Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWI Nurse Sarah Jane Hetherington

While efforts have been made to find all the nurses from Thames who served in World War One, it was inevitable that we may only have found but a few. While it was easier to find those who trained at Thames Hospital, what about the number who may have trained at other hospitals in New Zealand and overseas?

The latest Thamesite to be found is Sarah Jane Hetherington, the daughter of Samuel and Rebecca Hetherington of Queen Street, Thames. Sarah's father Samuel had the iconic drapery store that stood proudly in central Pollen Street for nearly one hundred years.

Miss Hetherington was born 15 August 1869 at Thames, and attended Mrs Alexander's private school before entering Thames High School (roll No 50) 19 September 1881. Sarah stayed at the school until 15 December 1885.

From the New Zealand Nursing register that was published in the New Zealand Gazettes, it shows that Sarah completed her four years nursing certificate and the London Hospital and her Midwives qualification in 1909. Miss Hetherington returned to New Zealand and was registered in 1910, where she then worked at Wellington Hospital as Sub-Matron April 1910 to 1917. (Gazette copies below)

 Sarah Jane Hetherington proved a little more elusive to track as a military nurse, given the fact that she attested in England. Details of her service are recorded on Sherayl McNabb's website on New Zealand Military Nurses and in her book "100 Years New Zealand Military Nursing New Zealand Army Nursing Service-Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps 1915-2015".

Staff Nurse Hetherington attested 4 August 1917 in England, no 22/432 in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service. (snippets from war file above, full file at New Zealand Archives). New Zealand Cenotaph record also available online.

Hetherington was Sub-Matron at the Victoria Military Hospital Ward in Wellington - it was with sadness at the end of March 1917 that she was farewelled to go overseas.

Miss Hetherington went to England and worked at the New Zealand Hospital at Brockenhurst.
In the Kai Tiaki, 1 January 1918, there was news from abroad. “Miss Hetherington writes from Brockenhurst, where she is stationed as masseuse, having signed on for that useful branch of the N.Z.A.N.S. She says there is so much of this work that is almost impossible to cope with it all. When not busy with her massage work, Sister Hetherington is glad to help in the wards with the nursing."
Shows No.1 Ward at Brockenhurst, No.1 New Zealand General Hospital. The room is decorated with foliage. Two nurses attend patients. There are beds along each side.
From caption on reverse: Masseuse at work with electric battery.

Source: Masterton Library Archive
On the 1st February 1920, Sarah Jane was placed on the Territorial list. Later working as Matron at the Cashmere Sanatorium in Christchurch. Sarah Jane later lived in Wellington before moving north to Takapuna, Auckland. Miss Hetherington died 28 June 1954 aged 84 years, and was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery.  (Death notice and obituary below - Thames Star 29 June 1954)

Miss Hetherington's name appears on the Honours Board for the NZ Returned Army Nursing Sisters Association (Auck) Inc (photo above)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thames (NZ): New book from The Treasury

Due to be released next month is a new book from The Treasury (The Coromandel Heritage Trust) in their True Tales Series.
True Tales of Thames is 289 pages of stories (102 stories) and the price will be $35.00 plus postage.

The ‘launch’ of the book takes place Sunday 20 August 2017 at The Treasury. The book can be pre-ordered or purchased from that day onwards.

Previously released titles are:
True Tales of Waikino and Waitekauri
True Tales of The Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard
Both are available at The Treasury.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Thames (NZ): Tararu Cemetery Closed due to storm damage

Sad news as the 150th Commemorations are due to kick off. Descendants will not be able to access Tararu Cemetery in the near future. For awhile now the storms have been causing havoc and trees have fallen. Leading to the latest lot that are blocking driveway and access to the damaged steps.

TCDC Media release:
The wind and rain of the last few months have taken their toll on the historic cemetery on State Highway 25, just to the north of Thames.

Two trees at the top of the cemetery have fallen across graves and the root systems are unstable. Rock falls, slips and falling branches also pose a potential hazard to visitors.

There is also a large tree across the access at the bottom of the staircase and the access way itself has been badly washed out.

Until the debris can be cleared and the hazards put right, we're asking people to avoid entering the cemetery. We've put a barrier at the foot of the access way and a sign asking people to keep out. We don't yet have a timeframe for when we might be able to reopen the cemetery to the public.

Tararu Historic Cemetery dates from shortly after the proclamation of the Thames goldfields 150 years ago. The first recorded burial was in August 1873 and there are nearly 1,000 registered burials there. It was in use for more than 100 years and the land is maintained by our Council.

Source: TCDC

Thames (NZ): Central Thames 1909

I am always fascinated by the few photographs that were taken from Una (Karaka) Hill that looked down over the township of Shortland and more particularly Block 27. Several branches of my ancestors lived in the area from early 1870, my Grandmother was born at Hill Street, and I have lived in the area for the majority of years.

By 1909 the remainder of the flat area was fully settled, and slowly the hill areas were being settled. No doubt the delay for many was the obtaining of a suitable land lease to allow for a more permanent habitation.

The Auckland Weekly News 30 September 1909, featured a view over the town. (see below)
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19090930-9-3
Above: Mount Pleasant centre left. Running lower left to top right is Hape Road, Hill Street running along the lower portion of the photograph.
Below: Sealey Street runs from lower centre to the sea, with the Karaka Valley far right and Irishtown.

Above: 1909 Full view looking down over the old Block 27 and Shortland Town of Thames.
Below: 1980s postcard of the view from Una Hill.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thames (NZ): Shortland Cemetery

Do you ever feel that the town or powers to be just don't understand the value of Thames Heritage?
There are days when I just feel we are wasting time planning events for the elite, when important historic places and landmarks are ignored and/or given very little attention.

Take a look at the entrance to our historic Shortland Cemetery. Hope you weren't planning on visiting during the 150th Commemorations..come equipped with gumboots and a good walking stick!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thames (NZ): Fifty years ago 1967

While thoughts are with the opening of the goldfield nearly 150 years ago, there was a lot happening in Thames as the town awaited their centennial commemorations in 1967.

The year started on 1st January 1967 with a celebration of Captain Cook's visit to the area, a massive re-enactment was held at the Shortland Wharf.

Then in February the town was reminded of it's vulnerabilities with yet another flood. There was the usual flooding around the town and several boats were badly damaged at Shortland Wharf.

ANZAC Day April 25th, there was a large turnout of War Veterans who marched down Pollen Street to the War Memorial Cenotaph in Mary Street.

In May, the Thames South School held their reunion, while the following month (June) saw the opening of the new Parawai School.
The town was in a state on development and advancement with old buildings such as Koefoed's (corner Pollen & Willoughby Street) demolished. New streets and parks were developed and named. Bowen Place was named at a new subdivision at Parawai, and Margaret Place at Moanataiari. The new sports ground on the foreshore (created from reclaimed land) was named Danby Field.
The new subdivision on reclaimed land at the Moanataiari was proceeding, with roads and amenities well established.
Next thing on the agenda was planning for the big centennial commemorations. The memorial cairn site was chosen at the south end of town and building was begun in July 1967.

Now fifty years later, the town prepares for the next commemorations for the 150th anniversary of the Thames Goldfields.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thames (NZ): Decimal Currency Fifty Years ago

What are your memories of the change to decimal currency in Thames and New Zealand?

If you were at school, there were endless lessons on the change and how the new denominations matched our old currency.

The excitement the first day was everywhere. Like many of my friends we couldn't wait till lunchtime and a trip to the nearby dairy for our lunch order. Everyone excited about the change and new coins that they received!

Children weren't the only ones who needed teaching. Local banks held education days for businesses. The Thames Star had been doing their bit to prepare the town with regular updates. They printed photographs of how the two sets of coins would be in-circulation during the initial introduction period.

The Bank of New Zealand (photo below) held evenings to instruct business owners how to complete normal banking transactions such as deposits to fit the new decimal currency format.

The new coinage was secretly delivered to Thames banks on the 31st May 1967, in preparation for the big day. The Thames Star was not even allowed to publish a photograph of the event until the 10th July. With the new coinage the cost of a pint of milk was four cents; and a loaf of bread was 11 cents.

Friday, July 7, 2017

An exhibition not to be missed is being held at the Bella Street Pumphouse during August.

A photographic Survey that was carried out during 1973-75 of Thames and Townspeople by John Fields. A few of these photographs are available online at different museums.

Saturday 5 August to 6 October 2017
Sat Sun Mon Wed Fri 11am to 5pm
Tues Thurs 4 to 7pm
Admission $10

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Thames (NZ): Karaka (Una) Hill 150 years Then & Now

Not many sleeps now until the 150th Commemoration of the Thames Goldfield. The landscape changed overnight as miners hunted for gold. The land cleared for mining, but every bit of timber was also needed for housing. Boats were kept busy bringing supplies from Auckland and beyond.
 Then & Now: The Una Hill from Mining Days to Present Day

Many claims were dotted over both sides of the Karaka (Una) Hill, with important batteries such as Bull's, which was located not far from the house in the 2017 photograph above.
Below are some maps showing the claims in the area. The first from the 1868 Mining Illustrated Map, and the lower from Downey's book on the Thames Goldfields.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thames (NZ): New Fire Truck 1912

Well, every once and awhile it pays to keep researching past sites. A new photo I had missed is on the Auckland Libraries website from their Sir George Grey Collection.

The caption reads: "A MOTOR FIRE ENGINE FOR THE THAMES. Last week the Wakatere shipped a motor fire engine for the Thames Brigade. The motor driven engines are replacing the horse-drawn vehicles in nearly all the up-to-date brigades in the country, and, in fact, they have entirely ousted the horse in Auckland city."
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZG-19120724-23-2
On the 19th July 1912, a large gathering assembled at the Thames Central Fire Station to celebrate the inauguration of the new motor reel service. The chassis had been imported from England and fitted out by Dexter and Crozier in Auckland. Money had been principally raised by members of the public, the cost of the machine was 518 Pounds and 19 shillings.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thames (NZ): New booklet "Then & Now: 150 Years at the Thames"

A new booklet, instead of written snippets, this one shows Thames through the eyes of our ancestors. Then and Now views around the town.
  • THEN & NOW: 150 Years at the Thames
A5 size, 40 pages, ALL photos. Published June 2017, covering then and now photographs of Grahamstown, Shortland Town and The Thames. A simple setup of mostly three photos a page that compare how the town has changed from 1867 to 2017. ISBN 978-0-473-40093-4

Friday, June 9, 2017

Thames (NZ): Hotels of Thames booklet

A booklet on Thames Hotels is now available.
HOTELS OF THAMES: The A to Z of Hotels on the Thames Goldfield.
In the usual format used for Streets of Thames and Schools of Thames.
Name of Hotel, location, time period open, names of publicans and a few snippets of history.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWI ROH Commemorations June 1917-2017

The Battle of Messines had begun one hundred years ago. Between 7 June - 9 June 1917, the New Zealand casualties were 3700, 700 of these were fatal.

These are the Thames WWI soldiers (so far identified) who lost their lives in June 1917.
4/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; GLESSING John Polton Hicks; 31990; Pte 2nd Batt AIR 
4/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; MCKEE Arthur Barry; 32040; Private 2nd Batt AIR 
4/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; PORTER  John Valentine; 12/1769; Private 2nd Batt AIR 
6/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; ENSOR Charles Hedley; 17853A; Rfn 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB 
7/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; COX Robert James; 25/740; Rifleman 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB
7/06/1917 In the Field, Belgium; FINDLAY Thomas; 3263; Private 45th Batt AIF
7/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; GRIFFIN Joseph; 4/901; Acting Sergeant NZE No 3 Coy
7/06/1917 In the Field, Belgium; LOGAN John Stuart; 2423; Private 36th Batt AIF 
7/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; MCONIE Colin; 26661; Rifleman 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB 
7/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; TREWHEELA Joseph; 8/1881; Corporal 2nd Batt OIR 
8/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; PAUL James Coutts; 23760; L/Corporal  2nd Batt WIR 
8/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; WHITEHOUSE Cyril Hale; 12/3193; Private 1st Batt AIR 
9/06/1917 In the Field, France; BUTTERWORTH Henry B; 30739; Private 1st Batt AIR 
9/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; NICOLAI William; 39670; Private 3rd Batt  AIR 3rd Coy
10/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; WILTSHIRE Frank William; 12687; Sapper Div Sig Coy
14/06/1917 England; CORIN William Bennett; 2524; Private AIF 45th Batt
14/06/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; MOLLER Gilbert Victor; 13/2857; Gnr 1st Batt 1st NZRB 
25/06/1917 In the Field, Belgium; TORRENS Walter Edward; 1458; Private AIF 33rd Batt
Lest We Forget

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Thames (NZ): Postcard from a Waikino visitor.

This is the story of 'Gertie' from Waikino, who came to Thames for a holiday in 1903. The postcard features the Thames Band Rotunda at Victoria Park, with the Grahamstown Railway Station in the distance.
Poor Gertie wrote to her friend (Mrs W Reid) that she thought she might stay at the Thames, as she dreaded returning home "to the bush & that miserable home on the hill" at Waikino.

Closer look at the path and women, standing on the path leading to the Grahamstown Railway Station.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thames (NZ): TCDC WW100 Messines Forest axed!


If you were like me and wondering when the planting of the Messines Forest was happening in Thames - well the answer from TCDC today is that it isn't. Lack of funds has meant it is on hold for the foreseeable future.

So the Great WW100 Memorial Forest Project has ground to a holt.

Below is the sign that has been at the Thames Peace WWI Memorial for the last two years - marking the intended 'Messines Forest.'

Left: The 'Messines Forest' sign by the Albert Street Walkway to the Monument. Right: the signage leading to the Peace Memorial.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thames (NZ): View from Zion Hill to Grahamstown

Always a surprise to find something new in a photo, this one taken overlooking the hospital towards Grahamstown is no exception. For the first time I have noticed the reference from "Zion Hill".

Searching at Paperspast, I can see no reference to the name or can't recall seeing it on any local papers. Did the photographer name it such because it overlooked the St George's Church? Was it a name that all locals of the time knew? Maybe you know the answer?
Below are some of the landmarks that can be seen in the photograph.
1. Post Office Hotel     2. St George's Church     3. Corner Mary and Mary Street
4. Foy's Boarding House     5. Thames Hospital, Baillie Street     6. Thames High School
7. Medical Superintendent's House     8. Bella and Pahau Street intersect    9. St James Church
10. Junction Hotel     11. Burke Street Wharf