Diamond Jubilee of the Ohinemuri County 1885 - 1945

Publisher's Note

IT IS WITH great pleasure that I present this the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir and Historical Record of the Ohinemuri County, 1885-1945, to all who may read it, more especially to the ratepayers of the Ohinemuri County, those I know and those I hope to become acquainted with in the not too distant future, and to the people who have given valuable assistance in the production of this booklet.

To the many persons, too numerous to mention, who have so willingly and eagerly contributed literature and photographs, and placed at my disposal their knowledge, their time and ability, thus rendering valuable assistance in the preparation of this booklet, I wish to tender the sincere thanks and appreciation, not only of myself, but also of the Council. Without their assistance it would have been necessary to have found some other means of marking this important occasion in the life of the County.

Particularly do I wish to mention Mr. R. L. Darley for his advice and co-operation, the staff of W. D. Nicholas, Ltd., the printers, for their interest and strenuous efforts to complete the work in time, Mr. James Thorn, M.P., for his assistance with respect to Government Departments, Mr. Courtenay Kenny, of Paeroa, for his keen interest and willing co-operation, and Mr. J. B. Beeche, of Waihi, for his knowledge of the district, recounting incidents and providing copies of official documents.

In compiling this booklet the policy has been to publish nothing but facts, and most of these have been recorded from the records of the Ohinemuri County Council, the files of the "Hauraki Plains Gazette" and the "Waihi Telegraph." I have to thank the Mayor and Town Clerk of Waihi and the above two newspapers for the help given. I would also be failing in my appreciation were I not to mention the assistance given by Mr. L. E. Shaw, County Engineer, whose knowledge of the County is naturally unsurpassed, also Miss E. Snelgar, my assistant, whose co-operation and whose eagerness to assist were most heartening.

It was with a feeling of responsibility and diffidence that I accepted the task of this research work, and perhaps if I had known at the time the arduous task it has been, I may have said, "Nay, seek the services of someone who has had experience in this work, one who has more time to give to it; in fact, one who can devote his whole time and do full justice to such an important undertaking to mark the sixtieth birthday of the County of Ohinemuri, especially in view of the very short time available to have it completed." Yes, it has been some task, one of the heaviest I have undertaken in such a limited time, considering that the ordinary office work has had to go on as usual. Naturally, the preparation has not been without long hours of work at nights and week-ends, not only for myself but for the contributors. However, if only a few find pleasure in reading the contents our efforts will be amply rewarded.

Although the occasion of this Jubilee was considered some time before, it was only at the October, 1945, meeting of the Council that this Souvenir booklet was mooted, and it was well past the middle of that month, after it was seen what advertisements could be obtained to assist with the cost, that it was actually decided to proceed with the work. A word to the advertisers and advertising firms who have so assisted financially, and without whose support the publication of this booklet would not have been possible, as the cost would have been too great - my Council says "Thank you for your help; may you reap many benefits from the publicity given." Many firms showed great interest in the proposed booklet.

I must say that it was not without a feeling of honour and pride that I accepted the work entrusted to me by the Council. More time at my disposal would naturally have been very welcome, to do full justice to it being one reason, and another that as time went on it became known that the booklet was in the making, and offers of contributions in the way of literature and photos had to be declined as they were too late to be incorporated. Other ideas had to be cast aside for the same reason. Even now it is a little late.

In conclusion, let it be said that this Diamond Jubilee Souvenir is intended to be a permanent historical record of the past days of the Ohinemuri County, authentic and, it is hoped, interesting. It was the earnest desire of the Council to provide a volume that will maintain the spirit of the old days, that will recall the past to those who knew the County in the early days, and that will fire the present-day residents and settlers with the urge for progress that actuated the respected and beloved pioneers. It is hoped that the pioneers who love and live in the past will find pleasure in reading the lines herein written - this inadequate tribute to their memory.

A. A. JENKINSON, County Clerk.

Ohinemuri County Council

Chairman's Foreword

THE YEAR 1945 brought the greatest war of all history to a victorious conclusion for our country and the Allied Nations. It is also the Diamond Jubilee of the constitution of the Ohinemuri County.

This booklet is issued with the compliments of the present Chairman, Council and Executive Officers, with the hope that it will leave a permanent record of the 60 years through which the County has passed.

We also hope it will recall to the minds of the present generation the memory of those pioneering men and women who, through courage, sacrifice and foresight, have laid the foundation of our County on a sure basis. This we should cherish as a rich heritage.

With gratitude to those men and women who have served our Country in the past, with faith in the present, and hope for the future, we look forward to the Ohinemuri County playing its part in making this gem of the Pacific "God's Own Country."

T. A. BARRETT, County Chairman.

Congratulations from Member of Parliament for District . . . .

Mr James Thorn, M.P. for Thames and Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Prime Minister, writes: — "My sincere congratulations to Ohinemuri County on the celebration of its Diamond Jubilee!

"It is natural on this occasion to think of the conditions under which the County Council began its work and the changes these sixty years have brought. The goldfield in which a busy township like Karangahake appeared, only to fade out and become little more than a sad memory; the roadless land without drainage, unprotected against flooding, requiring the most arduous labour to break it in and make it yield its abundance. There is, it is said, a good book in each man's life, and, if this is so, a library could be filled with tales of the hopes and fears, the vicissitudes, the losses and gains, the ups and downs, the progress of the men, women and children who have lived in Ohinemuri County.

"Through it all the County Council has laboured at the tasks that have come to it: it has given guidance, and by patient work it has contributed to the well-being of those for whom it carried responsibility. And what hard and prosy work it has been! A road here, a bridge or a culvert there, a drain in some other place, nothing dramatic or exciting, yet in the total of its efforts the Council has effected such beneficial changes as have made the original conditions incredible, and brought relief and hope and the means of fruitful industry to thousands of men and women. A little thought about its achievement will evoke the feelings of thankfulness and gratitude.

"In the world in which we live deep and fundamental changes are taking place, and the status and duties of local authorities will not be unaffected, but whatever happens Ohinemuri County is entitled to a generous meed of praise for the part it has played in the development of New Zealand. What is needed now is public spirit, goodwill and a sense of unity on the part of its citizens, and these will bring them to a future with opportunities for service and a good life.

"Cheerio to Ohinemuri County! Genuine thanks to its County Councillors, its Officers and Staff! All credit to those who have toiled and served in the past, and the best of fortune to the men and women and boys and girls who will live in the County in the days to come!"