Waihi Borough Council Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1902-1962
Waihi is the poorer by the loss of the breezy personality of Charles Frederick Butcher. Affectionately known as "Charlie" to a very large circle of friends, he was endowed with a fine sense of humour which enabled him to meet his pioneering struggles with a grin and enter his eighties with a ready smile and sympathetic ear. Gruff and bluntly spoken, much of his kindly generosity was known only to those who were grateful to him for his timely help.
He arrived in New Zealand as a youth and was soon doing a man's work in the Manawatu. After helping his parents on an isolated station near Cape Runaway, he came to Katikati and then to Waihi, where he arrived in the year 1892. One of his first jobs in the district was to repair the coastal telegraph line built in the sixties to by-pass the troubled Waikato.
Taking up survey work, he helped to lay out the major mining claims in the field as well as their very necessary water races. On his first visit to Waihi his survey party camped on Hollis' farm, the site of the new college. The toddler who took milk to their tents was William Hollis, of Waihi Beach.
His stories of travel by coach, horseback and on foot across country and through the bush brought a whiff of a different age to those of us who are ready to growl about a pothole in the bitumen. Once on hearing a man bragging of riding to Whangamata over a poor track in 1906, Charlie boomed "Good heaven's man, I walked there in 1896 and carried a theodolite, as well as my swag."
1900 Mr Butcher was married to Miss Elizabeth Mc-Cauley of Katikati. After working in the bush and mining for some years, in about 1902 he purchased some horses and began haulage contracting and helped in the formation of various roads and borough works. In 1918 he went to live on a farming property which he had at Katikati but in 1919 he returned to Waihi and soon joined the staff of the Ohinemuri County Council, controlling large gangs of workers in the hungry thirties and relinquishing his duties about ten years before his death in 1957.
Mr Butcher had a phenomenal memory of the events of his interesting life and was a most valuable source of detailed information concerning Waihi's beginnings. He took a lively interest in local affairs, frequently topping the poll in the elections for the borough council, on which he served as deputy-mayor and as chairman of the works committee, where his wide practical knowledge was of great value.
Mr Butcher lost his wife in 1940. His three daughters are Margaret (Tauranga), Jessie (Mrs Jury, Mount Eden) and Freda (Waihi).