Karangahake School and District 70th Jubilee 1889-1959
Football. Old photographs testify that Karangahake in its prime was very sport-minded and extremely efficient. One notes that "Crown" and "Talisman" played for an unusual Banner, "Cock o' the Walk" We have reproducted a group taken 60 years ago, partly because it features some of the most outstanding players of those days and also because other well known citizens are included in it; (also a 1923 team captained by the late Jack Rackham.)
There is proof too that many teams were on the field — West, Melrose, Suburbs and others. Nearly always there is the caption, "Winners of the Cup" — and Banners declare their conquests in many successive years. Many of the men were wonderful players and it is reported that one Thames Valley (Goldfields) team had eleven 'Hake players in it. George Gillett was regarded as a Rugby marvel, being able to take his place anywhere in the team of which he was frequently captain. He was an "All Black" in the famous 1905 team and on several other occasions. Other "All Blacks" were Scotty McClymont whom we shall mention elsewhere, and Alwyn "Douggie" McGregor, who went to California in 1911 and toured Australia in 1919 with a N.Z. Rugby League team. Such names as Bunting, Dillimore, Bramble, Jury and McClymont occur frequently. It is interesting to recollect that such outstanding men did their early training on Cornes' paddock and the Mackaytown Recreation Ground.
Charlie Dillimore, who died in Waihi recently, aged 78 years, will be remembered by those who lived in Karangahake between 1900 and 1906. The family had made some adventurous moves from Christchurch to Broken Hill and then to Coromandel, where Charlie played representative football when only 18 years of age. He represented Karangahake in senior Rugby and played for Goldfields twice, being captain one year. He later changed to League, played for the famous Ponsonby team; and in 1907 toured New Zealand for several weeks with an Auckland representative team. He continued to play good senior football until he was 48 years of age.
Gun Club. This was a champion club which won an enormous Cup three years in succession. Mr Meachen was the president and Fred Dare one of the crack shots.
Hockey and Tennis were also played, the latter in spite of long skirts as our Mrs Ritchie testifies. Tennis was later played on both the Mackaytown and the Karangahake School Grounds.
Croquet and Bowls had strong teams too and the facilities near the School of Mines were excellent.
Wrestling and Boxing were popular with the miners.
Basketball came later, being introduced through the School. It still provides our girls with sport, the matches being played in Paeroa.
Swimming. Notwithstanding the cold mountain streams, Karangahake always had good swimmers, the Waitawheta and Doherty's Creek being the favourite spots. But since the clearing of the Ohinemuri, it provides some excellent pools.
Fishing has come into its own again.
Climbing. We have left this till last but it is by no means least. It was part of our lives — something for "all." Whether the expeditions were "To the Bush," "To the top of the Trig," "Up Te Moananui's Hill" or "To the Peak of the White Rocks," the sense of joyful adventure was the same.
Jim Rowe, an old 'Hake boy who has spent 43 years with the N.Z. Regular Forces, writes to say that over the years he has made 54 ascents of Mt. Egmont, but that he learned to climb and to love climbing on the steeper slopes of Karangahake.