Monday, February 20, 2017

Thames (NZ): Then & Now Collage - Band Rotunda (Victoria Park)

The purpose of these images, like the 'Then & Now' views, are to allow us to see the Thames as our ancestors did. In many cases the views have changed considerably in our lifetime alone, but for other areas the change has been more gradual.

When the Victoria Park was established and the Band Rotunda built in 1902 - the landscape was very different. The water literally cam up and in parts around the railway line on the seaward side of the park. While the view towards the Burke Street Wharf was clear, today completely obstructed by mangroves. The railway lines are long gone, the land to the west reclaimed and now the site of the Thames Croquet Club.

Above: Then & Now combined view, looking North-west from the Albert Street and Beach Road intersect.
Below: Left 2016 and Right c1902

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames High School early achievers

The 1937 Haurakian (The Thames High School annual magazine) contained this list of early achievers at Thames High School. Established in 1880 the names of the schools Dux, Adams Memorial winners are included, along with the name of those who went onto to be awarded a University Degree. Take a look at the names and you will see many well known Thames families, and those who went onto to have a long connection with the town. 

Interestingly the first two names listed for 1907, went onto serve in World War One.

The 1907 Dux was M Grigg - Matthew Henderson Grigg 4/174. His father was world renown astronomer John Grigg, a music shop owner and teacher in the town.

The winner of the Adams Memorial Prize in 1907 was L May - Leslie May 4/1230.

Above left: M H Grigg.  Above Right: L May 
In the Newspaper report concerning the 1907 Thames High School Breakup and Prize-giving, Headmaster Winter expressed the thanks and support of the staff and pupils at the school. In particular  made special mention of Leslie May and Hazel Lowe. He appointed each as Head Prefect for the following year - and awarded them a small shield as badge of office.

The Adams Memorial Prize was instituted 8 August 1907, to be awarded for Mathematics. There was also the unveiling a special portrait of Mr J Adams, to serve as a reminder for the high standards he had achieved and wanted the school to achieve. The criteria for the annual award was an aggregate of four mathematical subjects, and to include arithmetic, geometry and algebra.

See how many names you recognise, any ancestors?
Postscript: Headmaster James Adams was the first Headmaster of the school when it opened in 1880. Headmaster Adams died September 1906.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thames (NZ): Kae Lewis' Book Launch

Announcement today on the TCDC news-page of a book launch during Thames Heritage Festival.

Goldrush to the Thames New Zealand 1867 to 1869 is written by Kae Lewis. Kae is better known to most as The Treasury Webmaster and the creator of the Goldminers Database.

Full details on the book are available at the TCDC link. "With the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the Thames Goldfield in August, Kae has written a book Goldrush to the Thames New Zealand 1867-1869  as a companion to the website, and there will be an initial print run of just 100 copies available."

There are two book launches scheduled:  at The Treasury on Wednesday March 15th and at Thames Coromandel District Libraries on Thursday March 16th.

Photo from TCDC

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thames (NZ): Sundial on the Waiotahi hill

Over the years the sundial that was near the Peace Memorial has been a subject of conjecture. Did it exist, or something just imagined.

Well yes it did exist! The stand for it remains today, but the sundial and direction finder are long gone.

The Thames Star 30 January 1973 featured an article about a 'fact' on one of the indicators.

 The plaque claiming the arrival of Captain Cook to the area in 1869, when as the Kelly family pointed out should have read 1769.

I have seen photos of people standing by the sundial - if you have one please let me know.

Below is a 2016 photo looking towards the Peace Memorial.  The base of the sundial still stands today - lower right.

Update 17/2/2017: 1972 Group of people enjoying finding places on the direction finder.

Publicity Caption:
Auckland Coverage
View of Thames, Firth of Thames on right.

G. Riethmaier

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thames (NZ): LOST LANDMARKS II on the Thames Goldfield

A new booklet hot off the press today.
Part of a series on Lost Landmarks:
LOST LANDMARKS II on the Thames Goldfield.
ISBN 978-0-473-38310-7
Soft cover, A5, 40 pages.

The booklet continues on exploring in the one page format, landmarks that have been lost to the Thames. For those who purchased Building Thames, there are a few duplications.

Topics covered are:

Albert Street Shops, Baillie Street School, Bank of New Zealand, Braemar Hospital, Brown Street Shops, Central Hall, Coakley’s Store, Diamond Jubilee Playground, District Homes, Fenton Street Shops, Franklyn Street Store, Government Buildings, Graham Hotel, ‘Haunted’ House, Hauraki Clothing Factory, Kauaeranga Hotel, Kauaeranga Road and Rail Bridge, Lamb’s Timber Yard, Lighthouses, Masonic Lodge, Plunket Rooms, Pollen Street Shops, Post Office Hotel, Rolleston Street Shops, Scrip Corner, Shortland Public Hall, ‘Special’ Trees, Sperry Home, Steam Locomotives, Technical School, Thames Hospital (1868), Verran Bros Office, Wakatere Play ship, and Warwick Arms Hotel. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery at Find A Grave

Just an update on the project to add as many as possible of the burials for the Shortland Cemetery in Thames. Thanks to the amazing assistance given by "JJ" the majority of names are listed now at Find A Grave.

There will be cases perhaps of double-ups where surnames have in some cases multiple spelling options. So be creative when you search and try just adding the first letters of a surname to get the result you want.

If you find a grave of an ancestor, who has a memorial created by someone else, you can ask to take management of that memorial. Thereby easily updating and adding information as you are able. You can add death notices, photographs of the deceased plus biographical information.

So check it out, now and see if any of the 6,600 plus names are members of your family tree.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): Kauaeranga River Postcard

Views of Thames.
What a joy it is to find a new postcard of Thames, and at a reasonable cost!
This postcard of the Kauaeranga River is taken from the area below present day Herewaka Street.

A young boy poses for the camera near the Kauaeranga River. It a high tide or maybe the river is in flood. In the distance (lower photo), are the houses and businesses on Bank Street.  There were stables, abattoir and stock yard in the earlier days.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery at findagrave

While I don't have any affiliations to findagrave, heck I can't even afford a subscription for ancestry who are connected with the site! Regardless of this I have been occupied entering as many burials as I could for nearby Tararu Cemetery, and now for Shortland Cemetery.

We must not forget the great resource that already exists - The Treasury at Thames has extensive information on these local cemeteries, along with headstone photos. Luckily Treasury volunteer Pauline completed this task, as the graves continue to deteriorate at a rapid rate - each time one visits there appears to be more evidence of damage and general deterioration.

My aim is to have the names online before the 150th proclamation anniversary - 30th July 2017. Thanks so far to one other researcher, who by coincidence is also working on the same project! The more tapping fingers the easier the task will be!

Why? So we can continue to remember and learn more about the goldfield pioneers, who were able to settle thanks to the generosity of the local iwi. If you can add any names, or add to the brief memorial I will be setting up, your help would be appreciated.

Shortland Cemetery is special for me, as it is the resting place for many of my direct ancestors:
Great Grandparents John Barker and Maria Barker; Great,great,great Grandmother Susan Timmins (Moran); Great,great,great Grandparents James and Mary Hardman; Great,great,great Grandparents William and Phillipa Vercoe; and Great,great,great great Grandfather John Vercoe.

I have just completed surnames starting with 'B' and will now jump to the 'W' Surnames (fingers crossed.
For background information on the cemeteries of Thames go to the Cemetery page.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thames (NZ): New heritage sign for the 'Wakatere'

It was with much sadness that Thamesites watched their beloved Wakatere playground ship demolished at the end of 2016. Efforts to save it put aside when it was discovered it contained asbestos.

The Lions club have erected a large memory board to allow the Wakatere to live on at the Porritt Park Children's Playground, Queen Street, Thames. The sign is located north of the toilet block and at the southern end of the new skate park area.

Smaller views of the large sign: 

Special thanks to the Thames Lions Club, for another wonderful heritage sign.
Further information on TCDC development of the playground area at TCDC news.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thames (NZ): Merry Xmas from Victoria Park

2017 will be an exciting time at the Thames, as the town prepares for the official commemoration of the opening of the goldfields 1st August 1867. Lots of events are planned for throughout 2017-2018. The Thames 150 committee are working on these and should release information in the New Year. In the meantime Merry Xmas from Thames.