the inhabitants to use the tramway and pay the charges leviable.  The township has paid business licenses which never ought to have been charged – so much per foot for frontages to imaginary streets. They have built stores and paid for them, purchased goods in the Auckland market and paid for them also, as it was well known in Auckland that at the commencement of the goldfield anyone trading at the Thames could not get credit.

A new paddle steamer for the Thames trade, the Lady Bowen,built by Messrs Niccol and son of the North Shore, is launched.  She has engines of 25 hp and is one of the neatest and prettiest steamers seen afloat.

Messrs Dunn and O’Brien have selected a site for a 14 stamper machine at Tapu/Hastings and go  to Auckland to make arrangement for its purchase without delay.

Tonight Walter Thom, a miner passing homeward, and 10 yards off the regular track near the Karaka Creek, suddenly finds himself in one of the water holes and sinking over his head.  The moon has gone down but Walter keeps himself afloat as his cries for help alarm tent owners on the Karaka.  People from a nearby tent run to the spot with a rope, which Walter is able to grab hold of. He has a severe bruise on his head and is taken to a tent where he is kindly treated until he is able to continue his journey.  There is little doubt that another fatal accident would have been added to the list already arising from the same cause. A number of holes in the Karaka have already been filled up, thanks to the forethought of Mr Mackay, who has ordered the work to be done by prison labour.

NZH 27 May, 1868
DSC 27 May, 1868


Andrew Fitzpatrick was likely buried at the Gold miner’s cemetery -

The Franklin district was probably named after Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of Sir John Franklin, who at a very early date crossed the Manukau Harbour in a mission schooner and was conveyed by a Maori party to Waiuku, long before there were any settlers in the area. After the Constitution Act of 1853 the area from Newmarket to Lake Taupo was known as the Southern Electorate. In 1860 the electorate was divided, that portion to the east of the Great South Road and the Waikato River being named Franklin. The Franklin electorate existed from 1861 to 1881 as a two-member electorate, when it was split into the Franklin North and Franklin South electorates.One of the first MP's, Marmaduke Nixon was killed in action in 1864 whilst leading an assault on a Maori village during the Invasion of the Waikato, forcing the 1864 by-election.

© 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.