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Karangahake School and District 70th Jubilee 1889-1959

Shortly after the opening of the Ohinemuri Goldfields in 1875, many small steamers were carrying passengers and cargo between the already adult Thames and the infant settlements "up stream". Indeed, except for horse tracks, the river was the only highway between Thames and Ohinemuri and even passengers and goods from Auckland were trans-shipped from Thames.

But in the year 1888 a direct passenger and cargo service was commenced between Paeroa and Auckland. The S.S. Ruby, owned by the Hauraki Steamship Co., was the first vessel to commence this service and although her draught was six feet, she traded regularly to the centre of Paeroa, landing her freights and passengers in Wharf Street.

The Paddle Streamer, Patiki, was from 1890 to 1900 frequently chartered to run both daylight and moonlight excursions on the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers. Her accommodation for excursionists was 400 and there was space aboard for dancing. In 1892 the Northern Steamship Co. trading between Auckland, and Thames, built a vessel to run in opposition which became very intense. During this period fares become ridiculously cheap, e.g. 2/6 return and needless to say, many people took a trip to Auckland. Finally the Northern Steamship Co bought out its opponent.

In 1895 the S.S. Waimarie was built and because of the new railway bridge across the river, headquarters was moved to the Junction Wharf, about two miles downstream, three vessels being in constant service. The whole of the mining machinery for Waihi, Waikino, Waitekauri and Karangahake was bought to Paeroa by these vessels, occasionally assisted by others and along with outward cargoes of wool, flax fibre, timber, kauri gum, etc., a very busy freighting business was in progress. The S.S. Taniwha, a sister ship of the Waimarie, was built in 1989 [1898 or 1899 - E] and these two vessels carried on a very brisk trade.

On account of the mining operations in the upper reaches of the Ohinemuri, the river at the Junction continued to shoal and in 1901 the shipping was further moved to the Puke Wharf. The S.S. Taniwha, with occasional assistance carried on a busy trade until 1937, when the slackening of passenger trade, owing to improved roads, motor and rail services, necessitated taking her off and substituting cargo vessels, which continued for some years.