Karangahake School and District 70th Jubilee 1889-1959


Mr John McCombie was born in Auckland in 1850 and 17 years later was prospecting at Thames. After some years on the "West Coast Diggings" he returned to Ohinemuri and spent the major portion of his life between Coromandel and Waihi, being one of the original prospectors of the Martha Reef in 1878. He was the Manager of the Talisman Mine until 1909 when he became overseer of the Crown, but he left Karangahake about 1915 and died in 1926. He was recognised as an authority on mining and contributed many articles to current journals. He is survived by his family — Olive (Mrs Wilson, Waihi), Gladys, Charlie, Bell, Roy and Jack.


Mr McGruer was born in Scotland and came to New Zealand when 16 years old. Later he became interested in the quest for gold and actively participated in many "rushes." It is stated that he was a pioneer miner on at least 19 fields, including the Welcome Reef at Karangahake. He was appointed Manager of the Crown Mine and held that position under both Mr Door [Daw - E] and Mr McCombie for 46 years, retiring when the mine closed down. Mr McGruer was one of the oldest Justices of the Peace in New Zealand and was one of the founders of the Paeroa Masonic Lodge. He had three sons and six daughters. He wrote a beautiful copperplate hand right up to the time of his death at 91 years of age.


Mr John Rickard was born in Cornwall in 1862, came to New Zealand with his sister and brother-in-law (Wm. Elling) when he was only 15 and was mining at Thames when 18. He studied at night at the School of Mines and gained his Manager's Certificate after which he managed mines at Thames until in 1910 he took charge of the Talisman.

He was a man of commanding presence and ability, yet wore his authority with ease and friendliness. Old miners testify that it was a pleasure to work under him for they always felt he was "working with them." Summer and winter he left his Mackaytown home at 6.30 a.m. and rode his well known horse, Darkie, to the Talisman in time to read the night's reports before the change of shift.

Mr Rickard's chief relaxation was music. He had a fine organ in his home and played it with a depth of feeling. In 1919 he resigned his position owing to ill health and moved to Paeroa where gardening became a great hobby. He played for some years in both the Methodist and the Presbyterian Churches. He died in 1941 at the age of 78, but dear Mrs Rickard lived to carry on her good works (especially for Leper Missions) till she was 89. Essie, whose care of her parents was nothing short of marvellous, married the Rev. Enticott some years ago and still lives in Paeroa.