Friday, February 16, 2018

Thames (NZ): Jack McLean Community Recreation Centre OPENED!

Work started on the new community recreation centre back in September 2016, but behind the scenes fundraising and development for such a building, is said to have started 20 years previously.
From the demolition of buildings to the start of construction everything appeared smooth enough, but behind the scenes the weather and other construction issues occurred. Finally all issues were resolved, and at a cost of six million dollars, the building today was officially opened.

A timeline of the construction is available that shows what a major project this was. Prefabs moved, site prepared - to building opened! Many man hours and dollars were needed to make this happen.

 Today, Friday 16 February 2018, marked the opening of the Jack McLean Community Recreation Centre. A dawn blessing  by Ngati Maru kaumatua Wati Ngamane, followed by a full opening ceremony at 10am within the new gymnasium complex. It was shoes off as everyone entered the new hall.

 Everyone appeared impressed with the size of the new complex, that has various sporting courts marked out and ready for action!

Very quickly the downstairs and upstairs seating was filled, with students, guests and members from the community. Plus most importantly members of the late Jack McLean's family.

 The view from upstairs is spectacular - dignitaries and the Thames High School kapa haka group were assembled in the centre of the hall. A karakia by Wati Ngamane was followed by a performance by the kapa haka members.


 By this stage, the hall's seating areas were full, and the speeches and opening programme was completed. The hall is ready to meet the needs of the community and it was noted that bookings had already been made by various groups!

Not a bad effort! The Jack McLean Community Recreation Centre is open for business.

ABOVE: Jack (John Kenneth) McLean 1923-2005 (left) and the new Jack McLean Community Recreation Centre.

Background Reading:
TCDC Official news on the planned opening, including biographical information on Jack McLean.
Jack McLean - All Black - background All Back no 473 Wikipaedia info
TCDC Official News update on the opening. News that Jack McLean's All Black cap that the family had donated to the school previously, will now be on display in the foyer of the new community recreation centre. (photo below)

Jack McLean's All Blacks Cap.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thames (NZ): Thames Goldfield Schools & Miss Millington

Finally a reprint of the booklet Thames Goldfield Schools is available.

The cover has been altered to include a photograph that was found after the publication of the first edition last year.

Not long after the goldfield opened in August 1867, families started descending to The Thames. The families on the whole were poor, but schooling while not yet compulsory, was a priority for most families. Private schools proliferated alongside those receiving special state funding.

A list of known schools has been collected, and a summary of each school is given in the Thames Goldfield Schools booklet.

There are few photographs of these early schools in action, so it was one of those special moments to find online Miss Millington's 1907 cooking class at the Thames Technical School. (photo below)
Cookery Class with Miss Millington 1907.
Hammond, Thomas William George Howard, 1868-1967,ca. 1907,PH-1991-12-A1041.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Library Collection 

The opening of the new technical school building took place 4th August 1905, the land had been donated by past Thamesite Mr Arthur M Myers, a framed photograph was revealed in his honour. An accompanying inscription read: “A very kind benefactor to whom those who attend this school are deeply indebted.” Prior to this, Technical and Continuation Classes had been held in the Kauaeranga School during 1902-1904 (at least).130 A glimpse of the cooking classroom 1907, can be seen on the front cover of the Thames Goldfield Schools booklet. The school was located right on the corner of Sealey and Rolleston Street, where the Thames High School Gymnasium is located today.

A closer look: Miss Millington (3rd from left) and the girls in the cookery class c1907. Rolling pins, crockery bowls and utensils ready for the days recipes lesson. 
Miss Millington left the Thames Technical School in June 1907, at which time the students presented her several gifts including photographs of the school and cookery class. It is assumed that this photo is one of the gifts that Miss Millington received a copy of. The Thames Star 13 June 1907 reported that another gift was a set of silver serviette rings. Some of the pupils mentioned were Misses Lizzie Bulling and Violet George; and the headmaster was Mr Marsdon.

The photograph above will bring back memories of manual cooking classes for many. The days of no cooking unless you had an apron! The style of apron varies, and a couple of pupils even have bands/covers on their lower arms.  

The room must have been used for sewing classes as well, as a stern warning is written on the blackboard. "Sewing Class - Care must be taken to leave no needle lying about. The Caretaker last week, when scrubbing, ran a needle into their thumb..."

The Thames Technical School, the new building was opened in 1905.
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19050824-11-1

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thames (NZ): Karaka Road intersection Then & Now

Some things never change at the Thames. When the streets were surveyed in late 1867, the plans appeared in the most part very easy to follow, with the majority of streets running in simple grid like pattern.
Part of 1868 Miners Illustrated Map of the Thames Goldfield. Rolleston Street and Karaka Road intersect, centre left.
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 4531
One of the more unusual layouts centred around Karaka Road and the connection to Rolleston Street. Over decades realignment happened on several streets, but this was one where houses had been built on plots that limited corrections to the road.

The 1889 Alignment Survey highlighted many problems around the town. The north end of Rolleston Street, had the challenges of two triangular shaped pieces of land - to the west with Baillie Street and to the east with Karaka Road.

The Post Office Hotel, tackled the problem by building a structure to fit the land at the corner of Baillie (Court), Mary and Rolleston Streets. On the Karaka Road side (where the Nurses' Home sits today), the site was filled with a boarding house, hall and a residence.

In the 1902 Cleave's Directory the listings were: Commercial Boarding House (Foy's), Protestant Alliance Hall and 'probably' the house of John Wade (miner). On the right side of Rolleston Street, from the Mary Street intersect were: The Post Office Hotel (Morrison's), William Deeble (Grocer), Archibald Currie (Bootmaker), W H Smith (Miner), R Hill (Baker), Mrs Schmidt (School teacher), Mr Egginton (Telegraphist), T Taylor (Fisherman), William Hosking (Grocer), Mrs Simpson, F W Keller (Stationer), and on the Sealey Street intersect R Bateman's butcher shop. 

Today, the sharp bend into Rolleston Street remains, as it did in the 1900s photograph below.

Above: c1900s View down Karaka Road to the intersection with Rolleston Street.
Below: The Karaka Road & Rolleston Street intersect c2010 (Google Maps)

 Below: a closer look at the 1900s view of the Karaka Road and Rolleston Street intersect. Today the Rolleston Street side is where the Thames Medical Centre is located.