Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thames (NZ): Jack McLean Community Recreation Centre

Wowww!!! I was so thrilled to see this press release from the Thames Coromandel District Council this morning - giving details of the naming of the new recreation centre adjacent to the Thames High School Gymnasium.

The centre is to be called the JACK MCLEAN COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTRE in honour of the late Jack McLean. Jack was a true Thamesite who went on to be an All Black and a rugby league star in England in the 1950s.

John Kenneth (Jack) McLean was All Black No 473, a wing three-quarter, he played five matches for the All Blacks (two Tests); a member of the Thames United Club, Jack played for the Auckland Rugby Union of which Thames was a sub-union.

Many will have been taught at Thames High School by Mr McLean, and fittingly his 1970s classroom in A Block would have been close to where the new recreation centre is today. Jack took a keen interest in many sports, for instance he was a member of the Thames Athletics Club in 1973, when Mr M McPherson was presented with a life membership. (photo right) He also coached rugby while at Thames High School.

Further Information: Wikipedia

ABOVE: J K McLean, captain of the Thames Representative Rugby Team (middle row, centre)
The glory days of Thames Rugby, Thames was Peace Cup holders at the time!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital 150 Commemoration Calendars

Just a gentle reminder and suggestion for a great Xmas present

The Thames Hospital 150 Commemorative Calendar is available for just $10.
Available via this website or drop into:
Accounts Office at Thames Hospital Monday to Thursday (office hours)
School of Mines Rock Shop


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Thames (NZ): Hauraki Trucks and Truckers Book

Well, when you least expect it, another very original book about the greater Thames-Hauraki area. I was surprised walking into Carson's Bookshop today to see a book that had completely gone unnoticed by me...obviously not by many, as apparently it has been flying off the shelves!!

The book title is:
Hauraki Trucks and Truckers
Gavin M Abbot, Opotiki.

Its a good sized A4 soft cover book of 164 pages, the photographs of the trucks are full colour where available. Locally there is a feature on Verran's trucks, spreading out to the transport companies from Turua, Puriri, and further afield. Just too many to mention here, but names that are operating and those that are not. Such as: Wright, Fisher, Sarjant, White, Main, Brenan, Provincial, Shaw, Stembridge...

Anyone with a farming background, interested in transport or just history in general will find this a very interesting read, and trip down memory lane. Plus the book provides an excellent overview of the history of transport through the Thames valley during the 20th Century.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Thames (NZ): Xmas Parade 9 December 2017

The town was packed today waiting for the annual Xmas Parade. Roads were closed along Pollen Street, while crowds gathered on the edge of the footpath, all wanting the best vantage point. The parade itself took over 30 minutes to pass by, with lots of lollies distributed to children young and old. The parade started at Grey Street at the south end of Pollen Street, and those participating must have been exhausted after the mile trek to the Grahamstown end of town.

A selection of photographs feature below, while a full set is on the slideshow.
Above: The Police Car's siren signals the beginning of the parade at 11am.


Schools from country and town were spread through the parade, aboard transport trucks - one of G Wright's trucks above. The band played, along with several other musical groups.

Thames Hospital chose the theme of uniforms through the decades. With different uniforms worn to represent nursing and cleaning staff. This was in preparation for the Thames Hospital 150 Commemorations 2-4 November 2018.

 The WWI Commemorative Nurses have featured in many parades since the start of the WW100 commemorations. They share a special place in our hearts at Thames, given the number of World War One Nurses who trained and worked at the Thames Hospital.


 There were several animals in the parade, many associated with the SPCA Float.

Always a popular addition to the parade, going back to when Mr Johnny Paynter always entered it into the parades. Now it has been given a makeover and proudly runs thanks to Jared Fisher Automotive.


 The star of the show, Santa Claus brought up the rear of the parade.

Thames Xmas 2017 SLIDESHOW Available NOW

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery update

There are concerns at present about the amount of support given by the local council to the care of Shortland and Tararu Cemetery. Once again we find that Tararu is deemed off limits due to council's concern of health and safety issues.

Have you wondered what the cemeteries look like when no one cares for them? Well, Graeme took some amazing photographs at Shortland Cemetery before he started clearing the ground this past week.
 ABOVE & BELOW: Views of Shortland Cemetery slopes December 2017

After hours of labour, the cemetery once again emerges and the old headstones and grave sites can be seen once more. Whats the answer? Do we need more people to help with the care of the ground and to tidy the graves? Do we need a Friends of the Cemetery Group in Thames? I don't know the answer, maybe you do and can help.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital 150 calendars

The staff at KMG Design & Print at Thames have been busy completing the Thames Hospital 150 Committee's order for 2018 Commemorative Calendars.

Each month has a historic photo showing the timeline development of Thames Hospital, along with staff and departmental photographs from 2017, courtesy of photographer Robyn Wilson.

The highlight of next year will definitely be 2-4 November when the 150th Commemorations take place. But watch out for a lecture series September - October that will cover the Disease and Treatment changes over the last 150 years, coordinated and presented by past Surgeon, Mr Paul Silvester.

Cover of the 2018 Thames Hospital Calendar.
Full colour where appropriate. A4, 12 pages plus cover.
All proceeds to the Thames Hospital 150 Reunion Fund.
Update 6 December 2017
School of Mines, Rock Shop helping the cause by stocking the Calendars at the Cochrane Street Shop
Thanks for your help :)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thames (NZ): World War Two years at Thames

In the New Year, the talk will be finally over and at last after years of putting it off, I am beginning my next major project to record the 1939-1945 years at Thames.

If you are reading this and happen to have, or know someone who has photographs of Thames during this period, particularly related to the war effort, please can you let me know.

Remember, there is an ongoing attempt to gather names for the Thames WWII ROH.  Again, you may know someone who is not on the list - I need your help!

A gem that turned up this week surfaced at our Thames Hospital 150 meeting - special thanks to Nancy for her treasure trove of goodies!

The Nurses Christmas Journal Thames Hospital was published by a group of staff in December 1945. A copy belonging to Audrey Kallu (later Comer) is photographed on the right.

There are several mentions to the war in the journal. For instance in May 1945, six nurses from Thames Hospital took part in a fundraising event held by the committee of the Thames Patriotic Fund. Entrants dressed in jockey attire and took part in wooden horse races along the main street one Friday night.

On the evening of August 15 1945, the nurses gathered in the Social Hall at the Nurses' Home to celebrate VJ - Victory Japan - Peace had finally been declared.

The following day, the nurses borrowed the Engineer's truck, and a truck from Donkin's Garage. They decorated both vehicles, so that they could take part in a decorated car parade that was being held down the Thames main street. One vehicle was a serious take on 'Peace', while the second vehicle depicted an 'operation under difficulties'. After the parade there was a bonfire, and the nurses arrived back at the hospital at 9pm, exhausted but totally pleased with their efforts that day.

Hopefully over the following months, we may find some photographs to accompany these stories. Alas due to the hard times back at home, a camera was very much a luxury and in scarce supply.
December 1945 Advertisement in the Thames Hospital Nurses' Journal.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWI 100 ROH Commemorations December 1917-2017

During the month of December 1917, 100 years ago, NINE Thames men lost their lives in the Great War. During the month, crosses will be placed by TCDC staff in the Field of Remembrance outside the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre. The photograph below was taken today, the crosses have been put out to remember Alex Hogg and John Lyes who died 3 December 1917.

They were:
3/12/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; HOGG Alexander12/4013; L/Corporal  NZMG No 2 Coy
3/12/1917 In the Field, Belgium; LYES John William27921; Private 1st Batt OIR 10th Coy
13/12/1917 In the Field, France; ALLEY Frederick25/1196; Rifleman 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB
14/12/1917 In the Field, Belgium; RICE Patrick James38071; Private 2nd Batt WIR 17th Coy
15/12/1917 In the Field, Belgium; SERPELL Samuel Llewellyn3/2874; Cap NZMC No 3 Coy Fld Amb
20/12/1917 Taihape, New Zealand; STEVENSON Lindsay3/819; Sergeant NZMC
c25/12/1917 In the Field, Palestine; MATHESON Harry Mackay306; 2nd Lieut Royal Flying Corps
30/12/1917 In the Field, France; MCCLYMONT Frederick George4/1369; Lance Corporal  NZETC
31/12/1917 In the Field, Belgium; MURRAY Raika Whakarongatai20846; L/Corporal  NZ Maori Batt

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thames (NZ): Have you read "The Thames Journals of Vicesimus Lush"?

There is one standout book that is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about life on the Thames Goldfield - The Thames Journals of Vicesimus Lush.

The book was the project of Alison Drummond, who took snippets from Reverend Lush's extensive Diary/Diaries, and turned them into three books. One looks at the Lush family in Thames, the other two cover life in the Waikato and Auckland areas.

The reason for this is post is to alert readers that the Thames Journal can be downloaded or read on-line - thanks to the University of Auckland's early Book Collection.
Source: The Thames Journals of Vicesimus Lush 1868-82, Edited by Alison Drummond
You can also take a scholarly look at Rev Lush's journal through the Master of Arts in History thesis by Gillian Nelson. Completed in 2012 and entitled:
‘In Quietness and in Confidence Shall Be Your Strength’: 
Vicesimus Lush and His Journals, 1850-1882
"From his arrival in New Zealand in 1850 until his death in 1882 Reverend Vicesimus Lush kept a regular journal to send to family back “home” in England. These journals chronicle the life of an ordinary priest and settler in the Auckland region, his work, relationships and observations. This thesis examines the journals as texts: their role in correspondence and maintaining connections with family. Using Lush’s record of day-to-day experiences, the thesis deals with his emotional attachment towards various expressions of “home” (immediate and extended family, houses, relationship with English land and customs) and explores his associated sense of belonging."

Rev Lush, was an important figure in the development of Thames and instrumental in the construction of two beautiful landmarks that remain - the St George's Church and the 'The Club' (the old Lush residence).
Rev V Lush's Residence, corner Mackay and Mary Streets, Thames
ABOVE: c1875 (left) and 2015 (right)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): New Lions Club Heritage sign at the old Courthouse in Queen Street

The Thames Lions Club continue on their major project of upgrading the 'yellow signs' around the town. An enormous task, but a welcome addition - as the new yellow signs also feature a photoboard with more information about the historic item or place. The new sign for the "Old Courthouse" is on the right.

The first Courthouse had been in Grey Street, in the thriving town of Shortland. Then in 1870 the new Government buildings were opened in Grahamstown, in Queen Street, just south of the Albert Street intersect.

The grand building contained the Courthouse, Police Station, and Post & Telegraph Offices. These were busy departments during the Goldfield days. The land was originally leased from property developer Robert Graham. Construction of the building began in 1869, and it opened 1870 at a cost of £3941. Structural alterations were made over the decades, including the Police Station moving north to a purpose built building in 1909. 

Just part of the old courthouse remains to this day, along with the later brick Police Station. The current Police Station and Courthouse are located further south, on Queen Street. 
The new snippets on the latest board can be found from various postings on this blog over the past years.


The top photograph of the people outside the Post Office that was part of the Government building complex, featured in a post in 2015. (enlargement below)

The lower photograph showed the Thames Post and Telegraph staff outside the building in 1903. This photograph featured in a blog on "Messenger Boys" in September 2016.